On February 22nd, 2022, Clout sponsored a webinar panel with an agency partner, Red Zone Marketing, on “Why Advisors Should Love Digital Marketing.” In this conversation, Clout GM Niharika Shah, Red Zone’s President Maribeth Kuzmeski, PhD, and one of Clout’s clients Suzanne Smith at EFS Advisors gave us back-to-back-to-back facts and insights that in combination created an “ah ha” moment for our audience when it comes to marketing inaction.
At Clout, we hear all the time that many advisors are often unsure where to start with digital marketing or that they don’t know if the impact of marketing will justify their level of effort. This can lead to “decision paralysis” where the uncertainty creates inaction. Many think: no harm, no foul. Unfortunately, doing nothing for your digital presence can be setting your firm back more than you would think.
The reality is that the ways prospects become clients is more complex and multifaceted than ever before. The journey from prospect to client is not linear and requires multiple touchpoints to nurture a person from awareness to acquisition.
Before potential clients meet with any advisor, they are putting them through the “Google test.” In fact, nearly 40% of potential clients start their search not with a referral but with a cold online search. People will search not only for you but also for financial advisors in general, and if your firm isn’t there, you will be quickly forgotten. As Niharika mentioned on the panel, “avoiding marketing is not a solution.” Moreover, it’s helpful to understand what other financial advisors and competitors are doing to help form your digital strategy.
Suzanne went on to quote two figures from a recent study that reinforce why having a strong online presence is a must-have and no longer a nice to have. First, 72% of prospects identified online information as extremely or very important to their decision-making, and second almost half of all prospects reported eliminating an advisor during an online vetting process. As Suzanne put it, “not only can a strong online presence help you, a weak one can actually hurt you.”
Moreover, according to Red Zone’s customer journey mapping and research, Maribeth shared that when prospects visit an advisor’s website, they are typically spending less than 90 seconds looking at the homepage and the about us page. As she put it, “when someone visits your website, they are actually looking for reasons to not do business with you.” Your information needs to be clear, concise, and easily digestible to keep prospects interested.
When you combine these insights, it is clear that an advisor can no longer only depend on an offline presence. Advisors need to have persuasive and informative digital presences that serve users at different stages in their consideration journeys. With the rise of digital as a first touch with prospects, in 90 seconds or less, a potentially great client can dismiss your business. You cannot risk a poor first impression, as it may be your only impression.
We recommend starting with your website and LinkedIn profile as foundational blocks. Modern web designs are more accessible than ever with platforms like Squarespace and Wix which offer cheap solutions with thousands of professional templates to choose from. Other options include utilizing an agency partner like Red Zone Marketing or finding a qualified freelancer on platforms like UpWorks or Fiverr.
Next, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and discoverable. Your profile should be scannable and include enough information to convince a potential client that they need to learn more. You can pin information like webinars, podcasts, and articles to your profile to bolster your authority. Moreover, social media is a great tactic to drive people to your website where they can learn more.
In addition to your profile hygiene, at Clout, we help our clients maintain a consistent and credible digital presence by deploying digital campaigns across multiple channels. This approach ensures that you are interacting with your target audience on the platforms that they use. Over time, you will learn which channels work best for prospects and clients, and you can adjust your approach as needed.
You need to hone your digital presence to help sell yourself and pass the 90-second-credibility test. Ready to start? Google yourself and your firm and make sure you are someone a client would trust with their finances. And if you need help taking your digital and social media presence to the next level, reach out to the team at Clout.