By John Capuano, Co-Founder, Lone Beacon Media
If you knew that your ideal close-to-retirement prospects are spending an average of 19 hours per week online, would you be proud of your efforts to reach them on a digital front? As an advisor in today’s world, it’s crucial not to miss out on opportunities to reach the masses of soon to be retirees (and those who could seriously benefit from your services) by simply ignoring the need for a strong digital presence.
That’s why Wealth Professional spoke to John Capuano, co-founder of Lone Beacon Media, a sales and marketing company dedicated to the independent financial advisory industry, to find out his three simple steps to follow to get into and ahead in the digital game.
“Understanding how to best utilize technology and the digital space can be transformational for your practice,” he said. “Despite our heavy dependence on the internet for almost everything today, most independent advisors still don’t understand the digital space as it relates to their practice. Especially when you consider that baby boomers, particularly the high net worth, are extremely active online, a need for a digital revival can be critical in dramatically increasing client acquisition and revenue. Sitting on the sidelines of the digital world should not be an option for successful independent advisors in the digitally dependent world of today.
“With relatively little effort, our advisors have consistently been able to close one or two new leads per week, and one or two new cases per month thanks to the utilization of some simple digital strategies. In fact, it’s not unusual to directly add $1 million per month in investable assets seamlessly via a thoughtful digital campaign.”
So how is it done? According to Capuano, there are three simple steps that should be followed: the first focusing on your website and social media presence.
“The first is your store front – and in the digital world that’s your website,” he said. “Your website is usually not the first exposure that prospects have to your firm. They’ll visit your site to size you up after they have been referred to you, or they might visit your site after they’ve attended a meeting or seminar. In either case, your website and social media are ways that prospects make their decisions.
“Remember that people buy emotionally and justify logically—your digital presence helps you with both. Knowing that a prospect compares your site to four competitors (likely more) during the selection process, will yours stand out above the rest?
“Pick the three biggest competitors in your market and visit their sites and social media pages. How comfortable would you feel if a prospect compared you with those competitor’s websites? Not all prospects make their decision on this basis, but plenty of high-net-worth and digitally savvy prospects will.”
From there, Capuano suggests that email is a vital component in reaching your potential clients.
“A well-produced e-Blast can have a much higher response rate than snail mail, and success can be tracked instantly,” he said. “According to Constant Contact, the average open rate for content from financial advisors is about 16 per cent and the click-through rate is about 10 per cent. So, this means that when a 10,000 person list is deployed, about 1,600 people open the email, and about 160 click-through.
“Compare that to a snail mail benchmark of about one per cent (Inc. Magazine) where 100,000 mailers, on average, would yield a return of 100 and for a much higher cost.”
The third step on Capuano’s list is to generate a prospect database – but this he admits will take time and effort.
“Look at your prospect list as seedlings; it takes a lot of work to plant the seeds, but it takes even more to nurture them until they grow. Most independent advisors spend a lot of time gathering and planting leads, but don’t spend enough time or have the patience to nurture them. The result: a lot of dead seeds. It becomes frustrating for the advisor and the process of the ‘bad farmer’ continues.
“Take the time to generate thoughtful emails to your entire client base—this is economies of scale at its best. Spend time to ensure they receive a consistent message with meaningful content. It begins with a compelling subject line and a simple and concise message that can provide a solution to a problem with a strong call to action.
“Generally speaking, we see about a 30 per cent open rate and a 15 per cent click through rate. So, for every one of the current 1,000 prospects that receive your email, about 300 will open it and 45 will click through. In real time we can see the names of the leads that click through to your site and the pages they visit. This allows our advisors to reach out to those who are most engaged in an optimally timely manner, helping to ensure a higher probability that these prospects remain interested and become clients.”
Above all, Capuano believes that while it can be overwhelming to explore all the elements associated with digital success, the key is to not be overly ambitious and to simply be practical.
“We believe that the best and most practical use of an interactive presence is as much about overall prospect and current client engagement as it is about prospect acquisition,” he said. “By applying these three simple steps, you’ll not only legitimize your digital presence and widen your prospect reach, but you’ll optimize your marketing efforts in a way that brings you closer to servicing the needs of your ideal client base and those who have the most to gain from your services.”
John Capuano is Co-founder of Lone Beacon Media, a sales and marketing company dedicated to the independent financial advisory industry.