The start of a new year is a natural time for re-evaluating our business processes and deciding if we need new tools to help accomplish our goals. And if the start of the year doesn’t make you reconsider the software your financial advisory firm is using, then tax time definitely will. “We spent how much on shredding last year?!”
So as you evaluate the tools in your RIA firm’s toolbox, we wanted to cover some marketing-specific you should be using – or considering in 2023.
- Google Search Console
- Online Appointment Software
- Robust CRM System – Wealthbox, SalesForce, Advyzon
Google Search Console
We’ll start off small, but mighty. Google has loads of different properties – some of which are being consolidated as it runs into pressure from the U.S. government – but Google Search Console is definitely one you should know if you’re a financial advisor tasked with marketing.
What is Google Search Console? It’s a bit similar to Google Analytics, the treasure trove of data related to your website. While Google Analytics tells you everything you could possibly ever want to know about how visitors interact with your website – how long they stay on a certain page, how many pages they visit, how they engaged – Google Search Console is primarily focused on organic search traffic.
Okay, so what’s organic search traffic? It’s simply people (Google likes to call them users) who punched a word or phrase into Google, scrolled through the results page, and then clicked on your website. And Google Search Console can tell you the myriad words and phrases that people are searching for that ultimately bring them to your site. It’ll also tell you things like:
- Impressions: How many times your site showed up on the search results page and was seen by someone scrolling
- Position: The average rank your site has for a certain word or phrase, i.e. how close to the top your site shows up for a keyword (No. 1 is the top spot)
- Clicks: How many times someone landed on your site based on their search for that keyword, such as ‘financial advisor madison wi’
- CTR: Simply put, the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions
There’s so much you can do within Google Search Console. So what makes it a critical marketing tool for financial advisors? Well, if you’re looking to add clients to your RIA, then you’ll want to make sure people are finding you. Google Search Console can be incredibly useful to help you understand things like local SEO – that is, searches for a financial advisor in someone’s geographic region.
And if you’re an advisor with a niche, Google Search Console can help you see how well you’re capturing that target audience. Are you showing up for searches related to your niche? How high are you ranking on average? And are people clicking on your site when they do make those searches? These are all things Google Search Console can tell you.
Learning new technology is stressful. With all the products Google offers, I often feel like I’m just struggling to keep up with it myself. But the good news is that setting up Google Search Console is fairly straightforward. And as soon as it’s set up, then you can decide when you want to go back to gather and analyze the data it aggregates. If it’s too much for you, that’s what we’re here for. Reach out and we’d be happy to help guide you.
Online Appointment Software
For financial advisors who are accustomed to prospects calling or sending an email to book an appointment, this tool may take a bit of convincing. I recently talked to a financial advisor who had used online appointment software in the past but had gone back to accepting appointments only over the phone. Because it was a multi-advisor firm, some of the advisors were hesitant about allowing anyone and everyone access to their digital calendar. And I completely understand how they might feel that way. Your time is valuable as an advisor, and the last thing you want is for that time to be wasted. But before you dismiss using online appointment scheduling software at your RIA, let me try to lay out two reasons to consider it.
Convenience of Scheduling Online
As a financial advisor, especially if you own your firm, your work week doesn’t stop after 40 hours. Far from it. Still, your business isn’t always open, and there are times you may not want to pick up a call after hours. And quite often, potential prospects are doing their research for a new advisor outside of normal business hours when they’re not at work. So instead of pushing them to call you and leave a voicemail or email your firm, you could allow them to book on their time.
Though it was a smaller sample size, more than a quarter of potential clients who reached out via phone or email never followed through with booking an appointment at the RIA I used to work for. Prospects who emailed had a better chance of following through, but the drop-off rate of call-ins was atrocious. And it makes sense. You can lose so much momentum in the aftermath of someone calling your firm if they don’t book right there and then. And there are so many other factors, internally and externally, that can shape the outcome. But if they book online, they’ve solidified a date and time to meet you, with very minimal effort on your end. So not only is it convenient for them, but it’s convenient for you, too.
