I’m starting a new Tuesday feature on the blog: Content Strategy for Investment Managers.I’ll be going through various aspects of creating an effective content strategy that align with our philosophy of Be Clear. Be Concise. Be Consistent.
I’ve already touched on a few of these items in my earlier posts:
- Crafting an Effective Value Proposition Statement
- Keys to Effective Communications for Investment Managers: Investment Philosophy.
- What is "Good" Writing? Four Strategies for Success
- Do make your audiences’ lives easier
Offer prospects & clients content that makes their lives easier; whether it’s food for thought on how to accomplish their tasks efficiently in a multitasking world, or specific advice on how to overcome the challenges and difficulties they face on a regular basis.
Make sure that content, as directly as it can, provides context and solutions to their goals AND/OR concerns.
That’s not to say that a more traditional content focus should be discarded – there is a very important place for content that addresses the latest market developments and news affecting investment portfolios. Clients and prospects want to know (or at least have the option of knowing) a firm’s take on what’s happening, how it affects clients, and what it plans to do about it.
Even if the blog's or newsletter's readership isn’t necessarily what a firm would hope for, making the effort is important, especially if part of your firm’s pitch is its highly responsive client service philosophy.
- Do communicate more often than quarterly
Traditional quarter-end newsletters are standard industry practice, which offers little or no differentiation between managers. To demonstrate true differentiation, it is extremely important for investment management firms to communicate on a regular basis.
Today, access to information is has been democratized at a fundamental level. Thanks to digital technology, clients and prospects have become conditioned to expect on-demand access to information. If you provide the important information for your audience, they may notice, or maybe not.
But if you don’t make the effort at all, they’ll notice.
What should investment managers do to communicate? Write blog posts, eBooks, white papers, newsletters, and email; post PowerPoint presentations to Slideshare, post videos to the firm's website. In other words, mix it up, keep it fresh - differentiate yourself.
- Do treat every client as unique
“We treat each client as unique” is as clichéd a platitude as they come - and everybody knows it. Investment management firms looking to establish true differentiation must embrace the notion & own it completely.
It’s not always easy, as most client investment objectives, investment horizons, risk tolerance and asset class diversification fall into a reliable set of categories. But even though every client’s needs and investment objectives may not be unique, you still need to approach client communications as though they are.
When a pension fund drops $25 million into an institutional manager’s portfolio, or a high net worth individual invests $5 million in a hedge fund, or even when a schoolteacher invests $10,000 with a wealth manager, a little personalized attention is warranted, even if it represents less than 1% of your AUM.
- Do keep your Website fresh
This is important for all asset managers, but especially for those smaller firms outside of major metropolitan areas.
A site done on the cheap, with basic functionality and poorly-composed content suggests that you’re just not up to the task. Does a visitor to your site remember your value proposition? What you do better than your competitors? What you want to be known for?
If not, your site is woefully underutilized, and could actually be harming your reputation for professionalism.
- Do install Google Analytics on your site
It lets you track your site’s performance using a variety of metrics. What was the impact on site traffic after that CNBC appearance or keynote speech? How did that blog post perform after you sent out your email newsletter? How many visitors does your site get in a month? How many are new or returning? What’s the most and least popular content? What keywords are visitors using to find you? How long are they staying on a given page?
Without Analytics, you have no clue as to whether or not your site is doing what it should.
- Don’t imply – explain.
Your investment approach may be successful and have a long track record. That’s great, but finish the connection – explain how your process and philosophy directly benefits clients.
- Don’t rely on finance-speak and “gobbledygook.”
It’s boring and nobody wants to read it, even seasoned consultants, institutional investors, and high net worth individuals… and certainly not your average wealth management client. Write three-dimensionally, be creative, create context, tell a story. Write like you want to be read.
In other words, respect your audience's time.
- Don’t rely on PDFs for Website content
Website usability studies prove that your audience hates PDF-as-content. True, it is a quick and easy way to add content to your site, but it is lazy and disrespectful of your audience’s valuable time.
The best bet is to either create summaries of each PDF for the audience or rework the content so it is compliant with Web usability standards.
- Don’t have an outdated News or Commentary Webpage
I have seen many a “Recent News” page with the most “recent” links 6-, 12-, 18-, and even 24-months out of date (or more, occasionally).
Old articles and outdated links make you seem irrelevant, and looks absolutely awful to a website visitor.
If your firm has nothing new to say or is not in regular contact with the media, delete the page or find another place on the site for that content.
On the other hand, creating fresh content not only gives clients and prospects the sense that your business is evolving and moving forward, but it forces you to regularly think about your business – what you do, how you do it, & why – and ways you can make it a stronger, more competitive player in the industry.
Have I forgotten anything? Let me know.