It’s a popular approach, even in this age of email and social media.
Just about any day, someone who is in or near retirement checks their mailbox and finds a friendly invitation to a free dinner where they can learn more about Social Security or how to protect their savings.
These types of mailings have long been favored by financial professionals trying to reach out to potential clients. But nearly two decades into the 21st century, are too many advisors stuck in the past when it comes to marketing – and failing to embrace the digital-marketing world?
“It’s understandable that direct mail has been a time-honored way to invite people to these dinner seminars,” says Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing.
“But it’s more efficient to make sure your message finds people where they spend a good part of their time. And more and more, that’s on their computers, their tablets and their smartphones.”
Of course, when it comes to marketing, those dinner seminars aren’t the only place where many financial professionals are still tethered to their old ways, he says. While some have quickly adapted to digital marketing, others have been more reluctant to part ways with their long-time strategies.
“The most dangerous thing I hear financial professionals say is ‘digital marketing is the future,’ ” Musgrave says. “No. Digital marketing is now. For example, advertisers globally spent more on digital advertising than any other medium in 2017, displacing television at the top of the chart for the first time ever.”
He says a few key points for financial professionals to ponder include:
- Compliance issues aren’t the stumbling block you think. “Compliance may be the No. 1 thing that holds advisors back from using digital marketing in their business,” Musgrave says. “But it is possible to leverage this tool in your practice while making your compliance department happy.” The trick for advisors who are fearful of compliance is to make sure they’re working with a digital-marketing firm that understands that the messages need to be compliance friendly, even as they engage people and turn them into clients.
- Your target audience can be found on social media. Financial professionals aim much of their marketing at Baby Boomers, all of whom are nearing retirement or already in it. Social media, and especially Facebook, can be a powerful vehicle for marketing to the Boomers, Musgrave says. “Facebook is the primary way Baby Boomers interact with content online, so it’s critical that financial professionals understand how to leverage it in their business,” he says.
- There definitely is method behind social-media marketing. Anyone can create a profile or page on social media, but not everyone is good at making the best use of social media as a marketing tool. “Facebook has totally changed how advertisers are able to segment audiences on their platform,” Musgrave says. “Without experience or guidance, most advertisers won’t be able to leverage the thing that makes their platform special – laser-focused targeting.”
- Educationally based messages are the key to getting traction with social media advertising. While plenty of goods are sold on Facebook, it’s not primarily an e-commerce platform, Musgrave says. “The reason people are addicted to social is to see what’s new,” he says. “What’s new with their friends? What’s new in the news? What’s new with brands they like? When you position yourself as an educator, you’re the one telling them what’s new. This is a powerful paradigm shift to make, and it’s a critical part of direct-response marketing on a social platform.”
“If you keep kicking the digital can down the road in your practice,” Musgrave says, “by the time you catch up to it again, your competitors will have already passed you.”
About Jonathan Musgrave
Jonathan Musgrave is the owner and chief digital marketer for Steep Digital Marketing, which he founded in 2017. Musgrave got his start in the direct mail business, using his communication skills to craft powerful marketing messages that reached more than 1,000,000 households each month. He’s started his own wholesaling company that brought digital marketing tools to the financial advisor space for the first time in 2013 that were responsible for doubling sales for three consecutive years.