According to Raghav Sharma, co-founder and CEO of GuideVine, there are 640,000 searches for advisors every month on Google, and 70% of consumer decisions are based on what they find online — two compelling reasons financial advisors need a consumer-friendly presence on the Internet.
A comprehensive digital profile will help attract not only potential clients but also younger advisors to firms, many headed by and staffed with advisors over 50 or 60 years of age, says Sharma, a former a McKinsey consultant in its financial services practice.
“Advisors need to relate to a younger generation and need to attract younger advisors to their firms,” said Sharma, in an interview at ThinkAdvisor’s New York office. And more of them are willing to use digital marketing tools to achieve those goals because of the “unrelenting attack from robo-advisors,” said Sharma.
How GuideVine Works
GuideVine markets itself as a Match.com-like service connecting consumers to registered investment advisors. Potential clients can search for advisors using the “Find Your Financial Advisor” button at the website GuideVine.com by entering zip code, amount of investable assets and the types of service they’re looking for, such as financial planning, retirement planning, investment consulting and more.
In addition, they can then choose to provide some vital statistics about themselves, including income level, whether they’re married or single, gender and household income.
Once the information is entered, a page or more of advisors will pop up, including profiles, short videos featuring individual advisors and, if available, a customer survey rating. The consumer can then ask the advisor a question via email and/or schedule a free consultation. The typical potential client is 40 to 45 years old, married with kids, and with more than $1 million in investable assets.
More than 70% of these matches yield meetings with prospective clients, but the numbers aren’t earth-shattering. The matches translate into an average three to five client meeting per advisor, though they run as high as 15 meetings. Potential clients typically meet with at least three to four advisors and decide two to three months after their meeting whether to sign up with a particular advisor.