Online marketing can be a serious challenge for financial advisers. After all, this isn’t exactly your area of expertise. Maybe you’ve developed a solid offline strategy to attract clients, but the Internet is vast and borderless, making it difficult to know where to begin.
Armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can start marketing yourself online today – and in a way that doesn’t break compliance laws.
1. Start Blogging
Advisers often underestimate the importance of blogging, but it can be one of the most effective online marketing tools. And all it will cost you is a little bit of your time – or money if writing isn’t your forte.
Chances are, the potential clients you want to target are online, searching for answers to their financial problems and questions. Blogging gives you a platform to answer these questions and help solve these problems, which establishes you as an authority and helps build trust with your visitors.
Share your knowledge, and you can be sure that when your readers need help with their finances, they’ll come to you first.
2. Check the Financial Jargon at the Door
While you may use financial terminology when talking to your peers, your potential clients may not be up to speed on these terms. Using complicated language in your website copy and blog posts may alienate potential clients, making you appear less approachable.
While it’s easy to assume that using financial jargon will make you appear more knowledgeable, being able to explain these complicated concepts in laymen’s terms will better accomplish this goal.
The Bottom Line: Keep it simple. Use language your potential clients can easily understand.
3. Be Yourself Without Breaking Compliance Rules
Many financial advisers let fear get the best of them when marketing themselves online. But it’s entirely possible to let your personality shine through without breaking compliance rules.
A simple way to do this is by sharing your story.
One of the biggest obstacles advisers face when trying to attract clients is building trust. Perhaps more than any other industry, trust is incredibly important in the financial sector. Sharing your story can help foster that trust, and social media is a great platform for storytelling.
Engage with your followers and don’t be afraid to be yourself. But do be aware of compliance laws and keep them in mind at all times.
Remember, anything that you like, favorite or re-tweet online can be perceived as an “endorsement,” as per the FINRA’s Regulatory Notice 10-06. Many advisers are now placing disclaimers in their social media account profiles to avoid confusion. These disclaimers clearly state that the content shared or the actions taken on the account may not reflect the views of the employer.
And while we’re on the topic of compliance, make sure that you retain records of all communications online, including social media and email, and include proper disclaimers whenever you promote.
All communications should be clear and fair – never misleading. If an adviser is promoting a financial investment, it must be clearly identified as an advertisement.
4. Focus On Growing Your Email List
Like with most other businesses, your email is one of the most valuable marketing assets you have.
Part of what makes email communication so appealing is that it’s personal, which makes it the ideal platform for building trust with potential clients.
According to DMA’s Client Email Report 2015, email delivers an ROI of $38 for every dollar spent. That’s a 24.93% increase over the company’s report in 2013.
But for email marketing to be effective, you must use it properly and you must ensure that you remain compliant. Offering valuable financial information to your list in a way that doesn’t break compliance laws will allow you to build trust with potential and current clients. The more trust you build, the more likely they’ll be to start or continue using your services.
Online marketing is essential for financial advisers, but getting started can be intimidating and overwhelming. Use the tips above to get your feet wet and expand your strategies as you become more comfortable with the process.
George is the CEO of Expat Group Limited, based in Hong Kong.