In recent years, online marketing campaigns have become second nature to advisors as they interact with their clients through technological mediums. Telephone calls are now being performed via the Internet voice-over phenomenon Skype; advisors are updating their clients of current financial trends by way of 140-character messages on Twitter; and advisor/client relationships are being strengthened through professional social networking sites like LinkedIn. With these advancements it’s easy to say that technology will continue to be a primary method of communication in the financial sector, yet it’s the relationship between the client and technology that advisors will need to foster through effective marketing.
According to research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, older generations are becoming more comfortable with Internet usage. Between 2005 and 2008, the amount of 70 to 75-year olds actively using the Internet rose from 25 percent up to 45 percent — the highest increase of any age group. Tapping into this growing comfort-zone can be a strategic plan for any tech-savvy advisor. However, though the senior market is rapidly becoming more familiar with the particulars of technology, a few questions must be addressed when building an online campaign:
1. How do seniors find the site? For clients over the age of 65, only 29 percent of search engine users report being confident about using the tool. Additionally, only 9 percent indicate that they find what they need from a search engine on a regular basis. Addressing this concern means taking a look at how your product comes up in searches and researching ways to increase your visibility and relevancy. David Martino, president of communications firm Martino & Binzer, suggests that services like Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help in this area.
2. Once on the site, what do seniors need to do? Once you’ve gotten a potential client through the search engine portal and onto your site, your job is to get them to request more information or get them to the point of feeling comfortable about an in-person purchase. Essentially, you’re shooting for Web usability. Martino points out a good rule of thumb: your visitor should never be more than three clicks away from information. Repeating important links throughout the site can be a good way to ensure that your client gets what they need.
3. How do you keep seniors coming back? To stay on the front page for your prospects, consider utilizing e-newsletters, blogs, or news updates. Let your clients know that your site can continually give them the freshest information with the easiest maneuverability. In general, the success of this point is often determined by the success of the first two questions on this list.
More than anything, remember that the purpose of online technology is to eventually get the person through your door and to build a lasting relationship with them. Use technology to its greatest advantages but remember to also play to the person on the other end of the email by giving them a helping hand along the way.