How Does the New SEC Marketing Rule Affect Advisor Marketing?
The Security and Exchange Commission’s new marketing rule seeks to update the advertising rule of 1961. The new rule acknowledges ongoing changes in marketing strategies and technology, namely online advertising.
You can learn more about the new rule on the SEC’s website. And, If you’re curious about how the new rule may be interpreted legally, then feel free to check out our webinar with Samantha Russel and Max Schatzow, Esq. on the topic:
The new rule also opens up a list of marketing opportunities for financial advisors. And, as long as compliance standards are met, advisors can leverage online reviews, endorsements, testimonials and performance in their marketing efforts.
- Always consult with your compliance team before establishing any new marketing strategies.
- The new rule will only go into effect 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. This has not happened yet.
5 Advisor Marketing Opportunities Under the New SEC Marketing Rule
For advisors, new marketing methods mean more chances to leverage content than ever before. In an effort to navigate this change, we’ve highlighted 5 key opportunities for advisors looking to get a head start on the competition, and prepare for the November 4th, 2022 compliance deadline.
1. Get More Reviews Using Your Google My Business
The first opportunity for new reviews is through your Google My Business listing. A Google My Business Listing is the window that appears to the right of a Google search result page, similar to this example listing from Retirement Matters Inc:
Google My Business listings include general business information – hours of operation, location, description, etc. Near the bottom of these listings is a “Reviews” area, where searchers can write a review on your advisory firm.
Though there are other options for reviews, Google My Business listings provide advisors with a few noteworthy advantages. These include:
- SEO Improvement: After your business has been verified by Google, Google My Business helps further your local search engine optimization efforts
- Information Source: As a review catch-all, Google My Business provides valuable opinions when it matters, during a search when visitors are looking for information
- Contact Hub: Easy access to your website and contacts
Looking for help with Google My Business?
1. How to Set up your Google My Business
If you don’t have a Google My Business listing yet and would like to set one up, then our post on why Google My Business is key for your business is a great place to start.
2. How to Optimize your Google My Business
Alternatively, if you already have a Google My Business and you’re looking for some extra guidance, then make sure to run through our Google My Business optimization. Once your Google My Business is set up, you are primed to receive reviews. Here are so common strategies to start receiving reviews:
3. How To Get More Reviews
Interested in leveraging your Google My Business to receive more reviews? Consider using these 6 marketing strategies to acquire more reviews.
2. Create More Client Videos
Videos are hands down one of the best forms of marketing. We’ve discussed video for advisor marketing in the past, but changes to advertising open up the opportunity to create client-based videos. Client videos act as testimonials and are an opportunity to showcase the services you provide, as told by a real person. Do the following the get the most out of this approach:
Choose Clients who Will Connect With Your Audience
When watching an ad, webinar or movie, we often become invested in a character. We identify with this person in some way and see things from their perspective. For this reason, the client you select for your testimonial video should be relatable to your overall client base.
Consider the following when selecting a client for a video interview:
- Who shares similarities with your general audience?
- Will this person resonate with your viewers?
- How can you highlight your client’s pain points and demonstrate your solutions?
For example, in one of our previous webinars we focused on advisor websites and lead generation with help from David Grace of Manulife:
Ditch the Script (Except for Compliance)
Thinking about video brings a few things to mind. High-end cameras, lights and a script, to name a few. But it doesn’t mean you have to take this approach. Ditching the script means keeping things casual and allowing the conversation to be organic. Feel free to record through a Zoom call, on your phone or through a separate service.
What you do want is a set of talking points. This doesn’t have to be as detailed a script and provides a course for the conversation. Providing a list of talking points also gives your compliance team some material to review, saving you time and effort.
Share your videos on Social Media
Video as content is popular across every channel, especially on social media. According to Social Media Today, 93% of businesses gained a new customer after posting a video on social media. Remember, using your client video as a social ad is a great way to resonate with your audience, so make sure to consider your social platform and audience demographic before sharing.
Though not focused on client interviews, Trailhead Planners does a fantastic job of creating video that targets their audience through ongoing content. Feel free to check out their blog for your own video inspiration:
3. Use Social Media Comments To Your Advantage
Social media is designed to be just that, social. With an update to advisor marketing, you can look forward to the opportunity to proactively connect with their clients. Direct connection opens up the chance to leverage some of the best business-building benefits of social media. Here’s how:
Respond To Client Comments
Many social platforms determine the success of a post based on engagement. The more people interact with, share, comment and click on the post, the more you are rewarded by the social platform. This has traditionally been challenging for advisors, especially when it comes to comments.
