I first noticed subtle but perceptible shifts in content consumption a few years ago. The more I deep dived into my email and snail mail data, the more I realized that my prospects and clients had changed their content consumption habits in profound ways.
I found particularly striking changes in the percentage of people who access my content using their phones vs. a computer or tablet. In the old days, most clients and prospects opened emails with their computers. I have discovered that over 50% of my clients and prospects now use smartphones to access emails and other digital content.
(Related: Pandemic Has Changed Advisor–Client Communications for the Long Haul)
Similarly, clients and prospects now expect more interactive content in the form of podcasts, webinars, and online training sessions. The pandemic has ensured that even older, less tech-aware clients are becoming used to meeting virtually. Some clients prefer that method of connecting over in-person meetings, in fact.
The trend toward digital content delivery was already in play long before COVID, and I expect it to become even more firmly established in the future. This shift to digital delivery means that agents and advisors must rethink how they produce marketing and financial education content and how it is distributed.
Here are some trends I see that will impact how agents and advisors attract new prospects and service existing customers. Improving any of these could mean gaining an edge over your less tech-savvy competitors.
The overriding principle here is: Websites must be mobile-friendly.
It’s mind-boggling to me how many advisors and agents either have no website at all or have sites that do not lend themselves to being viewed on smart devices. If you have a website, it must look clean and be easy-to-read on a smartphone or other digital device.
1. Video Is Crucial
Video has moved from being a trendy add-on to an essential component of successful financial marketing. Marketing data firm Limelight publishes an annual “State of Online Video” white paper. Data collected for their 2019 whitepaper showed a dramatic increase in the number of hours Americans spent watching videos online, up nearly 59% from 2016! The report also demonstrated that the age demographic has shifted, with more Boomers and Gen Xers consuming video content than in the past.
Due to habits forever altered by the pandemic, some media experts predict that over 82% of future internet traffic will come from videos. If you are an agent or advisor attempting to stay relevant, you cannot overlook the need for producing excellent video content.
2. They’re Looking for You and AT You
Another huge chunk of global internet traffic comes from search. Getting found on the internet is more complicated than ever. It’s also more crucial than ever. If no one can discover you, your potential to organically generate leads shrivels to ZERO.
If it is easy to find you online, but nothing except inaccurate or damaging information appears, your business could grind to a halt. People are watching you and checking your background before they decide to do business.
Most internet searchers place a high value on and what others say about you and your business. Establishing an online presence and maintaining your digital reputation are the two things that can help you the most when it comes to client acquisition and retention. Fortunately, they are also two of the most efficient and least expensive ways to enhance your marketing efforts.
3. Other Content-Creation Methods to Know About
Other methods of creating content and lead “magnets” may be attractive to financial professionals. These include blog posts, podcasts, and videocasts, automated webinars, digital downloads such as whitepapers and flipbooks, surveys, and financial calculators. Any of these are useful in either your drip campaign or as a part of consistent client engagement.
The important thing is to keep your business from becoming become stale or irrelevant as the world turns increasingly virtual. New technologies, tools, and methods will, if properly executed, propel your financial services practice to greater efficiency and prosperity than ever before.