How to Collect Testimonials for Your Financial Planning Practice
• Valerie Rivera • February 25, 2021
Think about how you purchase something. Do you tend to reach out to friends or family for a recommendation? Do you seek the opinions of other like-minded individuals and their reviews when you consider adding something to your cart?
Whether it’s a tube of mascara, a bottle of wine, or a mortgage lender, peer reviews are an important piece of how people buy today.
Changing with the Times
During the last month of 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced reforms under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, essentially modernizing the principles that govern marketing and communications of financial services.
The revision to the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 recognizes that the profession of financial advice, along with the technology and advertising methods, have changed greatly and require a new rule to accommodate evolving needs.
Chief among these changes is the ability for financial professionals to use client testimonials in their marketing materials, subject to certain conditions.
The Online Marketplace
In a recent blog, I discussed a buyer’s digital journey—emphasis on digital—because so many of our interactions today take place online. It seems any answer is just one search bar away on your mobile device, computer, laptop, tablet, etc. And in a recent consumer survey we found that 42 percent of adults would start the process of researching an advisor using search engines like Google.1
So, if creating a digital presence is important, then knowing what to show and how to show it should also be given considerable thought. Your digital presence needs to convey what clients can expect when working with you.
For a financial professional, testimonials provide an excellent opportunity to deliver a compelling message straight from a client to their peers.
The Art of a Testimonial
What makes testimonials so great? They help to showcase the client experience in a trusted, objective way. An effective testimonial will illustrate what clients can expect when working with you and what it feels like to be a client, or even demonstrates how you and your firm meets their needs.
To make this a successful vehicle to help you drive brand awareness and build buyer confidence, consider the following list to determine which clients you would like to proposition:
- Was the client pleased? The likely answer is yes, but was there an impact to this client that can be communicated explicitly?
- Is this client similar to a broad base of your business? If so, then a testimonial will go a long way to speak to the average client and the value your service brings. That would not be the case if the client is more of an outlier in your book of business.
- Does this client have an online/digital presence? Some clients may be very private and in that case, would likely not be willing to provide a testimonial or something attached to their name or likeness.
Digital Tactics to Collect Testimonials
You can stick to a target base of your clients to approach, or you can employ marketing technology to help you easily get reviews for the business:
- Email: You can email those in your targeted list with direct links to leave reviews on Facebook/ Google/Yelp, or other sources. Make it easy for them to leave you a review by providing a direct link.
- Social: Reach out via your social channels, either in a direct message or a post to solicit feedback and reviews.
- Website: Add a message on your website to leave a review. This is especially applicable if clients log in to your site, you could have the message pop-up—with direct link to leave a review—or appear inside the login area.
Our consumer marketing survey revealed that 98 percent of U.S. adults stated that the advisor’s website is somewhat or very important to them, while one-third say that it is extremely important.1 It should come as no surprise then that the best places to post reviews are your website or your social profiles.
Have a page on your website dedicated to reviews. A dedicated page helps with search engine optimization, as anyone searching “firm name reviews” should end up on this page. And try to pull in reviews from multiple sources automatically, if possible. Advertisements that include third-party ratings will be required to include specific disclosures to prevent them from being misleading.
Sharing a review as part of your LinkedIn profile will enhance your digital presence. Posting newly received reviews or links to various review sources on Twitter or Facebook makes the updates timely and can coincide with other messages when you want to drive awareness and demand for your business.
Showcasing Your Value
What financial professionals do for their clients is personal. You help them navigate big questions—can I afford to purchase this home, can I start my own business, will I be able to leave a legacy for my family?
And so for financial professionals to really explain and showcase the value they can deliver through their services, it’s only natural that the most honest and effective review will come from a client’s perspective, detailing why they chose to trust you and how your service improved their life.
Best of luck in getting your next testimonial, and for more information about communicating your brand message and enhancing your digital presence, check out our eBook The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Digital and Social Media Marketing.
1 2020 eMoney Consumer Marketing Survey, September 2020, n=2,000
DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.
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