The concept of marketing and its importance have long been understood by businesses. Simply speaking, the more new customers a business can attract and the more existing customers it can turn into repeat buyers, the better off it will be. While these two core goals have not changed much over time, the methods and strategies by which they are pursued have shifted greatly.
In earlier days, the term “marketing” was synonymous with advertising as depicted by Don Draper, star of the TV series ‘Mad Men’. To make prospective customers aware of their products or services, companies needed to broadcast a message to places they hoped it would be seen. The most common places these messages would be deployed were television, radio, or advertisements printed in a newspaper or magazine. Ideally, this message and its imagery would evoke an emotional connection with consumers who would then make the product their first choice the next time they were in a position to buy.
The arena that marketers operate within today has grown tremendously and with it, the playbook as evolved. Technology has fundamentally changed the way that the general public consumes media. Don Draper would be horrified to learn that a growing number of American consumers do not watch television, listen to the radio, or subscribe to any newspapers or magazines. In spite of these perceived setbacks, marketers know more about their target audiences, and where to find them, than ever before. Marketers are now focused on deploying their messaging along a path that their audience is already walking on their own.
In today’s world, marketing is a major aspect of every business, whether a brand is just getting started or one that’s been around for hundreds of years. At any given moment, there are two general types of marketing that businesses deploy – push and pull.
Push marketing refers to promotion through more traditional channels such as television, print advertising, and direct mail. The idea of push marketing is to proactively get your product or message in front of potential customers as directly as possible, whether they are interested or not. Push marketing is generally used by smaller companies to create as much buzz around their product as imaginable.
Pull marketing is quite simply the opposite of push. Pull marketing means inserting the product or message into a potential customer’s journey contextually, intersecting with a customer at a time when the customer is expressing some signs of interest. This strategy is widely seen in tactics like blogging, social media community building, and Google search advertising.
While both strategies are critical to any business, pull marketing has taken over the world in the last 5 years. Pull marketing is where content really comes into play.
You’ve probably heard the term content marketing, but in case you haven’t, content marketing is the process of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.1 In 2019, content marketing is considered the gold standard in marketing. Why? It’s the most effective way to both drive brand awareness and convert prospects into leads.
74% of companies indicate content marketing is increasing their marketing teams’ lead quality and quantity2
Content marketing is also very cost efficient. In fact, content marketing costs about 62% less than traditional marketing tactics and generates about 3 times as many leads.3 As an Advisor, you may spend thousands of dollars on seminars and events to attract new leads, but in order to attract clients in the digital world we live in, the spotlight may need to shift to content. Here are a few ways you can use it to grow your business.
1. Build a consistent flagship piece
When it comes to your business, it’s likely you have a specific area of expertise. That could be retirement planning, generational wealth transitioning, or maybe you work exclusively with engineers in Idaho. Think about a specific flagship piece that you can develop to consistently bring value to your clients. This flagship piece could be an insightful video, article, or podcast that helps your prospects answer questions or navigate situations. Your flagship piece should not be talking about your product or service but rather provide clients with value through your intellectual capital. Ask yourself: What are the biggest issues my clients and prospects are facing? How can my insight help them navigate this issue? Aim to develop this flagship piece at least once a month or week.
2. Slice-and-dice content for different channels
Once you have the flagship piece created, you will want to continue to deploy it until the next one is ready to go. This is where slicing and dicing becomes so important. Take this article for example; there are a number of stats and text snippets we will take to share through our social media channels and email marketing. While each mini-piece will drive back to this article, it gives us the ability to showcase different highlights for our community. For every flagship piece you create for your clients, develop 3-5 mini pieces of content to ensure you engage your communities regularly.
3. Leverage video to encourage more engagement
Video is one of (if not the most) effective forms of communication in the world at the moment. It’s direct, to the point, and much more engaging that any other medium. In fact, 70% of surveyed brands said that video performs better than other content for producing conversions.4 If you don’t use video as the format for your flagship piece, think about using it for one of your mini-pieces. Video does extremely well on social media, so aim to leverage it when possible. It is particularly powerful in industries like financial services.
4. Create an opt-in newsletter for your prospects
There is nothing worse than getting spam email. We understand it’s a part of the process but moving your email strategy from blasting to nurturing people is the most powerful form of marketing today. It gives you a direct line of communication into potential prospects who have raised their hand for your content. How do you do this? You create a newsletter that people can sign up for online and send them the flagship piece consistently. At the end of the day, this consistent value will result in more loyal and engaged clients.
5. Pull in other experts to help with content
One of the easiest and most effective ways to build flagship pieces is to include experts and interview them as a part or your content strategy. Whether it’s other financial advisors or industry experts, the idea is that pulling these other experts in does three things – 1. Expands the distribution reach as they’ll likely share it with their communities 2. Offers clients new perspectives and opinions on the subject material 3. Helps you create content without having to write anything from scratch, the content writes itself by way of interview.
When developing a content marketing strategy for your business, it’s important to build the infrastructure in order to scale. You can read more about it in our digitizing your practice article. As always, remember to check with your in-house compliance teams to understand what you can and cannot say in marketing communications. You can also visit the FINRA website for guidelines on the reasonable use of digital communication or The Financial Planner Board of Standards for a free guide.