This post was originally published on June 21, 2017 and updated on October 5, 2020.
By Educating Your Clients and Prospects
Do you struggle to make your finance company stand out from the crowd? If so, you aren’t alone. No matter what part of the industry you’re in — whether you are a financial advisor, CPA, lender, or other finance professional — the competition can be fierce. There are many avenues you can take with your marketing to differentiate your business, but one of the most effective things you can do is use your marketing to educate your audience.
As you likely know, money can be a frustrating, confusing, and stressful topic for many people. Helpful, educational content speaks to the concerns of your clients and prospects and offers them something valuable. It also positions you as both a thought leader in your industry and a knowledgeable professional they can trust with their finances. Providing educational content can make your finance company stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
To truly set yourself apart, you need to offer something of value to your clients and prospects that the competition doesn’t: something that is both unique and relevant to your market. Offering helpful information that teaches your audience more about various topics in your industry does exactly that.
You might be thinking, “But why should I give away my knowledge for free — isn’t that what my clients pay for?”
Here’s the thing: providing helpful information in this way doesn’t mean you’re giving away all of your knowledge free of charge. You’re simply offering people a taste of what they will get when they work with you, in the same way that getting a free sample at the grocery store gives you a taste of the product the store is selling. That free sample of pizza doesn’t fill you up — you have to buy a whole pizza for that.
Similarly, your “free sample” of information doesn’t give your audience everything they need to manage their finances — it merely gives them an introduction to the knowledge they’ll have at their disposal when they hire you.
Educational content can also build trust with your current and prospective clients. It does this by:
Providing educational content to your audience shows that you are not in it just to sell a product or service. It shows that you care about your clients’ financial futures.
Using your marketing to educate your audience shows that you’re aware of the questions and concerns your clients and prospects have — that you’re paying attention to the things that matter to them.
From clearly explaining confusing financial jargon to giving instructional how-tos, center your marketing content on tackling trending topics in your industry as well as the frequently asked questions you get from your clients.
Most importantly, focus your marketing on topics that are specific to your ideal client — their concerns, dreams, and aspirations. While it may be tempting to cast your net wide by sticking to generic topics that will attract a wide range of prospects, focusing your marketing on a specific audience is a much more effective marketing strategy. Prospective clients are more likely to connect with you if they view you as a business that specializes in solutions that suit their needs.
Once you determine what demographic you most prefer to work with, offer content that is relevant to that group. For instance, if your ideal clients are parents and families, you might focus on topics such as building up savings, college planning, or school year tax-saving tips. Or, if you want to work primarily with small businesses, you might create content about starting a business, tax laws relevant to entrepreneurs, or how to close the books at year-end.
Something else to consider as you determine which topics to educate your audience on is your own unique set of passions. What are your favorite aspects of your industry? What topics are you most passionate about?
These topics are the ones you will likely have the most insight into, as well as those you are the most excited to talk about. Maybe you’re passionate about helping people prepare for retirement so they can live the life of their dreams in their final years; or perhaps you love explaining the complexities of tax rules to new business owners. Whatever your niche is, harness that enthusiasm and share it with your audience. This excitement and eagerness to share will come out in your content, giving you an authenticity that sets you apart.
Your own passions, personality, and history are uniquely powerful tools in differentiating your business. And bringing who you are, your background, and your unique vantage point to the table will help you attract a client base with similar values and interests.
Regardless of what area of the finance industry you work in, continuing education is an essential part of staying on top of your game. As you work to keep up on your own education, share your newfound knowledge with your clients and prospects.
Ongoing training enables you to help your clients make continuous progress on their financial goals. Sharing about the classes you’re taking and what you’re learning shows that you are continually improving yourself and your offerings. This can help you both attract prospective clients and encourage current clients to stick with you for the long term.
So don’t hesitate to talk about your ongoing professional development as well how any credentials you hold translate into better service for your clients.
So now that you understand the role education plays in differentiating yourself from the competition, let’s talk about how to best get this vital content to your clients and prospects. There are a wide range of methods available that lend themselves well to educating your audience — here are some of the best.
Blog Posts. Blog posts are a great way to give either a quick overview of a broad topic or a deep dive into a more specific topic. Blogs can range from 300-2500 words (or more), so can be a versatile tool for a variety of subjects.
To give you an idea of what a blog might look like for a company in the finance industry, we’ll refer you to two of our clients’ blogs: Wood CPA and Simplify Wealth. Take a look through their blogs and notice how their posts reflect their individual personalities and passions, as well as the audiences they are targeting.
Guides and eBooks. Guides and eBooks are ideal tools for going deeper on a topic. They are typically offered as downloadable PDFs, and can vary in format from being more of an extended blog post to something akin to a manual or organizational tool. You can even combine several of your previous blog posts about a topic to create a guide on that subject.
Simplify Wealth’s Optimize Your Life Organizer is one example of a guide that we helped create. It provides educational material and instructional guidance in a workbook format that walks an individual through the details of their finances.
For another example, check out this eBook we wrote for our own marketing purposes!
Email Newsletters. Email newsletters give you the opportunity to connect regularly with your clients. A newsletter should be short and sweet, so it isn't a great place to go deep on a subject. However, it’s the perfect tool to highlight updates (tax changes and deadlines, for example) and to link articles (your own or ones from outside sources that you trust), guides, or eBooks on relevant topics.
Social Media. Like newsletters, social media is a great way to share quick updates and links to relevant resources. It can also be the perfect place to get a bit more personal — sharing about your own educational pursuits as well as your hobbies and interests. You don’t want to get too personal here, but you also don’t want to only share business-related information or sales pitches.
Social media is more like a networking event than a billboard: you certainly want to talk shop, but you should also share more about yourself in order to connect with people on a personal level and build relationships and trust. Check out Wood CPA’s LinkedIn and Facebook pages for some great examples!
Vlogs, Live Videos, and Webinars. Video offers a way to connect face-to-face (or close to it) with your clients and prospects. It gets not only your words, but your face in front of your audience, making you seem more familiar and providing for a different level of connection. From posting vlogs (video blogs) on YouTube to doing Facebook or Instagram lives to offering webinars on relevant topics, video can be an excellent way to bring educational content to your audience.
The methods you choose to incorporate into your marketing strategy will depend on the specific demographic you are targeting — where they like to get their information and what their particular needs are — as well as your own preferences, comfort level, and time constraints.
Here at Wild Fig, we have experience helping our clients in the finance industry stand out from the competition. From blog writing to email newsletters to social media planning and posting, we can help you reach your ideal prospects with quality content that educates them and showcases the unique value you bring to the table.
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