When it does go into effect, advisor
reviews will be permitted to appear on
Yelp, Google, Trustpilot and other sites?
Yes. Advisors aren’t in control of thereviews on those third-party collectionsites; but with the clients’ permission,they can republish on their own websites.
You won’t be [allowed] to just ask aclient who has great things to say aboutyou to provide a testimonial. You’d needto send an email to all your clients andsay, “I’d love for you to give me somefeedback.” The SEC is goingto look for documentationthat you made it possible foranyone to give you a review,whether it’s good or bad.
There are a lot of interesting legal asterisks. Forinstance, because peoplecan leave either good or badreviews on a third-partysite, if you republish [good]reviews on your website, youneed to have a disclaimerthat says something like, “These are notall the reviews. You can find them bygoing ‘here’ [hyperlink”]. But advisorswill now be able to have a little more[leverage] over responding to a negative review and sharing their side of thestory, which is important.
Advisors might want to seek outsidecounsel or home-office counsel to makesure they’re in compliance with any newmarketing initiatives, because there arelots of things you need to do in terms ofdisclaimers. Law firms I’ve talked to saythat if you’re a smaller firm, you wouldn’twant to be a guinea pig. There are grayareas — a lot of the rule is ambiguous. Sothey suggest taking a wait-and-see [posi-tion] because the biggest firms with thedeep pockets will be the first.
Amid the pandemic, what marketing
strategies have you recommended
Try to hold as many events as they can
online and come up with new ways
to make them fun. [For example] hold
live Q&As about the changes concern-
ing IRA minimum distributions and the
Paycheck Protection Program. There
were so many questions about what
companies could qualify for PPP [loans].
[Also] get on video! So much of communication is nonverbal. [FAs can benefitfrom] the psychological principle of the“mirror-exposure effect.” That tells us themore often we see something, the morelikely we feel familiar with it or like it.
Recording videos and putting them onlinegives you the opportunity to get in frontof people who are scrolling social media.
What’s another good opportunity?When writing an email to clients, saysomething like “I’m sitting here, closedoff in my upstairs bedroom while mykids are running around downstairs:Day 7 of quarantine.” So lift the curtain abit. If you pepper in those types of thingswith your digital presence, people willfeel they know and like you more.
You suggest that advisors offer a
subscription-based series. Why is
For a long time, advisors would ignorepeople in their 30s and 40s becauseif they’re not going to transfer those
401(k) balances [low because of youth],
they had no way to earn income from
the relationship. But that age group
desperately needs financial advice. The
subscription-based model allows advi-
sors to serve all those folks — plus many
even in their 50s — by working with
them on a monthly basis.
Why is your recommendation toembrace inclusivity an opportunity?Investment brands and others are beingheld accountable to make sure their marketing is diverse and inclusive across racial,gender and sexual orientation lines. If youwant to target an audience that’s diverse,your marketing needs to be diverse.
You have a degreein organizationalcommunication (publicrelations). Please describeyour career path.
Out of college [MiamiUniversity] I took a job atPenn State University doingfundraising and event planning. Twenty Over Ten sawthat most small advisors hadreally terrible websites, nosocial media presence, their marketingwas nonexistent — and they faced compliance hurdles. So they decided to builda tool that would allow advisors to reapthe rewards of all the great new marketing technology and still be compliant.
They went to market in 2017 [afterbeta stage] and brought me on asemployee number one. I started from asales perspective. But when you’re selling marketing solutions, you need topractice what you preach by utilizingthe same solutions and strategies. That’swhat I put into practice for our company:creating content, using social media, creating videos. I was adamant about beingalongside our customer base and potential customers to say, “Let’s all learn howto do this marketing together.”
Jane Wollman Rusoff is a contributingeditor who specializes in interviews withthought leaders. An author and prolificjournalist, Jane is founder of www.FamilyStarProductions.com.
Russell recommends that RIAs
take a wait-and-see approach
before rushing to try the long-
prohibited marketing tack. Let
the bigger firms test the waters
first, she cautions.