The cost per individual client acquisition has grown by around 50% over the last two years
It’s a fact: highly engaged clients invest more, evangelise more about their financial adviser, and demonstrate more loyalty to their adviser. At a time when headlines about Brexit and tweets from Donald Trump, the US president, and the US-China trade war can move markets, financial advisers’ clients want to be certain that their money is being managed by the best people, invested in the best funds for their needs, and know that their adviser will be there to help them through the ups and downs of the financial world.
With this in mind, providing a high-quality client experience and regular communication should be the most important component in your client engagement strategy. Client engagement is the process of interacting with clients through a variety of channels and strengthening your relationship with them.
Communicating or consuming content
For many financial advisory businesses, this process begins with the first interaction and extends way beyond the point of investment or retirement products. In a very crowded space, financial advisory businesses today need to be engaging with their clients via social media, email, their website, blogs, or any other space where they’re communicating or consuming content.
Increasingly, clients today expect their adviser to have a much better understanding of them when it comes to client engagement, but this is increasingly becoming harder to achieve with all the regulations controlling personal data. In a post-GDPR era, it’s still as important to create personalised client experiences based on their individual needs. But how can you provide these while remaining GDPR-compliant?
Delivering the optimum client engagement strategy
When a prospective client provides their information on your website, they usually want something in return, whether this is a specific guide they are interested in reading about (maybe covering ‘Estate preservation’ or ‘How to take a pension income’) or an offer to attend a complimentary review meeting with you. The way you manage this data is crucial to how you’ll be able to deliver a personalised client experience for them going forward.
To achieve this successfully, you need a client engagement platform. This is software that centralises all client communications, tracks client behaviour, and helps you efficiently respond to their needs and wants. Client engagement platforms help you to personalise campaigns by analysing client data and tracking industry patterns. You’ll also be able to test marketing, sales and client service campaigns to ensure you’re delivering the optimum client engagement. If you don’t, your competitors will.
Sharing data in exchange for personalised experiences
Adopting a platform dedicated to client engagement will give your business the tools it needs to increase client and prospective client interactions. However, you’ll also need a strategy for engaging with clients if you want your campaigns to be effective. The cost per individual client acquisition detailed in the Accenture 2018 Pulse Check Survey has grown by around 50% over the last two years, which makes increasing your efforts to retain existing clients even more important.
The key is to provide every client and prospective client with a more personalised, meaningful experience. All the indications are that most financial service consumers today are actively willing to share their data in exchange for personalised experiences, which includes an increasing shift towards mobile usage.
According to Ofcom, the average adult now spends over three hours a day on their smartphone. Digital, video, social media and podcast usage all continue to rise. Moreover, smartphone usage continues to increase as time spent on desktop and laptop computers declines.
2008 was the year the smartphone took off in the UK. With the iPhone and Android fresh into the UK market, 17% of people owned a smartphone a decade ago – this has now reached 78%. The smartphone today is the device people say they would miss the most, dominating many people’s lives in both positive and negative ways.
People in the UK now check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day. Two in five adults (40%) first look at their phone within five minutes of waking up. Similarly, 37% of adults check their phones five minutes before lights out, Ofcom reports.
With the increase in smartphone activity, financial service businesses need to take a mobile-first approach towards client engagement. Your websites should provide targeted digital content that is indexable by search engines and published across many devices to reach out to existing and prospective clients to add another service layer and engagement.
Four elements of client engagement you can’t ignore
Personalised content marketing
It is your digital content that helps create the narrative about your business. Providing personalised content drives your unique value and subtly persuades prospective clients to choose you over your competitors. Personalised content marketing is a key component that drives client engagement. It answers the unanswered questions of your audience and focuses on their specific wants, emotions, fears and likes. Regular blogs, articles, digital publications and email updates relevant to them will not only educate clients but also further help in promoting your business.
Your website will often be the first touchpoint for a prospective new client who is looking to discover more about your business and services. It is also the primary resource for existing clients to stay in touch and updated on the latest financial news, your latest service offerings or any newsworthy information about your business, whether this is to announce charitable or fundraising activities, or seminar dates.
Your website can make or break the image of your business within seconds of a visitor landing on your homepage. Therefore, it’s crucial to have a website that’s not only attractive visually but also user-friendly and mobile responsive.
Apart from standard textual and visual content, interactive content is another way to engage with your clients through your website. Examples of interactive content includes downloadable guides, factsheets, publications, calculators and forms for visitors to book a seminar space or arrange a meeting.
In addition to your website, social media can and should be used as an extension of your client engagement strategy via networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. For all financial service businesses, these platforms present an enormous opportunity for you to engage with your clients and prospective clients in a more targeted and personalised way, and to build a loyal online community.
Through social media, you can connect directly with your target client personas, share information, identify new prospective clients, research influencers and promote content that will attract more new business opportunities. Regular monitoring and active engagement on social media will not only increase your business’ visibility but will also increase your sales.
As I’ve mentioned, smartphones are now an integral part of our daily lives. In this context, mobile apps are highly effective for financial service businesses that want to improve their client engagement and increase revenues. Apps ensure direct communication with your audience in various ways. For example, you can send push notifications that are both informative and persuasive to create further regular touchpoints.
When a client looks at their smartphone home screen, which as we know is likely to be every few minutes, it’s essential that your app badge icon also appears next to their bank, building society, credit card company and other personal finance apps they may have downloaded. This is prime advertising and brand recognition real estate. If you don’t appear there, you’re missing a massive opportunity to keep reinforcing your brand on a daily basis.
Have you locked in the value of your business when the day comes and you want to sell?
A well-thought-out and executed client engagement strategy will enable your business to maintain a bond between you and your clients that encourages long-term loyalty. As you will already know, this is essential to lock in the value of your business when the day comes and you want to sell to a consolidator, or network, or management team. For more information about how Goldmine Media can help your business, talk to a member of our Business Development Team on 0845 686 0055, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abigail Spencer, Digital Marketing Specialist, Goldmine Media