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Who Wears the Financial Pants? How to Market Financial Services to Women

Who Wears the Financial Pants? How to Market Financial Services to Women

Blog by Lauren Hong

Financial advisors: you need more female clients.

We said it. When your ideal client characteristics include educated, decisive, and dedicated to investing in the future, you just cannot forgo the women of the world. Especially when it’s women driving the decision-making in their families and embarking in entrepreneurship themselves.

Not only that, but studies are showing that women are, in general, more likely to “see risk as more important in creating wealth,” according to Financial Advisor Magazine. Oh -- and they just happen to be the gender that, on average, lives longer.

So why doesn’t your client roster include more women? The secret’s in your marketing.

Take the time to understand.

Catering to the female market is becoming ever more important in the financial industry. Women are a dominant force in businesses, in families, and in social circles.

There’s one thing women need for you to win them over, though: you need to understand them. When 69 percent of financial advisors are men, this becomes quite the task.

It starts by getting to know them -- and dropping all stereotypes and former assumptions. Consider it the courting process. Do your research and pay attention. Here’s what to consider:

Pain points. Women are known to be better communicators. Take the time to actively listen. Are they concerned about their children’s future education costs? Their aging parents’ estate? Their current spending and how that sets them up for the future? Talk to your current female clients, spouses of current male clients, or prospective female clients. Identify what’s really at the core of what she needs.

Risk-aware vs. risk-averse. Typically billed as risk-averse, Financial Advisor Magazine debunked that myth to better describe a woman’s mindset with investment as risk-aware. Understand that women are willing to take the risks so long as they’re aware of the potential benefits and downsides, and the game changes.

One size does not fit all. We’re talking very generally about marketing to women right now -- but let’s remember that not all women are the same. As CNBC points out, “women” are no longer a niche within the financial services industry. Simply saying you cater to female clients doesn’t give your services the exclusivity needed to appeal to any certain sort of person. Consider the qualities of the women you want to work with -- demographics and psychographics -- then start by marketing within those parameters. You can’t please everyone, but you can do a heck of a job of pleasing a targeted market.

Just ask. Keep in mind the old adage, “ask and you shall receive.” The best way to avoid stereotyping and assumptions is to simply ask. Survey your current female clients or those within your network who may not be using your services just yet. Ask questions that give you a good feel for what your ideal client will respond to.

Once you’ve let the assumptions go, asked the questions, and actively listened to your ideal female clients, it’s time to translate that into effective marketing.

Build a financial services marketing plan that works for women.

A common mistake in marketing to women in the financial industry is to try to reach women through their significant other -- be weary of this tactic, as 70 percent of widows leave their financial advisor after their partner passes. Remember -- they are at least 50 percent of the relationship. Treat them as such, and make sure marketing is tailored to them as individuals.

Messaging drives marketing, so start there. Evaluate your messaging. Who is it speaking to? Once a solid message is delivered (one that caters to that niche within the female market that you’ve already identified), use that message to develop an ongoing content strategy that shines through all of your channels:

  • Website. Aside from the obvious evaluation of the main marketing messages on your website, consider how else you can use your online home to help your new market. Add comprehensive resources to address the pain points you’ve identified during your research.
  • Newsletter content. Designate a section or start a separate list to cater to the new market you’re courting. Evaluate all other content to make sure it doesn’t discount the role of women.
  • Blog. Is your blog content set up to serve more than just your current client base? Consider branching out into some new long-tail keywords that speak to your new market.
  • Live events. Branch out from the golf course. Collect key research about what your prospective female clients enjoy -- whether it’s wine, cycling, sports, good books, or skydiving -- and consider switching up your event venues.

The list doesn’t end there. Your revamped messaging needs to expand throughout all of your content and communications -- your emails; your physical collateral; your social media outlets. Consider all the ways you interact with your audience -- and make your message prominent.

Win over the women

According to WealthManagement.com, women currently control $8 trillion in assets in the US. By 2020? That number is expected to be at $22 trillion. It’s an opportunity you literally cannot afford to miss out on.

Will they be particular? Will they be demanding? Will they question you? Absolutely. But it’s a good thing -- and here’s why: women know what they want, they know what they need, and they’re counting on you to make it happen.