Digital Marketing Best Practices for Financial Advisors

Key Point Summary

  • Our day-to-day lives are now unimaginable without the internet. It is the connection point for billions of people globally. Financial advisors should learn to embrace digital marketing strategies to stay relevant.
  • Your digital marketing efforts need to align with what you’re trying to accomplish as a financial advisor. There are many strategic pathways you may wander down upon your marketing journey, with some leading to nothing but dead ends. Whether it be content marketing, search engine marketing, SEO, social media marketing, or retargeting – the effectiveness of these chosen pathways depends on your desired outcome.
  • Throwing money at social media ads isn’t a strategy… far from it! Your digital presence will only grow and provide you with ideal clients if you follow a process to build awareness, find ways to get your audience to consider you through engagement and prompt them to decide to become your client.
  • Without a strategy and a proper process, digital marketing can be much like the Wild West – an aspect of your business that you will not likely see the return on investment you seek.

Digital marketing, online presence, internet advertising – whatever you call it, marketing yourself and your business online is a big deal in the present age. After all, internet usage had more than doubled over the past decade even before the pandemic-fuelled digitalization of the world went into hyperdrive.

Our day-to-day lives are now unimaginable without the internet. It is the connection point between billions of people globally and a core pillar of the modern information society. This shift to the virtual space has massively affected how people procure services and interact with businesses. Financial advisors should turn to digital marketing strategies to beef up their existing marketing efforts, not as a “nice to have”, but as a “must-have” that is core to their business.

Have you adapted to digital yet? Whether you’re still stuck in the dark ages, or simply need the inside scoop on the online marketing of financial services, you’ve come to the right place.

What Is Digital Marketing?

At its core Marketing is about connecting with your audience in the right space and at the right time to make an impression on them. Today, that means needing to meet them on their own turf, where they spend the majority of their time – the internet. So, digital marketing is any form of marketing that exists online and facilitates the same exchange of information between a business and their audience.

The Process Of Defining One’s Ideal Client

If you don’t have a very tailored picture of your ideal client yet, it’s something you’ll need to figure out. Not knowing WHO to market your services to renders the rest of your strategy useless. You are essentially a ship without a rudder, lost in a digital swamp, that could be taxing not only on your time but on your wallet too. Don’t spend a dollar (Rand, Pound, Euro, etc) on digital marketing if you haven’t identified your ideal client yet.

So how does one define one’s ideal client? Start with you. Who are you? What are your hopes, dreams, goals, passions, hobbies, interests, philosophies, etc? Your ideal client will be a reflection of you. Combine this with evaluating which clients are currently your favorite and why. Explore whether you have a group of unified clients by a common characteristic; for instance, they work for the same company, within the same industry, or possess a particular investment need. These groups who share values, goals, traits, or behaviors and the clients who you genuinely enjoy serving would be your potential Ideal Client Types.

Next, you will need to identify the known and possibly unknown needs of your ideal client type. They will have specific concerns and requirements that are known and can be articulated. What are they? There could also be unknown needs that are harder to communicate but are no less real. Match a solution to their needs.

The main reason a prospective client will choose to work with you is that they trust you. This trust is based upon shared values and a common understanding of each other. Once this is established than their belief in your services and the value of your solutions will become very important.

First, you must attract people to your tribe and build trust with them, then the solutions you can provide for their needs and concerns – known and unknown – of your ideal client types will become very important. This can all be done via digital marketing.

Most ideal client types will have pre-established relationships with other trusted advisors such as attorneys and accountants. Identifying these other trusted advisors and centers of influence associated with your prospective clients can not only connect you with other valued professionals but enable you to form a wealth management network that can best serve your ideal client type.

Given the unique characteristics of your ideal client types and their particular needs, they will respond to specific marketing messages and campaigns, ones that show you KNOW THEM and SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE. You will need to create marketing messages and campaigns for each ideal client type and broadcast these to connect with your ideal clients.

Social Media and Email Marketing Best Practices

Social media marketing for financial advisors requires a healthy dose of strategy and creativity. With the power to grow your brand awareness exponentially, social media makes it easy to spread the word about your mission, morals, and journey as an advisor. Not utilizing the social mediums at your disposal represents a missed opportunity to increase traffic to your website and promote your services to potential ideal clients.

Email marketing is still well and truly alive despite rumours of its gradual loss of relevance each year. It’s estimated there will be 4.1 billion email users by the end of 2021 — yes, that’s billion with a “B.”

Audience Targeting

Defining the audience is the first step before embarking on any successful campaign planning. We also need to establish where in the sales funnel your target currently finds themselves. What is the goal – to acquire ideal clients, retain your current clients or win back former clients?

The message you send out will be most effective when adapted to different targeted audiences. Segmenting your audience makes a world of difference. It makes your message more pertinent and specific to those to whom you are marketing.

Using Accurate Data

A successful data-driven campaign is only as good as the accuracy and integrity of the data allows it to be. In a single year, between 20-30% of email addresses diminish in usage. Cleansing data of errors or adding other relevant information, such as a physical address, phone numbers, or social handles, can help make data more precisely targeted and, ultimately, more responsive.

Omnichannel Marketing

Get your message out to your target audience on a variety of platforms. Use social media pages and email campaigns that lead to content, such as landing pages or fill forms to download case studies or ebooks.

The modern marketplace has diversified, and it is now rare for a customer to adopt your services after interacting with you or your business through just one channel. On average, clients communicate with a brand through four touch points during the acquisition process. Lead generation for financial advisors has changed, and omnichannel marketing by design addresses these modern customer trends – giving them a consistent experience from start to finish.

(Relevant) Content is King!

