For the record, we side with the billions of people worldwide who are ready for 2020 to end.
But before we send this year into a supermassive black hole never to be seen again, we’d be remise if we didn’t say there were tons of lessons learned over the past 12 months.
Because we as humans still can’t harness the future-seeing power of crystal balls (weren’t we supposed to have flying cars by now?), we weren’t able to predict how 2020 would play out.
What we can do is reflect on the shifts we’ve seen throughout the year, look back on how recommendations would’ve changed, and then envision the financial marketing trends we see going forward.
We tapped into the marketing minds at All Points Media to look back on the year that was for our very own quasi financial marketing edition of “how it started vs. how it’s going.”
See what some of our in-house experts had to say about what they would have recommended knowing what we know now, and what you should focus on in your 2021 marketing efforts.
1. Without the advantage of having the “COVID crystal ball,” what would you have recommended going into 2020?
I would’ve said to re-evaluate your content and the story you’re telling to separate your firm from the competition. There’s a clear need for a consistent message so that clients and prospects understand what’s being offered and how it helps them solve their financial troubles. Content plays into a number of areas: general story or brand, website, and social media. A great company aligns those tools to make a clear and concise message appealing to anyone that comes across them.Jennifer Shephard, Content and Creative Manager
To firm up relationships with vendors, third party alliances, and your marketing experts with an open mind. You never know when you may need to rely on them to go the extra mile for you. In tough times, grace is shown to those that are approachable.Tara Salter, Senior Corporate Events Specialist
Going into 2020, I was advocating for my agents to prospect via public events and to leverage TV by appearing in shows and commercials. Along with this, having a professional film production crew was, and still is, essential. I also would’ve advocated for developing formal referral programs to enhance client nurturing.Monica Breeding, Senior Marketing Strategist
2020 was a year of content, so developing clear content that offers up value is something I would’ve said is paramount. And it will be again in 2021. It’s not just about boasting why you’re the best or selling your firm to prospects, it’s about developing relationships through education and problem-solving. My recommendation would’ve been don’t always focus on the sale, but focus on how the content you’re offering up focuses on the client or prospect’s problems. If that content can solve their problems (or at least make them aware of their problems) then you’re one step closer to more revenue.Mark Stewart, Content Writer
If you’re targeting wealth, the age demographic is getting younger. Become content creators. In the age of social influencers, Instagram, and TikTok, direct and targeted content is essential to getting the attention of the younger demographics. Get out of the box of yesterday’s recruiting mindset. Millennials aren’t going to respond to snail mail invitations and Ruth’s Chris steaks. Becoming an early adopter of these mediums to engage the younger demographic could be a game-changer for any professional’s five-year plan.Alisa Agnew, Senior Marketing Strategist
2. Now knowing what you know about 2020, what would you have recommended for 2020?
Close the gaps. While the future may be unknown, the digital landscape will continue to evolve and transform consumer habits. In this age, merely having a website isn’t enough. How are you staying in front of your clients from behind the screen? Stay ahead by assessing your current marketing assets and strategy to identify the gaps. Could you be adding dimension to your email campaigns with video? Is your website optimized for proper lead capture? Are you bringing value to your social media channels through original content? Turn those gaps into opportunities.James Nguyen, Digital Strategist
Always be prepared for the future, even if you think it doesn’t suit your client base. Tee up more virtual events, find ways to engage your base with content that can be used across many different channels so that you can reach people across geographical areas and also reach different age groups that might be less inclined to go to social events.Michelle Panzera, Content Strategist
Turn to strategic database marketing. Without a doubt, most advisors have been able to stay afloat due to their database, but looking back it was a lot of trial and error. Most recently, many advisors see greater opportunities with other lines of business. I’d would’ve liked to see a more deliberate and planned effort to pick up additional lines of business throughout the year. For example, if pursuing life insurance, the advisor should have some type of script or process for bringing it up during annual reviews, letter and email campaigns taking place throughout the year addressing life insurance from a variety of angles, calling campaigns to top clients and prospects, and educational client events that ultimately lead to life insurance sales.Justin Edwards, Senior Marketing Strategist
Focus on delivering awesome webinars. It’s the closest form of public event marketing. Webinars can be a quick and relatively easy way to find success given the right tools, knowledge, and messaging. I’d also advocate for a public relations campaign. 2020 was going to be a challenging year even without COVID because of the election. Being the voice of reason that shows industry authority on recognizable media outlets would’ve given a much larger platform for financial professionals to spread their message. Lastly, I’d now say to focus more than ever on your brand and messaging. Now that the world has embraced all things digital, the right message on the right platforms is critical. Make your content fit the client’s journey by auditing, revising, and re-marketing your message on your website and social platforms.Monica Breeding, Senior Marketing Strategist
