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The Six Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Marketing Automation

This article first appeared in Advisor Perspectives on April 16th, 2021, and can be found here.

Imagine never having to do your least favorite chore!

Marketing automation goes a long way. Automating your emails, social media and content creation saves a lot of time and effort.

But it should never be a replacement for personalized messaging. Instead, implement automation once you know where your clients and audience like to spend their time. This way your messages are accurate and relevant.

With that in mind, I’m sharing six things every financial advisor should automate in their marketing.

1. Content creation

Creating content is a very time-consuming task, but that doesn’t mean you should create less content.

Instead, customizable content will let you stay up to date on your posting schedule while saving you time in the creation process.

This strategy should never replace original content, as anything created by your firm is always better. But for those months where there isn’t enough time, customizable content will be a life-saver; just make sure to personalize it a bit before posting! As a bonus, here’s a quick checklist to personalize your content and improve your SEO:

Customizable content checklist

Tools like Twenty Over Ten’s Website Engine and Lead Pilot help advisors achieve all of this by providing highly customizable and ready-to-post content:

Lead Pilot Example

2. Email Marketing

According to Constant Contact, among digital marketing strategies, email marketing has the highest ROI. It is also one of the least expensive tactics to deploy. And like with content, email marketing automation is a huge time saver.

However, it is easy for advisors to fall prey to common email marketing automation blunders. Even though you may be automating your email marketing efforts, apply a personalized touch.

Segmentation is the key, allowing you to create separate lists within your contacts to differentiate members of your audience based on demographics like age, employment type and location. After all, a 30-something might not find a blog post on retirement as interesting as one on investments.

Once you have the necessary information, there are a few ways to personalize your message before clicking “send.” Here’s how:

Email personalization checklist

As for email automation tools, there are a few advisors should consider:

  1. Lead Pilot: As a multi-channel app covering social media and email. Lead Pilot was created for financial advisors. Its email features provide automatic and fully customizable campaigns, scheduling, contact tracking, segmentation, analytics and scoring to qualify leads.
  2. FMG Suite: FMG Suite’s email automation services offer customizable and pre-written emails. Best of all, performance tracking and CRM integration mean FMG Suite’s services provide everything an advisor needs to automate and personalize their communication.
  3. AWeber: Great for follow-up and small businesses, AWeber provides around-the-clock email support, built-in integration and automatically builds emails from your blog posts.
  4. Constant Contact: An easy-to-use interface and the ability to upload contact lists it will quickly send emails to a large number of contacts.
  5. Mailchimp: Offering email optimization, a built-in CRM and a wide range of integration options, it’s clear why Mailchimp is one of the most popular email automation solutions. Best of all, advisors that use Mailchimp can easily integrate it into their current Twenty over Ten sites.

3. Social Media

Automating your social media content is all about making the time to focus on what will really build your following – engaging with your audience.

Focusing on evergreen content (content that’s relevant at any time) is best for automation. But just like our other categories, don’t forget to craft original posts!

Most of all, use some of your extra time to engage with your audience by doing the following:

  1. Post content at the right time: Posting your content at the right time makes a huge difference in engagement. Track the performance of your posts to discover the best time for each platform, then adjust
  2. Reshare and like content: Drawing attention to posts that aren’t your own is a great way to receive the same in turn, especially when you tag the previous poster
  3. Make commenting a daily habit: Take 5-10 minutes a day to comment on the posts of others. Similar to the tip above, this will attract attention to your own content.

Remember, the key to social media is to be social, using a tool like Lead Pilot, you’ll have the time to do just that. Along with the app’s email options, Lead Pilot provides advisors the same level of automation and customizability for social media:

Lead Pilot example article

4. Contacts

Your contact list is incredibly important, it’s your clients and audience after all. But every member of your contact list is by no means the same, and neither should the messaging directed towards them. This is why it’s incredibly important to utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) software.

A CRM provides organization and communication solutions for a growing business. But before you select a CRM, do the following:

  1. What’s your budget? CRMs are certainly worth the cost but understanding how much you can spend allows you to choose the best option from a refined list.
  2. Determine your objective. CRMs provide different solutions. Understanding your needs will help you decide the best CRM for your firm.
  3. Research the product. Look up the experience of others before deciding which CRM to go with.
  4. Choose a scalable option. Your choice of CRM should adjust to the changing needs of your business, supporting growth.

Advisors can easily integrate three of the most popular CRM’s, including RedtailWealthbox and Riskalyze, with Lead Pilot, allowing easy access to your contacts.

Lead Pilot example of email contacts

5. Analytics

Analytics are essential for the success of your business. They provide detailed information on your website and marketing efforts, providing you with the metrics to understand what’s working and what's not.

But, just as there are multiple platforms to help with your marketing efforts, there are multiple analytics tools to measure their success. As an advisor, your main focus must be on the performance of your website, social media and email marketing. Having a tool to measure each of these is essential. Here are a few options:

  1. Google Analytics: Providing in-depth analytics, active users, bounce rates, traffic sources and much more are all tracked. Google analytics provides advisors with everything they need to track their website’s performance.
  2. Google Search Console: Focused more on the search engine itself. Google Search Console tells advisors how users discovered their website and how their website is performing in searches for specific keyword queries.
  3. FMG Suite: FMG Suite’s analytics inform advisors whenever a user is interacting with their website or content, whether it's opening an email or visiting a blog. Along with Google Analytics integration, FMG Suite provides all the info advisors need.
  4. Lead Pilot: Email analytics, social analytics and an activity feed are readily available on Lead Pilot, providing metrics for channel activity, lead generation and email engagement.
  5. Hootsuite: Providing integrations for nearly every large social media platform. Hootsuite enables analytics across a wide range of channels to see how your content performs amongst different audiences.
  6. Sprout Social: Similar to our other options, one defining feature of Sprout Social’s analytics is its ability to compare your performance to your competitors.

6. Live Chat

The way visitors interact with websites has changed. Live chat used to be considered a convenience but is now expected on many sites. In fact, according to SuperOffice, the use of live chat is expected to grow by as much as 87% in the next 12 to 18 months.

But live chat is not just a benefit to visitors. It’s also an excellent tool for advisors. By utilizing live chat, you can reduce the number of people required for support and discover holes in your website. For example, a common question received in live chat could be added to your FAQ page. Best of all, many live chat services can integrate directly with your other marketing tools, allowing for more comprehensive data collection.

For example, this live chat service on North Landing’s website requests the visitor’s email before sending a message, making it a great location for lead capture:

North Landing Financial Partners website

Like other services, advisors have options to choose from when it comes to automated live chat:

  1. LiveChat: Using specific keywords, LiveChat connects visitors with the right person to answer their questions, automates scheduling and qualifies leads, making it a great resource for any advisor.
  2. Drift: Providing calendar access, Drift allows visitors to book an appointment with sales directly from chat. And best of all, Drift can use your website’s search function to provide more relevant information to visitors.
  3. Sumo Chat: If you’re looking for pop-ups too, then Sumo Chat is your go-to. Their chat feature however stands out with its ability to set responses to specific answers.

With your new automation set, your firm is free to focus on other marketing efforts. Just remember, personalized messaging will always be more effective than a canned response. Take the time to engage your audience and always make sure your message is relevant.

Automation is necessary for the modern advisor. It allows your firm to be active in every avenue of digital marketing, from social media to email and content creation. But this does not mean your marketing strategy should rely entirely on automation. After all, automation comes at the cost of personalization. Instead, use the tips above to take advantage of the room that automation provides, and focus on the areas that matter most.