From the October 2009 Issue of Senior Market Advisor Magazine
Bill Losey might be on to something. The tech-savvy CFP from upstate New York started distributing an e-mail newsletter three years ago, to a whopping 120 people. Since then, Bill Losey’s Retirement Intelligence has grown its subscriber list to 6,500, and it’s adding three or more people nearly every day. In fact, says Losey, founder of Wilton, N.Y.-based Bill Losey Retirement Solutions (and its marketing arm, SavvyAdvisorMarketing.com), he’s getting phone calls from potential clients based on the e-newsletter, and nothing else.
“Now,” Losey says, “instead of asking for referrals or conducting seminars, I’m doing pull marketing. My newsletters, my blog, the articles I write … they all link back to my Web site.”
What Losey is doing, especially with the e-newsletter, points to the future of marketing and sales. For marketing purposes, electronic communication reaches more and more people all of the time–at a fraction of the cost of print. For sales, by the time people come to you, they’re ready to work with you. They’ve seen what you can offer and they trust you. While it may be longer in the overall scheme of things with all of the unseen touches, the sales process is shorter once you finally meet the prospect.
Losey counts his e-newsletter, and his “high-content, high-value” Web site as the biggest reasons his marketing efforts–and reputation–have taken off. And that’s a piece of the future that senior advisors are going to have to embrace, without treating it like a cactus.
Advisors will absolutely need an online presence, but not just as a space filler. Their online image has to be a reflection of who they are and what they can offer. Why? Well, for one, how else are people going to find them? “Google” is now a verb, folks. That’s an indication of how ubiquitous it is. Even if people use another search engine, they almost always say they’re going to Google what they need. Nobody ever said he was going to “Yellow Page” something. Seniors are going online in larger and larger numbers, and boomers, well, they’re accustomed to the Internet. They’ve been working on computers for most of their careers, and they know how to surf.
When it comes to Web sites–which, let’s face it, are going to be a marketing force 365 days a year–advisors have to keep them up to date and populate them with information, not sales pitches and product. Content is king.
Losey, for example, puts up one new article each week, in addition to sending his e-newsletter and blogging. The reason: You have to give people a reason to come back. When they come back, they get to know you a little better each time. Losey swears by the formula, calling it a key driver to his business.
Something else advisors are doing on their sites, something that helps build relationships with people who haven’t even called the advisor yet, is video. Whether it’s a big production or a video shot with a Webcam, a video allows an advisor to comment on relevant topics, get his face in front of prospects and build that trust that is mandatory for boomers.
Michael Poirot, marketing director for GamePlan Financial (gameplanfinancial.com) in Woodstock, Ga., says there’s a big difference between static pictures and video. Video can build trust in a way that photos can’t. It actually lets an advisor’s personality come through and allows him to speak authoritatively on a subject that matters to consumers.
Voice of authority
Another medium that allows advisors to speak knowledgably is radio.
“Radio marketing will be huge,” Poirot says, adding that for many advisors, radio shows will replace seminars. “Radio will be that go-to tool. Five years from now, people are still going to be listening to AM talk radio.” Whether they’re listening to it in flying cars with robot chauffeurs remains to be seen.
Bill Smith, RFC, is another firm believer in the future power of radio. Smith takes to the Cleveland-area airwaves every week as part of the marketing plan for his Sandusky, Ohio-based practice, Great Lakes Retirement Group (greatlakesretirement.com). He says being on the radio is the best way to accomplish what he sees as the definition of marketing: Creating a perception of you that makes people decide they have to do business with you.