Why Financial Advisers' websites are the weak link in their client proposition – and how one IFA grasps the Social Media nettle with ease
Increasing numbers of financial advisers tell me that they only want to attract ‘high quality’ new clients – or at least, clients that are a ‘good fit’ for their business. And that’s fine.
So it’s not surprising that many IFAs and advisers view Social Media with a certain amount of suspicion – the thinking often being that their type of client or ‘high quality’ clients don’t actually use Social Media.
“What if it actually worked?!” asked one financial planner in Bristol. “What if, all of a sudden people start visiting our website and contacting us – what would we do then?”
‘Worked’ is an interesting concept here – his presumption being that Social Media is a tool that’s used to attract new clients. The truth is that very few advisers in the UK actually attract new clients through Social Media, and that’s because the overwhelming majority don’t really understand why they are using Social Media. In short, they don’t have a plan.
In fact, advisers freely admit to us that ‘not having a plan’ is holding them back from making better use of the medium. Almost all financial advisers see Social Media as a vehicle for driving more traffic to their website, yet hardly any advisers know how their website is performing as an asset in their business.
Most advisers are able to give me a pretty accurate figure for the amount of business referred by particular clients or local professional connections, but when put on the spot, most are simply unable to tell me basic information such as:
- How many people visited their website last month
- What percentage of site visitors left without looking at a second page (the ‘bounce rate’)
- Which are the most popular pages on their website
- Where people came from before visiting their site (e.g. search, LinkedIn, the PFS website etc.)
In recent research we carried out with a group of IFAs and advisers, most were shocked to discover that over half of their website visitors left their site without viewing another page – and they had no idea that this was happening because they rarely, if ever looked at their website stats. One IFA in the group discovered that 72% of his website visitors only ever visited the home page.
So you have to ask the question - why do you even have a website in the first place?
There is still a perception that having a website is akin to having (say) a photocopier – you just ‘need’ to have one. But you’d be quick to complain to your supplier if the photocopier broke down every week or didn’t copy satisfactorily. Yet the office photocopier is usually given greater priority in financial advice businesses than their website.
Your photocopier is an asset of your business – and so is your website, so it needs to be treated as such. It has to earn it's place in the business and it needs to support your business objectives. If it isn't, then it needs fixing.
For the most part, financial advisers’ use of the internet and social media is confused, muddled and disorganised. There is no strategy, no structure, no objectives and no mechanism for measurement.
So this makes it all the more easy for IFAs and advisers to see the negatives of the internet and Social Media:
“It’s for sales – I don’t want any more clients”
“I don’t need it because I get referrals”
“Compliance don’t like it anyway”
“I know I should plan it better but I wouldn’t know where to start”
“I don’t know what content to post”
“I’m sceptical about it anyway”
“And because I’m sceptical, I can’t see that I have the time to do Social Media!”
This is a sequence of statements I’ve heard time and time again. Break it down further and it says:
I don’t know how Social Media will help us - I don’t want more of the wrong type of clients > There are people in our business or network who don’t like Social Media > I haven’t got a plan and don’t know where to start > It’s all too time consuming > It doesn't work for us.
It's a self-defeating prophecy, so our mission at LifeTalk is to change this type of thinking, because there are very real benefits to professional advisers using Social Media – when and only when they align it with their business goals.
Let’s take one goal which is pretty common to most advisory firms – that of giving clients a world class, added value service.
This is where Social Media can come into its own, and one strategy could be to use the medium to post content which is stimulating, inspiring, thought-provoking and of value to existing clients. There you see – no mention of attracting new clients at all.
One financial planner I know executes this strategy extremely well. He posts a short blog almost every day and then uses Social Media to highlight it. Links to his blogs are also included in his monthly newsletter to clients. It's a really simple and effective approach.
What’s important is that he doesn’t see the writing of his blogs as time consuming, and that’s because he sees the activity as helping him to achieve one of his key goals – that of adding value to clients. He knows his clients and he knows what content will get their attention, so coming up with daily ideas is easy for him.
So when the activity is aligned to a business goal, it then becomes part of his client proposition – not some add-on activity that he feels he ought to be doing.
This is just one example of aligning Social Media with a financial adviser’s business goals, and at our workshop on 23rd March, you’ll discover several other proven ideas which could be a perfect fit for your business. We’ll even show you a remarkable free tool to help you come up with compelling content to post on Social Media.
Even better - we'll also give you a FREE Social Media Strategy Planner on the day - designed specifically to help IFAs and Financial Advisers to build their plan. Don't miss out!
Bring your colleagues, bring your team – join IFAs and advisers from around the UK and invest in strengthening your client proposition through Social Media.
Author: Philip Calvert
Posted: Thursday, February 23, 2017 | 7:34:54 AM