Throughout the past few years, how we connect has changed. Previously, financial advisors would attract prospective clients by hosting dinners or seminars at local libraries or other educational venues. Now advisors reach out to prospects via email, webinars, and social media.
Our increasingly digital world has made it easier than ever to expand our reach. Still, many people have discovered that the personal relationship that was once established by meeting face-to-face has diminished. Digital connections are easier to make, but they often lack authenticity. So, how can advisors build solid relationships in the digital age?
Establish Your Audience
You cannot be all things to all people. When you try, you have nothing deeper than surface-level relationships, if that. If you’re struggling to narrow down your target audience, start by identifying your “ideal clients.” Write a list of the names of your favorite clients. What do you like about them? What part of your practice do they utilize? Why are they your favorite? Are they all similar, or can you segment them into client types? Next, you want to describe them. What are their challenges, interests, where they get their information? This exercise can help you narrow your focus. Once you establish your target audience, you can begin to market to them specifically.
Attracting Prospects Digitally
Before you do anything else, you need to take a critical look at your website. Make sure your website is up to date. Add new, relevant, and educational content to your website regularly. Most importantly, make it easy for people to find you online and book time on your calendar. If prospects can’t find what they are looking for on your website right away, they’re going to move on and never look back.
It’s no secret that the number of webinars has dramatically increased over the last year, so there is more competition in this space. However, not all webinars are created equal, and there are a few things you can do to boost attendance and keep attendees engaged.
- Send your agenda in advance. Review it at the start of your presentation, and reference it as you move through the webinar. Time is valuable. Sharing the schedule in advance helps prospects determine if they want to attend. Outlining what you’re going to discuss and when keeps attendees engaged in the presentation.
- Webinars can be both fun and educational. Make your webinar a discussion by interacting and engaging with attendees. Take questions. Use attendees’ first names as you respond to them. Set the audience at ease by sharing relatable experiences or a relevant meme. Slip in something funny or entertaining. Humanizing your presentation helps you to build rapport.
- The polling feature is one of the easiest ways to boost engagement. We try to do 2-4 polls per webinar. It helps us get a pulse on the attendees (like, how knowledgeable are they on the topic already) and determine how they’d like us to follow-up. It also breaks up the presentation and makes it more interactive.
For advisors who are willing to try video, there is an enormous opportunity. YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine. Remember, you’ve already determined your target audience, so creating videos that they would find helpful should be easy. Go back to the list of their biggest challenges. What can you help them solve? Think about how you would tell them over the phone or in person. Write down what you’d say, either in bullets or a script. Now, set up your webcam and record yourself talking about who you are, the problems you solve, and how you solve them as though your client is on the other side of the camera. This content should be educational. You want to establish credibility and build trust.
We are all bombarded with numerous emails throughout the day. Avoid the delete button by crafting relatively short messaging that resonates. A well-crafted message will highlight your unique benefits, target your specific audience, support your goal, and often include a call to action, such as a consultation. Make sure your subject lines align with the body copy and have clear and actionable language.
Reaching Clients Online
One of the best ways to reach clients digitally is through social media. Among Americans 65 and older, 46% use Facebook. Sharing helpful and educational videos, articles, and graphics can establish credibility and trust. Regularly posting new content will keep your followers engaged. That doesn’t mean you need to have an endless supply of premium, original, flashy content. It can be as simple as sharing a link to a news article with 1-3 sentences about why you thought your clients would find it interesting or helpful.
It’s about the details when it comes to building individual connections through email. Make sure you address your contacts by name. Find a way to include something personal in the body of the email. You could recap a conversation you had about retirement strategies or reference a mutual interest. Use the same conversational tone in your emails that you would use to speak to that client in person.
Let’s be honest. Zoom fatigue is real. The key to building a connection in a Zoom meeting is to be authentic and vulnerable with your client. How does that look?
Thank them for meeting with you virtually, even though you know they’d prefer in-person. Share a personal anecdote. Apologize when something goes wrong, but don’t stress about it. Don’t insist on using cameras. These meetings are not going to look exactly like the meetings at your office, and that’s okay! Every client is going to have a different level of comfort when it comes to technology. Meet people where they are, adapt, and push forward.
Remember, money is an intimate thing–trust is essential. People can tell when you’re trying to “pull one over “on them. They know when you’re acting in YOUR best interest instead of THEIRS.
Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Ask questions. Listen.
Think of your digital-first practice as tele-WEALTH. You are the “doctor”, and your clients and prospects are “the patient.” You want them to opt-in and request information and expertise. They are a captive audience with something to gain. Level up your “bedside manner” and focus on your customer experience.