Over the past few years, it’s nearly impossible to notice a new trend in advertising, marketing, and content. There’s been an increasing focus on honesty, accuracy, and reality, no matter how grim or raw.

While in many of these cases, only hugely popular brands can take such risks, there’s a single message that resonates: connecting with consumers rather than trying to impress them. And this message is true for businesses of all sizes, from Nike to a one-man financial services practice.

The Seed of This Trend

This focus on connecting versus impressing was born out of a single seed: the increasing distrust consumers have for advertising. Several surveys found that 84% of Millennials and 50% of all Americans distrust advertising. And of all advertising categories financial products and insurance ranked second (after diet products) among least trusted types of ads.

Today’s consumers grew up with advertising and know how to spot a marketing ploy a mile away. These ads, from popup ads online to printed mailers, only encourage consumers to trust that brand less.

Your prospects don’t want to be impressed with statistics on how X insurance is better/cheaper/more comprehensive than Y insurance. Why? Because they assume that it’s a ploy to get them to purchase. They need to know first that they can trust you to make honest recommendations, and an advertisement or stats-filled article won’t accomplish that

The New Equation for Gaining Clients Through Marketing

The increasing distrust in advertising causes a disruption in the retro marketing ways of obtaining a new client. Financial advisors can no longer impress prospects with facts about products. Instead, they need to focus on what you as an advisor and human provide them. It’s less about tangible products or concrete statements, and more about emotions and relationships.

One example is by Clearasil, a generations-old skincare company targeting teenagers. In a recent campaign, it admitted it didn’t know anything about teens (their target market), but they did know about skin. They spoke with authenticity instead of boasting about statistics or awards. And guess what? This ad received much more attention than any of their previous campaigns.

Infusing These Values in Your Content

The question now is, how do you incorporate this trend into your marketing? First, focus on creating content that resonates, not something you think will go viral or get a lot of shares. If your content connects, you’ll see the shares and likes follow.

Consumers and investors want to know that they’re understood. You don’t need to impress them; you need to show them that you can be their financial partner. It’s less important for you to show how much you know about an investment product and more important to demonstrate that you understand the common fears or troubles people face with money and investing.

As an advisor, people already know that you understand investing. While advanced certifications, such as the CFP® or AIF® designation, help prove your knowledge, it’s still less important than emotional bonds and intuitive trust that investors need to choose you as their advisor.

As you infuse this element of “connecting” into your content, keep these tips in mind:

  • Avoid targeting every demographic and find a target or niche audience with whom you can relate, whether it’s Millennials fresh out of college or business owners approaching retirement. The more you target a specific audience, the better you can create content and marketing that resonates with them.
  • Take time to conduct market research on your target audience. Create a persona that fleshes out their likes and dislikes. What publications do they turn to for advice? What are their daily concerns? What do they want to accomplish? Keep this information at the front of your mind when you create content.
  • Maintain a conversational tone in your content and avoid getting too dense. Eliminate jargon the layperson wouldn’t understand and write as though you’re speaking to a client in your office over a cup of coffee.
  • Rather than telling people about your accomplishments and knowledge, create truthful content that shows you have the knowledge to help people solve their problems.

Focusing on connecting, instead of impressing, will help you build a stronger bond with prospects and make the conversion from lead to client a smoother process. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to get personal. Leave the sterile statistics and impersonal content for the robots and advertisements and infuse your marketing with authenticity and a human element.

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