This is because commenting is one of the best signs of engagement. It shows users have taken the time to not only watch or click, but actually interact with the poster. But commenting on a post, only to be ignored, is a lot like being in a one-sided conversation. Allowing advisors to comment removes a lot of the setback from social media, giving advisors the opportunity to directly engage clients.
Though not an advisor, this post from The Financial Gym’s Instagram shows exactly what we mean:
Share Public Reviews (With Client Permission)
Did a client praise your services online? Great! This is a perfect opportunity to show others, just make sure you contact that client and ask for permission beforehand. You don’t want to repost their content without them knowing.
We’ve used this strategy on our social channels, most recently to promote our inbound marketing solution, Lead Pilot, thanks to assistance from a testimonial through SixPoint Financial and David M. Pulcini Jr., RICP®, CFP®.
Tie Reviews to Another Topic
If you do decide to highlight a review on your social media pages, make sure you relate that review to something else beyond your firm. By keeping the focus on the service or client, you reduce the chances your post could be perceived as showing off. Which is never good.
4. Incorporate Testimonials On Your Website
Testimonials could come from client emails, online reviews and interviews, giving visitors the confidence to contact an advisor. There are several ways to integrate testimonials into your website, and you can certainly use more than one. Here are a few tried and tested methods that we prefer:
Create a Dedicated Testimonial Page With Videos and Quotes
You can create a single page on your website to accumulate testimonials. Quotes, screenshots and videos can all be used to provide variety. Be sure to include different types of testimonials. Some could focus on your actual services, while others could highlight how friendly your advisors are, or how easy onboarding was. Pinpointing key benefits, especially if they are repeated, gives visitors a sense of holistic quality, especially if testimonials acknowledge their pain points.
Create a Blog Series
If your firm receives a good amount of communication or reviews that can be used as a testimonial, then take advantage of a blog structure. Not only will it highlight specific client experiences, allowing you to get some of the same benefits in a blog post as you would from a client video. But it also allows you to improve your SEO, especially if you target services you know are being searched. As a bonus, you could include client videos in your blog post, allowing the two content types to support one another.
Some people don’t mind pop-ups, other people can’t stand them. It’s up to you whether you wish to use pop-ups on your site, but they can be a great way to include client testimonials. Exit-intent pop-ups are the least intrusive, as they catch visitors before they leave instead of appearing as they explore your website. If you decide to go with a standard pop-up, just make sure to set it at a reasonable duration, around a minute works.
5. Client Success Stories
Creating client videos and a testimonial blog series already touches on the subject of client success stories, but there is certainly more to say. Just as the video option provided details on the specific client, there are several ways advisors can turn this story into additional content. This option is a great time-saving route for advisors who aren’t interested in investing in video but want to focus on a client’s personal experience.
Here are a few options for displaying client success stories:
Repurpose Reviews with Case Studies
Just like the video option, a case study goes into the specifics of a client’s problem. The structure of a case study is a little different though, instead of focusing on a question-answer format, where the client is interviewed, a case study would present the client’s problem. Then, it would demonstrate how that problem was solved, providing exact data where applicable. Though less engaging than videos, case studies can show very specific results, and allow advisors to highlight some of their greatest challenges.
As an example, check out this case study of our SEO work for Dream Financial Planning, or one of our many advisor showcases:
Include Reviews in Powerpoints and Presentations
Presentations are often very one-sided in nature. Including a client review or testimonial within your presentation, whether this is a PowerPoint or a speaking event, gives the chance to include another voice, improving the credibility of your message.
Applying the New SEC Marketing Rule
The marketing opportunities listed above can help you leverage the new SEC marketing rule, providing a boost before the compliance deadline of November 4th, 2022. However, be sure to consult with your compliance team before applying any of these 5 opportunities or any new marketing strategy.
Editing note: This article was originally published February 4th, 2021, and has been updated to ensure consistency.
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About The Author
Stuart is a Content Marketing Specialist at Twenty Over Ten and enjoys creating content that both entertains and educates. A Game Designer at heart, he can be found pursuing one of his many hobbies during his free time.