No matter which channel you use to distribute your content, make sure it is relevant to the target audience, compelling, easy to read, credible, and accurate. Content creation such as email campaigns, website landing pages, blog posts, webinars, and eBooks can all help your social endeavors. Be original – of all the financial advisor marketing strategies this one is probably the most important. Original content makes you look good online and having higher credibility usually leads to more business and better clients.

Don’t outsource your content at all in the early stages, do it all yourself. Yes, this will take time and effort but you will get better at it and it will get easier and faster to produce. Doing it yourself will also help you refine your voice online. Remember, people, connect with other people. Let your genuine voice attract people and help them get to know you. Eventually you can start to outsource a lot of your digital marketing tasks, but content should always be driven by you with your final edit and approval for before it goes live.

A published eMarketer research report from June 2020 cited that the average adult in the U.S. was spending an additional 23 minutes per day on their smartphones, which they attributed to the pandemic. So, we know where your clients are; they’re online. It only makes sense (and dollars) to pursue consumers where they spend their time.

Measuring Performance Using Analytics

Data analysis allows you to see which platforms were successful in getting the targeted message across to consumers, which allows you to focus your efforts on proven strategies rather than a shot in the dark. Successful data-driven digital marketing campaigns can bring compelling creatives with precisely the right audience and result in the perfect trifecta: An increase in sales, as well as ROI; and increased brand awareness.

For example, I can track down to the penny what it costs me to get people to engage with my content and furthermore know exactly what it costs to get people to download an eBook of mine, etc. Once we know these things, we can scale our digital marketing efforts quickly, only being restricted by our budget and bandwidth in working with new clients. By the way, running a virtual or semi-virtual practice means you can drastically reduce your overhead from things that are not revenue producing and reallocate some of it into digital marketing to grow that much faster.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is now an integral sphere of digital marketing for financial advisors. The position of your financial advisory services on search engine result pages (SERPs) has the potential to be the difference between your company’s failure to grow or unlocking a steady stream of new clients.

Part of thriving online is an SEO strategy that is essential to helping you reach the first page of the SERPs, ideally ranking at the summit of this page. Keep in mind there are approximately 70,000 searches conducted on Google every single second. Yes, you heard me right, that’s every single second!

The first five links listed on the SERPs dominate the traffic receiving more than two-thirds of all clicks. Furthermore, 91% of those browsing the web do not click through to the second page of the search results. The goal as a financial advisor is to have your firm appear on the initial page, with an emphasis on the first five listings.

There are a lot of technical components to strong SEO and it’s a moving target so trying to do this yourself, other than some very basic tactics will be an exercise in futility. For example, I teach advisors how to set up a variety of SEO components with their websites and how to structure a blog post in my Virtual Advisor System, but the ongoing management of these really should be done by experts that do it full time. Hiring a digital marketing team, even for just a couple of hours a month can help ensure you are staying on top of your SEO game.

Content Marketing

I like to think of content as the rocket ship of good marketing, promotion being propulsion to that rocket. Without promotion, your content is going nowhere. Amazingly written articles and blog posts don’t count for a lot if your audience isn’t reading them. You need to be actively promoting your blog content using organic channels.

You can have the best cheeseburger in town but if no one knows about it does it really exist?

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of the best marketing channels to generate web traffic. It compliments SEO and content marketing and gets your brand to the very top of Google, and other major search engine players, if you play your SEM cards right.

SEM can be a conversion driver for marketing campaigns of all types. This is due to paid ads often linking to conversion-focused landing pages or sales pages that move web traffic through the sales funnel. Paid ads rather than organic results typically link to landing pages. As such, SEO can support brand awareness and top-of-funnel activity, while paid ads can focus on a specific goal and end-of-funnel conversions.

While SEM is considered a bottom-funnel marketing channel, it can also tremendously boost top-of-mind brand awareness. According to a Google case study, search ads can increase brand awareness by 80%.

Remarketing

Remarketing forms part of the final phase of the funnel, which is all about client acquisition. Once you have someone who has already decided they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you then retargeting becomes a very effective strategy to get them to hire you.

Familiarity and awareness are key ingredients to this strategy. If someone hasn’t already engaged with you, they’re probably not going to do business with you just because you have decided to broadcast a digital advertisement. In the context of social media channels, this could mean running paid ads to put your offering in front of those people who already follow you on LinkedIn or Facebook. This is how to get clients as a financial advisor in a digitally social world.

Client Journey Funnel

Life is a journey, and so is the marketing of financial services. Let’s look at the client’s journey – the path a potential client wanders from being a target audience to awareness, consideration, and making a decision. Much like any other venture, a sales funnel has a conclusion – a final conversion. This can’t take place until your target audience has been converted through each stage. What are the conversion goals in the three main stages of every prospect’s journey?

1). It all starts with awareness which is the first stage of the customer journey. During this stage, clients realize their problems and try to define their pain points. This is when they discover you and your services – while searching for solutions to their pain points. It then becomes vital to provide your targeted audience with more information about your firm and services in a calm and educational way.

Lay down the sales pitch approach, no pitch-slapping here! It’s dated and insincere. The less promotional your content is, the better – the person is not loyal to your brand yet, so it’s easy to scare off a potential client by being pushy. This stage should rely heavily on shareable, optimized, educational content that helps your potential customer not sells to them.

2). Consideration is the second stage of the buyer’s journey and the step at which your prospective client is a little more familiar with you and your services. They begin evaluating their problem, its urgency, how it can be solved, and whether it really needs to be solved now. Your goal here is to show them how their problem can be solved, how beneficial it will be for them and how you and your services can bring them financial peace of mind. Also, don’t be afraid to show them how superior you are to your competitors; if there’s ever a time to flex, it’s now! At the consideration stage, 60% of potential clients want to get in touch; make sure you have the answers to their questions and know how to soothe their pain points. Use the content in the form of free webinars, case studies, eBooks, sample financial plans, etc. to convert people from consideration to the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.

