Coronavirus — at this point, it’s something that everyone likely wishes we could put in our rearview mirror. But, as the global pandemic continues, people and businesses are settling into a new normal. While RIAs and financial professionals have embraced new technology and strategies to conduct everyday business, it’s equally imperative to consider marketing and communication techniques. In this unprecedented environment, deliberate communication with peers, prospects and clients is the only path forward for professionals and firms looking to reassert their visibility, credibility and availability. Here are three tips for those seeking to reposition their marketing message in this new world:
1. Focus on producing easily consumable nuggets of information. It’s noisy out there. People are inundated with huge amounts of information each day — news about everything from COVID-19 to the upcoming election, civil unrest and more. For RIAs and financial professionals who want to either reach prospects or deliver guidance to clients, you’ll have to do so in a much different way. To capture your audience, consider sidelining the lengthy newsletters and instead curating a video (depending on what platform you post to, consider these duration guidelines). Nix the flood of client emails detailing daily market moves and instead launch a podcast. These have grown in popularity every year since 2006, to the point that it’s reported “more than 100 million Americans listen to at least one podcast per month.” In this new world, understand how your clients are consuming information and be there to provide it.
2. Develop messages based on specific client demographics. One thing we can agree on is that everyone has been impacted by coronavirus. It will be time consuming, but RIA professionals should consider conducting different client breakdowns and analyzing how COVID-19 has affected each “bucket” of clientele. Think about the 60-year-olds closing in on retirement who were furloughed. Consider millennial clients, who have now seen both the 2008 recession and the 2020 coronavirus-induced market volatility. How will you work with these clients differently? How will you communicate and plan with them over the short and long term?
Making a conscious effort to identify these niche subsets of clientele, and emphasizing open communication about financial consequences tied to COVID-19, can help develop a stronger client-advisor relationship (where the client feels truly heard and understood by the advisor).
3. It’s now imperative, not just OK, to show your emotional side. 2020 has been an emotional year — the endless COVID-19 coverage has put many Americans on edge, not to mention the feelings of isolation and confusion experienced by most. One of the most important lessons of communication in our new norm is to exude emotion — your prospects want it and your clients will demand it. Whether via a video, podcast, social media post or simple email, people want to feel an authentic connection. Be empathetic. Be transparent. It’s table stakes now.
The impact of the coronavirus will continue to influence the RIA industry long after its doors open back up for business. Instituting strategic communication and identifying new practice management elements will enable you to maintain loyal client relationships, bolster your book of business and ultimately navigate these challenging times with success.