Do you remember jumping rope as a kid? Two other kids would be twirling the rope and they would say, “Jump in!” And if you were like most kids, a wave of excitement and panic would beat through your chest—and then you’d take a leap of faith into the fun.
But what if you paused? You tensed up. You didn’t jump. Then what happened? With each rope twirl, it got faster and more difficult to jump into it. Harder to time the opening. And you’d wait… and wait… and wait…
Well, that’s a lot like digital marketing. For many years, a lot of advisors have looked on from the sidelines. They observed. And just like with jump rope, the pace of the rope (the digital world) has sped up. It’s going so fast now that it might even feel impossible to jump in. So, we wait… and wait… and wait…
Find Your Opening
As knowledge is shared prolifically, you are either part of the digital transformation or you’re observing from a rapidly growing distance. So, let’s find your niche opening and get you into the game.
Thankfully, our industry has a constant stream of news updates, regulatory changes, litigation stories, holistic initiatives and an endless treasure trove of appreciated plan sponsor and employee topics. For example, right now there is growing interest in ESG funds, financial wellness programs, Cycle 3 restatements, income for life options and fiduciary education. These topics should be on the minds of plan sponsors.
Find a topic that resonates with you and go with it. This is your opening.
Plan Your Leap
When determining how you’re going to get into the game, consider content marketing. Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing materials to stimulate interest in a product or service.
When a top concern of plan sponsors is needing help with the increasingly complicated process of managing their retirement plans, content marketing is a way to simplify complicated subjects such as investment management, retirement outcomes, plan design education, decumulation strategies and fiduciary liability, to name a few.1 By using words, images and graphics, you can translate complex topics into easy-to-understand stories, visuals and concepts.
The term “content marketing” can be overwhelming. But across the different types of content marketing, the goal is the same: to educate and inform your audience about a specific topic. We see a lot of advisors getting hung up on the different styles of content marketing and not knowing which foot to put in first.
To make it easy, here is a list of different types of content marketing:
- Case studies
- Social media
- Word searches
- White papers
As you look at this list, think about how you like to receive and consume information, then select your top three preferred methods. Chances are your target audience prefers to receive information the same way as you do.
Good work! You now have the framework to begin a digital content marketing strategy.
Read more commentary by Rebecca Hourihan here.
Commit to Jumping
Next, it’s time to focus on demystifying the complicated process of managing a retirement plan. Think about your target audience and their pain points. What specific topics do your small, medium, large and mega retirement plan clients ask about?
These are the topics that should be included in your blog and on your resources page, podcast, social media profile and/or YouTube channel. When you answer these questions for your target audience, your content marketing demonstrates how your firm will simplify plan management.
Now that you are armed with several types of content and hot topic ideas, it’s time to jump in. You can either create your own content that speaks to your audience or find curated content that tells the story; both are great options. If you feel torn between creating original content or distributing curated materials, you’re not alone. We have found that a mix of the two is often an excellent solution.
Original content creation can be extremely rewarding, but on the flip side, it can be overwhelming, especially if researching, writing, editing, designing and compliance management are not your strong suit.
Good curated content works as a proverbial “easy button,” making the regular delivery of retirement plan topics simple. And remember, you can always add your own flare. Your expert commentary on complex subjects is golden.
Think of it like this: Plan sponsors are not following retirement plan topics intently. Rather, they are running their businesses. So, when you share information that affects them, they see you as the source of retirement plan knowledge. You are the constant in their inbox and newsfeed delivering value.
No matter where your content comes from, to become known as a trusted retirement plan advisor, you need to deliver it. The first step is to select the way you want to share your content. Many advisors prefer email campaigns and social media posts. These two digital communication tools are inexpensive and highly effective, and allow for wide audience distribution.
As you implement your digital marketing strategy, commit to sending, posting and sharing the retirement plan topics that will educate, inform and delight your target audience.
1, 2, 3, Jump!
When your clients feel confident about your retirement plan acumen, they stay loyal as clients. When you empower your Centers of Influence with interesting trends and topics, you stay top-of-mind. When prospects research you and find high-quality digital results, they feel compelled to meet with you.
By sending, sharing and posting quality digital content, you keep your entire target audience in the know and present yourself online as the experienced retirement plan advisor you are.
As the internet and digital marketing continue to gain more and more speed, isn’t it time to stop waiting and jump in?
Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!
Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing, which she founded to assist qualified experts operate a professional business with professional marketing materials and ongoing awareness campaigns. This column originally appeared in the Fall issue of NAPA Net the Magazine.
1. Fidelity Investments, 2020, “Plan Sponsor Attitudes: 11th Edition.”