Since the start of the pandemic, advisors have struggled with growing their practices. In the early days most were tending to nervous and concerned clients. But in the last few months, growth (defined as new business) is down, as traditional methods of client acquisition — in-person seminars, networking events and bring-a-friend client appreciation events — have all been scrapped.
Growth is the life-blood of an advisor’s business. An old friend likes to say, “If you are not growing you are dying.” So what are advisors doing to grow? As I wrote in an Investment News article called Growing your business in a virtual world, they start by:
- Adopting a growth mindset
- Experimenting, then experimenting some more
- Driving referrals by showing clients proactivity every single day
- Establishing a reliable communication process
While that all makes sense, advisors are also creating messaging to attract prospects who are looking, and to differentiate themselves to prospects that were referred to them.
What does your internet presence say about you?
If someone is looking for an advisor based on an event or just plain dissatisfaction with their current advisor, what do they do? Typically they jump on the internet to begin a search, or do more research about an advisor that’s been referred to them. So why do most advisors make it so difficult for prospects to find them? Why is there such a “sea of sameness” that discourages clients from switching advisors (they all sound alike). How do you communicate confidence to prospects, so that they can feel that you “know” them and their issues?
Let’s try an experiment: Do a google search for “financial advisor in <your town, state>.” What did you get? My search yielded 6.4 million results in .75 seconds and was full of ads for custodians, low cost virtual advisors and wire houses. Assuming a consumer would be wary of the ads, I clicked into the first few non-ad search results and looked at what they had to say. In my results, I found phrases like this:
- We provide personalized wealth management services
- A comprehensive suite of solutions
- Our financial advisors strive to earn the trust of many individuals and institutions
- (paraphrasing) We help families, business owners, professionals, institutions and women by implementing a customized, comprehensive plans to meet their goals
- We are a fee only fiduciary firm
- I provide comprehensive planning and investment management to individuals, families and businesses, with a constant focus on helping my clients achieve their financial goals.
Now, google your firm and yourself – go ahead… click on all the results… I’ll wait…
What does your website, twitter account, Facebook business page, LinkedIn account, blog say about you and your firm? Does it stand out? Are you part of that sea of sameness? Would someone really move forward to call/email you based on your digital footprint? Would they want to know more about how you can help them?
We’re in a specialization economy
Everything I see/read shows that in all aspects of our lives, we (consumers) are looking for more personalization, customization and transparency in dealing with service providers. I have come to expect ads targeted to what I have purchased in the past or looked for to show up on the internet. I see curated content showing up on my TV or devices when looking for movies or shows via streaming services. Artificial intelligence and targeted marketing sends me information based on zip codes, my age and other demographics. Yet, when looking at most advisors’ digital footprint, I see generalists marketing to everyone.
If you have done your digital footprint audit, ask yourself, “What type of advisor am I? Who do I best service and what solutions do I offer for that target client?” If your footprint isn’t addressing the needs or concerns of that target, should you make a change if you want to get noticed.
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