The Evolution of Marketing

Written By : Clifford Blodgett

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As technology has expanded, we have all changed the ways in which we consume our media. Instead of watching live television, many of us use a DVR to record our favorite shows. Instead of reading the newspaper, we get our news via social media sites. All of these changes have allowed for improved user experiences, giving us more control over what we see, when we see it, and how we see it.

Rules have changedPossibly the biggest change we’ve seen is the growth of internet as a source of entertainment. The average American now spends more time looking at his smart phone screen than he does watching television!*

As more consumers use the internet for news or social interaction, specialized programs aimed at improving the experience have emerged. As consumers grow increasingly tired of advertising, many have installed ad-blocking programs on their computers and smart phones. Even those who don’t block ads are desensitized to them, or intentionally block social media pages that push blatant advertisements.

All of this adds up to bad news for businesses that rely on “old-school” advertising. But it’s great news for financial advisors who engage in content marketing!

What’s the difference? Advertising typically has one transparent goal: to sell a product or service. Today’s consumers are adept at spotting hard-sell tactics, and they’re often annoyed by advertising. But the goal of content marketing is quite different. Content marketers aim to share useful, relevant information, and build a relationship with their audience. When you distribute content that addresses the needs or worries of your target audience, they won’t avoid you. In fact, they will welcome your presence and be willing to form a relationship with you.

But wait! Before you can begin building those relationships, you have to make sure your audience can see the difference between your content and the obnoxious advertisements they want to avoid. Set yourself apart from the rest of the pack by following these five rules when you launch your marketing campaign.

Focus on content. You should be writing blogs or creating videos that your audience will want to read or watch. Remember to consider the needs, wants, fears, and questions of your target audience. Don’t sell yourself; just share information that your audience will find interesting, valuable, or entertaining. They won’t avoid you when they actually want your content!

Grab their attention. Keep in mind that you will be distributing your content on social media sites, where users will encounter your blogs or videos in their news feed. The attention span of the average user is about eight seconds, so you have a short frame of time in which to capture their interest. Therefore, the first 7 seconds of a video are the most important, while the first sentence or two (about 23 words) of a blog are crucial. Remember to keep blog headlines short and simple, and include a picture.

Be ready to adapt. No matter how well-conceived your content may be, some blogs will be read more than others. Some videos will receive more shares. Use your analytics program to track the success of your content, and you will see a pattern emerge. Once you can identify which types of content really resonate with your audience, create and distribute more of what they like.

Personalize your content. If you’re going to distribute your content via an email campaign -which is highly recommended for financial advisors – then make your emails personal. Address your audience members by name, and they will be more likely to open and read your communications.

Be careful with Big Data. Facebook users in particular are becoming wary of “big data”. They know Facebook stores information about them, and that information is used to push advertisements on them. So if you do use Facebook data to target a particular audience for your content, don’t be obvious about it. Avoid messages that are transparently targeted at a particular demographic, or you risk turning off an entire group of people.

After decades of watching television and listening to the radio, your target audience has seen and heard every advertising tactic under the sun. They’re bored with the nonstop battery of ads hurled their way, and they are especially suspicious of anyone who appears to want large sums of their money! For today’s financial advisor, it is crucial that you utilize content marketing to build a relationship with your audience, rather than pushy advertisements that put them on guard. If you utilize it correctly, content marketing offers you the chance to build long-term, trusting relationships that lead to increased revenue for your practice.

*Source:  http://www.flurry.com/blog/flurry-insights/mobile-television-we-interrupt-broadcast-again#.VS_YXvnF8XG

Filed under: Financial Advisor Marketing, Social Media for Financial Advisors

Written By :

Clifford Blodgett is the Director of Digital Marketing and Demand Generation at Creative One. He is integral in financial advisor interactive communications strategies, website management, social media, content marketing , and overall demand generation.

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