- Strategic outreach isn’t just for SEO, it also amplifies your digital marketing efforts.
- Be present on the websites and platforms your audience uses.
- Seek out interviews with journalists to showcase your industry expertise.
- Become a thought leader by writing contributor articles on third-party publications.
Last April, financial advising company Ameritrade cut their digital advertising budget. The CEO noted that the “fish weren’t biting” on their marketing efforts, which were 70% digital. Shares slid 5.5% after the decision, which signaled a revenue slump on a larger scale and a lack of interest from retail investors.
That decision was controversial.
Ameritrade seemed to be caught between a rock and a hard place. They couldn’t continue to pour money into a channel that didn’t produce a return. Yet, killing the digital advertising budget would cut off Ameritrade’s access to key strategies for recovering lost revenue.
Rather than cut digital ad spending, Ameritrade could have strategically rebalanced their digital marketing budgets. Instead of relying too heavily on paid ads, they might amp up organic SEO strategies like content development, outreach and engagement.
This would help them attract qualified prospects not yet ready to commit. Furthermore, it could also help them overcome banner blindness, amplify their message and increase the audience’s time with the brand.
Beyond all of these benefits, strategic outreach results in third-party mentions and backlinks. These increase the authoritativeness of your domain and supercharge your SEO results.
With stronger organic search results, your brand occupies more space in the Google SERP. And it can be found precisely at the time your audience is searching for financial advice. Strategic outreach further helps you to achieve more impactful audience engagement, powerful social proof and higher long-term ROI.
Whether your financial advising company is in a similar position or you’re sailing in smooth waters, strategic outreach gives your brand sustainable momentum for the future.
WHY FINANCIAL ADVISORS NEED STRATEGIC OUTREACH
Technology has made stock trading more accessible than ever. Robo advisors can now adequately balance portfolios for just a small fee. Apps like Robinhood offer free platforms and commission-free trading to young DIY investors. And there are copious financial blogs and podcasts people can turn to for free advice.
This creates strong headwinds for financial advisors. But it also presents a huge opportunity. When more people than ever have access to the stock market, more people than ever become investors. And when those investors turn serious, the limitations of a free trading app just won’t cut it.
If you meet your audience where they are and start the conversation now, they’ll think of you later when it’s time to choose a financial advisor.
WHAT, WHERE AND WHO TO PITCH
Focus on how you’re going to tell the stories that communicate your core values and convey expertise. This doesn’t always mean the content is about you. It should include many other avenues of outreach that build trust in your brand or otherwise strengthen relationships with your audience members.
Build thought leadership
A great way to share your brand’s expertise is to let key representatives at your company share their expertise directly. Have your financial advisors and key players post guest posts on industry blogs, providing valuable advice and insights. Designate a few company faces so people see the same names. To keep this strategy scalable, let the PR or content department tackle the brainstorming and writing. If the face of the work is the CEO, for example, she can simply sign off on putting her name on the work.
Financial news happens all the time. The people tasked with sharing this news are usually journalists, not experts. What the journalist needs is an expert who can add an extra layer to the story. They might need the expert’s opinion, their insights or projections or their advice and takeaways.
So, when financial news occurs, offer to step in as the expert. Pitch stories and angles that will give journalists something to work with as they consider the offer. Don’t wait for them to ask for an expert. Just be as helpful as possible and show them why they need one.
Build financial tools & templates
Interactive tools are highly shareable. Plus, they’re easily scalable, when you consider the fact that one tool can be effective for large audiences for a long time.
Have your company build free tools that will be genuinely useful for your audience. Different calculators are needed at different times when planning one’s finances.
Someone is considering rebalancing their portfolio? Give them the calculator that will let them experiment with the numbers. Do they need to know the likelihood of return on a call or put within a given time frame? Help them out. Targeting early investors? You could even take a leaf out of Investopedia’s book and offer a full stock market simulator.
Then, use the tool in your outreach efforts. Share it with relevant publications for an interesting pitch, send it to your email list or share it on social media. Adding such a shareable element into your strategic outreach has the potential to exponentially increase your reach when recipients of your outreach start sharing on their own.
The benefits of tools and apps go far beyond gaining visibility with shares. They can also lead to backlinks, which in turn strengthen your organic search results. Check out this Cost of Living Calculator from NerdWallet. This tool alone has given NerdWallet over 4,000 backlinks!
Get involved locally
Does your model rely on local offices where customers can have face-to-face meetings with their advisor? Win your local audiences over by getting involved at the local level. Define your audience targets and invest in the organizations your audience supports. For example, in Boston you could target an organization like the Center for Women & Enterprise to participate in a cause that shares your company’s core values.
Keep the strategy scalable by targeting a similar cause across many locations and building a simple process for representatives in each location to follow. For example, if your cause is women in entrepreneurship, then in addition to the Boston-based organization above, you’ll be able to find similar organizations in other cities and approach them using a similar strategy.
Templatize the collateral that will be handed out, the press releases that will be shared, the pro bono workshops that will be conducted, etc. Practice content atomization. The template should be about 80% the same. And the remaining 20% could be customized by city or region. That’s a lot of content for half the work!
