Over the last few years, the asset management industry has undergone a host of changes, many due to the broad-reaching trend toward digital transformation. Despite these sweeping changes, for many fund managers, large and small, the idea of building a content-rich, client-facing website has been difficult to
get their heads around. Instead, they have opted for a splash page, or bare-bones website with a link to a fund administrator’s portal to serve as their online window to the world.
The reality many have missed, however, is that the digital revolution dictates that having a simple web presence isn’t enough. Regardless of the shape or size of your fund, your audience expects to see a user-friendly, carefully thought out, dynamic website that tells your story. The vast majority of the world’s largest asset managers have amazing websites that do just that. The good news is that when it comes to building a great website, competing with those managers isn’t nearly as tough as competing with their investment performance.
At Imagineer Technology Group, we take pride in helping our clients to think through and execute their internet strategy. So, whether you’re just coming to the conclusion that it is time to build a website (or refresh an old one) or are looking for ways to optimize the user experience and content of your site, we’re here to help.
That said, the fact of the matter is this: there’s not much point in investing a bunch of money on a website if you’re not going to encourage people to visit it. In fact, this is one of the main arguments some fund managers cite for not having a good website. We are a little biased, but we think that line of thinking is crazy, especially when many of those same managers are the ones who complain that they have a hard time differentiating their value proposition from their competitors. True, if you aren’t giving your audience a compelling reason to keep coming back to your website – or by extension, your pitch decks, quarterly letters, and other marketing content - then you may as not bother with any of it. As with any marketing professor, many fund managers learned from in their MBA classes
at Columbia, Harvard, and Stanford that a clear content strategy is essential if you want to win new clients and hang on to existing ones. We live in a world where, no matter what you are selling, demonstrating your expertise via content is a requirement for winning hearts and minds. Quality content generates more website traffic, boosts engagement, and results in more leads than many other marketing activities while driving higher conversion rates. Managers who don’t think these principles apply to them needn’t look any further than Citadel, Blackrock, and Vanguard for proof.
Face it: you need good content.
Here’s a short guide to help asset managers go about creating great content for their websites.
Create a Blog
This is the easiest way to create content that tells your story and sets you apart. You’re probably already publishing a letter once a month or quarter in which your portfolio manager(s) pontificate about their wisdom of the markets and keen ability to pick securities better than most other people. This means that you’re already producing (or have already produced) enough to fill volumes. Based on what your team is already writing for investors, pick three or four topics your firm has unique mastery over and make those your pillars. Then, scrub the stuff you’ve written over time for compliance and get ready to make it available on the internet.
Craft Your Content Calendar
Before you can publish all your golden nuggets of wisdom you should create a content calendar. You wouldn’t want to push everything out all at once, would you? The point of creating a content calendar is to work out a schedule of when you are going to publish articles. You could choose to focus on one theme every month or mix things up so you cover a variety of different topics regularly to demonstrate the depth and breadth of your team’s knowledge and expertise. It is tempting to publish as much content as possible, but that’s just not true. It is important that you focus on creating content that has staying power. Posts that maintain their relevance for long periods are always better than content with a short shelf life.
Keep Your Content Simple
Asset management is complicated stuff. Keep in mind that the point of publishing content in the first place is to demonstrate thought leadership and subject matter expertise, not to confuse people. If your content is comprehensible to anyone in your target market, you’re doing it right. As you create new content and re-purpose things written in the past, you need to think about how you can present difficult concepts in a way that makes them accessible, or you risk alienating your audience. You want your clients and prospects to read what you write and then engage with you in dialog about it. In terms of readability, think Barron’s. Whereas your blog might not be the best place for dealing with complex subjects, other formats such as white papers that are only given to prospects once they engage in diligence, for example, are much better for deep investigations into a topic, although they will be more time-consuming to create.
Good Content Includes Good Visuals
Scholarly papers and well-written articles are super fun to read, but as the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words. Creating infographics and other data visualizations might not be in your skillset, but freelancers are pretty cheap and little of their time can go a long way. Strong visuals help to keep your reader engaged and help them to retain more information. Good visuals are also easy to share in reports and on social media (I know, I hate social, too).
Use Social Media
Speaking of social, it is important to make sure that you regularly share new content across your social channels to increase the number of people who will see it. Think about which channels are going to work best for your audience – LinkedIn is obvious for our industry – and focus on them. Some firms make use of several social channels, but for alternative asset managers, most probably don’t make much sense. And for any hedge fund readers who are rolling their eyes at the recommendation to use social media, just take a look at Citadel’s LinkedIn page. Ken and his team have nearly 97,000 followers on LinkedIn as of the time I wrote this. Twitter? Not so much.
Analyze Your Impact
As with any marketing campaign, you need to be able to assess the impact it is having to fine-tune your approach and get the best results over time. Content marketing is no different, so take the time to understand which pieces of your content are performing best, generating the most interest, being shared most frequently, resulting in meetings, and resulting in allocations.
Having a decent content marketing strategy and executing it isn’t all that difficult, but it requires time, consistency, and commitment. Following the advice in articles like this one is a good way for fund managers to lay a foundation on which they can build.