One of the biggest changes that most advisory firms have faced in the last 10 years is the need to continually update their website and to provide “content” to investors on an ongoing basis. This may be through electronic newsletters or social media postings or both. The levels of sophistication regarding education and content vary dramatically among advisors, from those who provide or do nothing to firms that have in-depth educational tools, videos, and a robust social media effort.
Because financial advisors are generally busy providing investment and financial planning services for their clients, the burden of providing this ongoing content has become a hassle for many advisors. Depending upon the size of the firm, financial advisors may have a large staff dedicated to updating this information or they may have a few staff members juggling many roles who try to update this information periodically. Larger firms may view the role of content as critical to maintaining their competitive edge. Smaller firms may really question whether content truly matters to investors.
It’s important for financial advisors to understand whether the effort and/or expense of providing content is worth their own investment - both in terms of time and money. Recently Spectrem asked investors how interested they are in receiving information from their financial advisor regarding various topics. In our report, Wealthy Investors and the Use of Digital Tools, investors were asked to rate the likelihood of reading a blog on the website of their financial advisor on a scale of 0-100. They rated the likelihood of seeking financial information from their financial advisor’s website at 48.04. This compares to a rating of 43.95 for the websites of major financial media (such as CNBC or Fox Business) and a rating of 13.16 for LinkedIn. (Other social media sites were rated much lower.) Therefore, when investors are seeking financial information, they are most likely to go to your website to find that information. It’s important to make sure your website includes multiple types of content to secure your long-term relationship.
Another critical issue to address is the time and energy spent on producing a monthly or quarterly newsletter. In our recent report, Communicating with Advisors and Providers, Spectrem asked investors if they read or viewed the electronic newsletters provided by their financial advisors. As you can see below, 94% of investors read or view the electronic newsletters to some extent and a similar percentage view any hard-copy newsletters they might receive.
Clearly, the time and effort put into producing newsletters is worthwhile because it is providing an ongoing and important communication to your clients.
One of the challenges suffered by advisory firms is how to make the content interesting to clients. For many years Spectrem asked investors to rate the quality of the newsletters they received from their advisors. The investors generally rated the newsletters as satisfactory but rarely did they rate them as very good or exceptional.
Spectrem asked investors how interested they might be in receiving information on how other investors faced financial issues that they might be experiencing or in which they might be interested. Forty percent of investors expressed an interest in this type of analysis. Investors identified planning for retirement as one of the most interesting topics as well as mistakes other investors may have made.
How can advisory firms find these various types of content to populate their websites and newsletters? The answer varies depending on the size of the firm. Obviously, large firms have their own internal resources available to create or purchase various types of content. Smaller firms may rely upon various outside entities for their content. Many firms, including Spectrem Group, offer content that can be used on your site. Click here for more information on Spectrem’s content. It’s possible that your custodian or other outside providers may also offer content solutions.
As you enter the New Year, it may be a good time to review the types of content you are currently providing to your investors. While it may seem like a waste of time, investors are actually using your content, although the level of usage varies by client. Regardless of how many hits or clicks your content may receive, content demonstrates the expertise available at your firm. That always makes it worth your time and effort.