Building Relationships and AUM through Digital Marketing

The ability for financial service providers to run relationship management activities was unexpectedly interrupted during the global pandemic. Like all businesses, online interaction has become increasingly central to relationship management. Sourcing sticky AUM via in-person relations will continue to be extremely limited and challenging if not near impossible. As available face time between relationship managers and clients dwindle, sticky and new AUM enters the digital age.

So why is digital marketing so important for relationship management and sourcing of new high net worth clients? Let’s look at some case studies and the tools that introduce digital marketing as the newest relationship manager on the block.

Indonesia’s largest private bank, BCA, went mobile-first and used Facebook’s Custom Audience targeting to reach clients and introduce its e-relationship management tools. Using social media marketing, the private bank not only digitized the relationship of its existing customers but also used Facebook’s detailed and custom targeting to target high net worth customers on Facebook.

One of Turkey’s largest banks successfully used mobile-optimised Facebook video ads to promote its app to more than 16 million customers.

Both Lombard Odier and HSBC private banking use Google ads to reach thousands of high net worth customers daily. Eventually, it becomes a numbers game.

Although wealth management has not looked to more innovative means in growing their AUM nor to making their offerings available digitally, now may be the time to do so. In the time after the pandemic, new ways of finding clients and attracting their AUM may be required.

Creating a Successful Digital Campaign

For a successful online campaign, a financial business will need to consider two critical factors:

  1. Conversion rates; and
  2. Regulatory restriction on offers.

Conversion rates are the key metric in digital marketing. Just as financial businesses do not wish to spend on relationship managers who are not effective in capturing AUM, they should not spend on digital marketing that does not convert into AUM.

The first most powerful engine for conversion is search engine marketing or “SEM”. Customers go to search engines to look for something they want. Therefore, if you give a customer what they want, they are very likely to convert. For example, if a customer searches for “wealth management services” on Google and your result pops up top, not only does it give the image that you are the best in the industry but, at the same time, you are feeding the customer exactly what he wants: wealth management services. There is no reason for the customer not to become your customer unless the reputation, services or product are so palpably bad, that, after viewing your website, the customer decides to resume his search.

The second most powerful engine for conversion is social media. Third generation (23-32) HNWIs spend over 2 hours daily on social media. With social distancing this has increased. Think about how selling a well-positioned investment product or wealth management service on Facebook or Instagram can access viewers.

What’s Stopping You?

Regardless how effective the AUM conversion rates are, financial service providers will always have concerns about digital marketing, most of all in wealth management.

Costs – I do not want to pay for something that does not work

A well planned and targeted digital marketing campaign will reach a large, targeted audience without the big spend. Digital marketing campaigns are as inexpensive or expensive as you want them to be. You are in complete control of cost.

Pay-per-click or PPC is a method of online advertising where you pay a fee each time one of your digital contents is clicked. In short, the only time you pay is when a lead is interested in your investment product or your financial services. The effectiveness of the conversion will then depend on the presentation of the product and suitability of the product for the customer.

Suitability and Targeting – Is it going to the right audience?

There are different ways to target a specific audience: geo-targeting, social targeting, etc. One of the biggest benefits of targeting is that you can craft unique campaigns to different target audiences. With targeted ads, you can direct the correct message at the correct audience. Therefore, you do not waste any money.

Facebook for example has the ability to target very specific demographics such age, location, financial status, and financial interests; and they tell you how much the campaign would cost with great certainty.

Compliance, Compliance, Compliance – Compliance is always in the way

Unlike managing relationship managers, in digital marketing, you control of what the content says. The content is automated by you. If you are prohibited from offering an investment product, you can ensure that your message does not amount to an offer by having compliance review the content.

You can even amend the structure of digital marketing content to meet prospectus requirements and offer requirements.

What Other Benefits Are There?

Global Reach – Go Where Your RMs Could Not Go

Using the internet for marketing allows you to find new markets in different regions of the world. You can go wherever your relationship managers were previously not able to go. If the region has an internet connection, digital marketing will most likely reach it. Your campaign can have a hyper local reach at the same time as a global reach. This does not cost a fortune and has the potential to expand your business. Social media also allows users who interact with your content to share your content with an even broader audience, word of mouth advertisement of the digital age.  This extends your reach and stretches your dollars.

Although most jurisdictions prohibit or at least restrict marketing for financial services and products, you will certainly be able to craft content that is attractive to your target audience but does not infringe on any such prohibition or restriction. When the client does his online search, he has the option to follow up further, if your initial message caught his attention.

Measurable Results

You will not wonder how many people engaged with your relationship manager last week. Web analytics tell you exactly how many people saw your ad and how many clicked on it. It also tells you how many leads were converted and how the users interacted with your ad. This allows you to refine your AUM lead generation and make more effective campaigns on your investment products or financial services.

Improved Conversion

The beauty of digital ads is click-through. Your audience does not need to remember a phone number or a URL. They see a product or service that interests them, they click on it, and they are already at your investment product or financial service. You do not have to rely on their memory to get them to your relationship managers.

What are the risks?

If implemented wrongly, digital marketing is a huge risk to the business. Regulatory authorities for example may not approve of you offering in the public domain if it does not meet regulatory requirements. Digital marketing platforms like Facebook and Google for example might blacklist your organisation and company for breaching advertising guidelines such as a limit on offer of securities on Facebook.

Also, your content must also be professionally crafted to engage and ultimately convert HNWI clients. Without the right content, a poor message will be conveyed. Your brand equity will suffer.

Finally, if your analytics and targeting is not done correctly, your conversion rates might be very low. For example, if you try to digitally market an equities product to HNWIs on Facebook who have a great interest in equities, you may discover that they are unlikely to buy into your product because the audience you targeted have already been heavily vested in equities with little room for further allocation.

To tackle the challenges of detailed targeting, customer analytics, campaign planning, content management and regulatory compliance, guidance and assistance from experienced experts will not only be of assistance but can be the crucial difference.

If you would like to know more about digital marketing for financial businesses, please reach our consultant at jonathan.cheong@ingenia-consultants.com.

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