3). The final stage is where a decision is made – also known as the conversion stage of the buyer’s journey. Here your potential customer makes a research-based decision on you and your services. The goal is to help them make a favorable decision and finally become your client. That’s when the conversion takes place. By this stage, a target individual has become loyal to you, and you should use this to educate less and promote more – this is your time to shine. As financial advisors, the content you should be using to encourage conversions is expert advice along with cost estimates of your services.

client journey funnel-

The Client Acquisition Process

The lifeblood of all traditional and virtual financial advisors is growth in the number and net worth of ideal clients they serve. Often advisors have blinders on, being so focused on these goals that they pay little attention to the actual process, time, and costs involved in acquiring new clients.

They know they need more clients but with blinders on, they tend to go the quick route of prospecting like a pirate with a cold spray-and-pray approach. Not only is this not scalable, but it is also life-sucking.

Two concepts that advisors should pay close attention to are: client acquisition cost and client acquisition time. The first measures an advisor’s acquisition costs associated with converting or winning a new client over, while the second measures the time frame of a lead to become a new client. Both are essential to keep an eye on when building and running an efficient advisory practice.

The key to these metrics is proper tracking, and the key to proper tracking is a great customer relationship management system. The primary function of a great CRM system is to obtain accurate data. See how this is coming full circle, as we incorporate the same principles here as we did in our social media and email marketing best practices? Successful advisors should leverage the power of their CRM system, creating useful pipeline reports and analyzing the information they provide to understand and track cost and time metrics. By doing so, you are adding some science to the art of client acquisition!

CRMs can and do take many forms so whichever you use you will want to be able to track things like how often potential clients are opening and reading your emails, downloading eBooks, interacting with your content, what channels they are coming in from, and so on. A good CRM will let you track all of this as well as help you automate your marketing, especially when it comes to email campaigns.

The Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors Kitchen Sink

Yes, I just threw the kitchen sink at you! There are a ton of nuggets in here that you can use today, without the help of anyone else.

Take this overview of the tools available to you to build a marketing arsenal of your own. Find what works for both you and the clients you wish to attract. After all, your ideal client’s preference and needs will differ from those of other advisors and, as such, should be approached uniquely. Once you find practices suitable for your target audience, follow the process of acquiring them as a client by unleashing your inner digital guru to conquer the ever-changing advisory space.

Test, learn, test more, learn, keep going.

If all this seems overwhelming to you, well it is! There is a lot here. Digital Marketing is an art & science. You can learn the basics quickly and even do some of it yourself indefinitely but at some point, you must decide, are you an advisor or a digital marketing expert? If you are an advisor then look to hire an expert that can do all of the heavy liftings as you continue to guide and direct them.

Where do you go from here? Well, it depends on what you have done thus far. Advisors are at all different stages with their digital marketing.

If you are just starting out then do the basics; get your ideal client crystalized, set up your website and social media accounts, start producing basic free content to get comfortable and see what is resonating with your viewers.

If you are more advanced then consider hiring a team to help you. Consider advanced paid strategies to drive potential clients to your digital assets like eBooks and webinars.

Most important of all, just get started. Don’t over-analyze.

“70% and out the door” is a quote I love and can be applied to a lot of things including your digital marketing efforts.

Not sure where to start?  Send me a note and ask.

Thanks a ton for reading!

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

How Thriving Financial Advisors Acquire & Work with Ideal Clients – Webinar Replay

How Thriving Financial Advisors Acquire & Work with Ideal Client – Webinar Replay

It’s 2021 and the truth is that the only way forward as advisors is together. We are all on the same team and its important to recognize that learn from one another to succeed and thrive.

This is the ethos upon which Conneqtor was built and the Virtual Advisor System is designed. It is through sharing his experiences and knowledge that our founder, Derek Notman has discovered his true calling in this post-pandemic world.

Conneqtor x PreciseFP Webinar

Derek recently had the privilege of joining Courtney Peek, Head of Support at PreciseFP to share how thriving financial advisors are acquiring and working with ideal clients on a semi or full virtual model.

The discussion is centered around tactics and strategies that stem from Derek’s personal advisor journey. The webinar has key takeaways that are designed to support the advisor community through tangible and actionable ideas – watch it below:

A $2 Million Idea that thriving advisors are using

If you found the webinar interesting and want to learn more about what you can do right now, today, then we recommend you download our latest eBook. It details how Derek made over $2 million, virtually while realizing an amazing life-work balance.

Download it here.

Going Virtual – The Value Of Being A Location Independent Financial Advisor

Helping clients with their financial planning from a sandy beach in South Africa may sound too good to be true, but it’s not, and I’ve done it. The anywhere advisor concept was almost unfathomable a decade ago, but with the rapid adoption of technology in a Covid-accelerated digital wilderness, it’s now the most practical solution.      

Financial advisors traditionally had to sit down with their clients, face-to-face, and walk them through solutions to their financial planning challenges with paper presentations. How to get clients as a financial advisor was about cold calling, door knocking, seminar selling, and so on to drive more in-person meetings. However, times have changed, and virtual advisors are on the rise. Let’s analyze some of the benefits of practicing as a location independent financial advisor.  

Leverage Technology 

Videoconferencing helped me improve my life-work balance by reducing the need for business travel. It also allowed me to take on ideal clients who weren’t initially in my geographic scope, essentially without limit. It’s certainly the most effective way of delivering personalized advice in the digital age and having more time for your social life and family is one heck of an incentive, all while making more money and drastically reducing your overhead in the process.

