In this day of lower interest income, investment programs make more sense than ever for banks. But its a hard row to hoe. After 30-odd years of selling securities from their branches, many banks still struggle with a culture gap between banking and securities. Many smaller banks havent even taken the step of offering investment programs at all.
But change is coming faster than ever for the bank channel. Once banks take the plunge into investmentsand assuming they can get past any culture issuestheyre going to find a fast-changing business. Disruptive technologies and social media are changing the landscape in banking and elsewhere. (As someone whose career has been in print journalism, believe me when I say: Dont ignore this.)
Our sister publication Financial Planning has an interesting blog post on this topic from contributor Ron Carson, founder and CEO of Carson Wealth Management Group and founder of Peak Advisor Alliance, a coaching program. (Joe Steuter, marketing and communications specialist at Peak also contributed to the article.)
Carsons entire article does not apply to the bank channel, but much of it does. Below is a modified version:
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. Its made the world smaller, given us shorter attention spans, and increased the number of ways we learn and connect with each other.
Its 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 cant answer this question with conviction, its probably time you take a detailed look at how you position your firm with prospects and clients. No matter how successful you are, theres always room for improvement. I realized this myself recently, so here are enhancements Ive made in the last few months to make my own digital brand more effective:
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, its 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 strategy will end up like everyone elses 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, like 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.
DEVELOP YOUR DIGITAL BRAND
In the past few years, marketing budgets for advisors have shifted online from the traditional offline channels. Thats 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.
- 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.
This 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 this exactly.)
That said, the digital age is here, and its changing more than just client behavior. Its 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?