It’s difficult to run any business without a strong digital presence. Clients are more informed than ever about available options. Eighty-five percent of your customers are conducting research before finding you or buying your services (Transaction Survey). The COVID-19 Pandemic only accelerated this trend, and financial advisors must now be equipped with the right tools to find and attract new clients as well as help close the deal.
We’ve put together a quick checklist on what you’ll need to get started or take your digital marketing to the next level.
We cover the following for beginners just getting started:
- Secure a domain name
- Set up email addresses
- Build a website
- Set up Google Analytics
- Set up Google Business
- Choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution
- Secure social media
- Set up email marketing
These items are the first steps to having a strong foundation for your marketing.
Secure a domain name
Build your clients’ confidence with securing a domain name for either yourself or your business. Think of a domain name as your street address–how will your customers find you? Yourbusinessname.com provides more confidence over a free email address through Yahoo or Gmail. By securing your domain name, you protect your brand and identity, and you can have a website and official email address. There are many domain name providers out there to help you research available domain names and purchase them like Namecheap or GoDaddy.
Set up email addresses
After you secure your domain name, it’s time to set up your email. Many domain providers or web hosting providers (we’ll get to that) will provide email. While these tools are readily available, they may not fit your needs for security, compliance, or scheduling (calendar). You can find email or office suite tools through Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace (G Suite) to set up your email. These solutions are relatively easy to set up or provide step-by-step instructions so you can start sending and receiving emails at email@example.com as well as setting up calendar appointments.
Build a website
A cornerstone to any digital marketing plan is your website. It’s one of the few marketing channels you can fully own and control what you put on it. There are many no-code solutions out there that won’t require a web developer or a large setup expense. All you need is time to plan what you want to put online and creating the content and assets. Some no-code solutions include Squarespace, Wix, etc. We recommend finding the one that best fits your needs and comfort level.
There are many more complex CMS solutions available, like WordPress, but you will need more time configuring or working with a web developer to get all the pieces and parts how you like them before getting started.
Make it your goal to turn your website into a lead generator. The most important part of your website is making sure you can be found by your name, your business name, and the services you provide. You want your prospective clients to be able to find you and act–either by calling, email, or contacting you through a form. Your website should be a business tool and not a brochure.
Set up Google Analytics
How will you know what pages are gaining you the most traffic and customers? If you’re advertising on websites or linking back through other professional sites or social media, how will you measure what is most effective? Setting up Google Analytics is easy. Follow their steps, and then follow the steps of your chosen website solution to install it. Most site providers now provide no-code methods to get this done so you don’t have to part-time as a web developer. If you have access to a web developer, they should be able to install it quickly.
Set up Google Business
Do you have an office outside of home? You will want to make sure people in your local area can find you quickly! Google My Business is a great tool for local search engine optimization (SEO) because it will display your office and services to people who are searching locally first with an additional entry in Google Maps. For example, if someone searches “financial planner in ‘your city name'”, your business could be displayed with the website or contact information. This is great for visibility and attracting new local clients.
If you have a home office, this makes it more difficult to use this service because Google is often looking for an address. There are other steps you can take with other websites such as professional directories.
Communicating with Clients
These items help you manage relationships and communicate at a larger scale.
Choosing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution
Managing clients on spreadsheets can be time intensive and lead to mistakes–especially if you have someone helping you. Seek a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to help organize your prospective, current, and past clients’ information plus manage how the relationship is going. There are financial services-specific tools like Redtail available, and there are also several low-cost solutions you can find in software like HubSpot. Try a few out and find the one that best fits how you do business and manage relationships.
Secure social media
There are many social media channels available, and that doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them. There are additional rules and regulations in this industry that may modify your approach to social media. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at social media for a couple common uses.
- Secure social media profiles to protect your name and brand identity. Claim them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or others just so others can’t take the name. Be as consistent as possible with the account name so it’s easy to quickly identify.
- If you have a physical office location, or home office, you can use Facebook and LinkedIn to help attract potential clients within your city and region. This is a great substitute for local SEO in Google My Business.
Should you venture into using social media more proactively, share content from other pages and sources that show trends and important information. Do you have upcoming news to communicate with your clients? You could try services like Facebook Groups to do targeted communication with a wider audience of your clients when 1:1 communication doesn’t cut it.
Set up email marketing
Email marketing or automated marketing is a necessary and one of the most reliable communication tools at our disposal. Like social media, you can communicate with your prospective and current clients because your audience list is granting you permission to be in their inbox. Many CRM tools do include email marketing as part of their feature set, and there are other tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact with no-to-low cost options to help you get started.
We’re Just Getting Started
Digital marketing continues with more tools out there. We didn’t cover digital advertising, automated marketing, blogging, and more. These are just the basics to get you started. It’s best to start small, do well at a few things, and then grow as your needs grow.
In the end, the most important part of digital marketing is coming up a with a strategy and content plan to find and provide the content that is most relevant to your clients. What questions do they ask the most? What do they want to see? What will help them make good decisions and grow their confidence?