Technology systems and web-based tools are virtually everywhere, which is a double-edge sword for advisors since so many solutions exist yet we don’t know how to put them all together to get the most out of them.  This is one of the reasons I created Conneqtor, to give advisors the master blueprint they need to help serve clients regardless of where you or your client happens to be

The anywhere advisor can serve different types of clientele, thanks to the cost savings and efficiency of using technology as opposed to a traditional office. Location independence presents the potential to craft an especially focused business serving niche clients that becomes feasible in the world of content and inbound marketing.

Freedom And Well-Being

Imagine never having to delay your life plans, while you wait for the ‘right moment’? Break free from the shackles of a physical location occupation. Stop being bound when you were made to explore. As a virtual financial advisor, you have the opportunity not only to create a life around the business of financial advice but to create an advisory business around living your life to the fullest.  

The ability to balance work and life has become the key to feeling happier and being more productive within your work. Saving time that would otherwise be spent on a long commute allows for better work-life balance and adds hours back into your days. Working remotely can improve your health and wellness by reducing stress. Here are some really insightful and practical ways in which you can manage stress at work by Zoe Talent Solutions.

What about financial freedom? The benefit of operating virtually and having a robust digital presence is that it’s possible to launch a new advisory firm at a fraction of the cost. A brick & mortar location is a massive expense, and with that eliminated, you can focus on building a fierce virtual practice and target your ideal clients. This newly found freedom also makes it more feasible to serve clients with different business models.

How you choose to spend your time saved as a virtual advisor are entirely up to you. Make sure to get that father of the year mug in 2021, go on that trip you’ve always dreamt of, or put the extra hours into other projects or passions. Either way, ka-ching! It all holds value. 

Replace Prospecting With Marketing 

Cold calling now seems like something from a prehistoric nightmare, but it was once a cornerstone of our profession. The world has since gone digital with everyone now online. This is where you must exist to stay relevant. 

Digital marketing is the most powerful asset at the disposal of a virtual financial advisor. Tech platforms offer many new opportunities to improve your overall marketing strategy, such as the ability to reach new audiences, generate leads, and close sales. Digital marketing is no overnight phenomena and can take months to start bearing the fruits of your efforts, but once you have an engaged audience, the value add is quickly evident. 

Connect through content – start focusing on creating content rather than AUM. Assets under management have almost zero value to a potential client. It’s an ego stroke that in a service-based business like ours should be left at the door. Clients are searching for how you can help them, and with 3.5 billion Google searches made every day, you need to be featured among them! 

Embrace technology, grow your digital presence, tap into new markets and become a specialist advisor who operates from anywhere. Write your own story – set your own hours – choose your own destiny. Become the anywhere advisor to acquire more clients, reduce your expenses, and have an amazing life-work balance.  How can anyone argue with this?

 

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

The Perks of Permanency and Flexibility on the Remote Advisory Model

remote work model man working in nature

As I write this, almost 60% of the workforce in the United States of America has the option of remote work in their employment contracts. Workplace Analytics recently completed a survey and came up with the following forecast:

“Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” – Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics

The whole world has had to adapt, and from a financial advisor’s perspective, this is hugely positive. For us, it means that we will cut down on costs dramatically, and we’ll be able to serve our clients when and how we (and they) want to.

When I refer to permanency, I am talking about the fact that you’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world, at any time of day, and for anyone you wish to, even if lockdowns continue indefinitely. A beach house? A cabin in the woods? Do you want to work in two different cities a year so that no matter what, it’s always summer? All good so long as you have a decent internet connection and the right infrastructure! The only thing I can think of that would stop you from working is a major technological shutdown, and if that happens well then, we all might as well just pack it in.

So, let’s look at some of the perks of the Remote Advisory Model.

Hiring New Staff Has Never Been Simpler

Communication is so easy to manage, given the tech at our fingertips. You can now hire staff at a cheaper rate, per hour and without having to fork out for any of their infrastructures. The remote advisory model has no geographic boundaries, meaning you can hire people from anywhere in the world.

Being able to hire international employees also means your virtual financial planning practice can run 24/7. If you have people representing your business in multiple time zones, your profits will increase exponentially.

remote model virtual recruitment

Remote work models increase productivity

Another reference from that Workplace Analytics article suggests that remote workers produce 43% more output than their 9-5 counterparts. So not only can your business grow significantly, but you’ll also have a much more productive team working for you. Oh, did I mention that your employees will be a lot happier too? By embracing the remote advisory model, you’re promoting a healthy work/life balance.

The same goes for you too!

A Healthy Work/Life Balance

You can now maintain a greater balance between your personal life and your responsibilities as a business owner.

Rather than having to work all day and visit clients in the evening after hours at their homes, you are freeing up your time to focus on other things that interest you. Have you always wanted to renovate a boat? Do you want to pursue a passion project or even spend time with your kids in the afternoons? Well, now you can – it’s all about time management.

working remotely has this dad enjoying time with his child in the autumn leaves

Being genuinely flexible allows you to live a fuller, more rewarding life.

Furthermore, a flexible schedule lowers stress and strengthens your output.

Retaining Employees Is No Longer an Issue

With the remote work model, you don’t have to have a single permanent employee if you don’t want to. You can quite literally run a business with a freelance workforce. Think about how expensive your hiring process is. With all of the online platforms for hiring freelancers now available, you cut those costs entirely. You pay per hour, per task, or project – no strings attached.

In fact, hiring freelancers is highly cost-effective as you only pay for their services. Are you looking for an expert in something out of your experience? No problem – you can find any professional online.

There’s another added benefit here – a truly diverse team.

More Creativity

When you bring a group of people together who have unique perspectives and backgrounds, it results in a more innovative workforce. If you have an idea, you can brainstorm with your team members, and receive much fascinating insight from them.

