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Practice Management

Three suggested enhancements can make your own digital brand more effective. 

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).
 

Whether advisors want to admit it or not, the digital age is here. Technology is transforming our business and changing the behavior of our clients like never before. It's made the world smaller, given us shorter attention spans, and increased the number of ways we learn and connect with each other.

It's also made our clients and prospects hungry for information. The question is, are you doing everything you can to satisfy that hunger when a potential client considers doing business with your firm?

If you can't answer this question with conviction, it's probably time you take a detailed look at how you position your firm with prospects and clients. No matter how successful you are, there's always room for improvement. I realized this myself recently, so here are three enhancements I've made in the past few months to make my own digital brand more effective:

1. Make Your Website an Interactive Marketing Hub
The process of consumers getting to know you is forever changed. In fact, it has completely flipped. It's no longer about you discovering them—it's about them discovering and learning about you.

The easiest way for prospects to learn about you and your firm is through your website. Many advisors know this, but what you may not realize is that your website serves as so much more than just a static canvas for promotion and education. Your website should be a living, breathing tool that changes and evolves as you do. In other words, it's critical to build a complete "human" view of yourself and your firm online.

Turning your website into an interactive marketing hub means making it a central location that your audience is directed to no matter how they find you online. It allows your clients and prospects to get to know you through being consistently visible and valuable where they spend most of their time—online, through social media, and through their friends (your clients perhaps), in person.

2. Revamp Your Social Media Approach
Start a company page on Facebook and LinkedIn, write a blog, and set up a Twitter account to communicate with your target audience and showcase your firm.

As the lines between communication and marketing blur, it's becoming more important for advisors to develop a social strategy that serves both of these business functions. The key with social media is to provide valuable content and communication. Without these components, your social media strategy will end up like everyone else's: unsuccessful and unproductive.

Through blogging and social media, you have a tremendous opportunity to paint a masterpiece that will attract your ideal clients. If you need a push in the right direction, here are three things you can do right now:

  • Create content that gets shared on mobile devices: Regularly schedule tweets and posts that can be delivered automatically. Link the content you share, such as motion-graphic videos, articles, and calculators, back to your website.
  • Let your personality show through: The beauty of social media is that you can demonstrate value while also showing your personality and the culture of your firm. Showcase a picture from one of your client events or of one of your team members in action with a client.
  • Collect and use information from clients' social profiles: To make sure your social content is relevant and meaningful to your target audience, collect information from your current clients' social profiles or those you are interested in prospecting.

3. Develop Your Digital Brand
In the past few years, marketing budgets for advisors have shifted online from the traditional offline channels. That's because consumer interest—and influence—has moved to areas like social media, marketing websites, and online news.

With this shift in client behavior, advisors need a better way to manage their digital brand. The pressure to continually differentiate ourselves from the crowd will only get stronger, and developing a proactive plan will prevent you from getting left behind. Here are just a few action items you can implement now to improve your digital brand:

  • Upgrade your profile on LinkedIn. Of all the social media channels available, LinkedIn will be most productive for you as an advisor. Take a few minutes today and enhance the look and feel of your profile. This step alone is a big one toward developing a stronger digital presence within your professional network.
  • Get professional video footage on your website. The best way to give your website some personal flare is to add professional video footage. You are the most important element to your website, so showcase yourself in a way no one else can. Greet your visitors with a welcome message, teach a fundamental concept or discuss your business philosophy.
  • Make sure every digital outreach appeals to your target market. When developing and distributing content online, make sure the material speaks to your ideal clients. The more your message resonates with your target audience, the more you position yourself as the right fit for those people.

Any one or all three of these objectives will catapult you to the next level in building your brand, but the key is to find the time and resources (or providers) to do it. Advisors turn to a lot of places and spend a lot of money for growth in their business but it can be difficult to find a way to bring it all together to enhance their practice. (Full disclosure: My company helps advisors with exactly this.)

That said, the digital age is here, and it's changing more than just client behavior. It's changing the way we do business as advisors. So, I ask you once again, are you doing everything you can to communicate with your clients, target your ideal prospects, and differentiate yourself from the crowd?


Ron Carson is the founder and CEO of Carson Wealth Management Group, and the founder of Peak Advisor Alliance, an advisor-coaching program. He also co-authored the practice management book Tested in the Trenches: A 9-Step Plan for Building and Sustaining a Million-Dollar Financial Services Practice.

Joe Steuter, marketing and communications specialist at Peak Advisor Alliance, contributed to this article.

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