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Smart Digital Shifts for Financial Service Pros

Published by Katie C on

There is no doubt that 2020 has been a pivotal year for your business. There have been major digital shifts for financial service professionals. From the quick shift to remote work, to the adjustment of navigating our daily business activities, we are all mindfully aware of the changes in our professional interactions.

Let’s take a look at the some smart digital shifts for financial service pros.

Table of Contents

Overcoming the Edge of Resistance

Practically every industry has adjusted this year…in one way, shape, or form. Many financial service firms have been pushed over the edge of resistance. Now, owners, agency principals, and independent financial pros must embrace a more digital approach to doing business.

The 2020 digital shifts that we’ve all experienced are exponentially felt for those businesses not ready to make changes and embrace the the digital space.

Good news… almost all financial professionals we talk to and work with are open to these shifts. In most cases, many have questions about the tools, systems, and shifts need to be made. But, they are ready to continue business in the “new normal” going forward and making smart digital shifts that make sense.

So now, let’s take a look at the types of shifts you can be making in your agency or financial firm. Plus, we’ve included insights from industry experts about their shifts from 2020 and how it will impact 2021.

What does the “digital shift” mean for financial service professionals?

The word “digital” means so many things in the 21st century. Ultimately, the ways that your financial service firm may be shifting falls into three main categories.

Operations & Team Management

Certainly, the shifts felt in the operations of your firm have had an impact. This is how you run your firm day-to-day and how your team interacts and functions to get stuff done. Digital shifts for your operations may have you re-imagining how you run your firm, manage your team, and partner with vendors.

Shifts we’ve seen in operations have dealt with embracing video conferencing, project management, and the benefits of outsourcing key functions to a partner team or vendor. 

For example, Nicole Middendorf, of Prosperwell Financial, says, “Utilizing technology throughout our practice. We have turned to virtual meetings for our clients and prospects, virtual events, and have expanded our LinkedIn usage for prospecting. We plan to keep up with these efforts in 2021 because they have proven to be more time efficient and allow us to connect with people from around the country and not just those that are local.”

Marketing & Sales Enablement

In addition to operation changes, we’ve seen a big shift in marketing and sales enablement tools. This is how your potential new clients become aware of your brand, inquire about your services, and ultimately meet with you to determine if you are a good fit for their financial goals.

Certainly, digital shifts in the sales and marketing category have a long list of possibilities and opportunities for financial service professionals.

According to Meg Hanington with Beacon Partners, “The biggest shift we have made in our business in 2020 is being available to clients, prospects and colleagues for Zoom. As a result of not being available in person, this has made a huge difference and has provided us with continuing serving our clients and engaging with prospects.”

Digital Platforms & Infrastructure Needs

These are the systems, platforms, software, and tools you are using to help you make a strong, digital shift. From your internet connection to your marketing technology (MarTech) stack, having the right tools in place certainly makes this shift easier to navigate. The key here is being open to learning new programs that will elevate your firm’s performance overall.

For instance, Sheryl Hickerson, founder of Females and Finance shared, “I’ve never been more excited to see financial service professionals forced into using technology due to the pandemic. Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Teams, etc. were built with efficiencies in mind – not with COVID-19….That being said, we should also recognize we’ve done a horrible disservice of training our professionals to use these tools due to our dinosaur-ish speed of change...I would challenge many of us have dynamically shifted our business due to learning how much more quickly we can meet with clients and ultimately get stuff done!”

Overall Impact of Digital Shifts in 2020 

For many, these larger shifts have opened up opportunities to grow their business and expand their reach. As Michelle Alexander with AJM Financial, LLC shared, “The biggest shift I have made was upgrading my technology for better internet connection. Making a shift to digital space during this hard-hit time was instrumental for me… By improving my digital technology, I can now reach more people with my “Becoming Debt Free” presentation. I can upload videos to my YouTube channel without interruption or delay, consult with clients online, and host my workshops using virtual meeting platforms.  These digital changes were already on my list to do, but 2020 has pushed them to the forefront. Moving forward to 2021, I will be proactively looking for other ways to improve operational processes digitally instead of reacting to external forces after the fact.”