Think about how different the perspective of a junior financial advisor from California is to that of a digital marketer from Amsterdam, for instance? A diversified team can only be a positive step forward for your practice.

Technology to Better Serve Your Ideal Client

From building an easy-to-navigate website to promoting your services online, anything is possible in the digital age. You can even embed code into your website that syncs with your calendar to allow clients to book their own appointments. Your online presence becomes your new overhead cost (investment), and it’s a whole lot cheaper than office space and continuous travel expenses.

You’ll need to invest in software and perhaps a team of expert individuals to take your digital footprint to the next level. Fear not; it will most definitely result in more lead conversions.

A Fraction of The Cost

You won’t have to pay for electricity, water, office supplies, or furniture with the remote advisory model. You won’t have to pay for employee benefits or travel either.

It’s a no-brainer!  Haven’t read our Virtual Proclamation eBook yet?  Get it here for free and find out how you can start migrating to a fully remote financial practice today.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors: Compliance Guidelines

digital marketing compliance fir financial advisor

When creating a digital marketing strategy, compliance is often a complicated issue for financial advisors, usually turning out to be a bigger headache than it should.

I recently created a poll in a LinkedIn group, asking my peers what the biggest challenge preventing them from creating content on social media is, and 52% of them answered compliance.

Sure, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors is tricky, but you will never look back once you set up a proper process. After all, this is where most of your leads will come from, so you must come to terms with it.

Because social media posts are a form of advertising, your social accounts as a financial advisor are subject to specific regulations.

It all starts with understanding the law, on top of your company’s policies and procedures.

How you are registered as an advisor (RIA, IAR, Agent, RR, etc.) will partially determine what regulations you fall under but I believe it is safe to say that for an issue-free online presence, FINRA’s rules on communicating with the public as a financial advisor are crucial to follow. I think it equally important to abide by the requirements monitored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These rules are in place to protect your audience from false, misleading claims, fabricated statements, and material breaches.

finra headquarters

As a financial advisor myself, I live in one of the industry’s most conservative compliance environments, so if I can do it, any advisor should be able to.

Here are some guidelines to follow when it comes to Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors.

Set up Your Social Accounts and Website to Be Compliant from The Beginning

As long as you are aware and understand the basic rules and set up your profiles to be compliant from the very beginning, keeping up with approved content will become second nature for you.

Most often personal & business profiles are subject to adhere to compliance standards for financial advisors. This includes any social account or profiles directly connected to and managed by you or your business. This will likely include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Your broker-dealer or another registered principal is responsible for having policies in place to archive, review, and pre-approve (when necessary) any content published on these accounts.

Get Your Content Pre-Approved from Compliance

The content you’ll need to get approved for publishing is any long-form content, such as blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, or newsletters. Long-form content or static content is usually published on your website and then shared to your social accounts – it lives on your site for an extended period. blog approval for compliance

If you have a digital marketing strategy and plan, you will need to get this type of content pre-approved by a registered principal. Whether this is through a broker-dealer or an independent RIA, it is imperative to get your content pre-approved before posting to avoid breaking any compliance rules.  Although a bit of a hassle this part is very important.  Your compliance back-office if there to protect you too so it’s imperative you work with them instead of against them.

Additionally, you’ll also be doing some community management, and hopefully, be answering a lot of inquiries through direct messaging. Anything interactive, such as tweets, videos, or posts to your wall, will happen in real-time and obviously cannot always be pre-approved for compliance. Although they can’t be pre-approved, they should most certainly be monitored & archived by someone who fully understands the rules and regulations.

Your best bet is to have a policy in place and train anyone who will be posting content on your business’s behalf, such as an assistant or a social media manager.

A lot of firms use technology made available from outside vendors that allows all of your content to be archived and monitored in real time, much better to do this than try and do it manually.

Put A Policy in Place

By having a policy that aligns with FINRA’s rules and ensuring that your employees understand and know how to follow it, you will always be in the clear.

When engaging with clients, prospective clients, or anyone you interact with online, it’s essential to keep up to date with any changes to compliance so that your business can stay away from any issues.

Make sure you understand which posts should be pre-approved, which posts need to be reviewed, and ensure that your employees understand the importance of adhering to your policy. You can view all compliance rules here.

If you are affiliated with a B/D or RIA they have teams that do just this and then educate the field on how to best interact online.  If you are independent this is on you and your firm to manage or find a firm to outsource it to.

Although being part of a B/D or RIA compliance environment can be frustrating it also is a major opportunity for you.  If you do things correctly and are respectful of your compliance department you can stand a chance to influence their policies to better reflect the world we live in.

You Need to Archive Everything

Regarding digital marketing for financial advisors, it’s an absolute must to keep track of and archive any content you publish online. Regulations demand that you archive all of your content and activity for at least three years. Why? For your protection.

If anyone has an issue or dispute with something you have published or shared further down the line, you will be able to dig it up and prove your actions.

Keeping tabs on what you’ve posted requires proper archiving tools. Each type of contact or update needs to be archived, no matter what account you’re using. This includes sent and received messages, which should be reviewed and monitored as they occur. The monitoring of these messages guarantees compliance for financial advisors, so action can be taken if necessary.

For your website this also can be automated and made simple with strong workflows.  I use Advisor Websites for my two sites and their dashboard is directly connected to my compliance back-office so they can review, archive, and approve all my website content.

Never Recommend A Particular Investment or Product

Again, this is for your own protection. By refraining from making any investment recommendations, you will not be held accountable for any of your audience’s choices. Your goal with social media, digital marketing, and your website should be to create an educational environment where people can come get to know you and learn about things in general terms.

You shouldn’t be recommend a product, investment, strategy, etc. since you have no idea who is seeing your message and what their situation is.

