It’s always surprising to us how untapped mutual fund marketing remains online.
There are a lot of reasons for this. And the stringent regulatory requirements in the financial sector have probably slowed things down a little.
The challenges online are never-ending and yet there is constant innovation in the “service” of financial services. Somehow, fund marketing has still been slow to move from the traditional tried and true to the cutting edge of digital marketing.
The tried and true – the so-called old school – still applies in many ways when you are thinking about online sales and marketing. For instance, the term “above the fold” used to mean the content that can be seen above the literal fold of the newspaper – the upper half of a page. This was the most important content for a newspaper – content that would determine sales. We still talk about “above the fold” in web design. It’s that content that can be seen without scrolling down on your screen.
Let’s take a look at another of those tried and true sales tactics and how it still applies to the online marketing of mutual funds and ETFs.
Online Investment In Mutual Funds
The challenge with digital marketing in this category is tracking success. How do you know once someone visits your site whether they go on to invest in the fund? Additionally, success can happen from anywhere. All you need are a high-speed internet connection and a laptop or a smartphone or a tablet. Sometimes, you use both. An investor might do research on a desktop, then pick up his/her phone, tap an app and make a purchase through their brokerage app.
It’s often a do-it-yourself process. Traditionally, mutual funds were sold through distributors in different areas. Lack of qualified distributors with adequate knowledge of the product was an impediment. The problem was compounded by the lack of investor’s knowledge, as well. Now everything is available at the touch of a finger and at any given moment.
Winning that moment online is key.
While the internet has changed the habits of investors, some things still hold true. There is always some hesitation when purchasing mutual funds or other investment vehicles online. This is mainly due to fear of losing money in the stock market, financial illiteracy, too many fund choices, distrust for distributors or forceful selling.
As a mutual fund company, you can make all the above-mentioned drawbacks work in your favor by building trust and consciously addressing the various anxieties and obstacles to purchase.
This is the age of digital marketing and hence you will have to use this medium judiciously to the maximum possible extent to achieve success in both regards. For success, distinguishing good traffic from poor quality traffic is key.
Gaining Customers Through Digital Marketing
If you aren’t seriously investing in digital marketing, know that your competitors are – and for good reason. Our agency is in the trenches. We see the numbers and results. It works.
While there are many tactics, strategies and channels (social media, PPC, SEO, email, etc.), some old adages still apply to these.
For instance, take those familiar 4 steps steps of awareness, interest, desire, and action. Each of these has an application to digital marketing.
- Raising Awareness – In order to raise awareness you need to first determine your target audience. People of all age groups and financial backgrounds can be found using social media or paid search marketing. But all of them are not your target audience. You need to identify the audience you want to concentrate your marketing efforts and tap into this traffic (this can be done through keyword buys, demographic and psychographic analysis to define audiences, etc.)
An easy place to start is to hire a digital marketing agency to put your product in front of people searching for it. If you sell a fund that focuses on Emerging Markets, for example, you might want to be on keywords related to that, but there are a variety of different keyword tactics for that kind of fund.
While driving this traffic to your site, you will also collect data about who your audience is. Once this is done, use your visual content to be relevant and answer and solve noted issues. In order to get noticed, use headlines and titles that are not only eye-catching but speak to the audience you are driving to the site.
- Draw Interest – You cannot force anybody’s interest; it can only be drawn and nurtured. Additionally, in digital marketing you only have a few seconds before someone can scan past your ad and miss you completely or click the back button on a browser and leave your site.
Someone investing in an alternative energy fund may be an entirely different individual than someone who is interested in investing in an oil fund. The more you can understand your audience, the easier it is to speak to them and draw their interest. Start with relevancy, then move to drawing them in. This can happen by listening to their problems/objections, addressing these issues, using the information to empower them with knowledge and providing additional data to persuade and so on. Understand your audience to gain their interest.
- Generate Desire – Knowledge cannot be forced upon a person who is not willing to accept it. Once the desire to learn is there only then you can act upon it to move them further through your sales funnel. Dealing with compliance and regulatory issues makes it trickier to generate desire compared to other business verticals. You might highlight a fund’s performance, its ratings or other various aspects. Understand why someone might want that fund and communicate that clearly. Think outside the box and you might just find that another angle that holds the key to your success. One advantage you should always take into consideration is when interest and desire is already high. News on China or Latin America or the housing industry can peak that interest and desire for that type of fund. Make sure you’re advertising when the market is in your fund’s favor.
- Take Action – Now that you have raised awareness, drawn interest and have genuine desire towards the product, it is time to take drive action. You should start with your CTA (Call To Action) on not only your site but also social media platforms and other advertising. Make it easy for someone to buy now or to click to call if they are on the phone. If someone wants to know how to invest, don’t bury that CTA at the bottom of your site or lost in your navigation. Make is apparent and obvious in multiple places in your ads and site.
Leveraging Digital Media For Awareness & Interest in Mutual Funds
- Use Social Media – As a mutual fund company, you are judged not just by your website but also by your social media sites. If you aren’t staying on top of your presence, your trust factor may be slipping. You need to dedicate time to set up and monitor an active social media page. Keep those pages updated and regularly drop in tidbits of information that will help others understand your funds more completely.
Sometimes a white paper or comparative analysis also helps. Push it out there. Promote it on social media. Most importantly, keep track of what your followers are saying about you. Obviously, you can’t keep everyone happy but you can actively work towards keeping the discontent minimum and you can learn more about your prospects in the process.
- Corporate Blogs – One of the most important sources of inbound marketing are corporate blogs. These help the customers by educating them so that they can make wise and informed decisions. Therefore, it is a must for every mutual fund company to invest in content marketing. Not only that, it’s vital to the item below.
- SEO – Google can be a gateway to making it big. But Google gives importance to only those mutual fund companies who not only practice healthy best habits in their Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but actively produce content. How well Google scores you on its SERPs depends completely on how well you are using a combination of keywords, off-site signals, on-site signals and a variety of other related SEO areas that establish you as an authority for your given area. If you aren’t actively showing that you are an authority, it’s hard to convince the algorithms that you are. Think SEO with all your online decisions.
- PPC – The above SEO work often takes time. PPC gets you instantly on search engines and in front of your target audience (people searching for your types of funds). Do it right and you can drive up AUM dramatically. Success is all about winning the moment online. This is a great first place to start.
One thing is quite clear that when it comes to mutual funds – both online and offline worlds need to continue to merge. Other verticals were much quicker to adapt to online marketing than mutual funds and ETFs. It’s still in its infancy and that can play to your advantage. Why? It’s really not as competitive as other areas. Car loans, home loans, insurance, etc., are all highly competitive online. This category, however, is still wide open and affordable compared to those other dog-eat-dog financial service battlegrounds. So, don’t delay. Get help. Get going and watch those assets grow!