The tech and digital sectors are environments where evolution is constant. Emerging trends continue to turn a variety of business functions on their heads, and nowhere more so than in the sphere of digital marketing.
The world over, the financial advice market is facing a variety of challenges. New online services are appearing overnight, for both good and ill – some help businesses deliver an enhanced or expanded level of service, while others are seen to be in direct competition with traditional advisory services.
All this is against a backdrop of global financial challenges, an ever-growing range of alternative investment options, more knowledgeable and exacting financial advice clients, greater competition joining the market, and, to top it all, more stringent and costly regulatory requirements.
Here, we assess some of these most recent digital marketing trends and how they are affecting the way financial advisers are marketing themselves and their services.
Pay Per Click and AdWords
Paid search marketing or PPC (pay per click) via tools such as Google AdWords is nothing new and has been around for a number of years. However, its importance in the financial advice market is beginning to take on a whole new shape and size as a means of gaining new financial advice leads and clients.
One of the most important things to understand about PPC marketing in the finance sector is that financial keywords show a strong seasonality.
At the beginning of the year, the majority of searches are on savings and looking to the future, while as Christmas approaches, there is a shift towards searches about credit. There are other specific spikes throughout the year, for example on tax advice in February and March, or school fees in August.
When a PPC campaign is unsuccessful, it is typically because a business has thrown some money at it, stepped back, failed to see immediate results and given it up as a bad job. In any business, making PPC a successful channel requires ongoing refinement and continuous improvement. The seasonality of the financial advice market makes this consideration doubly important here. Lead Tech have specialist expertise in using PPC to generate high-quality financial advice leads.
UX drives CRO
Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a core measure of digital marketing success in the financial services sector and when it comes to financial advice lead generation. There is a growing wealth of evidence that user experience (UX) has a direct impact on conversion rates, meaning a shift in emphasis when it comes to web design.
The traditional approach across the financial advice sector has been to design online products and tools from the perspective of a financial expert. However, this is starting to change, with design principles being based on user needs and expectations.
Taking design from a UX perspective allows you to frame your products and services in the context of how they can solve your customers’ problems or answer their questions. And when these are all delivered in a user-friendly and robust design that is intuitive to navigate, increased conversions will naturally follow.
Businesses across all sectors are getting wise to the benefits of social media as a digital marketing tool, but there is still a tendency to underestimate just how powerful it can be. Social media platforms are more than just a place where you can advertise your services.
Think about how people use social media – the clue is in the name. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are where people meet, chat, interact and share ideas. Friends and acquaintances who might not see each other face to face from one year to the next meet up on social media all the time.
Leveraging the social aspect of social media is the 21st century equivalent to taking a prospect out for lunch or a cup of coffee. Take time to engage with your friends and followers on social media and you will warm up those leads, creating new financial advice clients and, even more importantly, your very own army of brand ambassadors, who will do more good than any other form of advertising.
One of the most important things for any financial adviser to generate is a sense of trust with potential clients – social media provides the perfect way for clients to get to know the real you.
Got an app for that?
Whether you want to check your bank balance, your investment portfolio or your latest punt on the forex market, the chances are you will reach for your smartphone in order to do so. Financial transactions of every type are increasingly being undertaken by smartphone apps. The desire to manage finances in this way is increasing across all sectors, and as the millennial generation goes into its 30s and Generation Z into its 20s, the trend will only increase.
There are some in the wealth management world who are a little nervy of going down the app-based wealth management route for fear of cannibalising their own business – but make no mistake, failure to offer these kinds of services will result in a far greater erosion of market share over the course of time.
The key is to offer a blended approach that brings together the speed and convenience of app-based portfolio management while using the unique advisory skills that only you can bring to the table.
Other major trends
The above are some of the most significant developments and trends to be aware of, but there are numerous other things to keep in mind as we go through 2018 and into 2019, including the following:
The impact of emerging technology and whole new sectors, such as cryptocurrency, Blockchain, digital share dealing and so on.
Evolving channels in social media interaction, for example greater focus on video content and live streaming as opposed to simple blog-type posts.
New trends in customer relationship management, for example single customer view.
The challenges brought to the financial services industry by the increased use of digital advisers.
The key thing to keep in mind is that digital marketing and the financial services sector are both in a state of constant development and evolution, so it is essential for your strategy to remain fluid and ready to react to ever-changing trends.