Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

ETF Issuers: Here’s how to reach Financial Advisors

05 Dec 2017

Your new ETF has just launched, you’ve already commenced your public relations outreach, and your launch materials—including investment cases and fact sheets—are already done. That alone already puts you leaps and bounds ahead of many other ETF issuers, but you still have the critical problem of how to grow AUM.

Although more and more investors are going it alone these days, whether through robo-advisors, online trading platforms, or conducting their own research, financial advisors still remain the gatekeepers and trusted sources of information for huge swathes of investors today. Reaching them, speaking their language, and addressing their concerns, as well as their clients’, is absolutely paramount to an effective marketing campaign, and subsequently growing AUM.

Your sales materials should not actually be sales materials, at least not at first

It sounds counterintuitive—crazy, even—but your sales materials should not explicitly talk about your fund, at least not until the very end, once you’ve defined a problem and walked readers through how to solve it. The goal here is to be as helpful and educational as possible. Simply put, most investors won’t get involved in a product that they don’t understand. Only once you’ve bridged that educational gap can the FA and their client begin to consider an investment in your product.

Related: Are you too Close to Your Fund? Bridging the Education Gap with Retail Investors

Your very first step when creating advisor-focused sales materials is to find out what your target audience (which may be interested in investing in your fund) cares about: what worries them? What keeps them up at night? Then you should determine what it is about your investment product that solves these problems. Depending on the complexity of your product, your fund may be solving a problem that the financial advisor or client may be completely unaware of. If this is the case, your educational materials will have to start at a more basic level, drawing attention to why investors may not realize that they have a problem they need to solve.

Once you’ve identified the problem your product solves, you need to draw out the core feature(s) of your fund that actually accomplishes this. For example, if your target audience is worried about being properly diversified, you’ll need to identify what it is about your fund that addresses this concern. Is it the weighting methodology? Is it the specific type of exposures your fund provides? Again, a more sophisticated fund might offer multifactor exposure, but an everyday investor may not even know what a single factor is, much less that they might need diversified factor exposure in the first place.

By moving from simple to complex with your educational materials, without mentioning your funds, you can build trust with an investor and help them understand the need for a product like yours. Only at the very end, when you’ve explained the solution, do you then reveal that you actually have a product that will solve precisely the problem you’ve been explaining.

By defining the problem, educating the FA and only then offering a solution, you’ve gained credibility in their eyes, and are that much more likely to get your materials in front of their clients.