Has the virtual sales environment challenged you to find new ways of prospecting? Are you acquiring leads from any of your digital efforts? And if you are, are you struggling to convert them into clients?
In our latest Rainmaker Multiplier OnDemand podcast episode, Jason L Smith sat down with Robert Sofia, CEO of Snappy Kraken, an automated marketing solution for advisors looking to get and make more meaningful client connections.
Marketing in the financial services space has long been a unique challenge to solve. With the world going mostly online after March 2020, a new set of obstacles was introduced, and advisors had to give up their more traditional, in-person approaches to start developing digital strategies.
A lot of advice started popping up all over the internet – write more blogs, start a podcast, communicate through video, etc. Even if these tactics worked, however, many advisors are still challenged with working them into a complete marketing and lead-generation strategy. Robert points out that this is the biggest marketing mistake advisors continue to make.
“And when I say complete strategy, what I mean by that is literally an end-to-end process for acquiring new contacts, nurturing those contacts until they’re ready to actually have a meaningful dialogue with you like an appointment or a real conversation, and then a sales process for converting them into clients.”
Nurturing contacts seems to be a step that’s particularly challenging for advisors, but unless all your new clients are coming to you via referrals, this step could be the most important to reconceptualize and re-strategize. Below are six actionable steps you can take, as discussed in this week’s podcast.
Stop Thinking Tactically
Many advisors tend to think tactically. Pre-COVID, the main tactic for getting new clients was seminars and workshops. Not surprisingly, when the ability to fill seminars and workshops went away, the solution for many was to brainstorm replacement tactics.
Robert explains, “The tendency is to think tactically, like, ‘Oh, I heard I should be doing more video.’ So they start doing video. Or, ‘I heard I should do a podcast,’ so they do a podcast… but not thinking about where those things fit in that overall strategy, which audience they’re right for, at which phase of that journey, etc.”
What many advisors end up with then is a very disconnected marketing strategy with a lot of gaps. This can hurt your nurturing efforts with new contacts because it does not translate as a cohesive, end-to-end process. New contacts need clear direction and a focused stream of incoming information based on where they are in their specific journey.
Adjust Your Expectations
If the biggest marketing mistake is failing to have a complete strategy, the second biggest mistake is probably the expectations advisors set around the outcomes of that strategy. Especially for advisors who are used to living off referrals or packing large rooms for in-person seminars, the slower pace of digital nurturing can make you feel impatient and even, initially, hopeless.
Robert explains, “When you’re dealing with the modern buyer, the modern consumer, the modern investor, and the way they do business, and the level of effort and contact that has to happen to build trust over time and convert, the reality of that is much different than what a lot of advisors think.”
Consumers these days have access to more information and more options than ever. That means the process of standing out, gaining trust, and closing a client will often take more than one or two meetings.
Use Online Marketing to Build Longer-Term Trust
With online marketing, don’t just adjust your expectations around longer-term nurturing, use it to your advantage. Consumers go online looking for answers to specific questions. Advisors who are in touch with consumers’ pain points can leverage those pain points to anticipate the kinds of solutions potential new clients will be seeking.
When framed properly, advisors can drive more new contacts to their digital content, and with the right “magnets” they can get them opted into a process where you now have a chance to build credibility and trust over time. As people start acclimating to your content as their go-to resource for solutions, that will only increase their desire and their need to work with you.
According to Robert, “people with significant wealth are also slower to trust. And that’s why referrals work so well, there’s trust there. But if it’s cold, you have to be able to build that trust successfully in an automated fashion online.”
Automate Your Marketing
Once you’ve started building your collection of digital resources, you’ll want to get those resources in front of potential new clients as consistently and as often as possible. Some prospects who are further along in their journey may convert after just one or two emails. However, effective nurturing of prospects who aren’t even sure of their needs could require more and longer-term exposure.
Working with a company like Snappy Kraken, advisors can strategize a nurturing approach that accounts for all the most critical questions you need to ask yourself, but may not know how to answer: How do I segment my audiences? Which content should go to which audience, and when? What is the right delivery method and cadence? Etc.
Once your nurturing strategy is determined, Snappy Kraken will help you automate the execution as well. One of the challenges of digital marketing for advisors is how complex and time-consuming it can become. Automating your marketing eliminates that concern.
Have a CRM
The success of an automated marketing plan relies on the amount and the quality of the contacts you are getting. You can’t nurture leads if you don’t have any leads to nurture.
For advisors who don’t have a robust database of leads already, Snappy Kraken can help you build out your contacts. However, even for advisors who do, Snappy Kraken can still help you handle those leads more meaningfully and efficiently.
An effective nurturing campaign requires a quality and organized management system that tracks and tags contacts at each step of their journey with you. A brand-new contact will have different needs than a contact you’ve already been nurturing for a few months. Likewise, a contact who comes to you via a blog post may be at a different point in their journey than one who has already paid for and attended a workshop or seminar.
A quality automated marketing strategy will rely on the kind of organization that only a sophisticated CRM can provide.
Have a Proven Process
When strategizing lead-nurturing content for your prospects, make sure your own value-add is always front and center. Blog posts, podcasts and emails are great opportunities to share your knowledge around consumers’ specific pain points and questions, but think bigger too, to showcase how your expertise is different and how the experience of working with you will be different.
Perhaps the biggest reason clients don’t move forward with advisors is uncertainty. When you are nurturing prospects, you can quell that uncertainty and build trust by showing them that your planning process works and that it’s proven to work time and time again.
The Bucket Plan is a proven, turnkey financial planning process for holistically gathering data, documenting findings, and delivering asset-positioning strategies in your clients’ best interests. The Bucket Plan not only differentiates your business from other advisors’ businesses, it also helps your prospects understand their path and the progress they’re going to make as you take them through your financial planning process.