WHO: Matt Ledoux
WHAT: Digital marketing expert, founder of Captains of Content (captainsofcontent.com)
WHAT'S ON HIS MIND: “The only impression that most prospects are going to have about a planner is what Google presents.”
1. What’s the reality advisers face these days in their marketing?
You are who Google says you are. What that means is the only impression that most prospects are going to have about a planner is what Google presents. And honestly, many planners and advisers aren’t putting their best foot forward online. Either they’ll have a poorly crafted website or no social media presence.
The most common thing is that most advisers’ materials look the same online; they really just don’t stand out at all. The biggest challenge for advisers is getting out of their own way and daring to sound different and unique so they can stand out.
2. How can an adviser overcome this challenge?
You don’t need to overpromise or push the limits of compliance, you just need to think about how you’re unique. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It might be something that other advisers just aren’t talking about. Then, once you find that thing, exploit the hell out of it. Whatever it is, it can even inform your value proposition.
I have some clients who were math majors, or computer science. Let’s dig into that, because not many advisers can say that. Or some had a parent who was an adviser; let’s go with the family angle. Some who believe in an overall balance, so let’s go with a health and wealth angle. Find your unique thing, then say it louder than everyone else.
3. What is the one thing all advisers want to say in their marketing?
“I’m a really good listener.” That’s a great characteristic, but it’s not distinguishing enough, and it’s not a value prop. You do not want to lead with that in your marketing because all advisers are saying it.
4. What about the word “trust”?
Advisers also want to use the word trust, but it’s not a believable word. Every used car salesmen also says it. So you have to be very careful how you frame it.
One way we’ve done it with advisers is to say, “Most of the clients who started with me are still with me. Many have even become friends.” That kind of messaging implies trust without using that overused and under-believed word.
5. Does the CFP® certification help people stand out?
Yes, it does. If you’ve worked hard enough to earn it, it definitely should be something that you lead with. But you also have to be careful to explain it, because people may not know what it means. So explain what it means to the investor in a non-jargon way so that they understand it and see the benefit in it.
6. Marketing is changing. The whole financial services industry is changing. Where do you think it’s all headed?
We’re all probably reading the same articles about where things are going, with monthly service fees for investors and the like, and of course, robos and Alexa being your AI adviser. I believe, at the end of the day, people really need money advice from other humans. I think a lot of this technology will be used, but I don’t think it will ever bypass the human equation that is required and needed.
Money is a very emotional topic. It involves kids and education and savings and divorce. For that reason, there’s always going to need to be a human component. Also, emotional support is a huge component of getting advice.
7. If you had one thing that you think advisers need to do for their marketing, what would it be?
Get on Instagram. This is difficult with compliance, but it’s possible for some folks. The adviser population is aging, and people want to get in touch with a younger crowd. Well, they’re on Instagram. So if you can make that happen, find a way to get involved and get your word and your name and your value prop messaging out there in a channel where younger people are.
8. Besides Instagram, how important is it for advisers to have a strong social media presence?
It’s incredibly important. One of the first things that comes up on a Google search is LinkedIn, and a huge amount of people are going online to learn about you.
Even if it’s a referral, studies have found that 72 percent of investors say that an adviser’s online information is extremely important. In fact, the study also showed that 45 percent of prospects have eliminated an adviser based on what they found online. So your digital presence is everything.
9. You mentioned LinkedIn. What tips do you have for creating a great LinkedIn profile?
First, use a professional photo and smile big. Speak in first person, not third person. And don’t talk about yourself the whole time; talk about what you can do for your prospect.
10. What is one of the craziest stories you’ve ever encountered when working with an adviser?
One that comes to mind is an adviser who had a picture of his dog for his LinkedIn profile. He’s a dog fan, I am too—I get that. But it’s not professional enough. In fact, a study done by Wisdom Tree had 7,000 high net-worth investors look at adviser profiles on LinkedIn. Using eye-tracking devices, they discovered that investors look at an adviser’s LinkedIn profile for an average of just 11 seconds. And of those 11 seconds guess how many they’re looking at your photo for? Eight seconds. So a prospect is looking at your face and determining if they can relate to you or would want to work with you. The takeaway? Get a professional photo taken because a lot of decisions are being made based on that.
Barbara Kay (barbarakaycoaching.com) is a business psychology and productivity coach who helps advisers and firms maximize potential. As a member of the FPA Coaches Corner, she offers a free consultation to all FPA members.