Advisory firm United Capital has signed a deal with digital lead-generation service Vestorly to revamp its newsletters and make them more appealing to current and potential clients, said United Capital chief executive Joe Duran. So far the program is targeting 15,000 individuals but will ramp up to 100,000 in the next few months, he said.
“The old-school investment newsletter—that format that has been popular for decades—is not current with technology or the consumer today,” Duran said. Vestorly's technology creates profiles of prospects based in part on social media consumption to automatically create customized newsletters for individuals. Currently, United Capital is sending out a newsletter that has more mass appeal, but will soon begin to tweak the content based on user interests. Even without the highly customized content, United Capital’s open rates have increased from 25 to 50 percent. Twenty-five percent click through to read the content, far higher than typical digital newsletter response rates, Duran said.
United Capital has been sending out the newsletter every Friday for clients to read after work. It includes the United Capital name, but each newsletter comes from a local office with a cover letter by the individual advisor.
Only about a quarter of the articles are investment-related, while many are on more playful topics such as what gifts to get mothers for Mother’s Day or how draft selections get made, Duran said, reflecting the shift away from the investment-only relationship advisors have with clients.
“The investment-only advisor is really an increasingly narrower group of people,” Duran said. “Most people are going to realize, ‘Hey, I got to be involved in my client’s entire financial life, not just their investments.’”
Vestorly’s Wisz believes the technology can help advisors personalize the relationship with clients, and thus better compete against automated portfolio management systems. Wisz says the tool helps satisfy consumers' expectations for real-time, personalized and mobile communication.
“I think it’s a pretty big leap to think that people are going to go from using an advisor that you meet with four times a year to investing with a computer,” he said. “In between there is a more realistic middle ground on what client engagement is going to look like.”