The widespread adoption of the internet, mobile phones and social media has drastically changed communication habits for people of all ages. This evolution is having a growing impact on Client's expectations for type and frequency of interactions with their Wealth Advisors and Financial Planners. Today's winning advisors are adapting their approach to satisfy 3 new communication habits of their Clients and prospects:
Clients get Financial advice all-day everyday
Client's "news feed" drives their information consumption
Client's interests drive their content sharing
Advisors should care. These new habits have changed Client expectations and more importantly how they perceive value. Advisors who have adapted are winning.
Below are 5 key communication trends we suggest Advisors need to understand and embrace going forward, and a few suggestions on how they can adapt.
Habit #1: Client's get Financial advice all-day everyday from everyone
We're now all constantly connected and communicating. Our phones are the hub of our lives plugging us into our information and entertainment networks 24/7. This constant connection has dramatically scaled the both the number of different people we interact with, and volume of our interactions every day.
Some mind blowing numbers from Statista. Between 2010 and 2020 the number of daily digital interactions we have has increased by almost 500% from 300 in 2010 over 1400 people or brands a day in 2020. As of August 2020 there are 1.35 active mobile phones per person in United States. So not only does everyone have one, some people need 2 or 3 to handle their 1400 connections a day!
Other recent studies by Reviews.org show that checking our phone is first thing we do in morning, and last thing we do at night. The average American now checks their phone more then 100 times a day, spending totaling 229 min per day consuming and commenting on content.
So we're all connected all of the time. Next question is what are we doing? Since money is #1 topic American's think about everyday, we seem to be spending a good chunk of time reading, sharing and commenting on ways to improve our financial status. Given the important support role Advisors play with Clients in this area, this is a particularly important point for Advisors to note the frequency and volume of conversations happening with wide range of people and entities.
Implication #1 for Advisors: Join your Client's daily conversation.
Clients consume financial information and advice from a wide range of people and places everyday. Winning Advisors ensure they are consistently one of those people.
Sending updates 4 times a year isn't enough anymore. Advisors need to showcase their expertise by actively participating in their Client's ongoing financial discovery, evaluation and discussion process. As Dilys D'Cruz highlights in recent interview with WealthProfessional.ca, frequent and consistent client communication is driving growth by increasing satisfaction and referrals.
"One big lesson has emerged from the past year, is the reinforcement that advisors who consistently reached out to clients grew their business. Those that didn’t, lost out. That is the future of the industry. It’s not about portfolio management – a product is a product is a product. The advisor that's going to be successful is the one that can build those relationships, be on the journey with their clients through the good and bad, and help them meet all their goals." ~ Dilys D'Cruz, Head of Wealth Management, Meridian Credit Union
Habit #2: A Client's "news feed" drives their information consumption.
A person's "news feed" is the flow of articles and communications that automatically show up in our social media pages, email in-boxes and messaging apps everyday. For the majority of people, our feed is where we spend a big part of our day, making it the most valuable communication real estate with clients.
People rely on their feed to keep them informed. We subscribe to email lists, alerts, new services and other notifications so the content that interests us just shows up everyday.
As the volume of new items coming into our feeds has increased over the years, we have developed new habits for filtering and consuming information. We now view our feeds more like tickers that constantly run and change, with new items constantly adding to the top and old items falling off the bottom. We don't expect or want to read them all. We "snack" on our feeds all day, checking-in to consume mostly headlines and images, then interacting with the items that interest us.
In some ways this feels sad. We have replaced deep, informative articles with short catchy ones. This shift has caused the demise of many of the traditional media companies, replaced by fast growing business of "click bait". While we might not like this changing habit, most of us have adopted it so we need to understand and adopt our communication style.
Implication #2 for Advisors: Be visible in Client's feed everyday.
Your clients get a steady flow of financial information and advice into their feed everyday, from bunch of people and places. You really need to be part of that mix.
As the person in charge of their money, you are an important figure in their life. They should see your name with relevant headline very frequently and consistently. Your goal here is not always to drive a click or action, it's to visibly demonstrate you are present, thinking about them and here if they have any questions.
Getting a personalized note from your Advisor with an article they thought you might like based on your interests is not spam. It's how Advisor can show value in 2021. We do suggest giving Clients the option to modify frequency and topics you send, which most email platforms like ReachStack have built in.
Habit #3: Client's interests drive sharing
Everyday your Clients are talking to friends & family about things related to their finances. The economy, interest rates, investments, real estate, education to name only a few.
Sharing is like sales. You have to hit the right topic at the right time with the right person. You want the "I was just talking to a couple neighbors about this last night. I'm going to send to them" reaction that leads to your client forwarding your email to their friends, building your profile as knowledgeable and active financial advisor who works hard for their clients.
Julie Littlechild of Absolute Engagement, THE expert in what clients want from their Advisor, shared a few thoughts in recent blog post on this subject.
"It’s your job to put content in your client's hands that makes it very easy for them to share with the right people. You’re far better off if Clients share a targeted article or resource with two people than with none." ~ Julie Littlechild, CEO, Absolute Engagement
Implication #3 for Advisors: Increase referrals from Clients sharing your content by increasing frequency and focus on their interests
Hitting that sharing moment with Clients is a moving target, but there are 3 ways to increase your chance of success:
Understand Interests - The more you understand what each of your clients are interested in, the better you can pick and send content that they will engage with.
Share more Frequently - The more often you share topics of interest, then better the chances of you hitting on the day they are discussing it with friends or family
Leverage Hot Topics - Be proactive tracking and sending information on popular topics people are discussing at given time. You want to be in those conversation and give your client the chance to say "My Advisor just sent me something on this, I'll forward it to you."
ReachStack is an enterprise level Client Communication & Visibility platform. We help firms efficiently give all their Advisors the option to send personalized content to every client, every day with 1-click. Increase visibility, satisfaction and referrals in <2 min a day.