There’s no question that the financial services industry has changed over the last few years and will continue to change in the years to come. We are in the age of robo-advisors, financial social media, digital optimization, fin-tech, and increased regulation. This is all set against the backdrop of market volatility, shifting demographics, and a larger sense of uncertainty among consumers. So how are you supposed to effectively market to new clients when it seems like everything is changing in all directions?
The answer will not come from one whiz-bang marketing platform or activity, but rather a collection of techniques. Technology will certainly be a factor, but so will the core things that make a financial advisor especially helpful to a consumer. In the last few years we’ve seen content and social media marketing mature, with consumers seeking out brands that can impart a human feel through their digital platforms. With that said, here are four marketing mediums that will be relevant in 2016.
Over the years, we’ve seen the rise of video, from both a social angle and from a marketing angle, and in the realm where social and marketing intersect. In 2016, we expect video to continue its rise as a powerful marketing medium. According to ICE Portal, rich media such as videos or interactive visual tools, “increase conversion rates by 64%.” In late 2014, eMarketer found the average engagement rate for rich media ads, including video, was 16.85%, vastly out-performing banners (2.14%) and mobile (1.62%). Obviously actual effectiveness may vary across industries, but the takeaway for advisors is that video is a tool that should not be ignored. Video can be implemented in almost all digital marketing activities and can also be relatively inexpensive, whether it is produced in-house or through a vendor.
- Make your videos short, with the best production quality possible.
- Use video on your homepage.
- Use video in your email marketing activities (not only can video increase open rates, it can help reduce email opt-outs)
- Be personable and educate.
Video Conferencing/Personalized Video
Although the use of robo-advisors has increased, the reality is that nothing is going to replace the value a human expert can provide. Certainly there have been many articles written about robo-advisors and the potential threat they pose to agents and advisors, as well as to the consumer. Be aware, but don’t be scared. Instead embrace technology but retain the interpersonal essence that makes one-on-one advising so valuable to consumers. This is where we think video conferencing, as both a marketing tool and a service addition, can enhance your value proposition while still engaging with an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base.
- Many video conferencing tools allow you to share (and even sign) documents. This can be great as you onboard a new, busy client.
- Use video conferencing to engage with your client, especially follow-ups, or even record a personalized video message.
Even as society becomes so dependent on the digital realm, direct mail has shown, time and time again, to still be an effective marketing medium. Why? For one, direct mail has a tactile aspect to it—your message is something that is tangible and can be held. Plus, many companies are almost entirely focused on the digital aspect of marketing; a direct mailer is going to stand out more among them. A recent Direct Marketing Association study found that direct mail is far more effective than digital channels with house file response rates. So, while you absolutely want to have a great digital presence, don’t forget the power of direct mail in 2016.
- Direct mail costs can range from relatively inexpensive to costly, depending on the campaign. If budget is a concern you should be judicious with the direct mail option.
- Use digital targeting tools to dial-in your direct mail list.
- Complement key digital marketing campaigns/offers with a direct mail component.
The importance of mobile-friendliness has been stressed time and again when it comes to your digital collateral, but it’s worth bringing up once more. In response to the growing usage of mobile platforms, Google made changes to its search algorithms earlier this year to prioritize mobile-friendly websites. With 60% of adults now using tablets or smartphones, over desktops, to get information about services or products, having a mobile-friendly version of your website will be crucial to staying in front of consumers over the next year. It’s not enough to be optimized on desktop anymore.
Your email content should likewise be optimized for mobile platforms, as mobile email opens have increased by 180% over the past three years.
- Test the mobile-friendliness of your website with this Google tool.
- Create email campaigns with both desktop and mobile in mind.
As we suggested in the introduction, focusing on just one of these will likely not give you the return on investment you would like to see. All four platforms discussed above can be integrated with each other and just about any other marketing/lead generation activities you perform.