If you’re still stuffing mailers, making cold calls, and tweeting the occasional Warren Buffett interview to a handful of followers, it’s time to upgrade your marketing strategy and let data driven content drive some foot traffic through your front door.
On today’s show, Justin Wisz, the co-founder and CEO of Vestorly, talks about how data driven content and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) can provide “delightful digital experiences” that will engage your client base beyond their balance sheets and, potentially, streamline your entire practice.
Key Points From Justin:
1. Consume is the new connect.
Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the big social media platforms started as a new way for people to connect with each other. But the social media business model has made a transition in recent years. “People go there to consume media now,” says Justin. “They don’t necessarily go there to connect with new people.”
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Your clients are no different. They don’t just want to receive a rote invite to your latest seminar or a reminder to schedule your annual meeting. They expect a real-time, personalized content experience, wherever they are online, whatever device they’re using.
Unfortunately, a lot of financial advisors have been slow to grasp these and other important digital trends and adjust their marketing. Justin notes that too many advisors are, “still sending out outdated communications through emails, if they’re sending anything at all. They’re trying to keep up with a blog, and meanwhile, they’re losing customer engagement.”
A data driven content platform like the one Justin developed creates real-time content for every individual contact in an advisor’s account, delivers it through email, social media, or the advisor’s website, and keeps everything in a closed feedback loop so that it can get smarter. “Clients are clicking on these things 5x, 7x, 8x more than they were clicking on their old email newsletters,” says Justin. Those clicks translate into more content consumption, more engagement with your brand, and hopefully, more business.
2. Robo advising vs. client engagement.
Smart, independent RIAs are piggybacking on large platform providers in order to broaden the services they offer. But Justin draws an important distinction between using tech to automate information flow, and using data driven content to engage your clients beyond their brokerage statements.
“It’s more about, what’s the human relationship you have with your clients?” says Justin. “Are you educating them? Are they seeing you as a resource or as someone they just meet with a couple times a year?” This shift in thinking, and in marketing, is only going to become more important as financial planning becomes lifestyle planning. If your marketing platform utilizes top-tier technology to touch on things like travel, sports, relationships, common retirement questions, and other topics that interest your clients, then they aren’t going to think about the machine behind the emails. They’re going to appreciate the content they receive from you, and place a higher value on the advisor-client relationship.
3. Google is bigger.
Advisors who keep pouring money into website redesign and SEO, hoping it will drive traffic to their small corner of the internet, are fighting a losing battle.
Justin challenges advisors to think about how their clients actually use the internet. When people sit down at their desks or pull out their phones, their financial advisor’s website is not going to be a top destination. “They’re looking at social media to see the thought leaders and sources that they follow,” says Justin. They’re reading top stories at a favorite news service, like Apple, Google or CNN. But email is still an important part of that information flow. Justin notes that most people still read a few weekly newsletters “that they rely on to curate their news for them.”
You have a much better shot of cracking that list of essential newsletters by supplying all your clients with appealing, data driven content than you do of finding your firm’s website bookmarked next to Facebook and Instagram.
4. The value for advisors.
Justin believes that advisors considering a move into data driven content should ask themselves three questions:
- Will it delight my clients better than I can?
- Will it reduce my workflow, and ultimately my overhead?
- Will it provide me with new data that I otherwise don’t have?
High-quality data driven content checks all those boxes, especially now that it can replace a blanket e-blast with thousands of personalized emails, and aggregate clicks, opens, and timing into data that advisors can use to fine-tune their communications.
Even as advances in technology continue to disrupt financial services, “Professional service providers like advisors have a distinct advantage to provide strategy, the type of strategy and timing that only a person can provide from experience,” says Justin. All those hours advisors spend cultivating their mailing lists and trying to lure their clients off Facebook is time that could be spent giving clients something a computer can’t: face time. As more and more investors turn to apps and robo-advisors to monitor investments, the lifestyle planning advisors weave into financial planning will become their most important service.
In Justin’s mind, automating anything that can be automated is the best way for advisors to open up more blocks on their meeting schedules. “The real competitive advantage that’s going to differentiate winners and losers is operational efficiency,” he says. And the best way for you to optimize the precious time you spend with your clients is to create more of it.
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