Content Marketing for Investment Advisors
One of the most effective ways for investment advisors to generate leads is content marketing.
Content marketing can take many forms, including posting on social media, blogs, white papers, newsletters, books (print and e-books), marketing e-mails and content on your website.
Overview of content marketing
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as a marketing strategy intended to create and distribute relevant content to attract and retain a target audience and ultimately increase sales
Content marketing is a cost-effective marketing strategy that can help investment advisors reach prospective investors by providing unique and relevant content that addresses their needs.
The goal is to earn their trust and motivate them to contact you. Unlike advertising, content marketing focuses solely on the needs of prospective investors. Prospects – especially in these uncertain times – are searching for answers to investment questions. If they come across something written by you that demonstrates your expertise, the chance of their reaching out for more information increases significantly.
Without content marketing, the possibility of attracting investors using the internet to search for an investment advisor is practically non-existent.
Why engage in content marketing?
At it’s core, the most compelling reason to engage in content marketing is to generate leads.
There’s compelling evidence that the days of prospects walking into a brick and mortar office to find a financial advisor are long gone. According to one study, prospects are relying on the Internet to make their search for an investment advisor “frictionless, personal and helpful.”
More than half of investors surveyed gathered information online before opening an account, although many still prefer to engage personally with an advisor (in-person or on the phone) before starting a relationship.
Investment advisors need to position themselves so these investors will be exposed to their content and become part of their digital experience.
The death of referrals
Content marketing takes time and effort. It can also be expensive if you decide to outsource writing to third parties (which can be an excellent idea if you don’t have the time or ability to do it yourself).
Some advisors resist engaging in content marketing because most of their new business is generated through referrals. The reliance on referrals to fill the sales funnel in the future may be seriously misplaced.
As Michael Kitces noted in this article published December 12, 2016 (aptly titled: The Death Of Referrals And The Future Of Business Development For Financial Advisors) referrals are no longer the primary driver of new business for registered investment advisors. Citing an Investment News 2016 benchmark study, Kitces concluded that new business development is now focused on marketing strategies and other forms of outreach to prospects searching for advisors.
A 2020 report issued by TD Ameritrade (summarized here) reached a similar conclusion. It concluded that social media and internet oriented outreach were essential to keep the prospect pipeline flowing, especially given changes caused by the pandemic.
Search Engine Optimization
Advisors often believe creating a compelling website is all they need to do for content marketing. Unfortunately, this assumption is fatally flawed.
We are in the business of designing high-end websites for our investment advisors. We candidly tell our clients: If you build it, they still won’t come.
Your website is still a critical part of your marketing. Almost everyone who may contact you will visit your website first. It’s critical that the design of the website and the content are stellar.
But you need to go beyond simply creating a well-designed website and launching it. The content on your website needs to be optimized for SEO, with the goal of achieving a high organic ranking on Google.
SEO optimization of your website is best left to experts. It involves ensuring the content is original and well-written. In addition, the content should reflect, in a natural way, the keywords prospects are likely to be searching for on Google.
For example, I could have entitled this article: Brilliant writing generates leads. That’s a good, descriptive title but it’s not optimized for our target market at Evidence Based Advisor Marketing, which is investment advisor. Consequently, it was important to include “investment advisors” in the title.
Beware of what’s called “keyword stuffing.” This discredited practice involves populating content with certain keywords, in an unnatural way, in an effort to capture the attention of the Google algorithm.
Here’s an example of keyword stuffing: Content writing for investment advisors is important for investment advisors when those investment advisors want to attract clients to their investment advisory firms with their content writing.
Keyword stuffing is a bad idea for many reasons. It’s bad writing. It makes the content difficult to read. It’s unnatural. Finally, it doesn’t accomplish it’s stated goal. Engaging in this practice can actually harm the ranking of your website.
Other guidelines for content marketing
Content marketing – regardless of the format – should be written in your voice. It should express your views.
Break up your writing by inserting bolded headings which tell the reader what’s coming next, just as I’ve done in this post. Doing so makes makes your article easier to read and easier for Google to search.
Avoid shared content. Google can differentiate between orginal and shared content. It rewards original content.
Write consistently. You want to post something new, refreshing, engaging and helpful at least once a month and preferably more often. Keeping up with this schedule can be challenging, which is why it may make sense to outsource this task to a vendor who understands your business and can write in your voice.
There’s no hard and fast rule for the length of your posts, but there’s evidence that 750-1000 words is optimal.
Use different “buckets”
The internet gives you many options for getting information to prospective clients. Here are some of them.
Social Media Posts
Social media users spend approximately 145 minutes each day on social sites. Content marketing is a powerful tool to help you connect with your target audience. Create relevant social media posts tailored towards the needs of your target demographic. Use engaging visuals like videos and infographics to make your content more relatable.
Creating unique and relevant blog posts establishes your expertise and provides timely information of value to prospects.
Write a Book
Writing a book is a huge and expensive undertaking. Few advisors have the time or resources to do so, but the payoff can be huge.
You can outsource part or all of the work of writing a book. The Editorial Freelancers Association is an excellent resource.
Self publishing has advanced significantly in recent years, making it very easy for anyone to publish a book, without an agent or a publisher. If you are interested in self-publishing, you should consider retaining an author’s assistant to guide you through the process. Non-fiction Authors Association is a good resource.
As an investment advisor, you can share wealth management tips by podcasting. Podcasting is also an excellent way to expand your contacts by interviewing guests who may be a source of referrals.
There are many podcast consultants who can assist you with the technical details of getting set-up with the right gear and publishing your podcast for distribution.
Video is probably the most powerful media today. If you want to showcase your expertise, enhance brand credibility and introduce yourself to prospects, nothing beats the power of a well produced video.
Newsletters should also be part of your content marketing strategy. They are an excellent way to stay in touch with prospects and clients and to demonstrate your expertise.
Content marketing is a critical component of the marketing strategy for investment advisors who want to reach more investors, create trust, and increase sales.