With technology evolving at such an incredible rate, more business around the globe is being conducted digitally than at any stage in history. This age of digital transformation has accelerated since the pandemic with businesses being forced to adapt to such extraordinary circumstances.
With the internet so readily available, clients are finding it easier to educate themselves on financial markets and services online. Due to this ease of access, there are a growing number of people who have more confidence in digital platforms for their financial service needs. The financial service industry has been pretty much set in its ways with their traditional methods finding themselves ever more obsolete in recent times as the old way of lead generation for financial advisors appear to have dwindled.
Financial advisors have been mostly caught cold trying to adapt to this digital climate and have found varying degrees of difficulty in reaching and accommodating new and existing clients. The millennial generation, in particular, they have adopted the digital space with tablets and mobile phones as their primary means of communication. In light of this, they appear to have little interest in finding what they want and conducting business through traditional methods.
Barriers to traditional financial advice in the digital age
Financial advisors are realising that the digital transformation of financial advice is having a significant impact on redefining the client experience with financial services and products. With clients now having the ability to easily access information at the touch of a button, many of the traditional barriers of financial advice and services have been removed.
This then begs the question, are traditional financial advisors still relevant? With financial information having more open-access sources, clients are becoming more knowledgeable and this has increased their appetite for financial services and products. There is growing transparency within the financial industry with detailed information and sophisticated financial tools available to anyone with an internet connection. In this new age, people don’t just passively accept advice and recommendations from a financial advisor as they now have the ability to analyze the markets on their own and come to their own conclusions on how best to invest their money. The digital age has brought with it a new type of client that is self-assured and requires something special to win them over. They still want expert human advice, but the way they want it has changed.
All of this points to a financial advisor’s job becoming more difficult as they find themselves in the precarious position of having to justify their advice and recommendations, always keeping up to date with the markets, regularly having to improve their knowledge of the financial services industry, and constantly brushing up on their services in order to justify their fees. The good news is that there is an ever-increasing pool of qualified leads for financial advisors that are in circulation. Finding ways to attract this growing market can be seamless with a dedicated effort to digital transformation. The demand for personalised financial advice across the globe has never been greater, and any innovations to the traditional financial system are sure to drive up a client’s appetite.
Leveraging technology to attract clients
The financial industry has had to work hard to embrace newer technologies in an effort to win over clients that appear to be more independent and self-sufficient. While technology has done wonders to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the financial sector, there seem to be more people who are interested in smaller portfolios that can be facilitated independently online.
While this may sound discouraging, these new habits from clients should create a shift in perspective for financial advisors as they can use these advancements in the digital space to expand and diversify their offering in order to reach out to an exciting new market. While
people these days want to engage instantly on a digital platform, they want the satisfaction and reassurance of personalized service.
By maximizing the potential of technology with a tailor-made offering for each client, financial advisors can offer a hybrid advisory solution that is in keeping with the times and giving clients what they need on a platform that is convenient to them.
Dynamics of the 21st-century financial advisory practice
Financial advisors who want to make an impact in this digital age must transform their offering into the 21st-century virtual (hybrid) arena that provides an all-encompassing offering to potential and existing clients. While a client can easily get the financial products and services online, an online financial advisor is able to nurture personal client relationships with tailor-made advice that is unique to each client’s circumstances.
Shifting to a digital offering can offer more visibility, greater client engagement, and a more efficient service offering. By leveraging technology to reach and accommodate your clients, your work as an online financial advisor is made easier as you can focus your energy on delivering the personalized services that clients expect. While clients have the assurance that you are there to offer them specific guidance based on their portfolio, finances, insurance, etc. they also have the convenience of conducting business virtually as opposed to the traditional manner that financial advisors have become accustomed to.
By working in the digital space, 21st-century financial advisors are able to cut down on costs drastically. Expenses such as physical infrastructure with fancy offices is no longer a requirement as meetings can be conducted on a digital platform from anywhere. There are no rental expenses and utility bills such as office supplies for your staff, internet subscriptions, insurance, payroll taxes, electricity, water and sewage, and/or a cleaning company are cut to the bone. Without the need for physical offices, online financial advisors may not require as many staff, so savings can be extended to the reduced payroll of the practice. Other savings associated with a digital financial advisory practice include not paying for maintenance on plumbing, electrical, and appliances.
