The Next Frontier: Text Messaging for Advisors
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When it comes to marketing for business growth, advisors want the same thing: the silver bullet.
They ask, “What’s working right now? Should I be making videos? Start a podcast? Run webinars?”
“What is it???”
They don’t like my answer because it’s, “Yes, yes, yes, and…(insert list of other digital advisor marketing best practices here).”
You’ll never catch me claiming there’s a silver bullet in marketing, but if there ever were a strategy to come close, it’s texting.
Before you click away from this screen, hear me out. I know what you’re thinking: (1) This can’t be allowed (compliance); (2) there is no way my prospects want to be text messaged (not so fast, marketing skeptic); and (3) “What would I even say?”
But texting is the new frontier in advisor marketing. In fact, it’s such a lucrative channel for attracting, converting, and retaining clients that 80% of financial firms are currently using or plan to use text messaging with clients and employees.
When done right, texting with a prospect can improve conversion by 40% (over prosects who aren’t sent text messages). Not to mention the benefits it can have with both client and employee retention.
I am not claiming that you can ditch your other marketing efforts and just start texting your heart out. But the numbers are real. Texting can drastically improve your overall rate of success when it comes to business generation and client retention alike.
The data behind text messaging
Where emails are opened 20% of the time, texts are opened 98%.
Where emails are responded to 6% of the time, texts are responded to 45% of the time.
Talk about a marketing dream come true. These numbers represent a dramatic increase in odds that your message will elicit a direct response from the recipient.
But that’s not all. Open rates and responses are almost instantaneous with 90% of texts opened within three minutes of receipt.
Why wait around for your emails to be opened (if they will be) when you can communicate at the drop of a hat via text?
Of course, these numbers make sense given our reliance on our smart phones. Text messaging is everywhere. 91% of adults keep their smartphone within arm’s reach 24/7. At this rate, they have all but become another appendage. And if you think about smart watches for a moment, it’s almost as if they already have.
It makes perfect sense that texting has become the easiest and most convenient way to communicate. Think of what you do when you receive a text message. Whether out of habit or rote reaction, you click to open it – if even for no other reason than to clear the notification.
Texts mimic one-on-one conversation
Texting mimics real life conversation. Unlike web sites and social media pages which are one-to-many conversations, texts are one-to-one. Messaging, then, deepens existing relationships and fosters a connection with prospects you haven’t yet met. Personalized interactions make customers happy and increase ROI for your business.
Is texting even allowed? The compliance issue
As if keeping a log of all your blogs, emails, social posts, and other communications wasn’t enough – here comes texting. How will you capture and record all relevant messages? Will exchanges fall through the cracks? Certainly, text messaging presents a challenge, but not one that can’t be easily overcome with modern technology. If the largest firms in the world allow their advisors to use texting, it is possible!
There are compliant texting solutions including Speak from Redtail and Convos from Snappy Kraken that document and archive communications. Those platforms could be just the solution to overcoming the biggest challenge advisors face in communicating to prospects and clients – compliance.
I am sold! But if you need more convincing, just look at how you can leverage messaging in multiple areas of your advisory business below.
How advisors can use text messaging to attract, convert, and retain clients
Lead collection is one of the fundamental goals of digital marketing. Most often, collecting leads is done by offering free content in exchange for the lead’s information. In the past, this has typically been an email address or phone number. Emails would then be sent – or phone calls made – to “nurture” the lead and build a relationship that would eventually lead to one-on-one contact. But with a 98% open rate, and instantaneous communication available through text, you would be wise to ask for a phone number for lead nurturing through messaging, as well.
- Scheduling appointments
Texting can save you countless hours scheduling appointments. You are no longer forced to launch email volleys or make multiple phone calls to set up an appointment or annual review. And if you use an automated scheduling tool, you can simply copy and paste your link into a text and shoot it over to a client or prospect who needs to book time with you.
- Keep clients engaged
Text messages can be a great way to send important reminders or notifications about upcoming events to the clients already using your services. Did your most recent podcast episode go live? Share the link via text message. Are you hosting an event? Send the signup link via text. You can even send reminders for important dates like tax filing or retirement contribution deadlines. Your clients will be glad you’re thinking of them and grateful for the timely reminders. These messages can even be autogenerated and scheduled ahead of time to make sure your audience remains engaged.
But… is it too much?
I speak with financial advisors about texting and the amazing benefits it can have for their business. One of the most common concerns is: “Is it too much? Will my clients or prospects think I am being intrusive or annoying?” This concern typically comes from more established advisors who are skittish about the highly personal nature of the text message. Of course, this is understandable as they are used to more traditional methods of in-person prospecting. But I remind them that the goal is to meet clients and prospects where they are. Today, that is in text.
Texting is our way of life now. The more time passes, the more texting is relied upon by all generations. Be sure your messages aren’t sent too frequently and focus on adding value for the client or prospect.
Dr. Maribeth Kuzmeski is the president of Red Zone Marketing, a consulting firm specializing in business growth for financial services firms. She is the author of nine books and a professor of marketing at Oklahoma State University teaching several marketing courses, including Personal Branding: Name, Image & Likeness.