There are tried and true ways to get new clients, but will that change in the new wealth management landscape?
Take referrals. In launching its retail robo-advice offering, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, Naureen Hassan of Schwab said that when new users of SIP sign up, the final question on their intake form will be “Do you want to talk to a financial professional?” Calls from those who do want to talk to a person will be directed to a team “that's skilled enough to vector clients to the right” solution, Hassan said. “If they have more sophisticated needs,” Hassan said, the team “will follow our standard” referral protocol, recommending either a branch or a Schwab-custodied independent RIA.
Beyond such passive referrals, there's another approach to attracting clients to your firm: content-based digital marketing.
In February, Shareholders Service Group, the San Diego-based RIA custodian, announced a deal with Vestorly under which SSG's 1,400 advisor clients will get preferred pricing on Vestorly's digital marketing software suite, which provides content for advisor websites, email newsletters and social media, with the ability to identify visitors who are prospective clients.
Justin Wisz, CEO of venture-capital funded Vestorly, said the firm's customers “run the gamut from one-person shops” to firms like Harold Evensky's and Greg Friedman's wealth management firms and enterprise deals with companies like SSG and United Capital. Summit Brokerage Services, the independent BD, uses Vestorly software as a recruiting tool, Wisz said.
“Wealth management firms lack the time, knowledge and budget to put a content marketing solution in place in a way that makes business sense for them,” Wisz said, “so they avoid digital marketing.” But Vestorly “can solve the problem with technology, automating a delightful content discovery experience that mirrors what consumers are used to” in their website and social media experiences. “The advisor can wrap their message with third-party content,” Wisz said, “which adds more credibility to the advisor.”
Vestorly's technology places content from a host of content providers gathered in a content library chosen by the advisor—major media companies like The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal to specialized publications like, well, ThinkAdvisor.com or Investment Advisor—onto the advisor's site.
When visitors come to the advisor's site, they’re only asked to provide an email address. The advisor is given a report containing reader profiles of “the people who are interacting” with their content on the site or social media, including what and when they’re reading. “We capture their identity, reading habits and where they were before” automatically, said Wisz, and then using aggregated public data, provide the advisor with visitors’ geographic origin, phone number and email address.
Armed with those reader profiles, said Wisz, the advisors decide which of those prospects they’ll approach to eventually sign up as clients.