In a survey of over 250 Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and asset managers, Freewheel Marketing found that the use of marketing technology helps investment managers of all sizes increase their assets under management (AUM). Whether they're independent or part of a growing RIA, financial advisors face growing competition for clients from robo-advisors, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and other passive investment strategies. The good news is that there are several marketing tools that can help financial advisors build and maintain an edge in the increasingly competitive market.

According to the report, the fastest growing RIAs scored 28% higher than the largest firms in the study, despite having 78% less median assets under management, which demonstrates that smaller, agile firms may be getting an edge thanks to tech. In this article, we will take a look at one of the most impactful technologies in the report – blogging – and how advisors can go about implementing it as a marketing tool to increase their AUM. (For more, see: The Top 3 Blogging Tips for Financial Advisors.)

Engage Potential Clients with a Blog

Blogging was one of the most influential factors in Freewheel Marketing's technology score, which reviewed the way RIAs used more than 35 marketing technologies. In addition to generating website traffic from search engines, blogs help build trust among potential clients and facilitate potential "up-selling" opportunities among existing clients through the use of resources like downloadable white papers. They are also relatively easy to setup and maintain.

Freewheel Marketing found that less than half of those classified as large firms in the report maintain a blog, compared to about three-quarters of the fastest growing RIAs in the study. This means that smaller advisors have a real opportunity to differentiate themselves from the competition and potentially increase assets under management. The key is effectively crafting blog posts for conversion.

"The successful use of a blog must reflect the nuances of the business model," says Graig Norden, founder and president of Freewheel Marketing. "Identifying buyer personas and tailoring content around the varying pain points [enables a blog to] realize its potential as a lead-gen tool."

Financial advisors may also want to explore marketing automation tools as a way to maximize the impact of their blogs, says Norden. Someone might subscribe to the blog or complete a form related to a topic like estate planning and then receive additional content focused on this topic, to personalize the dialogue the advisor is now having with that person. This can help enhance the relationship and increase conversions to clients. (For related reading, see: How Advisors Are Leveraging Social Media.)

Track Everything with Google Analytics

Financial advisors that develop and maintain a blog should also know how to measure its success. Google Analytics is a free analytics tool designed to help web publishers understand their traffic sources, track conversions and ensure that their content marketing goals are met. It's also a helpful tool for benchmarking traffic and comparing it to competitors.

As with blogging, Google Analytics use was highest among the fastest growing RIAs, with 90% adopting the tool, but was also highly used among even large firms at 68.9%. Adoption of enhanced website analytics were significantly less common at 12% of the fastest growing advisors and 7.5% of the largest advisors, but these tools could provide some improvements beyond just Google Analytics.

"Google Analytics is typically the first foray into digital marketing for most firms," says Norden. "Within a broader technology platform, Google Analytics is useful as a benchmarking tool, but there is little in Google Analytics that cannot be improved upon elsewhere with a more granular data set [to understand individuals in an advisor's ecosystem]."

Improvements to basic Google Analytics might be heat maps, keyword analysis, or other tools designed to help advisors pinpoint the types of content the resonate best with their audience and play to their strengths.

The Bottom Line

Financial advisors face growing competition from robo-advisors and other passive investment vehicles, while younger demographics are demanding more engaging technology. Freewheel Marketing's recent report shows that investments in technology by RIAs tend to pay off when it comes to AUM growth. Among these digital marketing techniques, blogging may be the easiest and most impactful place to start. (For more, see: Why Should Advisors Blog? Because Wealthy Investors Read Them.)