In 2013, the financial services industry took center stage on everything ranging from the Fiduciary Standard debate to SEC & FINRA crackdown on technology (archiving, social media, etc…) use by member firms. We also saw a significant improvement in the adoption of Social Media and online marketing endeavors by large firms such as LPL, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. While the ability of registered reps at these firms to leverage the full value of social media may still be limited, it is certainly a start. The adoption among independent advisors increased as well.
Given the statistics for technology and consumer trends last year, I think 2014 will be the year that advisors either continue to fully embrace online marketing strategies that are integrated into their traditional marketing mix or may find themselves on the outskirts of the industry. The buzz last year was “content marketing” which leads to the concept of “Publish or Perish” as I mentioned above. If you aren’t bringing information of value to your target audience (whether written by you or curating content from other credible sources), they will find someone else who will. Whether you are an advisor or employee at a firm reading this post, what are you planning for 2014 that will set you apart from your competition? Have you planned for mobile, digital, and social marketing to attract new prospects and retain your client base next year? If not, take a look at these stats that resonated with me from a recent slideshare presentation I viewed called “50 Powerful Statistics About Tech Mega Trends Affecting Every Business.”
- At least 50% of consumers will use 2 or more devices in their purchase process. ~ IBM
- 60% of mobile users expect a website to load in less than 3 seconds. ~ Gomez
- The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is 55-64 years old. ~ PEW Research
- LinkedIn is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook or Twitter. ~ TopDogSocialMedia
- 82% of Mobile Media Consumption is within apps and 18% from mobile browsers. ~ Nielsen
Given these eye-opening statistics, it is my recommendation that every advisor or firm conduct an audit of their online branding assets. Are they suitable to address the needs of your audience and are they positioned to captivate them and help you grow your business? To get started, here is list of questions you may want to ask yourself.
- Is my website compelling and does it provide value to my audience (or does it look more like an online brochure)?
- Is my website designed on a platform that is mobile friendly (easily accessible on iPhone, iPad, Tablets, and Android devices) and does it load quick enough to meet consumer expectations?
- What information does my audience expect from me and in what format must I deliver it to them? (i.e. blog articles, white papers, videos, etc…)
- Is my business adapting to the changing trends and communicating with clients in a manner that caters to their needs? (More than just e-mail newsletters and traditional mail)
- If you are already leveraging social media: Am I providing value and taking advantage of what each platform has to offer (assuming compliance approves) or am I just “checking the box” by having a static profile so that I can say I have a social media presence?
If you haven’t started to think about these things, it’s ok. It is never too late to start. Take some time to analyze your business. Determine what your client needs will be in 2014 and establish your strategy for how you will engage them, retain them, and acquire new clients in the process. I will venture to say that publishing content (whether your own work or curated from other sources) may play a substantial role in your success in 2014. For additional tips on building out your strategy, I highly recommend you view some of the work of the other “Thought Leaders” here at TheDigitalFA as they are industry leaders in the financial services industry! You won’t be disappointed.