Instead you should be letting people get to know you, professionally and personally, sharing general principals and ideas, and so on.  Your digital marketing efforts should lead people down a path to eventually them wanting to contact you.  If done correctly people will know what you do and who you do it for.  So build your tribe and let people contact you when they are ready.

Be Mindful of Third-Party Websites and Links

Using third-party sites to deepen your content has enormous benefits. The most significant benefit is through backlinks, which can improve your organic ranking on search engines and generate referral traffic.

Just take the same approach as with any of your other activities online, be wary of whether the content or website you are linking to is compliant with the rules and regulations set out by FINRA and SEC.  This will be a tough one to manage but what you can do is make sure in your disclaimers that people understand you are not responsible for the information you linked to and are providing it as a value add since you believe it helps further your point and message.

In short, don’t link to any sites that may contain false or misleading information. As you begin to post compliant content, it will take no time at all for you to identify what kind of content is acceptable.

You do not want your firm to look as if it is endorsing any cunning content.

Lastly, my advice is to add a disclaimer on your social media profiles stating that none of the information you provide should be construed as investment advice – this will act as an additional barrier of security against any disputes.  In fact, this is required by virtually all firms and is simply a best practice you should be using.

So, there you have it, digital marketing compliance for financial advisors in a nutshell.  Yes, there is a lot to it, but it is clear you can be successful with your efforts if you stick to being honest, ethical, and following the letter of the law.  Feel free to check out my advisor websites for Intrepid Wealth Partners and Tribe of Luxury for ideas and inspiration.

If you have any further questions in connection with digital marketing for financial advisors, please feel free to contact me – I am always happy to help!

I hope you find this article useful.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Virtual Practice Management for Financial Advisors

virtual practice management from anywhere

Now that you are embracing the virtual financial advisor model, you are going to need to equip yourself with a few imperative tools and adopt some powerful approaches for successful virtual practice management.

Practice Management vs Virtual Practice Management

When I refer to virtual practice management, I’m talking about operating as a virtual financial advisor in a fully functional way from the comfort of your own home, co-working space, etc. As we have come to rapidly learn, being productive remotely is entirely possible, and doing so as an advisor is no different.

Sustaining success virtually will take some adapting sure, but with the right systems in place, you will be up and running in no time. Let us take a look at how.

Build A Virtual Team

The world is evolving quickly, and the financial planning industry is actually one of the last to switch on and adapt. Virtual teams have been a possibility for years now with almost every kind of individual with any type of expertise readily available on a freelance or service, fully remote basis.

Before COVID-19, most virtual financial advisors still ran a brick and mortar office, but the pandemic has probably forced you to work remotely, and as such, prompted you to relook at your business from an operational point of view.

You may be a little overwhelmed right now, but trust me, this sudden change is actually an excellent and much-needed shift.

Now you can build an entirely virtual team that will result in a more financially viable way of running your practice. You can collaborate with more people, working with specialized individuals when and where you need them right across the globe. That’s the beauty with a virtual team – nothing’s permanent, and they charge by the hour or job.

build a virtual team

You’ll also save on not having to fork out for your virtual employee’s workspace; it’s their responsibility to purchase a computer, desk, chair, internet connection, and whatever other office supplies are necessary – you just pay for their services and expertise. You will reap the benefits of these savings immediately, not to mention that you won’t have to pay for a physical practice. So, no rent, no permanent salaries – that’s good going!

Further to significant savings, hiring virtual employees also means the output of your business can grow exponentially! Suppose you are based in Boston and hire a virtual employee in Cape Town, South Africa. In that case, you’ll have someone working around the clock and after regular business hours, even when you’re asleep – a massive increase in productivity!

The best part? There’s a massive demand for virtual advisory services – we’re all having to embrace technology now.

Adopt A Virtual Sales Process

Having the right digital infrastructure in place is imperative so that you can communicate with your virtual staff and with clients, all while protecting your and their data.

With the brick and mortar model, you would use a physical location for sales meetings or, even worse, go to a client’s home at night! But now you can conduct virtual in-home appointments. Assuming you have a website, you can set up a scheduling tool on your site, enabling customers to set up virtual meetings online that sync with your calendar.

You can conduct meetings as you usually would, only now it will be through an app like Zoom, FreeConferenceCall, or Skype. As I have mentioned before, younger generations such as Gen Z and Millennials much prefer it, and it will save you time and any awkwardness that comes with visiting clients at their homes after hours.

Prospect Through Digital Marketing

Ok, so selling is one thing, but what about prospecting? Well, in short, your prospecting becomes digital marketing. Your entire audience lives online, and now that you are adopting the virtual financial planning model, this is where you are going to find them.

First impressions are more important than ever, so you have to plan your content and design your messaging. Research is critical initially, but once you have established a brand voice, have a prominent presence, and are seeing high engagement, you’ll be so busy that you will just have to hire more virtual staff.

Speaking of hiring more virtual staff, doing so will prove hugely beneficial if you outsource your business’s digital marketing side. It’s not as simple as it seems. You can’t just post an update every once in a while and expect to see results – you’ll need an individual or team that has a deep understanding of digital strategy in order for it to truly work.

generating prospects by ranking higher

Stay Up to Date with Technology

Once you stop fearing technology and embrace it, you will come to realize very quickly how useful it is. You can streamline all your mundane tasks, work with people from anywhere on earth, and, what’s more, integrate all of your tools together seamlessly.

Your email and calendar can be synced to your collaboration tool for everyone on your team, making life so much easier. If you take Google Suite, for example, it’s quite literally a one-stop-shop for business administration.

