Robo-Advising: The First Step in Embracing Marketing Automation
Advisors know they must modernize or risk becoming irrelevant. Tackle marketing automation to stay relevant and useful in this changing landscape.
We all know the saying: there are only two certainties in life — death and taxes. But, we would like to add a third: change. The financial services industry is worlds different than it was fifteen, ten, or even five years ago.
With the rapid changes in fiduciary responsibility, broker-dealer acquisitions, and rising robo-platforms, it may seem impossible to keep up. Many traditional advisors have found themselves questioning where they belong in this growing space and how they can utilize these changes to their advantage. With the rise of robo-advising comes the chance to embrace automation in other aspects of your profession — particularly your marketing.
The Rise of the Robo
“Robo-advisor” is a term used to encompass online wealth management services that provide portfolio management advice using algorithms and automation. Because they are software platforms and don’t involve human financial planners, robo-advising doesn’t incorporate the personal aspects of wealth management, such as family goals or extraneous circumstances.
In the last two years, we’ve seen the demand for technology impact the financial services industry in a huge way. In 2015, Fidelity’s $250 million purchase of eMoney caused quite a stir. The firm immediately rolled out its next generation emX platform and integrated with more than two dozen applications, from MoneyGuidePro and Morningstar to Redtail and Albridge. More examples of common robo-advisory platforms are:
- Nest Egg Guru
- Acorns Investing
These are just a few examples of robo-advisory services, and there are more popping up every day. Robos have risen in popularity because of their low costs, convenience, and simplicity. Marketing automation has similar advantages. Once you have embraced robos as a part of the changing industry, it’s time to do the same for your marketing.
Financial advisors are constantly finding their value in this changing field and embracing the benefits of robo-advising. Most advisors don’t consider using decades-old technology when meeting with clients, and marketing is no different. Automated marketing is the future for financial advisors and comes with many benefits. By taking advantage of marketing automation, you will be able to provide educational content for your clients on a regular basis, communicate with clients and prospects consistently, and save yourself time.
Just as robo-advisory platforms aren’t going anywhere, neither is marketing automation. Marketing automation refers to the use of programs, processes, and reviews to exponentially increase a marketer’s ability to communicate with their clients. For example, our email and Campaigns tools allow users to send regular emails to their contacts, and our social tool lets them post on their social media platforms as frequently as they want.
Successful marketers know the value that marketing automation provides, but they don’t rely solely on the technology. Just as you wouldn’t rely completely on robo-advising, you wouldn’t rely entirely on marketing automation to take care of all of your outreach. We suggest our users use our social and email tools as foundations but supplement the posts with personal touches.
The Benefits of Marketing Automation
Provide Educational Content
The best way to emphasize your knowledge is to share it with your clients and prospects. On a regular basis, provide informative, engaging, and relevant content in the form of videos, articles, infographics, and presentations. Share and distribute this content on your social media profiles, through email, on your website, at client events, and in client meetings.
One way to do this is set up a marketing calendar and make topics for each week. For example, if the first week you are focusing on retirement planning, schedule content to go out on your email and social media channels all about retirement planning. This could include blog posts, curated content, or content from a resource library, like FMG’s.
The more information you provide, the better you can show your audience that you stay up-to-date and are genuinely interested in helping your clients succeed and make progress with their finances.
The most common complaint about financial advisors from clients is not the quality of their advice, but the quality of their communication. Two forms of communication are essential here: managing client expectations, and maintaining a constant line of communication in times of uncertainty.
It is easy to think that experienced investors understand risk and the volatility of the markets, but the last major financial crisis showed us that anyone can be caught by surprise. Market uncertainty should be a part of every discussion.
Remember, clients can lose trust in advisors who lack communication. Studies show that the strongest client-advisor relationships form when an advisor connects with clients 12 to 18 times a year. Through content, email newsletters, social media posts, and client events, you can connect with your clients on a regular basis and maintain a strong line of communication.
Save Yourself Time
Small business owners, like financial advisors, wear many hats and often feel like they are spreading themselves too thin. On top of managing client assets, scheduling meetings, and following up with portfolios, the last thing on your mind is marketing. This is why marketing automation is your friend — it saves you valuable time. According to an Emailmonday survey, 49% of companies regularly use marketing automation, and one of the reasons it’s so popular is these time-saving capabilities. Marketing automation allows you to:
- Create personalized campaigns in less time
- Schedule social media posts in advance
- Qualify leads and follow consumers through the purchase funnel
- Automate follow-up email and posts
- Reduce cold calling
These are just a few of the ways marketing automation can save you time. Now, let’s see how you can get started.
Get Started Today
The first thing you should consider when laying out a marketing automation schedule is what content can be automated. Marketing automation is not a “set it and forget it” structure. It may alleviate some of the pressure you feel to post every day, but you should check up on how your strategy is playing for your audience regularly. Some common topics that work great on an automation schedule may include:
- Personal posts (quotes of the day, holiday well wishes)
- Evergreen content
- Curated content from other sources
- Regular tweets and Facebook posts
Once you have your automated content, you need to decide how often you will post this content. There are no absolute rules about how often to post, because every practice is different, but financial advisors often find it helpful to follow the “5-3-2” rule of social sharing. For every ten posts on a social media platform, five of them should be curated content from other sources, three should be interesting pieces that are unique to your firm, and two should be personal posts.
You’ve got the “what” and “when” of marketing automation, but what about “how”? There are many different ways to answer this question, and service professionals will need to find the tools that work best for them. For example, FMG Suite offers automation tools, including social media content, email campaigns, and the use of our content library that continually refreshes on our clients’ websites. You can also use automatic scheduling platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule your social posts in advance.