More Consumers Are Seeking Financial Help. Are Advisors Ready? – InsuranceNewsNet

As we leave COVID-19 behind us, the rules of engagement for financial advisors are changing, particularly in regard to digital marketing needs and techniques.

So says David Briggs of Broadbridge Advisors Solutions, a California-based marketing strategy consultant.

“We are deeply embedded now in the 21st century, and digital marketing is proving to be the dividing line between ultimate success and … failure in this business,” he told attendees at a recent webinar sponsored by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

A Broadbridge survey found that one in four investors say they have engaged a financial advisor for the first time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s a much higher number than we anticipated,” he said. “More than 52% said the pandemic made them realize they needed financial help.”

But, Briggs said, Broadbridge concluded that professional advisors are not always easy to find, owing to a lack of digital presence or online marketing.

“Most advisors have a website and email,” he said. “However, we are finding that more is being demanded by the public in order for you to be noticed and recognized as well as acknowledged as someone that people would choose to work with.”

Successful financial advisors and agents have become more engaged with social media search engine optimization and search engine marketing, webinar strategies and “retargeting,” which is a form of online advertising that uses data to re-engage potential leads or customers who exit a website without converting. Retargeting ads are designed to help advertisers reach visitors who don’t convert right away.

“Retargeting, which many of the larger businesses use these days, is something you don’t want to ignore if you want to be recognized,” Briggs advised.

Biggs has some statistics to prove his point. He produced a chart that showed that on average top advisors who have adopted technology are growing their book of business revenue by 26%, year-to-year. On the other end of the spectrum, lower tier firms are losing 70% revenue, year-to-year.

“That is a 43% gap between the top quartile and the bottom quartile,” he said. “And the No. 1 differentiator between the top and bottom quartile is technology. Those who are adopting technology and integrating it into their businesses are having a higher level of success.”

They are acquiring new clients at more than three times the average advisor, he added.

And yet, the single top differentiator, he said, is not the products advisors have available, their quality of service, or technology per se. It is their thought leadership.

“That is where people are turning into as a differentiator between one advisor versus another advisor,” he told the advisors who tuned in. “They’re looking for someone who can educate and reinforce themselves as a thought leader. It’s important from a strategy standpoint to spark interest and motivate clients to take action.”

Briggs said an old industry standard recommending five to seven meaningful contacts a year with clients has long ago been invalidated.

“In order to maintain a sense of loyalty, it became 12 to 18 meaningful contacts a year,” he said. “Now during and after COVID-19, it is at least 18 to 24 meaningful contacts in the form of declarative emails, newsletters or contacts that will resonate with your target market.”

Only 33% of advisors have a business plan or say that they have a business plan, according to a Broadbridge survey. About 11% have written a business plan or a marketing plan but only 3% of those have implemented the marketing or business plan.

The overriding question facing advisors today is, are you going to be top of mind when an individual, family or business owner has a life-changing experience – which the pandemic caused in many cases – and is ready to put their money to work?

“You want to capture the digital media metrics,” he said. “That is the analytics to make sure that you get enough business intelligence so you know your marketing is working.”

Briggs unveiled what he said was five strategies for successful client and prospect engagement.

  1. Stay “top of mind.”
  2. Educate and reinforce that you are a thought leader.
  3. Spark interest and motivate clients to take action.
  4. Segment your market with current, compelling, and credible information.
  5. Embrace technology to maintain meaningful content and engagement.

“Make sure your content is current and credible, as well as consistent,” he said.

Doug Bailey is a journalist and freelance writer who lives outside of Boston. He can be reached at [email protected].

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