The inspiration for this post comes from British social media coach Bridget Greenwood who posted the intriguing question last month “How many ways does your online presence turn off your referrals?” One of her main points is that your online presence, to be productive, needs to “keep your message congruent.”
I am amazed at how many tweets appear in my Twitter stream that talk about the Fed’s latest move, or mutual fund news or what particular stocks are doing or investing in general. Folks, you can’t own that space. No, not even you, Merrill Lynch. Public relations professionals talk about “staying on message.” Your online presence should stay on message. Talk specifically to what makes you different. Talk to the need that defines your niche.
That includes your website. Bridget wrote my new favorite quote when she admitted that her website “is the epitome of naff, the spawn of a template-driven mass-production website creating compliance firm.” Your website should project your focus, your special message. On your home page. In big letters.
One great example I refer to in my talks on niche marketing is the website for White Lighthouse Investment Management. The principal there has a technical skill that a tiny proportion of advisors have and it is a critical skill to his target market. Know what it is? Neither do a lot of prospective clients who may drop by his site because won’t find it on his home page.
Bridget also refers to Michael Kitces who made a similar point in a blog post. First, in these days when everyone who gets referred to someone starts their due diligence by Googling them, you need to be discoverable. More to my point, if you want to be referable, your online presence needs to reinforce your message, your unique offering.
A lot of referral marketing is based on consistently articulating a unique message. Whenever you, your staff, even your clients open their mouths in public about your business they should be communicating a consistent message – the message about how you are different.
More advisors are getting active in social media. I believe it is one of the most promising ways of getting discovered by new clients available. If it serves to advance your message. Just being out there won’t do it.