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Should financial advisors spend their digital marketing efforts on a specific generation?
The best way to promote your services through digital marketing –depends on who is your target market. That depends on the age range of the people you are trying to reach. Your choices can span from the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X to Millennials.
Can all generations be reached with the same message, through the same media?
Each generation has unique characteristics that shape the way they make decisions and how they spend their time and money. To create effective marketing campaigns it is important to understand the differences (and similarities) in how each generation prefers to receive digital content. You may be surprised by what you learn!
First, let’s look at a breakdown of the generations living in America today and some information that will help shape messages you use to reach them:
The Silent Generation (born 1928-1945) grew up in a time of rationing and saving. They are patriotic and value morals and ethics. Seeing and understanding the history of a business or product is important to them, as they appreciate established brands.
Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are also referred to as the “Me Generation.” They hold the majority of the country’s wealth, which is partially because women of this generation started working outside the home in record numbers. Boomers respond well to marketing that focuses on what’s in it for them.
Generation X (born 1965-very early 1980s) reached adulthood in tough economic times, and many grew up in homes where both parents worked. As a result, they are more independent and focus less on loyalty. They are currently at an age where they are busy with their career, young families, and are looking for products and services that make things easier for them.
Millennials/Generation Y (early 1980s – early 2000s) are the children of the original Baby Boomers and are set to become one of the largest living generations. This generation is growing up with technology at their fingertips and is used to information coming at them from every direction. They value friendships, so word-of-mouth marketing is effective (think of a Facebook “like” of your financial advisory firm showing up on their newsfeed).
Now that you understand the breakdown of the generations and what motivates them, how do you reach them?
Putting information online is an extremely effective way to get your message seen by a broad audience. But where do you start? What are the most popular platforms for each group?
Surprisingly enough, all generations have similar preferences for types of content and how they receive information:
Across all generations, blog posts are the most consumed type of online content. A blog gives you the ability to provide relevant content to your clients and potential clients, driving them to your website and social media platforms.
You can vary the messaging in each blog post to reach different audiences, which allows you to keep everyone engaged. A blog post on creating a family budget may appeal to a Generation X client whereas a post on financial planning for long-term health care may appeal to a Baby Boomer. If you provide new content on a regular basis, you will consistently draw different audiences to your business.
Facebook and other social media platforms
Even though the motives for joining Facebook may be different for each group, Facebook adoption is still growing for all ages. Creating a company Facebook page is worth the effort as long as you are also willing to use it to connect with clients and prospects.
Someone from the Silent or Baby Boomer generation may join Facebook strictly to see and post pictures of grandchildren. But if you can connect with them, your updates are likely to be more visible to this group because they typically have fewer “friends” and less showing up in their newsfeed. This will keep your business name fresh in their mind.
Gen Xers research online and if you give them a solution that is quick and easy they will like it. Using Facebook to push your blog posts, relevant articles, or maybe information about a wealth management seminar you are hosting is a great way to reach these clients efficiently.
And finally, my reference above about Millennials putting a Facebook “like” in high regards is a great example of how businesses can earn recognition and familiarity with this age group. Perhaps this group may not have an immediate need for a financial advisor but when they do you are already their “friend”!
Target email campaigns are the most effective way to reach a specific segment of your client base without overwhelming other groups with non-relevant information. Tools like MailChimp and Constant Contact simplify the process of sending out information electronically.
Once you have email addresses you can create separate lists based on age and any other demographic information you are tracking. You can utilize automated emails, personalization and activity-trend analysis. By using email marketing, you can reach a specific group in a place that they are typically checking often – their email.
Marketing across many generations may still require different messages, but by using digital media you can reach each group successfully and inexpensively. The key is to keep the content fresh and ever-changing, targeting a new audience with the next bit of information you are providing.
The fascinating thing about digital marketing is that record numbers of people are proactively going online looking for information. All you need to do is provide them with what they need, or may need and just don’t know it yet!
Crystal Lee Butler, MBA, is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisors. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.
Read more articles by Crystal Lee Butler