New RIAs should focus their marketing efforts on their local areas instead of looking to go national and, when it comes to social networks and the Internet, they should focus their efforts on LinkedIn and search engine optimization, according to Ritholtz Wealth Management CEO Josh Brown.
“Start locally” and “forget about building a national brand,” he said Thursday during the BNY Mellon | Pershing webcast “Faster Growth as a RIA: How Freedom, Flexibility, and Creativity are Used to Fuel Advisor Growth.”
It is, after all, hard to compete against established players who had a huge head start, he said. Besides, if you are an RIA in Omaha, you don’t need somebody in Hawaii reading your content because “they’re not going to become your client,” he told viewers.
If you are in Omaha and have a great blog and podcast providing relevant financial information and combine it with information specific to your market, such as bands you saw at a local bar or golf courses you like playing at, you are much better off, he suggested. Most people search for local things to do, so your name will come up when they search online if you do that, he noted.
Therefore, become a “star in your pond” first and then broaden if you want to after you find huge success locally, he suggested.
Usually, he explained: “The only time a financial advisor gets a new client is when there’s a catalyst in their life that makes them say ‘I need a financial advisor.’ You can’t make somebody want to be your client.” Those main catalysts tend to include the birth of a child, the need to save for college or retire and the sale of a business, he pointed out.
No content you create will make people become your client if they feel they don’t need an advisor yet, he told viewers. “You have to be the person that’s in the back of their head so that when some life event of theirs happens,” they want to call your firm, he pointed out, adding: “That’s how it happens for us nine times out of 10.”
The Need to Be On Page 1 of a Search
Dynasty Financial Partners, meanwhile, was an early mover on search optimization, Shirl Penney, CEO and president of that firm, said during the webcast. “I think anyone listening now would agree that if you’re not on the first page or first two pages, but probably first page, of Google Search, you’re really not relevant,” he warned advisors. If you are based in San Francisco, the name of your firm should come up near the top of a Google search for independent financial advisor San Francisco, for example, he noted.