5 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes

This article was first featured in Financial Advisor Magazine on Nov 1st, 2021. 

Marketing is an ever-changing subject for advisors. For many of them, the biggest challenge is simply keeping up.

Unfortunately, they are under time constraints, and that makes their marketing practices ineffective. They might blog, but only inconsistently, and they might avoid social media. What is worth the time?

To help, I’ve compiled a list of five common digital marketing mistakes and offered suggestions for how to address them without a lot of effort.

1. Not Communicating Effectively—Or Enough

This is the one I am most passionate about—partly because it’s critical for advisors trying to retain clients and also because good communication is a major reason those clients refer you to other people. Also, simply put, anyone can send an email. In fact, according to YCharts, email is the most popular communication channel among investors. So, it should be an easy way for advisors to reach clients.

Yet 69% of investors with less than half a million in assets under management said their advisor didn’t communicate with them enough. What might surprise you, 77% of investors under 50 said they would have more confidence in their financial plan if their advisor did.

Adjusting to the communication methods of the next generation of investors is essential.

To fix this, advisors need to improve their email communication strategy.

What to do:

Write strong subject lines: If your content is your product, then your subject line is your packaging. To write one, creatively reference the content of your email. Build curiosity and ask questions. For example, write “This week’s trending topics” or “Should I do X or Y?” Don’t write “Weekly Newsletter.”

Determine your cadence: It’s difficult to determine the “correct” schedule of your email releases and send time, as they both depend on your unique contact list and content. Start with at least two emails a month while testing send times if you’re unsure. Then adjust it based on performance.

Send the right content: Above all else, your content needs to be relevant to your audience. The better your client segmentation, the better you can target your message and the more powerful it will be. Timely content is always a must, but don’t forget the human element—every few emails should include a personal note from you. Don’t be afraid to share updates about your family or team members. People are far more interested in people than any business topic.

2. Failing To Create A Site That Passes The Five-Second Test

This test is about measuring the effectiveness of your home page. To perform the five-second test, start by navigating to your website. Then, without clicking or exploring, give yourself five seconds to absorb what you can. Then ask yourself the following:

  1. What does your firm do?
    2. Who do you serve and why?
    3. How are you different from other firms?
    4. What is the next step?

If your home page doesn’t answer these questions in five seconds, here is how you can fix it.

What to do:

Copy is often the reason advisor sites fail the five-second test. To fix this, first start by answering those four questions.

Next, format your home page to provide these answers concisely. Questions one through three will help you form your hero message—the message that appears at the top of your page—while question four will help you create a call to action.

For example, the home page of Cornerstone Wealth Consulting Services answers all of these questions with a short sentence and clear call to action: “Helping contractors and their families navigate significant wealth,” and then they are prompted with a button: “Start building today.”

Advisors should also consider a second call to action, one that offers more information to the visitor. This way visitors who aren’t interested in immediately contacting you might take other steps instead and remain on your site.

3. Thinking About Social Media The Wrong Way

For many, social media feels like a time sink that’s not worth the investment.

But that’s far from the case—according to Putnam Investments, social media initiatives resulted in $4.9 million of assets under management for the average advisor—far from a waste of time.

 

The problem often lies in how advisors make use of this medium—social is not for an immediate return on investment. It’s a long-term investment, and advisors who use it well see it as a brand-building opportunity.

It’s a chance to show what makes your firm different from others through your personality, content, and opinions.

What to do:

Interact with other users: Social media is a conversation—so be sure to engage with the content of other users. Comment, like, and share what you find interesting, and tag other users. A good rule of thumb is to engage with at least three posts for every one of your own. This will help your own posts be seen by more people.

Write posts with engagement in mind: You have to increase engagement, which determines the success of your post and increases your reach by appealing to the algorithm and users alike. To increase engagement, make posts skimmable, ask questions, provide context, and avoid being “salesy.”

Post often: Consistency is necessary for strong social media performance. Take the time to develop a posting strategy to keep your channels active.

If time is still an issue, then consider focusing your social media efforts on one channel—for example, LinkedIn.

Not only is LinkedIn the most professional network. It’s also the most powerful social channel for lead generation, according to HubSpot—surpassing both Facebook and Twitter combined:

4. Not Claiming Your Listing on ‘Google My Business’

Note: Most firms are not (yet) jumping into the new world of advisor marketing created by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s marketing rule, which allows advisors to use testimonials and reviews. (It’s important to note—always check with your compliance team before implementing any new marketing strategy.)

What to do even if you’re not ready:
Start by claiming your listing—go to the Google My Business site, type in your business name, and click on “claim my business.” Then, optimize it by filling out all the relevant information on your dashboard, alongside social media links, a logo, team images, and a description of your business. Your listing is likely the first or one of the first things in your organic search results. Clients and prospects will reference it for directions and a brief overview and to check out the pictures, etc. Claim it.

5. Not Finding Time To Blog

Blogs can provide a dramatic boost to your return on investment for a few reasons. First, they provide an ongoing source of content to use in other communications (remember how we talked about email?) which saves you time and effort. Second, they’re a powerful way to improve your site’s search engine optimization, or SEO, and improve organic traffic.

Marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see a positive ROI, according to HubSpot.

Despite this, many advisors aren’t blogging—often citing time as the biggest constraint to creating quality content. Here are a few ways to create that content and save time all at once.

What to do:

Turn to a firm like FMG Suite for content and then make it your own: Your blog should have a voice consistent with your brand. Many firms can give you access to content—and a few allow you to edit it. You can also find content on the internet and simply opine on the topic. Or consider hiring an intern to help you write your blog material.

Include images: Images are processed 60,000 times faster than text. They also make your blog post more enjoyable to engage with. Consider creating your images using a tool like Canva to add a sense of quality to your posts. Graphs, checklists, and diagrams are a great way for advisors to include imagery by visualizing data.

Write for search engine optimization: Start by asking trusted clients what keywords they would (or did) use to find you. Think like your clients to identify the best ones. Next, write your blog title and headlines using those targeted keywords. Be sure to also write your blog for length since, according to data from Ahrefs, Google tends to prioritize more detailed blogs.

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