Get involved, period
Consumers are more socially aware than ever. Take corporate social responsibility seriously. This is especially true with financial advisors, where the media about the industry is often wary if not openly antagonistic. Use a multi-pronged approach to clear up misconceptions, starting with putting your money where your mouth is and changing the world for the better.
Whether you decide to get involved locally, nationally or internationally, just get involved. Financial independence and entrepreneurship are important universally, so you have a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing a direction for the company. Causes that let you leverage in-house expertise are especially important, since they show your industry’s power as an economic driver. For example, consider partnering with a nonprofit like Kiva or another microfinance company to shed light on the power investments have to transform lives and communities.
You can also expand your impact by encouraging your clients to get involved in socially responsible investing. Morgan Stanley, for example, has a lot of helpful and well-developed content around this subject area so their audience can start investing responsibly. This is a scalable way to expand the impact of your social influence, since the collective power of your customer base expands far beyond the resources a single company can devote to a cause. You could even offer incentives to advisors who get their clients involved in socially responsible investing.
Use geotargeted press releases
If you’re a multi-billion dollar organization with customers all over the nation, you might assume that every press release you create should be national as well.
There are plenty of opportunities for nation-wide press releases when it comes to company-wide news or stock market changes, sure. Your financial advisors, however, have a much smaller circle of influence. So instead of spending all your energy on national press releases, sprinkle in press releases for different regions or cities as well.
Need to strengthen your presence in Seattle? Publish some Seattle-specific press releases to help your Seattle financial advisors out. Hiring new advisors in Lansing? This may not matter to your clients down in Texas, but it matters greatly in Michigan. Publish a press release welcoming your new advisors in Michigan, like Ameriprise did. You’ll strengthen your presence and drive greater brand loyalty in the cities you target.
Personal finance company NerdWallet regularly has in-house experts in various topics host Q&As on their Instagram stories. Q&A or AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions like this are a great way to generate goodwill and share your expertise in real-time. Offer to address the financial concerns of your customers and prospects on social media. Do this via webinar, live on Facebook or YouTube, or on your own website. Choose a set day and time or make it a recurring event.
Offering answers in an informal setting will unearth a wide range of questions that your audience may not think to ask in a different context. It also makes you more accessible to your customers. They can ask their question immediately without making an appointment or hitting a wall with customer support. The result? Your audience feels connected and in the loop and your brand gets a boost in customer loyalty.
Influencers aren’t just for retail and ecommerce brands. Financial advisors, too, can benefit from wrapping influencers into their strategic outreach strategy.
Remember, your influencers may (should) change as you target different audiences. Are you targeting Gen Zs who just got their first job and are saving for (or just beginning to pay off) college? Single millennials hoping to save for a house? Empty nesters realizing retirement is looming near? Each of these audiences follows different kinds of influencers on different social media platforms. Whether it’s mommy bloggers, a lifestyle Instagram influencer or a Fintech influencer, find the influencers who already have your target audience’s attention.
This outreach becomes scalable when you combine it with the platforms that make personalized outreach possible on a large scale. For example, at Terakeet we use Chorus, a proprietary software that lets us pull from a database of 9 million influencers and publishers to build tailored outreach campaigns. One key to outreach success is achieving scale while still being hyper-targeted.
Engage in comments and forums
Blog commenting and posting in forums have both developed an undeservedly poor reputation over the years. Largely because of all the spammers who have used these mediums to share copy-pasted messages and links. But if you use them for what they were meant for, you can get directly involved in the conversations that are important to your audience. Host an AMA on Reddit or become an active participant in industry-related forums. Comment on blogs you respect with meaningful information that contributes to the conversation. If there’s a misconception in the post, clear it up quickly and in a friendly way. If there’s a question in the post, answer it.
Don’t use these venues as an opportunity to sell your company. But don’t hide where you’re from and who you represent. Focus on being a good representative of your company, sharing your passion and expertise as you engage in meaningful conversations. Then make the strategy scalable by enlisting the help of other experts and advisors at your company. Carve out time for them to read industry blogs and research cutting-edge financial news on a weekly basis. And give them guidelines so they can comment when they’re compelled to.
Pitch different publications for each audience
Like your influencers, the publications you pitch may change as you target different segments of your audience. Within target markets for financial advisors, there are vast demographic differences like age, gender and location. The traditional outlets for your old-school investors may not connect with a younger demographic. And the content needs of seasoned investors are clearly different from those of first-time investors.
If you’re targeting younger demographics, don’t shy away from publications like Refinery29 or Vice. For example, Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck is a frequent contributor to Refinery29’s Life & Money section. Her main audience is millenial women – which is Refinery29’s main audience as well. A perfect match.
Or, if you’re targeting your clients in Texas, you may consider publishing an article in Texas Monthly instead of HuffPost.
If you situate yourself on publications like this, you’re in a better position to help investors understand the value of your services in comparison to a free app or robo-advisor.
In fact, your active presence on the platforms that serve younger demographics and local publications can set you apart in an industry where none of the major players are leveraging these resources. New investors aren’t just joining Robinhood, Acorns and Stash because the trades are free. They’re also doing it because the publications they read are talking about these new models of trading. What are you going to do to make sure they’re also talking about you?