As we all transition to remote work, the way we operate has shifted to digital-first quicker than any of us could ever imagine. From Zoom to TikTok, digital platforms dominated headlines for individuals and businesses alike. For advisors, it was no different – client communications had to move online, email had to be more of a focus, social media activity needed to pick up.
Delivering financial advice through online/digital platforms isn’t about communicating more, but rather communicating differently. Advisors are the experts that can communicate what massive government stimulus efforts, layoffs, and market volatility mean for the investor’s finances. The right tools provide a way to attract new clients and cement current clients into long term loyalists.
What tools should you be leveraging? We put together a curated list of our favorites so you can tackle remote work optimally.
- All the rage at the moment, Zoom gives you the ability to host HD video conferences, webinars, and podcast sessions fairly seamlessly. If you want to record a session with someone, it separates the audio and video files which can be turned into content quickly. Zoom also has a chat feature and allows you to connect with people 1-on-1.
- Google Hangouts
- Google made its video conferencing services free for all G-Suite customers. Similar features to Zoom in most aspects, but with Google’s speech-to-text feature, a user has the option for real-time captioning in video chats — great for people those who may need to be in a quieter space.
- Skype for Business
- Skype for Business has been approved at some of the bigger firms and is viewed widely as an institutional solution. It also allows you to connect easily with co-workers using instant messaging, screen and document sharing, and informal audio/video calls.
Voice Recording / Podcasting
- Adobe Audition
- The most technical of the bunch, Adobe audition allows you to record and edit directly in the software. It gives you the ability to manipulate the voice sound, cut the recording in certain places, and tweak volume for optimal sound. If you’re serious about podcasting, it’s a good solution.
- A completely free platform, Audacity is very easy to get going on and record your first session. It’s less technical vs. Adobe and doesn’t allow for the multi-track mixing as Adobe does, but it could serve as an ideal solution for those getting started.
- Interestingly enough, we’ve even recorded a couple of podcast sessions in Zoom due to our distributed workforce. Zoom allows you to record the sessions and it saves down the audio recording separate from the video. A very seamless experience, however, you’ll still need to edit the audio in another file if you’re adding an introduction to it.
- Advisor I/O Platform
- You can only be as good as your understanding of the strategies, tactics, and platforms. That’s why we developed the Training Lab as a part of the Advisor I/O platform. It gives you over 100 training modules across marketing channels and tactics. The focus is on training advisors to capitalize on rapidly changing demographics, digital adoption, and the expansion of mobile devices to boost brand perception and engagement in the financial services space. Everything from email marketing to getting your brand messaging right, we want you to execute with intention, and getting trained up is the best way to do that.
- The gold standard for team communication, Slack gives you the ability to communicate with your team and share content quickly and effectively. You can create separate channels for different aspects of your business (i.e. prospecting vs. client communications). If your team is under 3 people, it’s probably not needed.
- Trello is one of the more popular project management systems – great for managing client concerns and questions vs. having to manually document everything. While it doesn’t give you the real-time information as Slack does, it allows you to manage multiple elements of a project.
- A tool we recommend to every advisor we work with – Canva allows you to create graphics without having to have a design bone in your body. Whether you’re creating an out-of-the-box template or custom graphic, the drag and drop features of software put it far ahead of any other competitor.
- Great for any type of video editing, but particularly if you have to show your computer screen in addition to recording yourself. Camtasia gives you a number of options for intro cards and transition animations. Want to get that quick video about what investors should be doing during COVID-19? Camtasia is a great tool for it.
- An interface that’s perfect for marketing – it’s so simple that you can use it immediately without training (from Veed). It’s a great tool if you’re making a quick edit to a video or want to add subtitles – plus, it’s very well priced at $20 a month.
And once you are up-to-speed on creating content, we’ve got a rundown on where and how to deploy it to best effect.
- MailChimp or Constant Contact
- Both great for beginning email marketing users, they allow you to deploy email marketing campaigns consistently and effectively. Both also integrate with many CRMs, including RedTail which is the CRM of choice among many advisors. Constant Contact’s plans start at $20/month and include all the basic email marketing features you could imagine. MailChimp offers more advanced features, including better automation, reporting, email templates, and a free plan for sending 10,000 emails to up to 2,000 contacts per month.
Social / Search
- Google Ads
- Paid search, or pay per click (PPC) is one of the more valuable ways that you can advertise on the internet, as it targets people further down the funnel. Depending on what you’re targeting from a keyword or location perspective, you can engage people that are at the point of doing research. Right now, people are searching for financial related questions more than ever with everything going on – so understand how Google can be used in your marketing mix.
- A recent Pershing study reported that LinkedIn is the #2 digital place people go to research a financial professional, second only to Google. More connections = more prospective clients an opportunity to add value to more people. The network effect – LinkedIn’s algorithm exposes your content to 2nd and 3rd connections. Network with people regularly, share content that’s relevant to your target audience right now.
- Twitter can be a powerful platform for any business, but it is particularly well suited to financial advisors. Investors use it as a place to go for news, cultural moments, and information, and the micro-communities of Twitter enable you to engage based on interest and establish yourself as a trusted expert. It’s been a big consumption platform during this pandemic, so easy to insert yourself and get involved in the conversation.
- Having a Facebook page as a business is a staple in the modern age – it can act as a home base where prospects and clients can interact with your business without formal communication. The most successful mix of posts on Facebook is educational content, thought leadership, and brand content – which is highlighting your team, your office, and your “behind-the-scenes”. With people spending more time at home, consumption levels are up, so there’s an opportunity to help clients navigate specific aspects of this pandemic.
- Similar to Facebook, Instagram can be a place where you can continue to build your brand as an advisor without any formal communication. Instagram is probably less applicable right now for advisor communications, but if your demographic is living there, there’s no reason to be on the platform.
As always, make sure whatever tool you decide to use is approved by your compliance department. With digital communications being a necessity vs. nice to have, it’s time to begin using them in your practice regularly.