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How to Build a Stellar Online Reputation

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What You Need to Know

  • A stellar online reputation can be one of a financial professional’s most powerful marketing assets.
  • Posting appealing articles, blog posts, videos and podcasts may help create greater trust.
  • A steady flow of content can do a lot more good than a one-time effort.

A stellar online reputation is one of an advisor or agent’s most powerful marketing assets. Sadly, so many advisors take it for granted.

If you’ve been in the financial services business for more than a minute, then you probably realize that the process of engaging prospects and getting referrals has dramatically changed.

In the 21st century, people of all ages spend time researching products, businesses, and service providers long before making contact. Social proof, such as ratings and reviews, provides shortcuts in the decision-making process and helps give a business more authority more quickly.

Articles, blog posts, videos, and podcasts contribute transparency and create greater trust.

Asking for outside help with money issues is already difficult for many older people. Reputation management and what I call “internet credentials” are particularly beneficial to financial advisors and insurance agents who work with retirees and pre-retirees. But when a prospect searches your or your firm’s name and finds nothing, the conversation has pretty much ended before it even began.

That’s why advisors and agents who want to have more positive interactions with seniors and would like to increase their closing ratios must put online reputation management on the front burner.

The COVID-19 Factor

In the past, financial professionals were somewhat dismissive of the idea that they needed to be found online. They believed that because they generally encountered their clients live and in-person, it didn’t matter whether they had an online reputation or not.

The pandemic proved this thinking to be very short-sighted. Financial services went digital in a big way, and getting found online became essential. So did making sure that what people found online was accurate and enticing.

Tweezing the Web

Hiring someone to do a quick fix that pushes adverse reports and reviews down the search results is a temporary solution that often backfires.

Peeling off one negative review or unflattering article about you is akin to pulling out a gray hair. As soon as you remove it, another one takes its place.

In fact, many so-called “reputation management” companies are banking on Google to keep circulating those bad reviews, so you will have to pay them to get rid of them over and over again.

Unless you actively manage your online presence, an awful lot of your past can wind up in the court of public opinion. A youthful indiscretion, a misunderstanding, old blog posts, and tweets that you posted in the heat of passion can come up in search, sometimes right on page one!

The Void

Worst of all, in my opinion, is that someone could Google your name and discover nothing at all about you. While it’s tempting to believe “no news is good news,” being a ghost online does nothing to help you eliminate barriers that keep good prospects from becoming clients.

When I search for a business owner or professional and cannot find anything about them, not even their website, I tend to feel an almost immediate lack of trust. At best, no online presence may telegraph carelessness or laziness on the part of a financial advisor. Potential clients need to find you, and what they find needs to be representative of your values, work ethic, and skills.

How to Grow Good Results

Protocols exist for advisors seeking to manage their online reputations proactively. Systems, including credentialing systems, can effectively get you found in search and ensure that your reputation remains spotless.

Creating quality content, especially content that appears consistently on high authority websites or in print publications, is one way agents and advisors can take charge of their online reputations.

Many advisors have also used videos successfully to establish themselves as trusted authorities or experts in particular financial subjects.

However, the critical thing to remember is that establishing and maintaining a clean, accurate online reputation is an ongoing process. You must devote at least a few hours a month to ensuring that when a prospect decides to do a deep-dive to discover more about you, they don’t hit their head in the shallows.


Bill Broich (Credit: Broich)Bill Broich, co-owner of Annuity.com, also works as a content strategist for financial professionals.

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(Photo: Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock)