The following is an extract from the eBook "Attract and Retain: A Content Marketing Guide for Growing Fiduciary Businesses". Download it here.
These are interesting times. As well as politics, culture, the media, education, healthcare and family life, technology is changing how businesses operate. A growing number of people carry around tablets and smartphones, allowing them to tap into more available data than ever before in the history of human civilisation.
It’s this insatiable demand for information that is transforming what people expect from service providers. They want access to what they need and they want transparency. Businesses are responding by making sure they can deliver their products and services online to maintain profits or in some instances, their very existence. The financial services are no exception, and neither are financial planners and wealth managers.
Digital marketing, and in particular content marketing, is one area where financial planners and wealth managers aren’t taking full advantage of these changes. There is still a demand for financial advice, and as we adjust to a financial system that’s being overhauled after the 2008 recession, it’s a demand that isn’t going away.
Over the next series of posts, we hope to demonstrate that, compared with other industries, financial planners and wealth managers have a lot to gain from content marketing. But at the moment, they’re the least likely to be doing it well - if at all.
When you ask people how they define content marketing, the answers vary depending on what they use it for. In his book Epic Content Marketing, Joe Pulizzi, widely considered the Godfather of content marketing, summarises it as:
“...the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action”
Or, as one of his colleagues puts it in another less formal way:
“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, or your services. They care about themselves, their wants, and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information [i.e. content] your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”
For financial planners, content marketing is showing value to potential clients before you’ve even got near their personal finances. Instead of a monologue about yourself and what makes you different (the bedrock of traditional marketing), the conversation is based around them and their needs. Help them achieve their goals in the short-term, and you position yourself to help them for the long-term. In practice then, good content marketing should:
The content used in a strategy can be lots of things. It could be blogs and videos. It might be a series of webinars. It could be audio podcasts, infographics, eBooks, mobile apps, competitions or even cartoons. But whatever form it takes, it needs to be content - or information - that your audience wants to receive and share.
Theodore Roosevelt (centre-left) at San Juan hill with the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American war
As with any online behaviour, the principle behind content marketing is not new. In his seminal book on human relationships How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie advises that to gain people’s trust, you have to talk in terms of their interests. He uses the example of Theodore Roosevelt, who astonished his guests by reading up on subjects that they had personal interests in. “For Roosevelt knew,” writes Carnegie, “that the royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.” And that is the essence of content marketing.
One point that clearly emerges from this is that content marketing isn’t about the hard sell - it’s about building trust and relationships with leads and clients. For financial planners, a good relationship with their client is fundamental to any lasting and profitable arrangement. It’s this idea, amongst others, that we explore in more detail in our next blog post.