I was driving down to Choo Choo town towards Chattanooga and began to think about the old saying “the more things change, the more things remain the same.” That age-old catechism really does apply again as the seasons of the year change, another generational secular bear market takes shape with a powerful bear market trap thrown in occasionally to keep the engine of “buy high- sell low- lose money” running rampantly. Even though the herd mentality has yet to kick in with individual investors, it can’t be far behind even though this bull market spurt is getting mighty old and near correction as Europe enters its second recession in 4 years
One aspect has changed, however, and that is technology, especially social media and its impact on the daily marketing activities of advisers who specialize in providing Age of Safety investment alternatives. This month’s Financial Planning magazine offers some good insights into fixing an adviser website to meet the ever changing needs of aging boomers and Gen Y prospects. Only 16% of advisers use social media although that number is growing rapidly. Those that do use social media report significant increases in assets under management, referral cultivation and new clients. Even fewer advisers use their social media successfully to integrate with their website. Many advisers cite their Broker-Dealer as the culprit. FINRA advertising guidelines are interpreted differently from BD to BD as this technology emerges. Investment Advisor representatives (IAR) and Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) interpretations are even more diverse with some RIAs using YouTube testimonials despite 40 Act restrictions on such client testimonials prohibiting any testimonial. Some IAR firms operating under the umbrella of their Broker-Dealer allow conceptual financial education on You Tube videos, others do not. The inconsistency from firm to firm is astounding and one of the major reasons many BD reps have thrown in the towel and set up their own RIA even though it looks like the move to a common fiduciary standard with uniform advertising guidelines is gaining a foothold. Still many BD sites remain as simple aesthetically pleasing electronic business cards without any marketing moxy at all. As I was driving down the highway, I noticed a Cracker Barrel sign going south that touted Sausage biscuits and one going north that promoted the gift shop.In a similar way, successful website-social media integration should drive traffic to the same place-your practice, even though the compliant strategies to get there may be slightly different. Here’s what Financial Planning, editorial contributor Dave Grant listed as seven improvements that you may consider with your website integration along with our added touch.
- Be open to new technologies such as You Tube or WebEx meetings, go to meetings or join me to increase face to face meetings and cut expenses.
- Understand how people get information today-Print media is dead so make content, short, and sweet relevant-no longer than 5 minutes to read or view. I saw planners who had a 35 minute you Tube Video promoting his practice. That won’t work for Gen Yers. Remember the Chamber of Commerce one minute exposes of your firm-use it.
- Don’t assume tech is for younger people-my Dad teaches 3 classes online and keeps up with the grand kids while shopping for plumbers, electricians and yes even financial help.
- Use humor-One of the main content drivers is the ability to relate to clients by not taking yourself too seriously. Use animated cartoons liberally to laugh and educate
- Use a call to action on your landing page and keep the page simple-give away a whitepaper or video-use a short well-written book like Savior Retirement to connect
- Go mobile with a Command Center portable app and make sure your vendor has a mobile app-use multimedia to win the day with podcasts, videos and blogs liberally.
Your website should not be like the woman who called the Shopping Channel and was asked by the receptionist if she could help to which the woman replied ‘No thanks, I’m just browsing” Make your site more meaningful with these simple tips.