Advisers Should Define Their Digital Strategy

A Broadridge webinar evaluated the impacts of successful virtual advising in 2020, and explored which digital outlets financial advisers are focusing on in 2021.

When COVID-19 hit the financial services industry last March, many advisers turned to digital mediums to reach their clients and, along the way, realized the lasting impact virtual outreach could have on their clients and the future of their firms.

“We saw that this last year, some financial advisers thought about how they need to poise themselves for growth given the new rules of the game,” said Kevin Darlington, general manager of Broadridge Advisor Solutions, during a recent summit held by the firm. “We see a lot of advisers who really thrived, and, in 2021, those are the advisers who are going to be pulling away even further.”

A recent Broadridge study of 600 financial advisers found that because of the impacts of COVID-19, more advisers believe the quality of technology, digital marketing and content marketing is more important than ever. Study findings showed growth-focused advisers are more likely to thrive than those who did not take advantage of new tech.

The second-annual study found goal-oriented advisers were two times more likely to generate clients annually. This group of advisers is also two times more likely to have a defined digital marketing strategy. “A digital marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily need to be complex. It’s having a set of concrete, measurable goals, and then measuring against those goals and optimizing,” Darlington said.

During the webinar, Bill Cates, a relationship marketing expert with Referral Coach International, underscored the importance of virtual outreach and personalized communications. “The goal is to make sure you sharpen your message, so it hits the part of their brain that is relevant to them,” he explained.

The study found most financial advisers are investing in search engine marketing, webinars, audio and short-form video content and advertising in digital media. Short-form video content, Darlington mentioned, was the top area financial advisers are looking to invest in this year, given an increase in demand among all client demographics.

Which social media channels financial advisers use will determine how long a video should be. While a video on Facebook may average two or three minutes, financial advisers can make their content as long as 10 minutes on YouTube. More recent video-sharing platforms, such as TikTok, will only give financial advisers a minute or less to explain their content.

“People’s attention spans are getting smaller, and it’s because of how fast we’re scrolling through feeds,” Darlington said.

For financial advisers who are looking to improve their digital engagement efforts, Darlington suggested they start by reviewing standard compliance recommendations, especially for those who work with small businesses. “We know small business employers are going to be challenged with how they can continuously grow their business,” he says. “In a regulated industry like wealth management, that is going to be trickier. Just like how you would, say, consult your doctor, consult your compliance department.”

Other actionable steps to improve digital marketing and outreach include defining the company’s target audience as well as organizing marketing initiatives for the year, Darlington concluded.