If you are not online, you do not exist

03 August 2015 Jacques Du Bruyn, Flume Digital Marketing

We live in a fast paced world that is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. A world where there are endless technological resources at our finger tips allowing us to search for exactly what we want, when we want.

Cue Google. Google is in the business of helping you find exactly what you are looking for. In other words, Google is determined on making sure that the most relevant results are shown to you first, through an intricate algorithm that acts similar to a democracy. The more links that point to a certain article, and the more hits a website receives, the more relevant it is deemed and thus is ranked higher up in search results.

Are you ready to be found?

According to Google Analytics search statistics, as of February 2015, more than 1 million searches for ‘financial advisers’ and ‘financial planning’ takes place per month. That is quite staggering if you think about it. That means that there is a pool of targets out there that are not only ready for financial advice, but are actively looking for it online.

Here is the question, though. Are financial advisers ready to be found? Do they exist online?

From a holistic perspective the answer is yes, and from a personal perspective the answer is no.

Client engagement versus brand

Do a quick search on Google and you will find a plethora of brands asking you to engage with them for financial planning advice. In fact, they do it so well that you can even fill in a form and be contacted within 24 hours. But here is the crux. As much as financial planning is about increasing the number of leads and revenue, it all comes down to personal relationships. At the very core of every successful client engagement and relationship is trust between human beings. That means that as a potential client for a financial adviser, I first want to engage with a person, and not necessarily a brand.

Type in the same search again and count how many people (individuals) rank on your search. On the first page there are probably none.

People want to engage with people. Yes, they can trust brands because of their legacy, but ultimately, financial planning is like hairdressing: a client builds a relationship with a hairdresser and trusts him or her to cut his or her hair. If the hairdresser leaves the hair salon, the client will most probably (if it’s not too far) follow the hairdresser. It is a long term relationship built over years. The same must be true for financial planning.

Making yourself available

Maintaining relationships with existing clients is the easiest of the battles. The tricky part comes in when financial advisers need to attract the attention of new clients which starts with an initial impression of an individual’s brand, which will lead to genuine and lasting business relationships being built upon over the years to come.

Driving awareness for your personal brand online starts with brushing up on your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn, because this is what Google ranks highest in terms of personal profiles. It is essential to ensure that people know you are a financial planner, so place particular emphasis on this element.

Secondly, invest time in positioning yourself as a thought leader within your respective industry. Start writing articles in your personal capacity, launch blogs and flex some muscle. Thirdly, spend time (30 minutes a day is more than enough) actively engaging new prospects online through social media.

Lastly, ensure that you are available and easily contactable.

The rise of social media and general online media has given way to the ‘always on’ culture. The financial adviser that is found and available online today is the one that is going to be booked up tomorrow.

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