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Looking for More Revenue from Sophisticated Clients in 2019? Ungate Your Content

Do you want to increase revenue for your financial advisory firm in 2019? Of course you do! If you’re aiming to get more from high-net-worth families with complex planning needs, then it’s time to ungate your content.

What do I mean by ungate? I mean that it’s time to get your marketing content out from behind your contact forms and share it freely with your prospects and centers of influence.

Let me ask you three questions:

  1. How many leads are you generating through gated content?
  2. How many of those leads are high-net-worth families?
  3. How many of those families convert to clients?

If you are pursuing a retail-driven strategy, then gated content will serve you well. You can put guides, white papers and checklists behind contact forms. Prospects on the lower end of the net-worth spectrum will trade their contact information for your content.

But what about people at the higher end of the income spectrum? They value their privacy. Nothing you can offer is worth giving away their identity to a stranger.

Develop a Marketing Touchpoint Mix

If gated content won’t drive revenue from high-net-worth families, then what will? Developing relationships with their other trusted advisers and plan on working your way toward your ideal clients through these advisers, who serve as centers of influence (COI). To do this, you will need a strong marketing touchpoint mix designed for a cohesive user experience.

What does a strong marketing touchpoint mix include?

  • Pitch deck. Your pitch deck should cover who you are, who you help and how you help. Create a tailored version for COI meetings that speaks to how you help shared clients.
  • Make it as simple as possible for prospects and COIs to learn about you and your firm. A positive experience with your website that is consistent with your other materials can greatly increase the perceived professionalism of your firm.
  • Social media. For most firms, this will be the use of LinkedIn to maintain connections with COIs. Publishing your blog content here is an easy way to stay top of mind and demonstrate content cohesion.
  • Email marketing. Create a consistent, ongoing touchpoint with your COIs by producing an informative, relevant and valuable email newsletter.
  • Events and sponsorships. Present your firm in event programs and sponsorship materials in the same manner that you do across other platforms.
  • Webinars, guides and expert-level content. This is the content that should be readily available. An acceptable bridge to cross is a registration form for a webinar. Beyond that, make it very easy for prospects and their trusted advisers to quickly see these demonstrations of your expertise.

How do you make this happen? There are two ways:

  • Build a cohesive brand voice. Develop a voice for the firm that captures the spirit of its relationship-oriented business and the firm’s focus on helping people. Work with members of the firm to identify key characteristics for the firm’s brand voice. Define target client types so that your marketing touchpoint plan can be designed accordingly.
  • Develop an ongoing marketing touchpoint plan. Establish a content calendar to ensure consistent publication of marketing materials across your website, blog, email and social media. Align the calendar with your community initiatives or sponsorships. Include timely supporting materials in your plan, such as an annual financial planning guide or a market outlook, so that these are available for COI and prospect meetings.

Why is Content Cohesion Important?

When you target more sophisticated clients, retail lead generation tactics won’t work. The gate between you and the high-net-worth client is not a contact form, it’s the client’s centers of influence. You need to break through that gate by showing COIs that you are the best fit for their clients.

Your marketing content must pull double duty, since the ideal outcome is that the COI shares your material with the client by way of introduction. Therefore, your content must be cohesive across all touchpoints.

When the COI shares your email newsletter with the client, the look and feel of it should match your website because the client will visit the site to vet you. At the pitch meeting, your deck must align with both pieces to further demonstrate your high degree of professionalism.

But What if You Don’t Have the Time?

For many advisers, the time demands of a sophisticated marketing touchpoint plan will be more than they or their in-house staff have capacity to handle. Firms are facing increased pressure to implement new technology platforms, streamline operations to protect profit margins and find growth opportunities through mergers and acquisitions. An experienced professional services marketing firm can help you stay on track and find ways to increase your firm’s revenue in 2019.

Editor’s note: Our July 2018 marketing cover story discussed how when looking for a marketing firm, it’s best to interview several firms and choose the person who shares your visions and goals and who is also a good fit. See that article here.

