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Five Cost-Effective Strategies to Reach Millennials

This article originally appeared on Advisor Perspectives on August 32, 2021, and can be found here.

Millennials are quickly redefining what it means to market advisory firm.

Not only are they projected to become the largest generation in the United States by 2028, but they also possess more wealth on average than any other generation. And advisors are taking notice. In 2016, only 50% of millennials said they had an advisor. A mere four years later in 2020, that number had grown to 75%1.

The wealthiest generation stats

Millennials are the next generation investor. To remain competitive, advisors need to implement methods to appeal specifically to this audience.

But how exactly do you do this without adjusting your entire marketing strategy?

Here are five cost-effective strategies advisors should use to reach Millennials:

1. Create More Personalized Communication

A recent study from YCharts examined advisor communication methods and discovered three key desires shared by current and future generations:

  • Clients, across the board, want to be engaged more by their advisors.
  • Communication should be personalized to meet the client’s needs.
  • Email is by far the most preferred communication method.

The next generation won’t necessarily be looking for a new form of communication, but an improved form of what's currently working.

In fact, the demand for the increased frequency and personalization was one of the largest differences between younger and older generations:

Stats on personalized communication with a financial advisor

Many advisors looking to appeal to a Millennial market already have a personal communication channel.

The largest change will be more consistent communication with a focus on personalized and relevant content – content that applies directly to the client or gives perspective on timely economic and financial topics.

What does this look like in practice? Segment your contacts based on interests and life stages so that you can provide highly specific information right when it is pertinent to them.

For instance, you might have a list of those clients who have children who are less than four years out from college, those who own their own businesses, or those who will be eligible to claim Social Security within the next two years.

Then, as legislation changes or events happen that impact a specific group, communicate with the relevant group via email, text, video message, etc. as quickly as possible.

2. Implement Alternative Billing Methods

Subscription-based services dominate almost every industry. Millennials have subscriptions for everything from meal delivery to workout classes on demand to diaper delivery.

It was only a matter of time before alternative billing methods would also be sought after and make their way to financial services.

For Millennials who have grown up with subscription options, these services represent convenience, reduced commitment, and less upfront capital. It’s easier and far less expensive to cancel a monthly subscription if they are unhappy.

Alternative billing methods also offer the opportunity to leverage one-time services – flat fees for specific financial advice.

The appeal for advisors? A chance to tap into a market that would otherwise remain untouched by a traditional AUM model.

For years, advisory firms have virtually ignored any prospect who simply didn’t have enough capital to invest. If your wealth was tied up in your 401k, the firm would be ready to talk to you once you were close to retiring and ready to move funds.

By working with clients from the time they are younger (and less profitable to your firm), you are building goodwill and rapport that is much more likely to carry the relationship forward once the time comes for that Millennial client to think about retirement.

For example, Philadelphia-based firm, WealthKeel offers client’s a subscription model with a one-time initiation fee.

WealthKeel alternative billing methods for advisors

Offering alternative billing options expands the opportunity to reach new clients, making this one of the most cost-effective options on this list.

3. Emphasize Convenience with Live Chat

We’re all wary of filling out forms with our contact information. No one wants to receive calls and emails once they’ve decided a service isn’t for them. Add to this fact that 97% of website visitors do not convert (i.e., provide information for the firm to follow up on), and live chat becomes even more compelling.

Live chat offers a solution by creating a direct and immediate communication channel between you and your potential clients. It makes sense then that live chat would become the most popular communication channel in a world forced to go digital by COVID-19:

Stats on the popular communication types

With a live chat option on your site, visitors have the chance to get their questions answered immediately without the additional commitment created by a form. No more waiting for an email back with answers – you can get questions answered immediately the moment you have them.

For many advisors, compliance is a concern when it comes to live chat – but there are a variety of live chat services available to advisors that provide a range of options, some with only pre-approved answers that you can have auto-populate (even if no one is physically there to answer the question – it will look like someone is!), that can save money and convert more prospects at the time when they are most likely to convert.

4. Provide More DIY Resources

Millennials have grown up surrounded by technology and easy access to free information. This generation is conditioned to simply “Google it” when they have a question about anything. They are not “sold to” – when they have a question or a problem, they go online to find answers. Firms that provide the best answers are the ones that win their attention.

For financial advisors, creating informative content offers a way to appeal to the DIY approach of many Millennials and demonstrates the benefits of your services.

They may not be ready to engage your services initially, but once more complex financial topics arise, you will have positioned yourself as the go-to resource.

Here’s how you can start creating resources for DIY content:

  • VideoCreate a YouTube channel and optimize it for search. Dive in and create your first video using your phone – the equipment won’t matter as much as the content, so keep focused on the specific challenges of your unique audience.
  • Blogging: Blogs are fantastic for SEO, so have a solid SEO foundation before writing your first post. Then, much like your videos, focus on challenges specific to your audience. Tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics will find more of these challenges as you write content.
  • Social media: Though social media won’t necessarily be where you create your content, it is important for reaching a Millennial audience. This is because Millennials spend more time on social media than any other digital media. Having an active social presence means you can share content where your audience spends their time. Creating and posting content to social media can take a lot of time though, so consider a tool like Lead Pilot to simplify the process.

5. Use Text Communication

Convenience and communication are the goals, and nothing is more convenient than a text message.

Many clients would prefer to simply text their advisor when they have a quick question, but the younger the client, the more likely this preference is to be very strong. Being able to say “and anytime you have a quick question – just shoot me a text” is essential to Millennials who have grown up expecting instant answers and communication.

Texting is still very much viewed as a highly personal form of communication, so reserve text-based communication for your clients only after you’ve forged a relationship – not to attract leads or prospects, who may quickly be turned off by texts if they haven’t even met you yet and are still very much in the early days of evaluating your firm.

However, once you have met with a potential prospect – give them the option to choose which communication type they most prefer.

Consider what communication you would like to send over text, and set expectations. Helpful content is effective in an email, but may be considered obnoxious in texts, even to an existing client.

The Next Generation of Investors

The next generation of investors are here, and they are wealthier than ever. To remain competitive, advisors will need to find ways to appeal to a growing Millennial audience.

Using the cost-effective strategies above, advisors can develop new methods of communication and content creation to meet Millennial standards of immediate response, personalized information and communication preferences.