The facts about digital marketing for financial advisors

To the financial industry, it’s time to invest in your own future!

You may have noticed that your prospects and customers are glued to smartphones. So why is the industry that wants people to invest “for the long term” so quick to judge something that’s so clearly here, and at the same time clings to the AM radio and snail mail of yesteryear ?

We believe in all forms of marketing, but most of ours is in the digital space. Why is that? Because we live in a digital world. Like it or not, YOU are in the digital space too.

The facts are in, and they have been for some time: affluent baby boomers are online…a lot. And the best part about it is that the financial industry still hasn’t figured it out, making it beachfront property for those who have. These statistics to prove it.

  • 78% of baby boomers are active on Facebook
  • 67% of baby boomers are heavy YouTube users
  • 31% of baby boomers are active on LinkedIn
  • The no. A 1-inch talk radio station in any market averages about a quarter (25%) of Facebook’s reach among baby boomers

There are only a few online platforms that reach an incredibly high percentage of people: Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The fact that you can reach them in highly targeted footprints is a huge advantage over other ad platforms. There was no such captive audience in one location since there were three television networks and no cable.

Think of it this way: If it was a weeknight at 11:30 p.m., the whole country was watching Johnny Carson. Now the whole country is watching Facebook.

  • Digital represents a much larger field of prospects with a much smaller field of competitors in the financial space.
  • Digital and social media marketing offers a way to select an audience in a way that no other marketing platform can.
  • Effective digital campaigns are about half the cost of broadcast campaigns
  • You can get much more insight into the success of your campaigns
  • Social media is a great way to establish your brand and drive real marketing efforts (which show higher conversion rates) as opposed to infomercial-style ads.

Now, it’s important to recognize that a common objection to digital is that many prospects aren’t ready to “meet”. But the fact is, about 10-12% of digital leads can convert to a one-on-one meeting. So potentially 90% of the total number of people populating your new prospect list will be willing to meet in person.

Compare that to the 0.05% return on postal mail. And compare that to the number of people who are “likely” to hear your ad on the radio versus the number of people who call you. Why do advisors agree with this?

The thing is, data isn’t perfect. It’s a game of percentages. It just turns out that the data you receive from digital is more tangible than broadcast or mail. And it’s for this reason: you can see the ‘bad data’ – the people who don’t engage, while you don’t see the 99.5% of people who don’t respond to your emails or radio campaigns, and you just get the leads that “could” convert to dates.

We have regularly seen some reviews spending literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on “safe and traditional” forms of marketing for predictably poor results. Is it really safe if it doesn’t work?

Digital marketing is still (surprisingly) “new” to your industry. Often your only advice comes from the internal marketing departments of financial institutions (RIA, B/D). Or “specialists” in a single form of digital marketing (much like placing your equity investments in the shares of a single company). And the “generalist” digital enterprise that does not understand financial affairs.

Effective digital campaigns are much more affordable and generate a much higher return on investment. But generating results from digital requires two things:

  • Someone who knows what they’re doing and can show you empirical results about your industry.
  • Time.

Listen, 40 years ago when someone decided to do a dinner seminar, there was a bit of trial and error. Typically (almost always) it takes about two months to learn the algorithms that apply to your online audience. The good news is that even in the very beginning, when you might not be converting leads into appointments, wonderful things happen:

  • You brand your business to thousands of prospects and customers (not bad for referrals).
  • You are building a proprietary database, the most important thing for any business today.

So you want to get into digital. First, you need to accept the fact that we live in a digital world, and whether you like it or not…if people are using Google to find your number, visit your website, or check their financials online, you are in the digital sector. Here are your next steps:

Cathy W. Howerton