Katie Gilmore

Katie Gilmore is the founder and CEO of KSGilmore Consulting LLC, a content marketing firm specializing in professional services. She has more than 15 years of experience in marketing, leading teams of creative professionals to support clients’ business development objectives. Prior to founding KSGilmore Consulting LLC in 2015, she served as director of marketing and business development at Ice Miller LLP. Gilmore is past-president of the board of directors of AMA Indy, the Indianapolis chapter of the American Marketing Association. You can email her at katie@ksgilmore.com.

 

 


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To Succeed with Content Marketing, Get Out of the Financial Planning Business

Many advisers I talk to feel frustrated by content marketing. “I’m on LinkedIn,” they tell me. “I publish a post once or twice a week. We wrote a blog post last month. But it feels like a waste of time. What are we doing wrong?”

If this sounds familiar, let me offer some advice. First, publishing pieces of content for the sake of publishing content on social media or a blog is not content marketing. Yes, you created content and yes, you hit a publish button—but unless these actions take place within the framework of a larger strategy, they won’t do anything for you.

Second, even consistently creating and sharing lots of content may not be enough to get you results (and certainly doesn’t count as a strategy). This is where many advisers throw up their hands and walk away from the idea of content marketing.

And that might actually be the right move for you to make.

The Problem with Content Marketing: Expectations vs. Reality

Many advisers bring the wrong expectations to the idea of content marketing—or fail to understand what it is and how it works. Many firm owners think “we’ll publish a blog post or two a month. That’s content marketing!”

Only, no, I’m sorry to say, but it isn’t.

Content marketing is the process of creating high-quality, unique content that communicates your value and specific message to a specific group of people. It’s the process of providing information, insights and ideas to those who want to dive into a topic that you speak on as an authority and an expert in that particular domain of knowledge.

This is why writing a blog post on “how to do a backdoor Roth conversion,” publishing it on your blog, then posting the link to that blog on LinkedIn doesn’t work. It fails to fulfill the duties that true content marketing carries out:

  • It’s not high-value content, because almost every single adviser with a blog has already written this exact article (not to mention all the articles on the topic provided by major publications like MONEY or Forbes).
  • It doesn’t communicate your value, because again, any halfway decent adviser should be able to tell you how to do a Roth conversion. This doesn’t speak to anything about what makes you unique or different if it simply lists out the “how-to” steps of the process.
  • It doesn’t provide a specific message to a specific group of people. In fact, it’s essentially the opposite: it’s a generic message that could apply to literally millions of people.

Content marketing requires a commitment to creating excellent, high-quality, useful, valuable and impactful content that your target audience wants to read.

This is not something you can dabble in and see success from. Nor, if we’re being honest, is this something that anyone can do (or at least, not something anyone can do well). If content creation—writing blog posts, creating videos, recording a podcast, etc—is not your strong suit, you might want to explore alternative strategies and tactics for your marketing.

Similarly, if you’re not willing to learn how to execute a successful content marketing campaign or you feel unwilling to dedicate real resources to your team members who are responsible for creating content, this probably isn’t for you either.

You should only commit to using content to market your business if you’re all in; if you’re willing to devote the time and energy required to develop content worth consuming. Otherwise, you’re only adding to the noise while failing to serve as a signal—and that doesn’t help anyone, including your own business.

The reality is this: to succeed with modern marketing, there needs to be at least a segment of your business that acts not as a financial planning firm, but as a publishing company.

How to Win the Content Marketing Game: Become a Publishing Company

I’ve started to frame the issue this way to advisers who ask me about the time and energy commitments you must make to use content successfully. If you want to get the most from your content marketing efforts, pretend a tiny publishing company exists under the umbrella of your firm.

A true publishing company exists to sell what it publishes. Book publishers want to sell books. Magazines and newspapers want to sell more magazines and newspapers. TV and radio stations want to sell their shows by getting more viewers and better ratings, and therefore more advertising dollars.

