There has been plenty of discussion this year about the influence and impact of robo-advisors on our profession. When raising the subject with independent registered advisors, you hear a variety of responses regarding the competitive threat of robo-advisors to their practices. No matter where you stand on this issue, there are a number of areas where you can learn from their technology. After all, without great technology, it would be challenging for a robo-advisor platform to be successful.
The first area where robo-advisors generally excel is their overall website experience, especially as it relates to describing their offering to prospects. I am not talking only about marketing, but about knowing what it is you do. Given the design of their businesses, if the robo-advisors’ websites don’t clearly describe their unique value proposition, it is highly unlikely they will convert the prospect into a client.
Too often advisors say their website doesn’t matter in converting prospects to clients. This leads me to a question: Do you really know how many prospects are looking at your website before they contact you to schedule an appointment? Positioning your website competitively is increasingly important, especially when you have robo-advisors that might offer or at least look like they offer services similar to your firm.
Robo-advisors also communicate with their clients through multiple delivery channels. Considering that robo-advisors do not have a physical office location, their “storefront” is the various ways they leverage their website and communication channels in the virtual world. It is important to recognize the influence the delivery method has on the success of the message.
One best practice I suggest is to realize that email should not be your only delivery method. For example, there are opportunities to use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and even standard text messages to communicate with your clients. Are you hosting an event? Consider sending a brief text message on the day of the event reminding attendees of the starting time and address. Once at the event, take a quick photo and send it out using Twitter. Some advisors are already excelling with these best practice ideas, and they are expanding their firm’s brand.