Omni-channel marketing ensures a consistent message across all brand touch points.

Imagine going to the grocery store tomorrow and seeing that all the Coke bottles were suddenly blue. On some, the familiar script logo was replaced by a plain-Jane block font. On others, the typically uplifting brand messages were switched out with dire stats about global warming.

You’d walk away, eh? Maybe even buy a Pepsi?

As ridiculous as this sounds, it’s exactly what too many financial advisors are doing with their marketing. They’re delivering mixed messages to potential clients and losing to their competitors in the process. Most advisors are too busy to give their marketing the time and attention it requires. Meaningful, engaging content is replaced with whatever happens to be accessible, affordable or quick to deploy. But just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s good.

(Related: How Advisors Can Increase Client Referrals With Digital Infrastructure)

Your marketing shapes how potential clients feel about you, how they perceive the quality of your services and whether they will pick up the phone to make an appointment. When brand elements are out of harmony, prospects get confused and pick the other brand.

CONSISENTCY IS KING

Let’s talk about why.

Psychologists have proven that humans love consistency. Consistency makes our lives easier. It’s a shortcut to making decisions: Once we form an opinion about something, we never have to think about it again.

This is why consistency is so important in marketing. You need to make a prospect’s decision to hire you an easy one. They need to trust you. But when your social media posts relay one brand experience and your emails another, it undermines trust.

This is why I urge advisors to embrace automated omni-channel marketing, which is basically just a fancy way of saying you need to ensure people receive a consistent experience across all marketing channels and brand touch points automatically. Every interaction a client or prospect has with your brand should reinforce and build upon the last, instilling confidence and trust while simultaneously educating or entertaining.

Technology makes this possible.

AUTOMATING THE CLIENT EXPERIENCE

Between 2011 and 2016, the number of companies offering some form of marketing technology grew from 150 to 3,500 — that’s over 2,000 percent in just five years! These tools make it possible to automate virtually every aspect of the prospect and client experience, from email marketing and social media outreach, to video and SEO marketing. When structured properly, these channels can integrate with your CRM, phone system, and calendars to provide tracking, reporting and business insights unavailable just a few years ago.

New marketing automation tools and services are popping up everyday. Just imagine what the advisory firm of the future’s marketing will look like: Every outreach will be engaging, relevant and deployed on the channels preferred by the firm’s ideal clients, whether that’s online, print, mail, email, video, social or SMS. People who ask for more information will be automatically dropped into a funnel where they are nurtured with relevant communications that gradually build trust until an appointment is set and calendared automatically. The prospect will receive a confirmation email and text message with driving directions and a list of what to bring to their first appointment.

Now the real relationship starts. Why waste time sending emails or calling leads? Differentiate yourself where it counts — by providing stellar service in person, over the phone or via video chat. Let technology do the rest.

BETTER STILL

In our future scenario, when the first appointment is automatically scheduled on your calendar, the advisor also receives data gathered from the prospect’s social media profiles. Hobbies. Interests. Family. The kind of art they like. That information could be very helpful during a first appointment.

Once you win them over and the prospect becomes a client, the system will note the status change and send them a welcome basket, email and letter. They’re automatically enrolled in a systematic, relevant and periodic communication campaign. Ten days after the welcome package is sent, the “Hey, just touching base” email goes out. Thirty days after that, the new client survey arrives. But again, no one had to send these communications or pay an assistant to send them — everything is automated.

Have a client who’s turning 69.5? The system will see that and automatically deploy the RMD prep campaign to get them thinking about reinvestment options.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Automated omni-channel marketing will solve so many of the challenges our industry faces, and millions of lines of code are being developed every day to make this happen.

With an automated omni-channel marketing strategy, you can ensure that every single touch point a prospect or client has with your brand is consistent and relevant to their needs, making the decision to trust, hire and refer you a simple one.

—  Read Advisors Continue to Get New Business From Social Media: Poll on ThinkAdvisor.