Becoming a virtual financial advisor does take a bit of time, though, as well as a little help. This is one of the reasons I created The Virtual Advisor System, Conneqtor. It’s a cutting edge, lead generation, digital marketing, and virtual financial planning practice training system that will accelerate your adaptation to dominate in the digital world we now live in. Again, technology! I was able to take my understanding and experience of adopting a digital financial planning model and create a system that will show you exactly how to do the same, step by step.

Download my free eBook to find out more about becoming a successful virtual financial advisor, starting today.

I hope you enjoyed the article!

Regards,

Derek Notman

Virtual Practice Management for Financial Advisors – The Advisor Lab

virtual practice management for financial advisors podcast

Practice management for financial advisors is and always will be the process of equipping financial advisors with the tools and processes required to not only run an advisory business, but more importantly achieve optimal results now and in the future.

Enter COVID-19, where brick and mortar advisors are left dead in their tracks without an effective way to build or run their practice.

Why? Because financial advisors are still stuck in, as well as being taught the outdated traditional methods of 1985 (with a minor software update here and there).

virtual practice management for advisors here to stay advisor lab

Is Virtual Practice Management for Financial Advisors here to stay?

Derek recently featured on the Advisor Lab podcast by the Seven Group and explored the future of practice management for financial advisors. The podcast explores how Derek runs his practice, how he manages it completely remotely, as well as how he uses digital marketing to connect and engage prospects.

Listen to the podcast below

Long Term vs Short Term Financial Practice Management

The truth is that the days of cold calling, being a prospecting pirate, and focussing on short term sales are gone. Now more than ever, short term prospecting produces an eat what you kill environment that is really stressful – it just isn’t sustainable anymore.

Advisors need to shift their attention from the sale to their audience. Building a brand over time and providing genuine value to clients at multiple online touch points will result in your brand working for you over time. When your brand works for you, you’ll see an influx of more clients. The secret to virtual practice management? Relationships, relationships, relationships!

With this in mind, Derek has created a Virtual Advisor System that operates as an inbound client acquisition model for building a robust digital footprint.

Practice Management for Financial Advisors Using a Robust Digital Footprint

The Virtual Advisor System has made practice management easy for advisors by making the pillars of inbound client acquisition accessible in the form of valuable course content and more. These practical pillars include:

  • Social Media Marketing & Management.
  • Hosting Live Virtual Seminars.
  • Website Build and Optimisation.
  • Email Marketing.
  • Paid Advertising.
  • Referral Partners.

If you want to learn more about how the Virtual Advisor System can work for you, then we recommend getting started with our free e-book.

Adopting a Digital Financial Model – The Exponential Era Webcast

the exponential era webcast digital financial model

‘Staying ahead of the curve’; a phrase that has become the new normal as financial advisors from across the world search for new ways to find more ideal clients in a pandemic stricken world.

Beyond the notion of ‘staying ahead of the curve’, what does this concept mean for advisors and how can financial advisors evolve from the traditional bricks-and-mortar setup to not only survive, but thrive in the new world?

The answer? Adopting a digital financial model for your financial practice!

Adopting a Digital Financial Model

Conneqtor founder, Derek Notman recently had the privilege of featuring on the Exponential Era webcast hosted by David Espindola and Michael Wright recently.

The webcast focussed on how adopting a digital financial model allows financial advisors to thrive in a post-COVID world. Since taking his practice virtual in 2013, Derek has been able to:

  • Establish an incredible life-work balance.
  • Generate more ideal clients from virtually anywhere in the world.
  • Increase revenue, while managing risk.

What makes this so possible in a post-COVID world? The consumer is now consuming more virtual content than ever, and feel more comfortable building relationships virtually.

Derek didn’t want to be a slave to his business and believes that every financial advisor should be able to enjoy this reality. Since there was no roadmap for the journey he embarked on in 2013, it took him a while to figure it out. Fast forward to today and Derek is enjoying the spoils of what Conneqtor has to offer and more.

Watch The Exponential Era Webcast by Intercepting Horizons below and dive deep into Derek’s journey as a virtual financial advisor and how COVID-19 affected his business:

 

5 Tips for Becoming A Virtual Financial Advisor During & After the Covid-19 Pandemic

5 Tips for Becoming A Virtual Financial Advisor

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses of all kinds to rethink how they work and interact with clients, including financial advisors.

We have had no choice but to turn to video for communication, and we are learning very quickly why this is the preferred method of interaction with younger generations.

With video, you can communicate with anyone from anywhere in the world, and as a virtual financial advisor, this is incredibly beneficial.

Building and maintaining relationships with your clients over video is just the first step, though, as there are other important factors to consider for a successful virtual financial practice.

As you transform your practice into a virtual or semi-virtual business, use these five tips to drive success.

1.  Invest Time into Your Practice’s Future

Business may be slow at first during the pandemic, and as you migrate online, but I see this as the perfect opportunity to use this time to determine how you can streamline your business for when you’re back in full action.

How about embracing business process automation? Thanks to technology, you can now have the administrative side of your business (the mundane tasks) fully automated! Here are some examples of the work you can automate:

  • Jobs you do every day or on a schedule
  • Functions that involve capturing and moving data between applications
  • Mundane tasks that do not require problem-solving
  • Tasks that distract you from what you love doing

As you migrate online, automating your processes will help you as you build a virtual staff.

financial advisor mailchimp rss feed automation

2.  Marketing For The Next Gen Financial Advisor

If you look at your competitors, you will have noticed that many of them have cut down on marketing during the pandemic.

My advice is to put even more emphasis on your marketing efforts.  People arguably need our advice and services more now than ever.  You’re offering them a solution for during this time, so make it known.

As you transform into a virtual financial advisor, your overhead can drastically be reduced, I have dropped mine by ~60%!  Consider using some of this to invest in your marketing – this is how you can gain a competitive edge in the months and years to come.

