Many financial advisors are adjusting their marketing strategies to a targeted market that is increasingly online. The days of cold calls, drip mailings and most forms of traditional prospecting are coming to an end. Financial advisors seeking to expand their practices need a digital marketing strategy to raise their visibility, establish their authority, build influence and communicate effectively with their clients and target markets.

The Importance of a Digital Marketing Plan

According to a study by Spectrum Group, social media usage by affluent and high net worth investors is up significantly, with more than 50% using Facebook and other social media sites. The study also revealed that 54% of affluent investors say they would interact with financial advisors via social media, yet only 4% have been engaged by a financial advisor online. The web is quickly becoming the primary source of information and the key instrument for validating what people need to know. To many people, if something doesn't have an online presence, it might as well not exist at all. Advisors who know how to engage their target markets and build their online influence will have the competitive advantage.

An Example of a Successful Digital Marketing Plan

A successful digital marketing strategy includes certain key components for positioning a financial advisor in his target market, allowing him to convey a core message and cultivate contacts and relationships. An example of a successful advisor’s marketing strategy includes a website, a blog, email marketing and a social media presence on relevant networks, all integrated into a comprehensive strategy.

Build a High-Quality Website

Having a web presence is critical for validating one's existence to the market. At a minimum, a website is today's business card, without which there is no legitimacy. However, websites that appear out-of-date or static do not instill a high level of confidence in people who spend a lot of time on the web. A successful marketing strategy requires a well-designed website that is responsive to the user’s preferences – landscape or portrait viewing, image size, and legibility and navigability when viewed on a computer monitor, tablet or smartphone.

Create Fresh, Compelling Content

One of the primary reasons people go online is to search for content. Without high-quality, compelling content, there is no reason for the visitor to stay on a website or revisit the site. Content differentiates one advisor from the next, and it is critical to establishing the advisor as an authority on financial matters. Search engines respond to fresh content and relevance when they rank websites. More importantly, it is the content that spurs the visitor to learn more about the business.

Blog Frequently

The central component of a digital marketing strategy is a blog. Blog entries showcase the advisor's ideas, expertise and philosophy through fresh and compelling content. More importantly, blogs are social engagement mechanisms that make it easy for people to share the advisor's posts with others, which can drive traffic to the advisor's other social media components.

Social Media Engagement

Social media plays a critical role in delivering content and driving traffic to an advisor's website. When an advisor offers up a relevant article on a social media site, it can link an interested user back to the website to learn more about the advisor. Through a proactive social media campaign, an advisor can develop many contacts and convert them into legitimate leads. A financial advisor can take advantage of opportunities to create free profiles on popular social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Create a Call to Action

The ultimate goal of a digital marketing strategy is to move prospective clients into a database so they can be cultivated into an advisory relationship. At a certain point, social media contacts may be ready for more direct communication. The most effective way is to utilize the website to create an inbound marketing flow with opt-in opportunities. This can be done by offering a subscription to an email newsletter, a free e-book, an invitation to a webinar, a free portfolio review or an invitation to join the advisor's social networks. Once the prospective clients enter the database, the advisor can gather more information from them and begin to communicate in a more direct approach through email, private social messaging, phone or face-to-face meetings.

In this example of a successful marketing strategy, the financial advisor's monetary investment is limited to developing a high-quality website. The biggest investment is the time to get the elements in place and managing the process. Digital marketing can be time-intensive at first, but it produces a higher return in the future.

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