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Old school digital advice failed advisers, but there are new options emerging

So far most attempts by advisers to increase sales online have failed. It’s worth wondering why that is, and whether there is scope for change.

Monday, August 26th 2019, 8:16AM

by Russell Hutchinson

Russell Hutchinson

Do you remember all those offers to make your website a new business portal? The deal was that you could sign up to having a price quote tool on your web-page and some would link through to an application form. Only a very few advisers have been able to make such systems work effectively for them. Why do they tend to fail? The first is low traffic, this is a volume game and there are simply not the tens of thousands of visitors to an adviser’s web page (usually) to make this work. Then there is the question of the wrong kind of traffic: most people visiting an adviser’s website are looking for the contact details for the adviser … if they were just going to say "please up my cover by $500k", they might use your online application tool. But do you even really want that? Or would a proper advice engagement be better?

The most successful adviser offers online right now have been because the adviser has learned to operate a different kind of process. One is, they have made the shift to becoming digital marketers. 

In the early days of LifeDirect they learned how to attract lots of people to their website – and backed their new skill with ever bigger budgets. Today the more successful adviser sites online tend to focus on capturing a slice of the market that is looking for a quote and pointing out that this is more complicated than the client first thought. Thereby converting them to an advice engagement, although they may often continue to deal remotely.

But there is great scope for good systems to help in other areas of the human adviser world. Here are three.

  • Achieving more reach – if you dominate a niche but tend to only meet the people in that niche in your town, then spreading your marketing effort wider helps a lot. Doing that in an automated way helps more – things like response forms and targeting on social media helping a lot to reduce wasted spend.
  • Enabling prospects to screen themselves – sorting out those that are right in the zone for you from the ones that might just be a waste of time. This is pre-assessment. It also helps sort out who is more motivated to buy. The only thing is that everyone is wary of the very cheap-looking "if you scored more than …" type of questionnaires. The aim here is engagement – get them interested, teach them something they didn’t know, stimulate their curiosity about the advice process.
  • Raising the engagement with clients through the review process. Life insurance is a low involvement category – so people often decline face-to-face reviews. Building some meaningful engagement with digital first can raise response rates by being quicker, more interesting, and less threatening than the prospect of booking a meeting.

Tags: marketing Opinion roboadvice Russell Hutchinson

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