Virtual Communication: Can Trust Really Be Established from a Distance?
May 19, 2021
Ask any financial advisor about their most valuable asset, and every single one would probably tell you—it’s trust.
But according to recent data issued by the CFA Institute, some advisors may be struggling in this area.
In their latest Trust Report, the CFA Institute says only 59% of retail investors feel their advisor is the most trusted source of investment advice. And only 25% of institutional investors believe their investment firm always puts their interests first.
Establishing Trust in a Skeptical, Virtual World
People today have been conditioned to question their sources of information. In many ways, this is a good thing; in others, it may not be so good. People need to think critically about the information they consume, but they also need to recognize trustworthy guidance when they see it. Either way, trust in these sources can only be established over time if their information is deemed by the recipient to be true.
In today’s virtual world, this requires a solid handle on digital marketing.
If you’re using your website, email, and other digital channels to communicate with clients and prospects, you’re already involved in at least some aspect of digital marketing. But is it enough?
If you’re like most advisors, probably not. In fact, the latest J.D. Power’s research shows that advisors need to evolve and develop their digital communication options. Younger investors (under 40) actually prefer communicating through digital channels and have ramped up their digital activity because of the availability of mobile options.
Digital Marketing Helps Advisors Regain Control
Digital marketing doesn’t come naturally to many financial advisors. Financial advisors understand that the primary focus of their business is people—not wrangling with digital technologies.
While digital marketing does require you to embrace new skills and technologies, if it’s done right, you’ll discover how easy it is to demonstrate your value without leaving your home. You can build trust through a computer screen. This means that when global events disrupt the industry, when clients' wants and needs rapidly evolve, when new technology forces everyone to change how they work, you can still assert control over the future of your business.
The first step is creating a marketing plan that includes digital marketing activities. If you’re among the majority of advisors we’ve recently spoken with, you don’t have one. If you do have one, you likely haven’t implemented it.
Building a Marketing Plan
It is both critical and challenging, now more than ever, to build trust with your clients. How does having a marketing plan help build trust? It ensures that content marketing—email, blogging, podcasting, public relations, and contributed articles—are infused into your communications strategy. By communicating your expertise, you’re not only generating brand awareness—you’re also establishing all-important credibility.
Combine that with all the other particulars you communicate about yourself and your business (such as your passions and inspirations) and all the ways you interact with clients and prospects, and you’ll be well on your way toward building the trust that keeps your investors and business growing.
Keep in mind that what works for some advisors doesn't always work for others. You may be a great writer but not the strongest of public speakers. This may make you a compelling blogger but an uninspiring podcaster. If the activity doesn’t work for you, don’t waste your time on it. Instead, embrace the activities you enjoy, and the style that works for you. People will sense that the information you convey is coming from a place that’s caring, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.
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