3. Looking to 2021, what marketing trend or recommendation do you have for the new year?
My biggest recommendations are to have a “plan B” and create a more strategic database marketing plan. Knowing that COVID-19 has made some professionals gun shy and how it may continue to throw us some curve, I’ve been recommending that all advisors have a plan A and B for the marketing efforts, as well as a larger emphasis on database marketing. For most advisors, Plan A consists of live seminars and workshops and a variety of in-person social events. Plan B should include digital alternatives to in-person events like webinars, fun social events like virtual tastings, and more. And don’t be afraid to create formal strategies designed to target specific lines of business throughout the year.Justin Edwards, Senior Marketing Strategist
Content is still king. Rethink your content strategy for 2021. Consider investing time and energy into SEO in order to remain relevant amongst your competitors who may also be upping their digital game.James Nguyen, Digital Strategist
My recommendation for the new year is to remember diversity. In this industry, we often default to the “older white male retiree” baseline. We need to expand our definition of what we want in our clients. The HENRYs, LGBTQ community, single individuals, and couples without children will not connect to the default materials that many advisors automatically put out. Expand this horizon to get ahead of the competition that’s not doing it yet.Michelle Panzera, Content Strategist
While the status of in-person meetings is still grey for the foreseeable future, making connections is more in demand than ever before. Spend some of those seminar dollars on care packages – a sweet treat, a relaxation package, a movie night in a box, kids’ crafts, or activities for those with virtual learners at home. When you’re stuck at home, away from friends and family, a thoughtful delivery is as good as gold.Tara Salter, Senior Corporate Events Specialist
Take advantage of local SEO and optimize your Google My Business listing. With so many people using search engines to find local businesses, there’s a huge opportunity to reel in more prospects. Your Google My Business page will help you manage how your business looks and performs in Google. And don’t be afraid to hone in on local keywords relevant to you, such as “financial advice in [your location]”. A quick Google search can help you get started with local SEO ideas to get your business found more online in 2021.Mark Stewart, Content Writer
If 2021 does in fact deliver a lower COVID risk, take advantage of the new comfort with in-person meetings and events. Take the experience up a level. Bring additional personal touches and entertainment. Cash in on the excitement and openness the relief brings and do things to lock in that personal connection with clients. It’s an opportunity to have a new first impression with new clients as well. The personal connection is what creates retention. After 2020, it’s obvious the retained client base is what kept most practices in business. It’s more important than ever.Alisa Agnew, Senior Marketing Strategist
The number one financial marketing trend going into 2021 is really to focus on digital marketing. Now that the world has relied on digital means to socialize, shop, eat, and do day-to-day business, there will be more prospects using social media and search engines to find a business to work with. This means, back to my first answer, that aligning and simplifying your content and story on all platforms will continue to be important.Jennifer Shephard, Content and Creative Manager
Change is always happening.
This year proved that.
Lean on FIG to provide the support and expertise for all aspects of your business; from digital marketing and live events to case design and product support. Our team is here to help you usher in your best year yet.