Financial advisors traditionally prefer marketing strategies like networking to connect with their audience. However, the “new normal” thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic gives a clear advantage to the professionals with a strong digital presence, and the increased importance of using SEO to stay competitive online cannot be ignored.
Between the still-high national unemployment rate of 8.4% as of August 2020, and the potential threat of a second wave of the virus continuing to deplete savings, people need sound financial advice more than ever. Financial advisors should invest in digital strategies like SEO to strengthen their online presence and provide the relevant advice people are searching for.
Some Advisors Are Already Strategizing
A Twenty Over Ten survey found that financial advisors use blog posts as an opportunity to share their expertise, with nearly 45 percent of respondents reporting they write one or two monthly blog posts. However, 19 percent of respondents blog more frequently than twice a month.
Clearly, it’s safe to say that blogging is a well-established medium among financial advisors, as it is a viable strategy for achieving thought leadership and social share goals. An additional advantage is that writing blog posts about unique topics can support an SEO campaign by targeting niche traffic.
Although not all financial advisors use digital marketing, it is becoming increasingly popular. An InvestmentNews study found that 25 percent of professionals in the industry developed a plan to invest in digital solutions last year. As a quarter of financial advisors implement new digital strategies, competition in the digital space will get a lot tougher.
However, a digital presence does not just mean a strong website. Financial Advisor Magazine found that many advisors are looking into developing a presence across a variety of channels, with 19 percent planning to spend more on social media, 14 percent wanting to invest in webinars and 13 percent developing digital media advertising strategies.
Because a majority of financial advisors already have an online presence or plans to develop one, investing in SEO and quality content is a necessity to get your content to stand out among the competition.
People Rely On The Internet
Business Insider recently reported that half of adults who lost their job during the pandemic remain unemployed. Between looking for work and researching economic factors like the second stimulus, people are relying on the Internet as their primary source of information more than ever.
Additionally, questions continue to arise about the virus due to constantly changing information and guidelines. However, these searches are not limited to health topics. Many people are turning to the Internet to research questions about unemployment benefits and “stimulus check second”, according to this Google report. This trend reflects the need for reliable information and actionable advice about finances, which is something financial advisors can help with by developing quality digital content.
One thing the pandemic has taught people is that more can be done from home than we ever thought possible. Many companies are planning on continuing working from home into 2021, meaning its employees will be frequently online, have more free time, and continue to use Internet-based communication channels. This increased online presence means that your digital marketing efforts could reach more people, as users become more comfortable with the idea of seeking financial advice online in the long-term.
Digital Strategies For Financial Advisors
Understanding the kind of content people are looking for will help you develop content that is relevant and valuable. For example, a Harris Poll survey found that 41 percent of Americans are currently worried about their emergency savings depleting at a fast pace. Others are thinking about the long-term impact of the current crisis; 23 percent of respondents are worried about their retirement.
Ultimately, as a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic looms, a unique mix of short-term and long-term challenges are at the forefront of people’s minds. Developing content that addresses these issues will help boost results from organic search.
However, remember that it is not enough to just create content. You also need to implement a specific strategy and track various metrics in order to determine whether your content is truly valuable to your audience. Targeting organic clicks is an effective SEO strategy since 16-20 percent of Google searches are first-time searches. You can target this traffic by using keyword phrases that reveal the pain points of your audience in light of the current situation.
Google uses an algorithm that sifts through millions of results and returns the most relevant content first. Getting your content to rank in the top spots of a search result page is crucial. Google handles 175 million searches each hour, and 40 percent of these searches result in a user clicking on one of the top four results. Competing for these top spots is what will draw qualified leads to your site.
Google’s algorithm isn’t something you work around with some quick fixes or random keywords. You need to adopt an integrated approach to developing your online presence through quality content, SEO efforts and public relations. Building your online presence around information that is genuinely helpful, and that delivers value to your audience is what will draw traffic to your site and help you rank higher in search results.
Cassidy Henning is an Account Coordinator at Flackable, an award-winning public relations agency representing financial and professional services brands nationwide. To learn more about Flackable, please visit flackable.com.