Digital technology is creating value for brokers. The continual development of high-speed internet, automation, and analytical tools has changed the face of the global economy. Online lottery leaders have embraced online technology and doubled business in less than 5-years.
Smaller brokers are looking to technology to add business and promote customer engagement. The cost versus value is questionable. Companies often embrace technology too quickly and begin looking for a problem to solve instead of looking to correct a problem. The evolution of technology is mesmerizing and powerful, but brokerage firms must be creative.
Social media is most helpful in keeping up to speed with clients. It allows brokers to have a presence in the community (local and global.) It will enable the lightning-speed attention that clients demand today. Proactively using social media gives even smaller brokers more power. In customer service, technology is a requirement, not an option. It begins with building relationships. Traditional methods of adding to a customer base are obsolete, but many firms rely heavily on them amazingly. According to Experian, new businesses allocate up to 20% of their gross revenue for marketing and client building. However, established brokers allocate only 6-12%.
Where to begin
Continual tracking is critical. Technology evolves, as does a client base. While the cost of marketing on Social Media is relatively low, in the beginning, the return on investment may be slow coming. It is easy to see where you get your best ROI with initial tracking. If your email campaign is returning 200%, but the £200 spent on Facebook is gaining no ground, it is easy to see where to invest your marketing money. Adjustments must be made as the situation evolves so a company can transform into a serious competitor.
Brokers are known for professionalism and class. But, many of them go with very basic websites, which are inadequate in today’s market. This is an immediate turn-off for digital customers. They expect instant gratification from the people they do business with. The defensive manner of marketing is ineffective, but it also limits the opportunities to harvest business that only reaches out digitally. Further, the digital connection allows for a two-way conversation that traditional methods do not.
Why the delay?
Why are brokers not embracing the full power of technology? Brokerage firms are a few examples of a business that cannot instantly change. Because of the nature of the business, transferring customers, marketing plans, and ideas to digital formats takes time. Brokers have to go in understanding they are investing in the future. While the transformation may not give them the immediate punch, they are looking for, not investing in technology guarantees future failures. In a few years, everything will be digital. If a broker fails to see this honestly, he is destined to stall in the near future. Every day spent hanging on to outdated systems is a costly error.
To operate as a broker in the UK online, you must follow a few basic requirements. Examples include (but are not limited to):
- Regulated by the proper organizations. FCA, MiFID, and ASIC are examples.
- Customer service is available around the clock.
- Low or no commission for online customers.
- Availability to the US markets is a plus.
- State-of-the-art interface (user-friendliness)
- Low fees – detailed on the site.
Where do you begin?
Getting started is not as difficult as you may think. Many of the features you need will come standard on a website, but you must design a site that brings clients back. What can you offer them that others do not? Here are the basics:
- Hire professional website designers and programmers.
- Decide what services you will offer online.
- Set up an application online for new customers
- Provide various funding options
- Set up all social media accounts to backlink your site.
- Tie social media accounts to email
Link professionally written articles and information to the site. Make the site interactive and have it flag people when contact is made. Be sure you are set up for an immediate response. Keep in mind that even the best website in the world will not give you new business without proper care and follow-up.
The benefits of technology and digital marketing are proven. With digital technology, sales are easily tracked, and returns on investment are easily identified. Tracking capabilities of inquiries, sales, and lead generation are built-in. Cost versus returns is accessible even in mid-program.
Technology takes the pressure off. People can conduct business anywhere and at any time. Working remotely is possible and cost-effective. Maintaining a quality website gives you the power to compete and compliments your years of professionalism. There is no doubt that this is the future of brokerage firms. The only question is how much money a company is willing to sacrifice.
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