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Advisors: Learn to Market to your Future Investors

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Millennials are stereotyped to be lazy, entitled, cynical, and glued to our phones (some would call us the “selfie generation”). Others perceive Millennials to be open-minded, engaged and optimistic. As a Millennial, I see this generation as a group of individuals that are driven, daring, opportunistic, and so much more. So, as a Financial Advisor, why should you care?

  • Millennials are the most educated generation (in American history) with over 63% of Millennials earning a Bachelor’s degree (Aabaco)
  • By 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers globally will be Millennials (Aabaco)
  • Millennials make up one third of the workforce (Aabaco)
  • We are worth over one trillion dollars in purchasing power (Bazaar)
  • By 2018, Millennials will have the most spending power of any generation (Bazaar)

As a Financial Advisor, ignoring the Millennial generation means that you are ignoring future and current investors. The future of your businesses could very well lie in the hands (and pockets) of the Millennial generation. So, just how do you reach us?

We are mobile

Whether it’s email, social media, applications, or most importantly web browsing, the smartphone is more than just a phone for the Millennial generation. 78% of Millennials spend over 2 hours a day using their smartphones (CMO). I personally rely on my smartphone for a lot and as a Millennial, there is nothing more frustrating to me then visiting a website that is not mobile friendly. In fact, 30% of mobile users abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimized for mobile (Mobify). So, what does this mean for you?

If you’re an Advisor that is trying to market yourself online and are targeting Millennials, it is important to adjust to our digital preferences. Providing your audience with a consistent online experience across several devices will help you stand out from other Advisor websites. A positive user experience will help you build trust, and increase the likelihood of a user returning to your website. This is also great for improving your search engine ranking (to expand your digital reach) as well as cultivating a winning brand.

We are social

33% of Millennials identify social media as one of their preferred channels for communicating with businesses. To put that number into perspective, only 5% of those 55 and older agree (MarketingSherpa). Whether it is Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, we love our social media. Gone are the days where direct mail is the best form of marketing, to Millennials.

As an Advisor, some social media platforms are better suited for you and your target audience. LinkedIn, for example, is a great platform to connect with Millennial prospects because they account for 38% (87 million) of LinkedIn’s user base (SocialTimes). LinkedIn recently conducted a comprehensive survey of Financial Advisors and found that 75% of Advisors who gained clients from LinkedIn stated that they use the site to improve their referral network. So, if you’re unsure where to start, LinkedIn is a great first step to grow your advisory firm’s online presence, strengthen and nurture your relationships, and reach more Millennials.

We crave content

Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts than advertisements, and 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites (Hubspot). It is much more rare for someone to make a purchase as a result of a smooth salesperson. Yet, if an expert whom they admire and trust recommends a products or service, they’re sold. Lucky for you, you are an expert in your field. But, do people trust you in the digital space? When building relationships with an online audience, that face-to-face interaction is not there to help build trust. So, how can you get people to trust you in the digital realm?

Keep in mind that more than 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed before a prospect reaches out to you. Nowadays, consumers, particularly Millenials, do extensive research about products and services before choosing which one they are going to go with. Our buying decisions are less influenced by repeated exposure to the same message or brand, but rather built off of conversations and information we receive. In other words, we base our decisions off of the content we are exposed to.

Content marketing is a great way to engage the Millennial generation.  This technique means helping to solve, educate and inform your audience on problems they may be facing through content. By providing prospects and clients with readily available information online, you’re able to build a more trusting and valuable relationship with them. If you were to ask me the benefits of a TFSA compared to an RRSP, I wouldn’t have a clue what to tell you. But, just like a lot of other Millennials, I love to learn and would prefer a Financial Advisor that would not only advise but also educate in a non-salesy way. Let’s say I was in a situation where I was picking between two Advisors: one has a helpful, informative blog that helps to answer some of my questions without having to contact them.  The other Advisor’s website is static with generic content about their business.  As a Millennial, I would definitely pick the Advisor providing informative content on their blog.

 

If you are looking to reach more Millennials, you need to ensure that you have a strong digital presence. Remember that we are mobile, social, and crave content. Get started by checking if your website is responsive, sign up and stay active on at least one social media platform, and start blogging. Millennials make up one third of the workforce and soon enough will be worth over one trillion dollars, so ensuring that you reach us digitally is key to the future success of your Advisory Firm.

How Can Advisors Market to the Millennial Generation?

 

Why Should Advisors Care About the New Buyer Journey?

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In 2012, the Corporate Executive Board performed a study to determine just how much buyer behaviour was affected by digital media. As it turns out, 60% of the sales cycle is completed before a buyer makes first contact with a sales person. What’s happening in that 60%?

Any good buying decision must first start with research. The proliferation of digital media has made content so readily accessible that it’s now possible to do most of your due diligence online without the need to speak to someone to make a buying decision. So, why should you care as an advisor? Well, have you ever walked into a meeting with a client and been put on the spot because your client read something online, pertinent to your business, and spent time trying to correct the conclusion they came to by reading that article? Buyers are becoming more knowledgeable and it’s re-shaping the role of sales and marketing professionals.  Understanding the buyer journey can help you adapt to these changes.

So, just what is the Buyer Journey? A buyer journey consists of the mental stages a buyer experiences before making the purchase of a product or a service. In the financial or insurance advice space, this could be a mutual fund, a specific investment strategy, life insurance premium amounts and so on. There are 3 key stages: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Let’s take a look at each one:

Awareness

This stage isn’t about the awareness of your product or service. The title refers to the awareness of a problem that your buyer is experiencing. For example, let’s say you notice your child’s temperature is very high and experiencing severe stomach pain or, perhaps your client is noticing that their RRSPs aren’t growing at market rates. Buyers in this stage are identifying symptoms of a problem. They don’t know specifically what the problem might be but the symptoms are mentally or physically uncomfortable enough such that it compels them to “figure out” just what is happening.

Consideration

In the consideration phase, the buyer is taking the inputs (i.e. the symptoms) and attempting to identify the problem. In the example above, you might go to a doctor or perhaps read some information online (or offline) and come to the conclusion that your child has the stomach flu. Your client with poor RRSP performance, could take a look at their RRSP portfolio, and identify the fact that one of the funds they’ve invested in is performing poorly and negating the gains of the other investments. A buyer will not move onto the next stage until they’ve gathered enough information and identified the specific problem.

Decision

As you might guess, the decision stage is the point at which a buyer gathers information to make a decision to select the best possible strategy or solution to their problem. Basically, they’re comparing different solutions. Having identified that your child has stomach flu, you’re next likely behaviour would be to try to find solutions that help relieve the symptoms of the virus (or, if you haven’t seen a doctor yet, going to see a doctor could also be an option). The most likely scenario with your client would, for example, involve selling that fund and either re-investing their savings it into an existing fund or perhaps investing the savings into a brand new fund or perhaps GIC. Buyers in this stage are collecting alternatives and options that they can choose from to solve their problem and will move onto the final stage which involves the purchase decision.

A good understanding of your buyer’s journey can help you adapt to the changing buyer and help increase the trust you have with clients. Increasing the trust you have with clients creates leads, opportunities and incremental revenue.

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 What would your buyer’s journey look like?  How can you create content to follow that buyer’s journey?  Stay tuned for Part 2 which will focus on leveraging the buyer journey to increase your AUM.

How to Drive Sales Using the Customer Buyer Journey