The sweet spot for advisors of the 21st century will most likely settle in that of a hybrid model where the majority will embrace the efficiencies & effectiveness that come from at least some digital transformation but while also maintaining a physical footprint, albeit smaller, to serve those that still want to meet in person on occasion.
For core elements of the practice, many businesses that have made digital transformations in recent times have chosen to outsource specific work to industry professionals. Outsourcing specific parts of the practice, like digital marketing, will help online financial advisors save on added costs while ensuring that all clients are getting the best possible service. Online financial advisors also have the luxury of using the outsourced services only when necessary, so they do not have to worry as much about the traditional payroll and employee benefits regarding those tasks. Not only is outsourcing cheaper than hiring permanent staff, but you can get expertise in a variety of different skill sets. There are many professionals working remotely who can help you move your business forward with the precise skills that you need. You can also employ freelancers or access a whole team of experts, using them only when you need them.
Creating a Balance
Online financial advisors have many digital tools at their disposal to help with the reorganization, administration, and financial planning associated with their business. Improving the infrastructure is beneficial in reducing overhead costs that traditional financial advisors have typically been burdened with. All of these savings that the practice takes advantage of can be filtered back into the business and invested in creative methods that reach out to the client’s in a novel and engaging way.
With a newfound way of doing business, online financial advisors will not be bound to a specific physical location and have the freedom to determine how their virtual (hybrid) office will operate. This is extremely important in creating a healthy balance between your work
and personal life, thus contributing positively to your well-being. By embracing the 21st-century financial advisor model, you are able to position yourself as a leader and resource for current and potential clients.
Since the very essence of being a financial advisor means making a special effort to build a connection with your clients that align with their unique vision, goals, and values, you are still required to use a hands-on approach as this keeps the human connection alive. With that being said, there are specific techniques that you should adopt in order to adapt to this digital environment.
Adapting your financial practice to a changing world
For financial advisors to transition from the traditional way of the promotion of financial services and advice to a digital format might sound like a daunting prospect. This couldn’t be further from the truth, however, as all it takes is a little shift from the ordinary and a bit of creative implementation.
Financial advisors who are not au fait with the digital concept of business might wonder how they go about setting up a digital financial advisory practice. Essentially, a computer with a fast and reliable internet connection are the core elements that you will need in order to maximize your efforts in this new business lifestyle – remarkably different from the traditional financial advisor’s handbook.
While traditional financial advisors have kept client records and files for decades in their physical form, technology now enables us to store all of these online. Storing hardcopy records will require a lot of space, as traditional financial advisors will tell you (I had 5 metal filing cabinets at one point!), so having an efficient and secure digital platform to store records will save space and become more cost-effective. The beauty of storing documents digitally is that they are easily accessible and saves precious time – something we all want more of.
The new generation of clients are drawn to virtual relationships when dealing with service providers, and this is where financial advisors will need to switch things up. The evolution of communicating with others will mean that financial advisors must leverage digital platforms such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and FaceTime, amongst others, to keep up with the needs of the new age client.
Traditional financial advisors are well aware that client satisfaction is of paramount importance, so being available on platforms that are convenient to your clients is vital to growing your digital business. In these modern times that we are living in, more and more people have chosen to interact virtually for their products and services. In light of this, online financial advisors operating in such a dynamic environment must maximize this opportunity in order to reach out to the plethora of potential clients that have infiltrated the digital space.
Build a Website
You can’t expect to get clients as an online financial advisor if you don’t have a website. Think of your website as your digital storefront, or better yet, your new office. Your website is where people come to find out more about you and find out how you can help them.
Whether a prospective client discovers you through a referral, an advertisement, social media, or a Google search, the first place they’re going is your website. So, it needs to look slick, relay the right information, and encourage them to reach out to you.
Your website should include necessary information about your firm’s services, team biographies, your pricing, whom you serve specifically (not just “guys with jobs”), and of course your contact information – it should also offer something for free, be it an eBook, a webinar replay, or even a free risk assessment with a tool like Riskalyze.
