After completing my recent article Inbound Methodology Is The Best Way To Build Trust, I got to thinking about industries that are still using outdated sales and marketing tactics and how companies within these industries need to rethink their content strategies in order to get results.
One such industry is financial services. The overall sentiment of this sector, according to Heu Yee Leung-Davies and Dwight Branch, Senior Consultants at C Space is that:
Financial services has largely become an anachronistic industry. It hangs on to legacy systems and processes, taking a “business-as-usual” approach with antiquated products and services that don’t satisfy the changing needs of today’s discerning customer.
Additionally, C Space reported in their 2016 Custom Quotient that "more than half of US consumers have not recommended their financial services provider to friends and family. And nearly as many (51%) said they do not intend to continue purchasing their current financial provider’s products and services." While this research is broad and conducted amongst banks, credit and wealth managers alike, the overall sentiment is not great.
Is this negative sentiment really about trust and outdated marketing or is about something bigger?
I'd argue that one of the biggest issues facing wealth management firms is their inability to produce quality content which ultimately contributes to an overall poor customer experience and lack of connectedness.
Firms can reboot their content strategy by starting with the following tips:
Know Your Customers
How can you possibly sell your product and services without knowing who it is you are selling to? In the world of inbound marketing, one of the first things we do is create buyer personas. Personas are fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers. The more time and care you take to create specific buyer personas, the better you are able to tailor content to the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups. Additionally, the establishment of personas helps to generate better leads and helps to build future product features to suit your customers' needs.
One-Size-Fits-All Content Doesn't Work
A few years back, I was selling for a marketing automation platform geared specifically for large broker-dealers. Among the features the platform offered, the sales enablement component was the most valuable in my opinion. It gave broker-dealers the ability to support thousands of independent wealth management firms by delivering highly compliant content that advisors could personalize and send to prospects and clients in a timely manner via multiple channels.
Much of this content, in the form of e-brochures, was created at the corporate level to be distributed by thousands of independent advisors with some basic personalization.
An authenticity problem still existed however. The top-level content that was created, or worse yet, curated, was impersonal, cookie-cutter in nature, and didn't speak directly to the personas the advisors were targeting.
In his Forbes article on this topic, Daniel Newman writes that "no two companies can ever be the same. Each have their own story, culture, and set of visions and objectives."
Create Quality Content That Speaks To Your Audience
Let's call a spade a spade. A boring article about "diversification and portfolio rebalancing," while sprinkling in prospect's name and account specifics, is still a boring article about "diversification and portfolio rebalancing." It's nothing more than a glorified mail-merge document that personalizes complicated financial jargon. It's highly unlikely the reader will engage with an advisor just because of mechanical personalization.
Learn about your audience, provide them with free guidance and answers to challenges they are experiencing. If you don't know what their challenges are, find out! Ask questions, publish surveys and interview this audience.
Example Article Topic: 3 Easy Steps Millennials Can Take To Start Saving Money: an article like this would be geared for younger millennials, 20-30 year-olds, and would speak directly to their financial challenges of not saving enough money. This article would NOT be about specific investment vehicles or how YOU can help them, but instead, offer some behavioral tips around daily habits common to this generation and how these tips will result in small savings that will grow healthily over time.
Write For Humans - Not For Search Engines
Content produced at the advisor level that's easy to understand and speaks directly to a firm's client base is far more valuable than a top-level article that promotes an investment vehicle or strategy that is designed to accelerate another company's goals.
For wealth management firms, content that promotes your products and services has to be put in the context of your client’s overall financial plan. Have someone in your firm produce this content, or hire someone with experience in writing quality, compliant content that speaks directly to your "ideal" clients and provides value in ways they can comprehend.
Well-written content also has benefits from an SEO standpoint. Search engines can identify "topic-based" articles that are written for humans versus "keyword-based" articles that was written for machines. Quality articles written for humans will be served up to visitors first!
Invest In Content For The Long-Term
Long-term investing doesn't just apply to your financial plan. In my article Blogging For Business And Why You Should Start Today, I discuss how compounding blog posts have the same extraordinary power that compound interest has in the investment world. Well written articles that solve problems and challenges for readers will increase in popularity over time and attract even more visitors to your website. They won't all be hits, however, without a consistent effort, you'll never gain consistent traffic that you can convert into customers.
- Establish buyer personas i.e. fictional representations of your ideal client(s)
- Create quality content that speaks directly to your personas
- Avoid using complicated financial jargon
- Speak to their challenges, provide free guidance, solve their problems,
- Write for humans provide value in ways they can comprehend
- Invest in content creation for the long-term and get started today
Once you've established a quality content pipeline, you'll begin to see your website traffic grow. Site visitors will expect and welcome more guidance and assistance from you. Visitors will begin to look to your firm as experts in your field. The implementation of conversion paths is your next step. Click here to learn about conversion paths.