Embracing Digital for Financial Services

In an industry that has been slow to embrace digital changes, it is clear that 2020 and beyond is the time to get comfortable with going digital. For some, it may be harder than others. 

The shift to digital and video meetings may cause frustration. However, for those who embrace the digital shift and create space for the time savings, efficiencies, and reach of doing business digitally, you will see a difference in your operations and bottom line.

As an example, Rachel Anderson, from RobustWealth Inc., a digital wealth platform that offers digital onboarding, cloud-based computing, dynamic billing, portfolio rebalancing, and more, shared that “The global workforce shifts this year have further highlighted the need for innovative digital technology. In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, many financial advisors have transformed their businesses into virtual offices. Serving clients over computers means that automation and personalization are table stakes.” 

With the right systems, tools, and partnerships in place, Rachel maintains that “Financial advisors can spend less time filing paperwork and more time building relationships. These relationships can empower advisors to help their clients achieve financial wellness. In times like these, fostering financial wellness is a worthwhile investment.”

In summary, the systems, tools, & partnerships are the key to making a smart digital shift. As a digital partner for financial service professionals, we’ve assembled this quick checklist tool designed to help you make a digital shift in your marketing & sales efforts. 

Read on for our 7-Point Checklist for Making a Smart Digital Shift.

7-Point Checklist for Financial Service Pros Digital Strategy

Next up, let’s look at some tangible tips to help you embrace digital marketing for your financial service and insurance firm.

Optimize for Local Searches

You need to be visible where people are searching.

Potential clients are actively searching for your services. The question is…are you showing up for those searches? There are two ways to ensure your are showing up on Google right away for local searches:

  1. Your Google My Business profile. You need to optimize your business for the local searches by claiming and updating your Google My Business profile. Not only will this help you show up for local searches, it is a great place to have clients review your services so others can see how great you are.
  2. Launch Google Ads. This pay per click ad model gives you full control over the budget and keywords your ads show for. The ads show above organic listings in almost every search. Therefore, you are showing up for the right searches at the right time.

Warning: You can waste a lot of money with little ROI. Get a smart partner, like the Smart Girl team, to help you get started in a quick and cost-efficient way. Book a call to discuss traffic generation strategies…

Create Current & Relevant Content

Have current and relevant content feeds your entire digital marketing engine.

You’ve heard “Content is King”, right?

Most importantly, having current and relevant content on your website helps you increase your visibility on the search results page. In addition, it provides value you can share in all of your other digital strategies (social, email, website, etc.) Develop a smart content plan that can serve clients and potential clients on multiple platforms.

Not sure where to start or what to say? Ask the Smart Girl team. We love creating smart content plans for financial service professionals.

Get Visible Where Your Clients Hangout Online

Beyond searching on Google, where do your ideal clients hangout? In most cases, we are all on some social channel or another. It is time for financial service professionals to show up and get visible where your clients are hanging out.

However, this doesn’t mean you have to always be sharing financial tips and advice. You can simply join conversations on all types of topics. This way you can show up in service and connect with people. Social media isn’t (and shouldn’t be) about always pitching your services. Start a  conversation. Share a motivational quote. Reflect on a current topic.

By showing up and being visible you are starting a conversation that will keep you top of mind. Start with one platform. Get really good at showing up and sharing. Expand to other platforms later.

Create Your Raving Fans

Design a client experience that creates raving fans…then make the ask.

Financial service professionals have some of the lowest number of user reviews on Google. Google places a high value on third-party reviews, like client reviews. Put a system in place to ask for your clients to leave you a real review on Google or other digital platforms. 

