With every new year comes a laundry list of new trends that will impact the way many of you will do business. Emerging tech, demographic shifts, and changing culture all play a role in the lives of a small business owner. As one of those small business owners, you’ve probably already seen your share of articles promoting the shiny, new social media and digital marketing trends for 2020.
But how many of those are relevant to you specifically? What might work for a retailer or coffee shop probably won’t benefit a financial advisor. That’s why Marketing Corner’s first “2020 Trends” list was written exclusively for advisors and agents looking to gain an early advantage in the new year.
Content continues to be king. And thanks to Google’s recent algorithm updates, it won’t be abdicating the throne anytime soon. In the fall of 2019, Google integrated BERT, a language processing technology, into its search engine. Without diving into the mechanics, BERT considers the nuance and context of each word used in a search query, rather than crawling for the individual terms. This allows for a more “human-like” understanding of the query and more relevant results for the user.
What does this mean for your website? Because people tend to search Google much like they would hold a real conversation (ex., “When should I claim Social Security benefits”), the search engine is going look for answers to that question. This more natural and conversational aspect of Google’s ever-evolving algorithm means it’s crucial to have a website that features a wealth of relevant and well-written content. Keep in mind there are several variables that factor into Google search rankings, but the importance of content will continue to grow in 2020.
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
- ROI for content marketing is triple that of paid search
- Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than those that don’t
- Conversion rates are six times higher with content marketing versus other methods
- Websites with blogs have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than those without
The vast expanse of the digital landscape means a message limited to one channel is a message that is going to miss a portion of the intended audience. Marketing across multiple platforms is a great way to expand your reach and connect with as many prospects as possible. The benefits of omnichannel marketing can be seen in the stats below:
- Engagement rates for omnichannel are nearly 19% compared to 5.4% on single-channel
- Customer retention rates are 90% higher
- Purchase frequency is 250% higher
As it relates to content marketing, the most obvious omnichannel marketing technique to employ is to share blog posts across your social media networks. With numerous social platforms out there, this can be a daunting task. We recommend advisors and financial professionals focus on the “Big 3” networks to find qualified prospects:
A solid omnichannel marketing strategy means more than simply posting blogs and sharing the links on social media. It requires across-the-board consistency in voice, branding, and message. Make sure your logo, contact information, “about me” information, bio, and anything else related to your business is the same wherever they’re used. This not only includes your website and social media pages but any physical mediums you might use (flyers, posters, billboards, brochures, etc.).
The SECURE Act has already brought about a huge overhaul of American retirement laws. The legislation was designed to make it easier for people to save for retirement. Last week’s Marketing Corner gave a brief overview of how the new law impacts saving vehicles such as annuities, 401(k) plans, and IRAs. Those who missed out can read the post here.
For an even deeper dive into the SECURE Act, including details on how it impacts small businesses, we just launched the first in a two-part series covering the SECURE Act. Get your copy of Key Highlights from the SECURE Act: What You & Your Clients Need to Know at this location.
It’s important to note that the full effects of the SECURE Act won’t be felt for some time. The next year could see additional modifications that could change the way advisors help clients plan for retirement. Also, consider the potential for new laws and reforms to be enacted in the coming months and beyond.
One possible change to keep your eyes on is a proposal by the Trump Administration to restrict eligibility for SSI disability benefits. And with 2020 being an election year, conversations about Medicare For All, LTCI reform, and other related topics are going to take their share of the spotlight for the next several months.
On a state level, Medicaid expansion and marijuana reforms are two hot button issues that could change the way many advisors do business.
Security & Privacy
This isn’t exactly a tangible item to keep in your marketing toolkit but should become part of the overall conversation you’re having with prospects and new clients. Fraud in retirement accounts has been on the rise since 2018. While the estimated $14.7 billion lost to cyberfraud that year was lower than previous years, more cybercriminals are finding their way into retirement savings accounts.
Your first instinct might be to avoid this topic altogether. After all, no one wants to leave your office with words like “cybercrime” and “dark web” ringing in their ears. However, it’s enough of a concern to warrant discussion. Because trust and credibility are paramount to the consumer experience, the effort you make to educate clients on the importance of cybersecurity won’t go unnoticed.
Spend a few minutes going over some simple cybersecurity tips, such as:
Attention to security extends beyond sharing a few tips with your clients. A secure website and digital presence are absolute necessities in 2020, especially for businesses with their hands on a client’s life savings. The list below includes items that should already be a part of your cybersecurity arsenal. Make them part of the discussion to ensure your clients that you have their best interests in mind.
- SSL Certified website
- HIPPA Compliant CRM
- Privacy Disclaimer on Drip Emails
- BBB Accreditation
In the interest of transparency, make sure you also explain to your clients why you need the information they share with you, and the steps you take to keep that information safe.
On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Act into law. The SECURE Act marks the most significant overhaul to retirement policy in years. And with these changes, comes a need for many people to review, or even revise, their retirement plans. This presents multiple prospecting and marketing opportunities for financial advisors.
In total, the SECURE Act consists of 30 provisions, each one affecting the way people save and plan for retirement. While the 125-page document addresses a wide array of topics, some stand to have a more immediate and direct impact on the everyday wage-earner.
Below is a brief overview of some of the key provisions from the SECURE Act that advisors should be discussing with their clients.
- Expanded retirement savings opportunities by making it easier to include annuities into 401(k) plans
- Portability of lifetime income options for qualified plans.
- The Required Minimum Distribution Age has been increased from 70 ½ to 72.
- The change does not apply to those who reached age 70 ½ by December 31, 2019.
- Certain long-term, part-time employees can now participate in 401(k) plans. These employees must meet minimum service hour requirements.
- The maximum automatic contribution percentage for “safe harbor” 401(k) plans has been increased.
- The age cap for contributing to traditional IRAs (previously 70 ½ years old) has been eliminated. Like Roth IRAs, traditional IRAs now have no age limitations.
- Stretch IRAs for certain beneficiaries are no longer allowed. Those beneficiaries must now withdraw all money from the inherited plan within a specified time frame.
Overall, the SECURE Act covers a lot of ground. While designed to benefit retirees, it does comes with several complex changes that people need to be aware of. Advisors need to be proactive and start educating clients (and themselves) about how these key provisions from the SECURE Act could impact their long-term goals.