“How To” guide to marketing for investment advisors
Investment advisors are bound by a lot of regulations and compliance requirements that are intended to protect consumers from possible scams. An unintended consequence to this is that marketing an investment advisory business can often be difficult. For instance, it is quite common for consumers to receive telemarketing calls for home loans or credit cards. But you shall seldom receive such marketing calls from legitimate investment advisors. That’s because “cold calling” on the whole is illegal.
There are several other ‘don’ts’ as far as marketing for investment advisors is concerned. Advisors are barred from making any sort of guarantee or commitment to potential clients around investment performance. To put that into perspective, it is legal in most countries for a car manufacturer to claim an average miles per gallon fuel economy for their product based on previous tests. However, an investment advisor is not permitted to provide a guarantee to prospective clients based on their earlier successes.
These regulations are a good thing and help keep the reputation of the industry intact. But what can you, as an investment advisor, do to reach out to prospective clients without running afoul of the regulations? Before we get there, let us take a look at the trends in the present financial services industry that will give you an idea of what works or is popular among members of the community.
Digital Marketing Expenditure: According to one study, the worldwide digital marketing expenditure in financial services is expected to grow from $53.7 billion in 2008 to $168.4 billion in 2017. That is a near 300% growth in less than a decade. This is not all. The share of digital marketing in the overall marketing budget itself is projected to grow from 18.9 percent in 2012 to nearly 27 percent in 2017.
Social Media: A whitepaper on financial services marketing showed that nearly 28 percent of the surveyed investment professionals investigated something based on what they saw on Twitter. Furthermore, 12 percent of these surveyed professionals had taken an investment decision based on the information they acquired from Twitter. A corollary to this is that both institutional and private investment professionals are now offering their own information on social media networks like Twitter for others to follow, investigate and act.
Content Marketing: According to a 2012 study, financial services had the highest share among all industries when it comes to separate content strategies for every marketing channel. Nearly 75% of all financial services companies polled had content marketing strategies in comparison to 50% in software and 14% in automobile.
These statistics show a growing trend towards the digital medium. That does not indicate traditional marketing mediums do not work any longer. Here is a list of marketing strategies that investment advisors can take up without running afoul of the regulations.
This is by far the most effective channel to establish credibility and gain new customers. Prospective clients rarely ever sign up until they have been introduced to that advisor. In my personal experience, nine out of ten clients reached out to me through word-of-mouth. Such referrals either come from people I have earlier worked with, or from those who have read or listened to my advice on other channels. When advisors offer lots of helpful information, they automatically build credibility and trust among their audience. This is a vital step before word-of-mouth happens.
There are several methods to share your expertise. Advisors may run their own blogs or offer guest contributions on other, more popular industry blogs. They may also use Facebook or Twitter to provide short, insightful ideas to followers. There are dozens of financial podcasts with millions of listeners and offering investment advice here goes a long way in establishing credibility and reputation. Persistent efforts through the above channels could help you secure spots in TV or Newspapers.
Most of the expertise-sharing strategies mentioned above are pro-bono and without getting paid. You may also consider launching paid webinars or publishing your own book (or ebook). While talking to a publisher is an option, you may also consider self-publishing your book over an on-demand publishing platform like Amazon.
Expertise sharing is a long drawn out strategy that can take several months or sometimes even years to materialize. If you are seeking relatively faster marketing returns, you may consider inbound marketing strategies such as directories, SEO and SEM. Directories including YellowPages or Yelp provide listings to local businesses across multiple industries. It is perfectly legal to get listed or even advertise your business in these directories.
It is also acceptable to hire a third party agency to help you with ranking on Google or advertising your business on Google, Facebook or any other websites. However, a word of caution here: Although inbound marketing through these channels is permissible, what you advertise or claim through these channels is still bound by regulations. You are not allowed to make unverifiable claims or promises to prospective clients either on your website or in advertisements that are displayed on other websites.
Just getting to know more people can go a long way in bringing new clients to your door. A good way to start networking is by attending seminars and trade shows where your prospective clients are likely to visit. Introducing yourself as an investment advisor and handing a business card are perfectly legitimate ways to tell your prospect that you exist. One trick to increasing conversions through this strategy is to include links to your social media profile or blog on your business card. Prospective clients seldom sign up with you immediately, but more often than not, they are likely to subscribe to your blog or start following you on Facebook. This enables better networking and helps conversions.
As you can see, marketing strategies that are popular in other industries are mostly possible in the investment advisor industry as well. However, there are always rules you could possibly infringe. As long as you make sure there are no lines crossed, the strategies mentioned above should help you build your reputation and bring in a steady inflow of new clients to your business.
What other strategies have worked for you? Please share them in the comments below.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this website has been provided as general advice only. We have not considered your financial circumstances, needs or objectives and you should seek the assistance of your Synchron Adviser before you make any decision regarding any products mentioned in this communication. Whilst all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no warranty is given in respect of the information provided and accordingly neither Mirador Wealth Management, Synchron, nor its related entities, employees or agents shall be liable on any ground whatsoever with respect to decisions or actions taken as a result of you acting upon such information. Authorised Representatives of Synchron AFS Licence No. 243313