Six Reasons Your 2021 Marketing Plan Will Fail
As an advisor and business owner, you know that growing a client list and generating continuous leads relies on a strategic marketing plan.
But traditional marketing strategies won’t cut it anymore. The digital shift in marketing demands you double-down on a niche and a specialty.
If we learned anything in 2020, it’s that avoiding adapting to digital is the number one reason why most marketing strategies fail. But successful firms understand the growth of their client list is related to the quality of their online presence.
Nobody wants to make mistakes when it comes to their marketing efforts. But the best part about digital marketing is that mistakes are, for the most part, rectifiable.
As we head into the new year, I want to set you up for marketing success. I rounded up the six key reasons your marketing strategy will fail in 2021 and how to avoid them:
1. Your website needs an update
There’s plenty of competition for advisors – even more so online. To stand out, you need to have a strong first impression.
Your website is your first impression.
As your first line of communication, your website should exceed visitor expectations and clearly tell the story of why they should choose to partner with you.
There are a few things every website should do to create a great first impression:
1. Responsive: A large portion of leads come from mobile devices. But just because your website looks great on desktop, doesn’t mean it’s formatting well on mobile. Make sure your site is not only mobile responsive but optimized for mobile users. Condensing the desktop format is responsive, but not optimized. Optimization means establishing a unique layout for mobile users.
2. Easy to navigate: A convoluted sitemap is frustrating. Clear navigation, links, copy and imagery are necessary if you want an effective and enjoyable website
3. Elements that drive conversion: Reducing concern and answering problems is the best way to increase conversion rates. A study we conducted at Twenty Over Ten last year proved that advisors who had a calendar link on their website received between six and 11 more clients per year. Incorporating a meeting scheduling software on your website is one of the easiest, low-hanging fruit ways to drive conversions making it easy for your visitors to take the next step with you.
Forward Thinking Wealth Management is a great example of this. Its homepage welcomes visitors with very specific messaging for its niche: sales professionals. Its website is also easy to navigate and contains multiple resources to promote lead conversion including a prominent “schedule a meeting” call-to-action.
2. You’re not investing in local SEO
It’s an ever-present buzzword, but SEO is necessary for successful online marketing.
Successful advisor SEO relies on two factors:
1. Specific keywords
What terms could you use? Is it retirement, investment advice, financial advisor or financial planner? The more precise your topic, the more attention you’re able to turn towards the exact needs of your potential clients. Specificity differentiates your services and exhibits a sense of authority.
Local SEO lets Google and other search engines know where you’re located. Search engines often recognize that someone who is going to Google and conducting a search is looking for geographically relevant results. And by focusing on location, you limit competition and answer user intent, making your website appear in more search engine result pages (SERPs).
One of my clients, Eudaimonia Wealth, invested in a targeted SEO approach and is ranking in the top three results for a local search of “financial planner buffalo ny.”
Successful SEO will produce results like this all the time. In our recent case study with Dream Financial Planning, we reviewed how they were able to increase organic traffic by 200% in one year by focusing its SEO efforts on localization and their niche.
3. Your calls-to-action fall flat
Calls-to-action are more than a button or line of text. But effective CTAs incorporate an entire landing page and leverage some of the best conversion techniques from web design.
Asking a prospect to call or schedule an appointment is a great start. But you should explain the process, demonstrate how easy it is. Provide a breakdown to show visitors what they can expect when working with you.
Clarity counteracts concerns.
Once your prospect is comfortable, make the next step easy. CTA buttons and links should take them directly to your calendar or contact page, where they can fill out their contact information.
Highball Advisors’ niche market is professionals in the railroad industry. See a theme here? Sometimes the success of your CTA is not all about what the button itself says but rather the overall theme and attention-grabbing nature of your website’s homepage.
4. Your content strategy is lacking or non-existent
Content is the heartbeat of any digital marketing strategy. It’s about creating valuable, educational, attention-grabbing material.
But what makes content valuable?
Valuable content answers a question or solves a problem. It could be a webinar or a blog post of resources. To guarantee value, content should be:
1. Up-to-date: Outdated information is no longer valuable, especially in an industry that changes rapidly. Make sure to update and maintain your content.
2. Entertaining: Readers will often discover content through a search, a link or on social media. So, making your content enjoyable is important. It helps improve the reader experience, increases the likelihood of being shared, and reduces reader fatigue and bounce rate.
3. Educating: The information you provide should teach readers something new. Not only will repeated information have more competition, but many readers will not consider it valuable.
4. Free: Most of your content will be in the first chapter of the buyer’s journey. Providing valuable information for free can help make your website an authority on a topic and draws more eyes to your services.
If you’re concerned with running out of ideas for content, then look at the typical questions your clients ask you. Content can be created by answering their biggest concerns and interests with value.
5. You’re not leveraging email properly
Email remains one of the most successful methods for communicating with both clients and prospects. It acts as a reminder and a direct point of contact.
Be cautious though – no one likes getting too many emails. According to HubSpot, over half of prospects unsubscribe because you’re sending too many emails (some describe this as more than one email per day, while others describe it as more than one email per week). A good rule of thumb is to make your email newsletter weekly and send extra emails as you see fit.
Optimize your subject line and sending address and, as most emails will be opened or ignored based on these factors. In fact, 47% of email recipients decide to open an email based on the subject line alone. Make sure your subject lines evoke a sense of curiosity, be empathetic and personalize, personalize, personalize.
Lastly, your email content should helpful and not overly promotional. Instead of trying to make your newsletters and other emails as a space to persuade prospects into becoming clients, utilize it as a place to share your expertise. You can mention the services you provide, but don’t make it the primary focus of every email blast.
6. You don’t have a social media presence
In 2021, social media is non-negotiable.
Advisors need to be on social media.
And yes, contrary to popular belief – advisors really do get new clients from social media.
Social is one of the best ways to grow your firm online organically. And unlike email or search – social media requires a unique approach.
First, you don’t need to be on every single social media platform. The best way to decide what platforms to spend your time and efforts on is to look at who is using which platforms. Knowing the demographics of each channel will help a great deal to ensure your exposing your brand to your target audiences.
Social media strategy is most effective if you post regularly, ideally every day. Keeping the idea generation flowing gets hard, even for the most experienced social media content specialists. If you want to grow your digital presence yet struggle to come up with ideas consistently, consider these seven examples of financial advisors taking their businesses to social media.
Your 2021 marketing plan must look a lot different than your 2020 strategy did – like a lot. And if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that even the best plans can fail as the landscape changes. Think long-term, set goals and have a purpose.
Samantha Russell is the chief marketing and business development officer at Twenty Over Ten (a digital marketing and website development company for financial advisors). Samantha helps financial advisors create digital marketing strategies that produce explosive growth through website development, content marketing, SEO, social media and video.