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Financial advisor marketing: How to win over the next generation of wealth

For years, millennials have been viewed as avocado toast eaters flush with student loan debt. Their poor spending habits would never afford them such luxuries as owning a home or living a debt-free lifestyle that previous generations enjoyed. 

And while some of this may be true, millennials do in fact spend their money differently than their parents, it doesn't mean they're doing so at the expense of future wealth. In fact, many young people have already amassed large fortunes. 

To win over this group of new wealth, advisors will need to employ different tools and playbooks than they used on Gen X and older generations.

Here are five tips for marketing to millennials. 

Emphasize personalized investing

Millennials don't just spend differently than their parents; they invest differently as well. Many want to take advantage of investment opportunities that will help them achieve financial freedom and appeal to their values. That means advisors may need to create portfolios that balance income generation with, perhaps, a client's aversion for companies that still use animal testing. Serving those all too common and seemingly unlimited requests requires not just tech-powered investment tools but also appropriate communication. Tell existing and prospective clients that modern investment solutions like custom and direct indexing can now deliver on their various preferences. 

Establish a market niche

Millennials have no shortage of choices when choosing a financial advisor. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates over 200,000 financial advisors operate in the US alone. So advisors must do what they can to stand out. By establishing a market niche, advisors signal to prospective clients that they are a credible resource for people with similar backgrounds. A niche tends to vary by clients' geography, career path, or net worth. For example, an advisor in Silicon Valley may build their practice and solutions around the needs of nearby tech employees. Millennials, in particular, are keen to work with advisors who have experience working with clients like them. 

Leverage social media

It's no secret that millennials spend a lot of time on the internet and, in particular, social media. But what they're doing on these platforms may surprise financial advisors. A recent survey from TIAA found that one-third of Americans act on financial advice found on social people, and just as many people listen to financial advice from influencers and celebrities. Advisors, who are doing so already, must catch up to this trend. Promoting content and building a brand on platforms like Twitter and even TikTok can open the door for advisors to reach the next generation of wealth. 

Generate educational, not promotional, content

That old saying content is king applies to financial advisors as well. But the content advisors create should not promote their brand or service. Instead, they should focus on educating clients, particularly millennials. A recent study found that a mere 16% of millennials qualify as financially literate. Advisors can help lift those scores and draw in new clients by providing information on issues top of mind for millennials: saving for retirement, buying their first home, preparing to start a family. Advisors will quickly find that many of these topics rank well for SEO (search engine optimization). 

Ask for online references

Millennials are the first generation to grow up in the internet age. Anything they could possibly need has always been a few keystrokes away. So when they think about working with financial advisors, their first stop will always be the internet. That might look like a quick Google search, reference check on LinkedIn, or scan of Yelp reviews. Having a positive presence on these websites carries the same weight as a word-of-mouth referral from older clients. It's essential to solicit positive feedback and online endorsements from clients in a way that highlights an advisor's key strengths—perhaps it's an anecdotal story about talking clients through a volatile period in the markets, or maybe it's more objective information about the advisor's status as a leader in their niche.

December 3, 2021