It's hard to argue that markets like this don’t take their toll on advisors and clients alike. Managing client expectations is challenging enough already, let alone in the midst of all this volatility. How much communication is enough? Does every client need a call? What’s the right way to stay in touch? Many advisors answer these questions with a mix of proactive outbound calls and responses to inbound calls.
But what about the tools of the web? Blogs, emails, and social media? Do they offer us any help during markets like these? To get a sense of how web-savvy advisors are using the web right now, I reached out and asked. What I found was a number of common approaches and one very uncommon outcome.
Using the web to stay in front of clients
Advisors are using blog posts, email messages and social media posts to stay in front of their clients and prospects. In fact, I found that these tools offer advisors a way to stay in touch that doesn’t cause undue client concerns.
As Ross Thorton of Wealthcare Capital Management mentioned, it can be alarming to clients to call them every time there is a “crisis du jour." Sometimes clients who aren’t concerned become concerned by virtue of your call. So what to do? In this case Ross crafted an email that both addressed the market turmoil and reminded people that he is in place looking after their interests.
An added benefit of this approach is that it allows you to act quickly and speak to a very large audience. In Ross’ case, his email marketing list is over 600 people while his practice is less than 100. It’s possible (maybe even likely) that Ross was the first advisor the people on his list heard from.
Using online tools to reinforce offline messages
None of the advisors I spoke to have changed their message to clients due to market volatility. If anything, they are using the current conditions as an opportunity to remind clients of larger and more timeless investment themes. Themes like having a plan and sticking to it.
For example, Roger Wohlner, who blogs at http://wohlnerfinancial.blogspot.com, offered that he does not use social media for one-on-one client communications or use his blog to make specific investment recommendations.
This matches what I hear from most advisors. Even though online tools allow for immediate and timely messages. Particularly tempting during times of market volatility, advisors most often choose to keep online content more general and in synch with their offline messaging.
Reaping the rewards of their web marketing efforts
Cathy Curtis, who blogs at http://blog.curtisfinancialplanning.com and is quite the web-savvy advisor, is currently enjoying some rather unique success. The spike in market volatility has caused an online related spike in her offline communications. Specifically, the number of inbound calls from new prospects has increased dramatically in the last few days. She said, “People are just finding me on the web!”
In reality, it’s not quite that simple. Unrelated to the current volatility, Cathy has put a lot of time and effort into her website, blog, and social media presence. This makes her very “findable” online. So when local investors turn to the web, most likely in the form of a Google search, to find financial help - they find Cathy. The more market volatility causes investors to look for help, the better.
How are you and your firm using the web during these times? What works? What doesn’t? Please, share your thoughts.