Publishing companies succeed when they create the kind of content that viewers, readers and listeners want to consume so much that either they’ll pay for it or they’ll tolerate interruptions to it in the form of advertisements.

You can do the same and create content that specific audiences want so badly that they’d miss it if it wasn’t there. Only, in your case, the goal is not to sell the content (either to consumers or advertisers). The ultimate goal is to have your audience ask for more—and that’s when you can offer them your service.

But producing that kind of content—content that’s valuable, unique, can’t-get-it-anywhere-else, interesting and engaging—requires serious work and effort. Writing another blog post about a Roth conversion will not leave anyone on the edge of their seats begging you for more. Making this mindset shift may also help you understand that content campaigns are not small or simple endeavors. They’re big undertakings when you do them right.

The other thing to consider about publishing companies is that every single one of them does more than distribute information. They make new ideas accessible. They expand perspectives. They spin and share stories.

Rarely does a publishing company that simply peddles the same information already widely available succeed. They must constantly find new ways to create engaging content that resonates with a specific target market, whether in the form of ratings, subscribers or book sales—or they’ll fail.

None of this is to suggest you should shut down your firm and start a newspaper instead. But what I do suggest is that, if you want to enjoy greater success with content marketing, you need to consider your firm as more than just a business that offers financial and investment advice.

Start looking at a segment of your firm as a tiny publishing company tasked with making the ideas, beliefs and values that fuel your financial planning and investment management philosophies widely accessible to your target audience—and having that target audience eagerly come back looking for more.

By doing so, you’ll better position yourself to succeed with your content—or at the very least make it clearer that this isn’t the best marketing approach for you to explore. And knowing what isn’t right for you is often even more valuable than understanding what makes a good fit.

KaliHawlk
 Kali Roberge is the founder of Creative Advisor Marketing, an inbound marketing firm that helps financial advisers grow their businesses by creating compelling content to attract prospects and convert leads. She started CAM to give financial pros the right tools to build trust and connections with their audiences, and loves helping advisers find authentic ways to communicate in a way that resonates with the right people.


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6 Steps to Take ASAP After Your Content Goes Viral

Your firm just received a big shoutout in a major publication, and traffic to your site is spiking. How do you make the most of it? Take these six steps if you go viral when you least expect it.

“My article/post/video/project went viral! …now what?”

I have seen some variation of this question over and over again since I’ve been working in the financial advisory space.

It’s the marketing lottery: you randomly put out a piece of content here or there. Maybe a fired-up tweet. An inspired post. A well thought out article that the editor for MarketWatch agreed to publish.

And then, BOOM. It’s a huge press hit and it feels like the Internet—or at least a relevant part of it—is going crazy for this piece of content that you created. This is your 15 minutes of Internet fame. You’re in the spotlight. Your firm is the news. Everyone is talking (or tweeting) your name.

And just as soon as it happens, it’s gone. The crickets return and you’re left wondering, “Wait—where did everybody go?”

That’s the normal progression, anyway, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can actually leverage a massive press hit, if you’re proactive instead of reactive.

This Is Why You Need (Ongoing) Content

A steady drumbeat of content will make an enormous difference when you receive a big spike of attention from a press feature or other flow of concentrated attention to your brand.

Without a steady stream of consistent, high-quality content on your site (or on third-party sites, social media, and so on—whatever other channels you use), “going viral” in this sense is just going to be your 15 minutes of fame.

You’ll see an uptick in traffic. You might get a few more inquiries about your services. But that will die down. And it will nosedive fast, because news cycles move quickly. Editors, reporters, influencers and audiences will be quick to move on to the next thing.

And there is always a next thing waiting to nab the spotlight and leave you behind.

This is why you need content marketing. A huge feature or amazing press coverage becomes more “sticky” if you have a strong foundation of content to support it, and a system already in place to:

  1. Capture visitors from increases in web traffic; and
  2. Nurture those contacts over time and stay top of mind for them after their initial curiosity dies down.

But What If Your Huge Press Hit Already Happened?

