We can confidently say 2020 forever changed not only the financial industry, but the world. With unique and ongoing changes in the financial landscape paired with an unprecedented need to adapt to new technological practices, we will most likely never go back to business as usual.
Those who quickly adapted were first in line for new opportunities. For those who have been slow to adapt, or have not tried to adapt at all, the window to do so is closing quickly. We are seeing a new trend emerge during these times. This trend, called captive marketing, has the ability to transform the financial industry…and we’re seeing it here first-hand at White Glove.
Since 2015, White Glove has helped thousands of advisors meet hundreds of thousands of prospects looking for guidance and education through in-person seminars. Our value proposition was simple: seminars with no upfront costs, charging only on attendance, doing all the work and guaranteeing hosts pick up a client. We made waves in the industry by flipping the “pay and pray” model on its head, charging forward with digital marketing when it was looked at with hesitance and focusing solely on keeping advisors doing what they do best: helping clients and speaking with interested prospects. When our in-person events halted in March, we found ourselves in the same boat as our advisors who needed to find something new, and quickly.
Over the past 12 months we have adapted, learned, failed, succeeded and learned again. Now we are at a point where we can say we have successfully hosted more than 1,500+ consumer webinars and hosted multiple virtual thought leadership summits with thousands of advisors in attendance.
Here are some things we have learned in our quest to adapt and to help others captivate, too.
It is clear that consumer demand for financial education is at an all-time high. With the CARES Act, SECURE Act, market swings, tax changes and possibly even more tax changes, pre-retirees and retirees alike have more questions than ever. At the same time, consumers are now adapted to a virtual world. They have and are becoming more comfortable operating in a virtual environment. Online video platforms such as Zoom now dominate the world of meetings and consultations.
We are seeing strong consumer demand for education surrounding tax implications through retirement and the demand for estate planning information seems to be outpacing the supply from the advisor and EPA community. Advisors utilizing our webinar service and social media impression management continue to stay in front of prospects who are hungry for information. We currently see upwards of 90% fulfillment among all requested events, meaning when an advisor wishes to speak with 20 new households, we are able to fulfill that request close to 90% of the time. These results are a clear indication that communities are thirsty for professional insight. We are truly seeing a more diverse opportunity than we have experienced in the past, with families willing to attend webinars AND meet directly with professionals over virtual platforms.
Strong digital credibility is able to enhance the trust factor with professionals who embrace the online world. As the world continues to evolve, financial advisors, as well as other service professionals, need to be aware of and learn to leverage captive marketing, as it’s slated to become even more vital throughout 2021.
So what is captive marketing? In its most basic sense, it is utilizing all channels to establish credibility strong enough to inspire action. We have found that it’s also what top advisors are currently weaving into their marketing toolkit.
Captive marketing is a blend of marketing tactics to showcase professionals as trusted, credible thought leaders in his or her hyper-local market and social sphere of influence. Unlike stand-alone content marketing, thought leadership, influencer marketing and others, captive marketing ties these strategies together to generate undeniable awareness for an advisor. The stronger awareness an advisor has, the higher their conversion rates. This translates into new client acquisition at a lower cost, not to mention a more expansive and holistic offering for the prospect or current client.
For hyper-local influence, the options are growing and the complexity is advancing. Content development is no longer limited to static content. For example, articles, white papers and blog posts could all establish that type of authority previously. But now there are more advanced and effective tools such as webinars, social media, podcasts and video content.
Credibility is no longer defined as a website and a professional office. It has all but transformed to the point where advisors who are not embracing social media and virtual options may be in danger of becoming lost in the shuffle.
In 2020, advisors were flooded with offers to fill their pipelines with new prospects, as a huge surge of vendors made their way into the advisor marketplace promising leads, webinars and social campaigns. The absence of in-person seminars as a marketing option created a void that was quickly filled by new and inexperienced self-proclaimed marketing experts. Now the dust has settled and for some advisors, the bad taste of failed webinars and/or ineffective efforts on social media still lingers.
White Glove was uniquely positioned in the industry, having been in the digital marketing space since our inception as well as event coordination. We quickly learned of new issues that came along with hosting webinars. We adapted by assigning each webinar we host for advisors with a dedicated Webinar Concierge to provide support before, during and after the event. Slowly but surely, we have witnessed presentation methods evolve, appointment requests go up and advisors closing business completely virtually.
We also saw those with a robust social media presence convert leads more quickly and get a higher return on investment. We updated and reinvested in our services to provide hands-free solutions for webinars and social impression management. Listening to our advisors’ needs has been instrumental as we prepare to launch an all new service line in 2021. The consumer demand is proving high and the thirst for knowledge in a variety of formats led us to build new podcasting options, direct appointment setting services and proprietary marketing technology used to analyze affluent areas of the country. The unique blend of hands-free services allows professionals to truly leverage captive marketing, while not being consumed by the daily tasks needed to implement it.
All White Glove adaptations were made to accommodate advisors’ busy schedules and their need to become accessible in a digital space. The idea of captive marketing, undeniable credibility and virtual availability will catapult advisors to success in 2021 and beyond.
While we suspect that some hurdles we saw arise throughout 2020 will be here to stay, we also believe that the expanding opportunities for those willing to adapt will as well.