Life has gotten more complicated for asset management marketers interested in reaching financial advisors online.
In the simplest scenario, financial advisors—current producers and prospects—would regularly visit asset managers’ password-protected Web sites, and marketers would be able to meaningfully interact with them there. But, this is a pipedream—as defined: "a fantastic but vain hope."
A financial advisor communications plan that puts your site at the center ignores at least two market realities:
- An increasing number of Web sites are using frequently refreshing content, peer networking and other functionality to draw the attention of advisors.
- The amount of time financial advisors spend online will not increase along with the increase in relevant content. The time they can afford to spend online is finite.
Oh and here’s a third consideration: As financial advisors step up their own content production and online marketing efforts, some do-it-yourselfers are broadening the scope of their work-related online information-gathering to include search engine optimization and other Web marketing topics. That cuts into the time they have for the asset manager’s site, too.
We’ve commented on some of this before, including the ascent of social networking sites over brand sites, the rationale for content syndication, etc. But today we thought we’d share the list we’ve been keeping of various business-to-business sites that are courting financial advisor audiences. Not included are the mainstream financial media sites (e.g., Yahoo!Finance, Bloomberg, etc.) or the growing number of sites designed to bring investors and advisors together (e.g., the Wall Street Journal’s FiLife, FiGuide.com or LinkedFA.com). And, closed sites such as broker-dealer Intranets and private institutional sites are beyond the scope of this. But they occupy advisors online, too.
The sites we list below are advisor-focused sites we’ve seen advisors tweeting about over the last six months, based on data collected on AdvisorTweets.com. What did we miss? Please let us know below.
Implications for Media Planning, Too
To be part of an audience that's in such demand is great for the advisor, but we encourage you to consider the implications for asset manager marketing efforts. Knowledge of these sites should influence the planning done for your advisor site, of course, but also your firm’s media planning. Many of the sites listed below are less than a year old, have tiny audiences and are most certainly nowhere near your media planner’s radar.
In your advantaged role as a digital marketer with access to the freshest customer insights, you may need to lead your firm’s valuation of the sometimes unconventional opportunities—in advertising, content sponsorship, content publishing and interaction with influential advisors—that these sites offer.
Almost all of these legacy print publishers have stepped up their publishing frequency and enhanced their forum capabilities on their Web sites, augmented in a few cases by LinkedIn Groups.
- Financial Advisor
- Financial Planning
- Investment News including its blogs
- Registered Rep including its Advisorland
These sites are delivering timely, fresh content, with much of it user-generated—which tends to stimulate engagement, loyalty and lots of tweets.
- Horsesmouth—A longtime (since 1996) publisher whose information network’s goal is to “help advisors improve their performance.” Advisor access to this locked Web site is typically via subscriptions arranged for at the firm level.
- Advisors4Advisors—A practice management Web site for independent financial advisors, providing the information needed to run an advisory firm.
We include two categories: associations and social networking sites organized by practitioners.
- Financial Planning Association including FPAJournal.org and its blog
- National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
Update: The blog at AdvisorTweets.com has introduced an occasional series of guest blog posts from the founders and managers of these social networks. The April 16, 2010, post is from AdvisorConnect.
- AdvisorConnect—A private online membership community whose 130 financial advisor members collectively manage over $5 billion in assets, mostly in fee based accounts, according to founder Vince Esposito.
- Financial Advisor Forum—"An online resource for financial advisors interested in discussing technology, social media and other tools." Members of this group are some of the leading advisors using Twitter, in terms of their following measured both by their numbers and their influence.
- The Financial Planning Exchange—"A peer-to-peer study group that allows financial planners and related professionals to collaborate online about financial plans they are working on, software issues and everything else that comes with running a financial planning business."
- Multiple LinkedIn groups—Do a LinkedIn group search with three filters: “financial advisors” professional and English-speaking and you'll get 182 groups as results, a "wealth management" search produces 128 results, “financial advisers” 33. Included among them: an MFS Investment Commentary group and an LPL Financial Advisors group. Vendors who insist on posting commercial messages are increasingly turning some off to LinkedIn groups, however.
- RIA Central—"A community of registered investment advisors, aspiring RIAs and thought leaders." (See the RIABiz coverage about how RIA Central aims to be Facebook for advisors.)
- RIAMarketplace—"The largest [3,000 according to an April tweet] online community of professionals and experts directly related to the business of Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs)."