That’s all well and good if you’re reading this before you received your huge press hit. But what if you’ve come here seeking advice because you’re in the middle of a massive traffic influx thanks to a great feature?

I hate to burst your bubble, but unless you had that content marketing strategy and machine in place, you might be out of luck this time around. Reactivity is not a great tactic when it comes to content marketing and organic PR.

Here’s the to-do item you need to put on your list immediately: Make a quick inbound marketing strategy and then implement it in a way that you can stick with. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, and it doesn’t mean you need to blog once a week or do anything you feel is unsustainable.

What you do need is a steady stream of messaging that publishes to your chosen channels if you want to best leverage future press hits.

How to Make the Most of Your Next Round of PR

Here’s a quick project you can take on this weekend so that you’re prepared for the next round of publicity you may receive: Create a highly optimized landing page that’s intended to convert brand-new site visitors.

These are exactly the people you get from major press coverage: people who have never heard of you before and are seeking more information. They’re coming in because they’re intrigued, but they want to learn more. Meet that need and give them a single, concise explanation of who you help and how you add value via a useful landing page full of compelling copy.

Create that page now! Then, whenever you work with a writer or reporter or member of the press, give them the link to that page (it could be www.YourFirmName.com/Welcome or something similar). If you’re providing quotes for a major story or high-profile publication, make a specific ask that they include the link to your page.

You want to point any potential traffic to a very specific page that gives everything a first-time, new-to-your-brand visitor needs to stay engaged (rather than just bouncing off if they follow a generic link back to your main site).

6 Emergency Measures to Take If You Go Viral Without a Plan

Still, I think most people start asking, “How do I make the most of this press?” after they receive it. If that’s you right now, implement these emergency measures:

  1. Get an opt-in form on your site now. Prioritize an exit intent pop-up, which will help prevent some of that bounce rate attrition. A slide in might work well for visitors who were more engaged, but didn’t reach out to you directly on their own—at least you’ll snag their contact info.
  2. Share your press hit on every channel you can access. Blast it on social media, through email campaigns, in groups you are part of and so on. (Bonus: try using Snip.ly when you share the link!)
  3. Get other people to share your press hit. Can you share this in forums, groups or communities? Who in your contacts or network would benefit from sharing this with their audience? Give them the link and make the ask. Leverage your existing relationships.
  4. Identify other relevant outlets. Reach out to publications or websites where this topic would be relevant and contact their editors with something like, “Just worked on this with [big name journalist who gave you this press hit], here’s the link. I’d love to share more on this topic because I think it’s something your audience would appreciate being made aware of. Can I write an article for you?” or “Would you like to do an interview on this?” or “What’s the best way that I could share my advice with your audience?”
  5. Say thanks to the original source. Send an email to the editor, writer or influencer who initially gave you the press boost and say thanks. Also, offer to help him or her or other reporters they know anytime because you’re passionate about [whatever you got featured on] and really believe in helping people.
  6. Spin your own content off your viral hit. You could summarize the piece and post it to LinkedIn or other social networks (and maybe even boost that post you create with a little bit of ad money). Beyond that, you might want to figure out a way to leverage paid social advertisements around the content that went viral—or find other creative ways to share it broadly.

At the very least, you now have something useful to use when you pitch new stories you hope go viral as well. Whether you’re submitting a speaker submission, podcast guest spot, a guest column or some other big feature, you could include the link to your viral hit as an example of your take on the topic or as proof of how you’re an expert on this subject.

But the bottom line? Don’t just rely on emergency measures. Get a comprehensive marketing strategy in place to make sure you’re proactive about this kind of opportunity moving forward, rather than being forced to be reactive.

Editor’s note: A version of this blog post appeared here

KaliHawlk
 Kali Roberge is the founder of Creative Advisor Marketing, an inbound marketing firm that helps financial advisers grow their businesses by creating compelling content to attract prospects and convert leads. She started CAM to give financial pros the right tools to build trust and connections with their audiences, and loves helping advisers find authentic ways to communicate in a way that resonates with the right people.