Our guest blog comes from Emily Binder, the founder of WealthVoice, an Alexa marketing platform for financial professionals. She is an entrepreneur, speaker, and consultant. Applying over a decade of experience as quarterback for successful initiatives from startups to Fortune 500 brands, Emily helps businesses succeed with what’s next.
It’s Noisy Out There
With average daily screen time at 11 hours, we’re inundated with content. Media is a business whose product is your attention and whose customers are advertisers. That’s the digital content model we have today. The primary ways we get content online are seemingly free because they are ad-supported. The algorithms in turn make incendiary and stressful content rise to the top. It produces adrenaline, a close relative of dopamine.
More dopamine means more time spent scrolling, reading, watching, and clicking on links. “Nothing happened today” isn’t news, and it won’t garner attention. Sensible long-term investment strategies are not exciting.
How Do You Compete With Dopamine?
In this age of Robinhood investors and zero commission trades and the democratization of access, we are at a different point in the life cycle of personal finance than ever before. While this is beneficial for society as a whole it also introduces both a challenge and an opportunity for financial advisors.
The challenge is to cut through the noise even though your message probably isn’t titillating.
The opportunity is to connect emotionally which is more powerful and long-lasting because it builds trust over time. Your voice is the key to this connection.
Investing Has Changed, Content Has Changed
25 years ago, in order to place a trade, you had to call your broker. They had all the power. Similarly, the major publishers and TV stations had all the power in disseminating information. The Internet and blogging and social media changed that. We have flattened the world and given everyone a potential microphone. Twitter is essentially a meritocracy. And amidst all of this noise and clutter, it’s getting harder to sift through the messages and find the truth.
How Your Clients Process Information
We can’t ignore the fact that neurologically, nothing is more excitatory to the brain than money. Sex, gambling, and chocolate don’t even compete on a cellular level (as Dr. Daniel Crosby points out in The Behavioral Investor). Money is linked to survival and when we think about it our lizard brain activates and wants to clutch and covet because it’s equal to food or shelter.
To expect a modern-day investor to be able to independently, consistently override their hardwired instincts when it comes to money is a lot to ask. This is why people who lose their passwords to their brokerage accounts earn higher long-term returns than active traders. We need coaches and accountability in all areas of life. Your role as the guide, the Yoda, is to reassure people and keep them on track. Oftentimes, you are there to take the keys away from the drunk driver.
Let’s Go Into That Metaphor a Little Deeper
Your friend is three sheets to the wind and wants to drive home. Imagine trying to convince them they can’t drive with a monotone voice and no emotion or care. Most people don’t believe you and think that they’re fine to drive. A breathalyzer would say otherwise. You need to get the keys out of their hand without starting a fight. This is what you’re doing when you help somebody manage their finances when they’re in an emotional state.
Volatility creates that state. Social media creates that state. We are living in that state and absorbing more information each day than our bodies were ever meant to.
Daily advertising messages are seen by average U.S adult:
1970s: 500-1600 ads per day
2007: up to 5,000 ads per day
2021: est. 6,000-10,000 ads per day
Research shows that people are tired of ads. The future of social media may well be more subscription-based and ad-free. A smart strategy takes this into account. You need to build out organic content marketing yesterday. People want to simplify and reduce their media diets. Being addicted isn’t fun. You can be the antidote to the drugs.
I’m getting at the idea of cutting through the noise and calming investors, reassuring them using your voice along with your other content. Focus on nurturing the relationship and providing value. While financial news shows with an ESPN-like crawl and WallStreetBets are fanning the flames, you can be a source of calm and confidence.
Do it on Voice. Do it on Social. Do it Where People are Paying Attention
And remember, attention is always shifting: Right now we see the puck is headed to voice, with smart speakers the fastest adopted consumer technology of all time and over 30% of searches done by voice. Voice marketing in context here mainly includes podcasting and hands-free access to news and information with voice experiences/voice apps built on AI assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.
Ways to Use Voice Marketing:
- Create your own Alexa skill to send clients voice updates on their smart speaker, with notifications: WealthVoice
Tip: get marketing ideas from how Plancorp uses WealthVoice (“Ask Alexa…”)
- Start a podcast or flash briefing
- Do the first two: create a WealthVoice app to put your team and services info onto voice search, but add your RSS feed so your podcast goes out with Alexa notifications for easy listening
- If you don’t want to create new podcast content, simply read your best blog posts aloud as the Ritholtz team does with their simple but effective podcast, The Goldmine
- Add value for new clients and level up your onboarding by sending client welcome kits with Amazon Echo speakers sharing your Alexa Skill or podcast
- Share audiograms on social media (these get more engagement than full podcast episodes but have nearly the same impact on brand recognition)
Why Content Marketing and Emotional Connection Will Build your Business and Save you Money Compared to Advertising:
- 70% of consumers don’t trust ads
- Organic content will improve your SEO over time so you are found organically (which helps because 70-80% of people ignore paid search results)
- Leads from search engines have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (ex. cold-calling, direct mail, etc.) have a 1.7% close rate.
44% of people want to receive less email from businesses. We don’t want to keep searching for the bottom of the Internet. We’re ready to connect again. We were locked in our homes for most of 2020 and we miss seeing and hearing each other so the next best thing you can do is to put your voice out there. Or do more video. But just come through in your most human relatable form because these thinner mediums of communication, especially the text-based ones, simply don’t stoke the emotional connections and positive feelings that humans crave.
A well-rounded content marketing strategy is key to succeeding in today’s business environment. Voice is a pillar because it’s hardwired for emotional connection above all other senses:
Hearing is the fastest of our senses. We process sound in .05 seconds, which is 10 times faster than the blink of an eye. So you would have processed that last sentence faster if I said it to you, versus reading. It all began with your mother’s voice in the womb: this was your first sensory experience, and her voice imprinted on you for life. Your voice creates connection and trust with clients and everyone else in your life. It’s rich.
Start a podcast or if you want to use voice without the time commitment, create a WealthVoice skill on Alexa to send clients voice updates.
Why Start a Podcast?
- 50% of the US population has listened to podcasts, 32% listen at least once a month, and 22% listen weekly.
- Wealthy people listen: Podcast listeners are 45% more likely to have $250k+ in annual income.
- 80% of podcast listeners listen to an entire episode. (Edison Research)
When clients feel safety, trust and familiarity with you, they will do business with you and refer their friends. You will grow share of wallet. Voice marketing and any content marketing is an investment in your brand and your future. It won’t work overnight but it will build over time and sharing your voice authentically with the right audience on the right platforms is the most brand-friendly growth lever that you control.