You also will free up a significant amount of time by embracing the virtual or semi-virtual model which can now be allocated in part to spending more time on creating content for free social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn which are a great way to increase your marketing reach while not costing you a penny!

facebook ads for financial advisors

3.  Use Conneqtor To Get You Started

Yes, I created Conneqtor to help advisors around the world.  But first built my virtual practice for me, to make more money while getting my life back and having an awesome life/work balance!

So yes, I admit that this is a little marketing plug from my side, but Conneqtor is a system I have created to help you migrate your financial planning practice online. More specifically, it’s a system that will help you generate leads 24/7.

It will teach you how to build a virtual or semi-virtual financial and insurance practice that will empower you to:

  • Make more money while expertly managing risk
  • Find and work ideal clients through predictable lead generation
  • Work from anywhere in the world while expanding your reach
  • Leverage your money and time to improve effectiveness while achieving an excellent work/life balance

I have successfully run an MDRT* Court of the Table financial practice, almost 100% virtually since 2013, so I have a deep understanding of what it takes.

the virtual advisor system for financial advisors

4.  Build Stronger Personal Relationships with Your Clients

So, you can no longer take your client out for dinner or a coffee, but you can use video to connect with them.

When people need to be selective about who they work with, they will commonly approach those who identify with them on a personal level. As a virtual financial advisor, you are dealing with arguably the most intimate aspect of a person’s life – their wealth and future.

Your catch-up calls don’t have to be all-business though. Introduce them to your loved ones and pets. Share your challenges and what you have been up to during the crisis – how you’ve been keeping sane. Talk to them about their problems and what they’ve been up to, and ultimately use this time to connect and develop stronger bonds with your customers.

Even little things like sending them a short video to wish them a happy birthday can make all the difference and show them you are thinking of them.

5.  Financial Advisors Should Create Valuable Content

In the meantime, as you transition to a virtual practice, take this time to create valuable content that will attract prospective clients.

Your audience lives online, even more so now, and the best way to get them interested is by giving them something of immense value for free. You are an expert in your field, so share some of your insight with your audience online. Be it through blogs, an eBook, explainer videos, or infographics, show your prospective clients why you are their best bet.  It could even be as simple as basic posts in places like LinkedIn and Facebook.  Be present and drive value!

I hope this helps and that you found my article insightful! If you would like to find out more about Conneqtor, get in touch with us.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors During Coronavirus

digital marketing for financial planners

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is a trying time for all industries, it has also brought billions of people together online. Being confined to our homes has forced us to engage with others through social media. As a result, businesses are scrambling to reshape their offerings for virtual needs.

This is definitely a major positive for financial advisors as it has pushed us to embrace the virtual model. For those of you who were holding on to the brick and mortar approach, you have no choice but to take your businesses online now and believe me when I tell you, the benefits are incredible.

I’ve covered why taking your financial planning practice online is a smart move and how it can save you thousands of dollars every month, so in this article, we’re going to take a look at digital marketing for financial advisors.

women visiting virtual advisor website

Why is digital marketing for financial advisors important?

Embrace an old marketing trick – go where people already are and then be present.  People are online so you better be there too.

A digital marketing strategy can make or break the success of your business in the digital age. Your audience lives online, especially the younger generation, so you must put time and energy into ensuring you have a powerful strategy.

Digital marketing for financial advisors increases SEO ranking, drives traffic to your website, enhances your social media presence and converts prospects into clients through inbound marketing.

Even before coronavirus, and especially once we overcome this pandemic, for financial advisors to stay in business and serve clients efficiently in the future, the way we interact with and attract new clients must shift. We need to embrace technology and use it to our advantage. Digital marketing allows us to reach leads and prospective clients where they already are online, giving us the tools to develop relationships, establish connections, and trust in a virtual space.

What type of content works?

Digital marketing for financial advisors starts with a website, a blog strategy, top of mind social media topics, and being engaged with those that engage with your content.

According to Lyfe Marketing, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are more likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family. So, instead of going out and seeing prospective clients, you will use social media to do that.  Talk about leverage, efficiency, and effectiveness!

The use of video is best to harness a younger audience as this is the most engaging type of media, especially for social media. Still, writing and publishing insightful blogs is imperative to rank in Google.

By conducting keyword research around your service offerings and writing articles relative to those keywords, you can start organically ranking on search engines. Let’s take this article that you’re reading, for example. The keyword is digital marketing for financial advisors.

This is a term that people, such as yourself, type into the search bar on Google or Yahoo, looking for valuable information. I have that information, and so I’ve written a blog about it. As a financial advisor, you could use your years of experience to write articles on tips for investing, the best ways to save, and so on.

The same goes for the videos you create and post to your social media channels. These can be explainer videos, but they must offer value and unique insight to the viewer.

remote digital marketing for financial advisors

Tools to help financial advisors with digital marketing

There are a bunch of articles, guides, and tools available online that will help you understand digital marketing. From Hubspot and Neil Patel to even taking short courses on Udemy, which are relatively inexpensive.

As a financial advisor myself, and after taking my business online years ago already, I went through a lot of trial and error. To get to where I am today, I had to be open to starting from the beginning. During the journey of becoming a virtual financial advisor, there weren’t many other people doing it at the time. My approach to financial advising remains the same; it is just the medium that has changed.

I’m now in a position where my business is flourishing, and I have designed a virtual advisor system to help others do the same.

My proven method will teach you how to start or transform your practice into a virtual powerhouse, enabling you to obtain and work with your ideal client from anywhere in the world. Whether you are just beginning as a financial professional or want to transition your brick and mortar business to operate virtually, this system is what you need. Watch our intro video to find out more.

Thanks for reading!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman