Financial Advisers Not Embracing Content Marketing

I was reading an article in Risk Info last week which encouraged financial advisers to embrace content marketing.  You can check out the article here, and I’ve also copied it below:

Advisers Should Embrace Content Marketing

Advisers should invest in content marketing in order to achieve greater cut-through with their promotional activity, according to marketing expert Claudio Pannunzio.

Mr Pannunzio, President of US-based financial services marketing firm i-Impact Group, explains that content marketing involves the creation and dissemination of original and useful content aimed at educating key audiences, rather than just promoting a product or service.

“The ultimate goal of content marketing is to provide information on a proactive and ongoing basis; information that the target audience finds valuable and that ultimately positions the adviser as a trusted professional,” he said.  “In essence, your clients and prospects engage in conversation with you before you even know they are interested in your services.”

However, Mr Pannunzio warned that it is not simply enough to create content, the marketing material must also prompt action.

“This could be by simply downloading your newsletter, signing up for a seminar/event, accessing significant articles or white papers or becoming your advocates,” he said.

I 100% agree with Mr Pannunzio on the importance of content marketing, but in my experience most financial advisers are still way behind.

There are quite a few clients who I regularly write financial content for, but the vast majority of them are not financial professionals.

Most of my clients are website owners with no financial qualifications or experience.  Instead, they are smart and forward-thinking entrepreneurs who can see the money making potential from generating leads for financial advisers and mortgage brokers who cannot generate leads of their own.

It amazes me that financial advisers are willing to pay between $50 and $100 per life insurance lead, adding up to thousands per month in some cases, but they are not willing to invest in their own lead generating websites.

I do get the occasional financial adviser who will contact me looking for content, but unfortunately most of them have been time wasters.  I hate to say it, especially since I love the financial advice industry so much, but most advisers who have contacted me about content just carry on about their big plans without ever going ahead with them.

It has gotten to the point where I tell some financial advisers that I simply don’t have any spare capacity to provide content to them, because I know they are just going to waste my time anyway.  Unfortunately they’re also wasting their own time.

For the small minority of advisers who are embracing online and content marketing properly, the rewards over the coming years will be huge.  For those who fail to do so, they will be paying the rest of us for leads for the rest of their working lives.

The future of advice models

Last night I read an interesting post on Linked in by Sean Graham (executive director at Millennium3) regarding future advice models and the way in which clients and advisers will interact.

Sean’s role at Millennium3 includes heading up the compliance team, and I must say it’s great to hear someone from compliance not only acknowledging the role of technology but actually promoting it.  I hope that the heads of compliance at other dealer groups can start to take a similar view in the near future.

Is Max Headroom the very modern model of the future financial adviser?

Most financial planners are wedded to the traditional, face-to-face storefront publisher model of financial advice but while this may have worked in the past, technological changes and consumer preferences suggest that wired/virtual/on line relationship (the Max Headroom model) might be the best model for the future.

Neuropsychological and consumer research shows peoples’ reducing need for complexity, strong preferences for on-line relationships and swift response and a distrust of “holistic” solutions? If this is the future what are we doing to prepare? (or are Ys, Zs and their successors of no interest to us?).

In my view, the future is wired client relationships, wiki advice models and lego-inspired strategies but I’m interested in understanding your view of the future and what are you doing (or what have you done) in your business to address the future of advice?

And here was my contribution to the discussion:

For risk insurance, online is clearly the way forward.  For many people, getting insurance cover online is not only a convenient option, but also a preferred option.  There are so many benefits such as the choice to deal with who you want when you want, no pushy salespeople trying to get you to sign up, and the feeling of empowerment that one gets by looking after their needs themselves.

On top of that, there will always be a perception (rightly or wrongly) that you can save money by getting your insurance online rather than dealing face-to-face with an adviser.

When I started as an adviser I was told that getting leads was going to be the most challenging aspect of going it alone.  I was also told that websites “don’t work for advisers”.  Well, my website brings me so many qualified leads that I’ve been selling the surplus leads to other advisers, so if anyone still thinks that online doesn’t work, they’re wrong.

Another benefit of building an online customer base is location diversity.  I am located in Brisbane, however the majority of my clients are located outside of Brisbane, and around half of them are located interstate.  This helps to give you exposure to booming areas outside of your own, and also provides protection if your own geographic area is experiencing a decline in activity.

When it comes to the investment side of things, particularly full financial planning, I think there will always be people who want to sit face to face with their adviser.  Increasingly though, there will be people who are happy to speak with an adviser remotely, and those who wish to bypass the adviser completely and handle their own affairs using online services.

Ultimately, the right model probably comes down to your target client and how they want (or don’t want) to deal with you.

If you’re not moving your business online and embracing technology, you will eventually be left behind.

Niche Marketing for Financial Advisers and Planners

When I first started my financial planning business I had a dream of being all things to all people.

I thought I’d be helping a carpenter on Monday with his income protection and a doctor on Tuesday with his investment portfolio.

I set up a fantastic website which contained loads of articles and plenty of information on how we could help people.

But pretty soon reality set in – it just wasn’t happening!

So I quickly identified that I needed to target individual niches at a micro level.  To do this I set up a number of websites targeting specific occupational areas such as doctors, tradies, lawyers etc with specific information relating to those people and their individual problems that needed solving.

The result?  After a few weeks I started to get some traffic trickling though.  Then after a month or two I started to get an enquiry or two each week, and within a year I was getting so many qualified leads that I had to start selling them to other advisers!

What I discovered is that trying to be everything to all people is fine if you have a huge existing client base, but if you’re trying to establish yourself from a small base you simply have to specialise in order to give yourself a point of difference.

How do you do this?  Well first you need determine your ideal target customer, which I’ll talk about in my next post.