The best advisor websites are clean, simple, and easy to find information. The key points you should make sure are on your website are:
- Who you are (show a personal side);
- Who you specialize in helping;
- What your services are;
- What your process is; and
- What your prices are.
Without these, potential clients will not have enough information to feel comfortable coming to you for an initial meeting.
Social Media Marketing and Advertising
Social Media Marketing
Acquiring clients online may be achieved via social media marketing, but not through merely posting about your business. You’ve got to dig deeper. You have to offer real value. You must publish educational content, and not sales orientated. Make sure to have a nice blend of personal and business and to focus on outcomes, benefits, etc. Answer the questions people are already having in their minds with your content.
You can do these via blogs, infographics, or explainer videos. Just make your content engaging and valuable. You’re the pro, so showcase it.
At the same time, you need to develop personal relationships with people of influence online. These people can be accountants, attorneys, or HR directors. Anyone who would work with your ideal client but offers them a different service to yours. Find these people online and ask for their help but also showcase them and their services. You need to give to receive.
This is just the first step in your social media marketing, but it is a great way to start building meaningful connections and relationships that will lead to you getting clients online.
Social Media Advertising
By updating your practice to that of a 21st-century advisor, you’ll be saving so much money. You can most certainly pocket what you save, but make sure to use even 10% of the funds towards social media advertising.
Once you’ve got a website and some engaging, valuable content, it’s time to advertise it.
Facebook and Instagram offer incredibly robust paid advertising features. You can literally have one post (cross-platform) that gets shown to users on both.
The targeting available through Facebook & Instagram’s advertising tools are precise, meaning you can target a specific age group in a certain income bracket that live within 20 miles of a zip code, and love reading novels.
Even better is once you have advertised to a specific target market, you can re-advertise to those who clicked the link and visited your site through something called a “Pixel.”
As a 21st century financial advisor, you should have a LinkedIn account – I mean, it’s been around for 18 years already. You would have used it as an online CV (that’s all I used it for, for years!), but now’s the time to start using it for getting clients online.
LinkedIn leads for financial advisors are easily achieved by connecting with old contacts, building up a reputation as an industry expert, and growing your professional network.
With LinkedIn, you can post original, useful content, interact with prospective clients, and even request referrals via mutual friends or other industry experts.
LinkedIn is arguably one of the most powerful places you can go to drive inbound clients. Like Rome, it takes time to build an empire. Don’t be cheesy and pushy, build meaningful relationships, share content of immense value, and help others. In fact, LinkedIn has recognized just how powerful of a “creator” platform they have and are rewarding those that create content of value for others….
Financial advisors can no longer sit behind their desks waiting for clients to come to them and will need to change the way in which they reach out to clients. Digital marketing for financial advisors is all about connecting with the right clients at the right time in order to make a lasting impression. This means that the 21st-century financial advisor must meet their clients at the places that they frequently visit in the digital space. Many businesses
successfully use financial digital marketing to find the right clients online and it has become part and parcel of good business practice to have a strong online presence.
In order to stand out as an online financial advisor, it is pivotal to have a strong digital presence where internet consultation and recommendations can provide the perfect endorsement of your abilities and services. You must be able to effectively market your service offering through strategic practices.
With a powerful financial digital marketing strategy in place, your financial advisory practice can elevate to new levels through SEO ranking, increased traffic to your website, enhanced social media engagement, and improved conversion rate of clients through your overall strategy for marketing of financial services. You must always keep in mind that your digital presence will only strengthen if you are methodical about building awareness, actively engaging with your digital audience, and acting decisively.
The Bottom Line
Transitioning into a digital platform can be an overwhelming experience for traditional financial advisors who have to now learn a completely different method to conduct business that lets them thrive in the 21st century. It is, however, an exciting and rewarding chapter that the financial services industry must embrace. With that being said, the immeasurable opportunities that exist in the digital space are ones that you must leverage to your advantage in order to take your business to the next level.
I believe that in every issue lies an opportunity, and the transition into the digital space is too good to be missed. My company, Conneqtor, empowers 21st-century financial advisors to grow their advisory practices by using our highly effective strategies. Make sure to visit my website here and download my free eBooks that will help you with your transition into the 21st century.
Sending positive vibes your way,