Digital strategies are essential for asset and wealth managers, including website optimization, email marketing, social media, SEO, and data analysis.

Digital Strategies: The Engine of a Virtual Distribution Strategy

Digital Strategies: The Engine of a Virtual Distribution Strategy

Digital Strategies: The Engine of a Virtual Distribution Strategy

Asset managers and wealth managers are discovering that most of their potential clients reside in the digital world. More than 80 percent of consumers use the internet to search for businesses and check reviews. Almost half use social media and blogs to look for solutions and products, relying heavily on their online communities for ideas. Companies that fail to connect with their target market digitally risk sliding into irrelevance.

From a boutique asset manager’s perspective, available tools and technology offer the opportunity to vie for attention at the same level as more prominent asset managers. Digital marketing has leveled the playing field, allowing small firms to expand their reach with the added advantage of appealing directly to their target audience. Large and small firms work from the same general blueprint with the same tools to create their digital marketing strategy.

A Powerful, High-Performing Website

An integrated digital strategy starts with a powerful, high-performing website. "High performing" refers to the website’s speed and responsiveness. The last thing a firm needs is to lose visitors because their website is too slow, with clunky navigation.

A powerful website is built for lead generation with timely content, calls to action, landing pages, and forms to capture lead information. The goal is to get targeted visitors to engage with your website and do what you want. The difference between a robust website and anything else lies in some fundamental elements of website design, including:

A thoughtfully designed website should include, among other best practices, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which helps prospects find you on their own—preferably at the top of the first page of Google. Your site should be easy to navigate on personal computers and smartphones and be secure from hackers, and website analytics should deliver the information firms need to make smart decisions.

Turbo-Charged Email Marketing

Recent studies show email is the preferred communication method for three-quarters of people, making email marketing a powerful and cost-effective tool for asset managers to communicate directly with their target audience.

With the availability of more sophisticated technology and an understanding of how to use it, the days of blasting out generic emails are over. Email marketing is now tech-driven, using CRM and marketing automation programs, such as HubSpot, to organize and track everything digital beyond just open rates.

Marketing automation programs provide the ability to track and analyze everything from click-through rates to the behaviors of specific clients and prospects. The data collected provides real-time analysis of how well an email campaign is working or what content is generating the most favorable responses and by whom, giving firms the ability to refine their messaging to optimize campaigns over time.

With actionable data, firms can track individual leads, learn their interests, and score their engagement level to know when they might be ready to be contacted. For example, if a prospect opens an email, clicks on a link, and then visits a website, they can be tracked through all digital channels. You could put them into an email sequence using HubSpot. Each email is an automated response to an action taken by the prospect.

Personalization is a crucial element of email marketing as it allows asset managers to tailor their messages to each recipient based on how they behave through sequencing. For example, the first email might be insightful to attract a prospect’s attention. The second might encourage them to download a report or take a survey—something that will capture their contact information. Then, depending on how they have been behaving up to that point, a third email might suggest a phone meeting. It’s a behavior-based approach, so the email sequence can change based on how they respond.

That’s solid, actionable data telling you that a prospect is actively engaging. When ongoing interactions generate a high lead score, it signals to a salesperson that they are ready to be contacted, allowing them to focus on higher-probability prospects. The system can provide sales teams with specific product recommendations based on previous interactions, increasing the chances of closing the deal.

Social Media

Social media is another critical component of an effective digital strategy. In the span of a decade, social media has grown from a way to get connected to an ever-expanding socio-ecosystem on which mass communities rely for making fundamental decisions for their everyday lives.

Asset managers can take advantage of social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, to expand their digital influence and build social capital that can be converted into new clients. At a minimum, a firm’s presence on social media serves as proof that they do exist and have something of value to offer.

Some asset and wealth managers develop significant followings, which is the purpose of social media marketing. The idea is to guide followers to the firm’s website, where they can be tracked and cultivated into leads.

The key to social media marketing success is to be consistent. Don’t just post to be posting. Think about how to get your content in front of the right people to gain the right followers. For asset managers, it’s the RIA market, institutional investors, or family offices. For wealth managers, it’s typically high-net-worth investors. You can target specific groups either organically or through sponsored opportunities.

Search Engine Optimization

Finally, your digital strategy should focus on enhancing and protecting your internet reputation. For example, if your firm manages an ESG fund and an investor searches Google for ESG funds, does your content appear on page one? Not likely if you haven’t proactively worked to increase your firm’s search engine visibility. Achieving high rankings on search engines is highly competitive, requiring constant monitoring and knowledge of search engine optimization tools to ensure your firm appears when someone searches with relevant keywords.

Actionable Data

A crucial by-product of digital strategies is data. When someone visits your website, downloads a report, reads your blog post, opens your email, or engages with you on social media, it creates data that can be tracked, analyzed, and acted on if you know how to harness and use it. Whereas the digital tools are the parts of the virtual distribution engine, the data is the lubrication that keeps the parts moving and operating at maximum efficiency.

Asset managers can use data-driven business intelligence to develop a deeper understanding of client needs—insights that can be incorporated into the product development process, create more personalized portfolios, and enable cross-selling of value-added services to create a stronger value proposition for clients.

The same capabilities enable asset managers to provide more value with each interaction, whether giving a unique perspective on market or industry trends or personalized solutions to help advisors grow their practice. The more personalized the engagement with advisors, the more value they receive.

It’s essential to have the digital tools in place—fresh and compelling content, a proactive public relations strategy, a high-performance website, and email marketing. But without actionable data, you’re just performing unrelated individual tasks. Harnessing and using actionable data turns it into a perpetual lead-generation process, giving asset managers more control over how they grow assets under management.


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