Date: December 9, 2015

Will an Investor Select a Virtual Financial Advisor?

You are already a Virtual financial advisor when you use the Internet, telephone, and Skype to service remote clients. You became Virtual when there was no face-to- face servicing contact due to your clients’ locations.

However, this is Virtual with a twist. Most financial advisors and firms say they won these relationships using Traditional face-to-face sales tactics. Clients became Virtual relationships when they relocated to distant states.[blockquote type=”center”]The question is can you win new clients using Virtual marketing tactics?[/blockquote]

Investor Bias

Investors are used to a financial advisor using face-to-face sales tactics to convince them to buy. A slightly smaller percentage of investors expect face-to-face service meetings. And the more money they have to invest, the higher their expectations, for personal contact.

Servicing Virtual clients, when there is an existing relationship, is not the challenge. The challenge is marketing to people you don’t know. Can you overcome the face-to-face bias and convince investors to select you without meeting you in person?

Investors use the Internet to find and screen you. You use the Internet to convince them to contact and select you. 

Diminished Wall Street Influence

The financial services industry is dominated by a powerful Wall Street sales culture that emphasizes aggressive sales tactics and face-to-face contact. Advisors and firms control the information that investors rely on to make selection decisions.

The Internet will dilute the impact of Wall Street’s sales culture by providing increasing amounts of firm and advisor data to investors.  

Paladin Survey

In a recent Paladin Digital Marketing survey, 72% of advisors said they wanted to provide Traditional and Virtual services to their clients based on location and revenue potential.

However, less than 5% of the advisors said they had a plan for dealing with the marketing challenges that impact this business model:

  • Using the Internet to do more marketing for them
  • Convincing investors to buy Virtual services
  • Competing with local, Traditional advisors
  • Converting website visitors to qualified prospects

Financial Advisor Websites

[blockquote type=”left”]A high quality website is the foundation of a positive Virtual marketing experience. It is the electronic front door to your business. You have seconds to create interest and 2-3 minutes to convert visitors into qualified prospects.[/blockquote]

It is a powerful and complex form of marketing because your website has to:

  • Deliver the right information about you and your firm
  • Create high levels of trust and credibility
  • Convert visitors into prospects for your services

Do not under-estimate the damage that is caused by weak websites. They undermine the success of your Virtual and Traditional marketing efforts.

Internet Visibility

Investors will use the Internet to find you, learn more about you, and validate the quality of your financial advice and services.

Finding you is the biggest challenge. Thousands of advisors and firms have the same goals you do.

If investors find you, what are they going to see that positively impacts your credibility and motivates them to visit your website?

It takes a consistent, long-term effort to build a substantial, organic presence on the Internet. Or, you can buy instant visibility using Search Engine Marketing (advertising).

The Winners Are….. 

The big winners in the rapidly evolving Virtual Advisor space will be the RIAs that figure out how investors will use the Internet to find, screen, validate, and select them.

They will replace weak websites that damage their marketing efforts with dynamic new sites that do more of their front-end marketing for them.

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Jack Waymire

Jack spent 20 years in the financial services industry before joining Paladin as its Chief Marketing Officer in 2004. Jack is the author of two best selling books including Who’s Watching Your Money? and 5 Steps for Selecting the Best Financial Advisor. He provides consulting services and writes website content, blog articles, pillar pages, and eBooks for Paladin and a select clientele.