Digital First: How Blogs and Emails Net You Clients

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Every great dish starts with well-chosen, quality ingredients.

The same is true of a financial advisor blog.

Blogs and email newsletters help advisors keep in touch with existing clients, showcase their expertise and subtly spread their message to prospects, says Solomon Poretsky, executive vice president of organizational development in Boston for Sperry Van Ness International, a commercial real estate organization.

He has coached salespeople and small-business owners on how to build their clientele via blogging.

Take Rick Kahler, who says that his blog, “Financial Awakenings,” is a must-read for clients.

“About 50% of our new business comes directly or indirectly from our blog,” says Kahler, a certified financial planner and the president of Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, S.D.

His secret?

A “weekly post directed to consumers,” Kahler says.

Two local newspapers pick up his blog. So, occasionally, do other newspapers and national publications.

Whether an advisor is a blogging veteran or newbie, here are six useful tips:

1. Research what clients want. “Your clients know what they want to see,” Poretsky says. “If you’re blogging to get eyeballs, you’ll need to have content that matches what they search for.”

2. Create an editorial calendar. “The best advisor blogs get their spontaneous and up-to-the-second feel because they plan it with an editorial calendar,” Poretsky says.

Advisors should keep putting out fresh content regularly, but they must find a reasonable frequency on which they can deliver.

“We blog without fail every Monday. We write all our own content, and the feedback we receive affirms the huge effort it takes to do that,” Kahler says.

“Consumers get barraged by boring, generic financial information,” he says. ”Putting your personality into a post is worth the effort.”

3. Be mobile-friendly. A complete blog strategy demands a plan that formats content for mobile, as well as desktops, laptops and smartphones.

One solution is to use a responsive web design that looks as good on a four-inch screen as on a home computer. Blog posts that get right to the point and answer questions can pay rewards.

4. Get help from outside sources. Advisors may not have time to write all the content that fills a blog. Get help from outside sources, and adapt some internal material.

5. Add multimedia. Add visual elements such as YouTube videos, images or charts.

They make blogs sticky and attention-grabbing. Video elements are compelling, mobile-friendly and loved by search engines.

6. Include add-ons. Create a “referrals appreciated” blurb.

Also, include the request, “If you got value from this article, please share it with your network, via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.” Add icons and links that make it easy to share content.

Finally, don’t forget to attach blogs and newsletters to the firm’s website.

Bruce W. Fraser, a New York financial writer, contributes to Financial Planning and On Wall Street.

This story is part of a 30-day series on how to generate the best referrals.

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