Control Over Your Calendar
One of the biggest objections to introducing an online calendar is the idea that prospects, aka strangers, will have unlimited access to your calendar. The truth is, you have complete control over your availability.
With scheduling software like Calendly, you can sync your personal calendar so that it automatically blocks people from scheduling during obligations you have already committed to. And better yet, you can winnow down your availability even further through Calendly. You can set up multiple events – perhaps one for a prospect intro call and another for a client annual review. The availability is inside each of those events. So if you want to give your clients more freedom to schedule with you or another advisor, you can do so. And you could limit the availability for prospects to only once or twice a week during a specific time slot.
So in reality, the unlimited access to your calendar could be a very limited access that adapts to your other obligations in real-time.
Robust CRM System for Financial Advisors – Wealthbox, Advyzon, Salesforce
If you’re a financial advisor, you should absolutely be using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. It doesn’t matter if you’re a firm of one (shoutout to the solo advisors out there doing it all) or a firm of 50. CRMs have a variety of purposes – for marketing and for firm management – and they make your life easier. And regardless of what that CRM software is – even if you’re using Google Sheets or Excel – something is better than nothing.
We won’t dive into the nuts and bolts of the best CRM system for financial advisors in this article, though I do have a particular fondness for Advyzon since that’s what I’ve worked with before (in addition to Wealthbox). Plenty of other online resources, including this article from Investopedia, delve into the merits of the various options available to you.
Why Use a CRM as an Advisor?
So why should you and your RIA firm be using a CRM system? Here are just a couple of reasons, framed in terms of marketing and operations.
- Track client and prospect engagements, which is crucial for aiding your memory of prior meetings and correspondence and appeasing compliance
- Understanding your prospect pipeline, number of leads, qualified leads, new assets under management, and more
- Uploading and storing sensitive client and prospect information
- Possibility of an integrated app for clients to view accounts and performance (something Advyzon shines at)
- Sending out mass communication to clients
What Does a CRM Have to Do With Financial Advisor Marketing?
Okay, those are all well and good. But you might be thinking, why are we talking about a CRM in a marketing piece for financial advisors? I’m glad you asked. As the old saying goes – data in, data out. If you’re not collecting data as a firm, then you have nothing to evaluate, aggregate, and synthesize. (Admittedly, those are all buzzwords, but I couldn’t help myself). The point is, even if you’re simply adding prospects’ names to your CRM with the date of their introductory call and nothing more, then you’ll at least have the bare-bones data components to understand your prospect pipeline. Whether you choose to compile that data now or a year from now is your choice. But If you have no data, there’s not much you can do to fix it.
If you’re a one-person shop, or even if you’re a multi-advisor firm, this might seem like a menial and boring task. I’ve done it myself, and I’m right there with you. But you shouldn’t let that stop you. Because that data is a proverbial gold mine, and your future self will thank you. If you don’t want to take it on, you can hire a virtual assistant to plug in the necessary data. Just make sure it’s logged.
Again, you don’t have to do anything with that information right away. But it will be invaluable to help evaluate your marketing machine down the road. If you don’t know where your A clients came from, how will you know where to invest your marketing dollars?
Looking for more information on a specific CRM software? Reach out to us, and we’d be happy to facilitate a conversation with an advisor who uses the software you’re interested in.
There are tons of marketing tools in the marketplace for financial advisors. So this is by no means an exhaustive list of tools you could use. These are just the main ones we’d recommend implementing in 2023 if your RIA hasn’t already adopted them.
If you have any other questions about this article or financial advisor marketing tech, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’re here to help.
ABOUT EMERGING RIA CONSULTING
Emerging RIA Consulting is a digital marketing firm dedicated to serving Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firms that are seeking to grow through marketing. Providing a range of marketing services to financial advisors, Emerging RIA Consulting primarily focuses on building strategic marketing plans, conducting audits of existing marketing plans, and providing marketing coaching services to advisors.