Compliance Caution: While financial advisors must abide by compliance rules for how you use testimonials or reviews, there is nothing limiting your clients from going to Google and leaving you a review.

The key is that you are not incentivizing, writing your own reviews, or responding to those reviews. So, it is okay to ask and have a system for asking. 

On the other hand, for other financial service professionals without compliance concerns, like independent insurance agents, bookkeepers, and accountants, asking for reviews and highlighting them on your website and social media can be impactful for finding, attracting, converting, and retaining new clients.

Double your reviews in 7 days with our free ebook. Download today!

Build a System to Capture & Book New Clients

Now that you’ve tackled visibility, it is time to capture and book potential new clients. Financial service professionals can benefit from having a full funnel system in place to make it easy to attract and convert your ideal clients.

Moreover, there are all types of digital funnels for financial service firms. Building a funnel consists of designing an irresistible offer that is easy to sign up for, then creating a series of follow up connection points that expand on your offer.

You can create appointment funnels, webinar funnels, or simple smart financial resource funnels. In short, the goal is to attract and convert potential buyers.

Then, to do it in such a way that provides an answer or solution to your audience’s most burning question or concern.

Designing a full funnel system for your firm? Get started with our Funnel Checklist. It will help you get the basics in place.

Create Conversations in the Inbox

Start creating conversations in the inbox via your email marketing strategy.

Once someone signs up for your irresistible offer or downloads one of your amazing financial checklists, you have their permission to create a conversation with them in their inbox.

Email marketing is one of the most cost effective marketing tactics in your digital marketing toolbox. Be sure you take the time to leverage email in an authentic way.

Plus, by using smart automation strategies, you can create genuine and helpful conversations that start building valuable relationships and trust.

Similarly, Danielle Himic from Highland Capital Brokerage is a fan of video email marketing as a way to add an interactive human element to your email strategy. “Video e-mail was becoming an increasingly popular trend pre-pandemic. Now that in-person contact has been tremendously impacted, financial advisors we partner with are noticing that video e-mail is a great way to get virtual facetime with clients and prospects. It gives that extra human element most are missing right now versus the traditional e-mail in their inbox.

Remember business is still all about the relationship and your potential client’s know, like, and trust factor with you and your firm’s brand. So create your email marketing strategy with the idea of continuing the conversation and providing value in an authentic way.

Learn more about Authentic Automation in our free Masterclass

Deliver Wow Outside the Inbox

Smart client retention strategies focus on how you can show up and serve clients beyond annual reviews and monthly newsletters. Consequently, savvy business owners know that relationships are built and maintained through thoughtful interactions.

The digital shifts of 2020 still include finding ways to automate systems that deliver beyond the digital world.

Imagine the impact of your client receiving a thoughtful, yet timely, card, gift or note from you that wasn’t related to business. As a result, you are delivering a moment that WOWS. Think about those moments where you show you care and pay attention. 

Learn more about an automated client retention system that works for smart financial service pros.

Next Steps

In conclusion, making the digital shift has been huge for financial service professionals. Going forward, you want to be smart in how you handle your digital strategies. We’ve talked a lot about systems, tools, & partners to help you with your digital transition. 

Meanwhile, if you haven’t taken the time to figure out your digital strategy, connect with the Smart Girl Digital team. We can help you with your digital systems and make a smooth digital transition.

Schedule a free Digital Discovery Session

Our digital discovery session will help you get some quick answers on the best next step to meet your business goals. We offer a full range of digital services that take the stress out of making the digital shifts in your business. From creative content strategies to systems integrations, every financial service pro needs a Smart Girl on their team.

What digital shifts are you making in your business?

Comment below and let us know…

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1 Comment

Auditing Your 2020 Marketing Plans | Smart Girl Digital · 11/23/2020 at 9:02 am

[…] we noted in our blog about smart digital shifts for financial service pros, 2020 is the year of the pivot. If you haven’t already, think about how you can utilize inbound […]

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