Published: 5 July, 2022

Hedge Fund Marketing Strategy For Digital Marketing

Everybody is using digital marketing these days in the asset management sector.

But not everybody is using it effectively. It may raise awareness, sure, but does it actually move the needle in terms of raising and retaining AuM?

For most, the answer to that is ‘no’.

In this article I’m going to show you how to turn things around and make digital marketing into your asset-raising saviour.

Let’s start with a simple concept that should underpin everything you do when it comes to digital marketing:

Think Like An Investor

When you start to think like an investor you avoid the classic mistake of concentrating on what you want, rather than what your potential clients want.

This is why asset managers are prone to believing that prospects and clients are itching to talk to them and hear from them. So, digital marketing tends to revolve around Zoom calls and webinars.

But the problem is that most people don’t want to get their investment advice from these mediums.

In fact, according to a recent survey we conducted with Greenwich Associates, just 25% of people in the asset management and private banking space cite Zoom as their preferred channel for receiving information. Webinars came in better at 63%, with websites favoured by 67%.

But way out in front is the old marketing warhorse of email, on 92%. The reasons given for this were email’s capacity to provide detailed content and the fact that it’s non-intrusive.

Plenty of people will ignore this finding and keep relying on the quick fix of Zoom, but that’s because it’s good for them.

But what’s good for clients and prospects is to receive a steady stream of well-written, informative emails.

Of course, this isn’t a one or the other scenario. Zoom sessions and webinars are a valid and useful part of your marketing arsenal. But just because someone always attends your Meet the Manager sessions, doesn’t mean they are ready to invest.

You need to nurture the relationship – and email is by far the easiest and most effective way to do this. And your emails can be used across other mediums, such as on your website and via social.

It can be difficult for more traditional managers to adapt to this brave new digital world – and perhaps they favour Zoom as it’s more personal and similar to the days of face-to-face meetings.

But adapt they must, or risk going under, as many firms are fully immersed in the digital transformation and are streaking away as a result.

Develop Good Content

We’ve established you need content – and lots of it – to build a relationship via digital marketing.

But what do people want to read?

Sadly, so many firms don’t know the answer to this question.

And perhaps the biggest mistake they make is to just produce content that bangs on about performance. There is obviously a place for performance-related content, but investors aren’t stupid – they know you’re only going to talk about it when your numbers are up. So, you must provide more.

To paraphrase Ray Dalio, you should first talk about your attitude to risk, then talk about your investment strategy, and only after that talk about your performance.

The fact is that potential investors are far more interested in how you’re going to handle and invest their money, than hearing about your latest success.  Also, don’t forget that numbers can look too good to be true. And they make people suspicious, as – quite rightly – many will think they could be on the cusp of a fall, so will avoid investing when a fund is doing particularly well.

A good rule is to always try and do at least one of three things in every piece – enlighten, entertain and educate. So, the mainstay of your content should be thought leadership-based – content that provides expert views on pertinent topics and explains your own investment philosophy.

That’s how you cut through and build a relationship with people. Nobody makes a big investment decision on a whim. They choose a home for their money on the back of months, if not years, of consistent and quality content, so your marketing strategy must reflect that.

And, whatever you’re writing about, you should always try and be yourself. Especially as this is something bigger firms can’t really do, as they are largely faceless.

But if you’re a smaller asset manager then you have a more direct relationship with your clients and prospects, which gives you a big advantage – so be honest and personal, as this will make you stand out. The big boys with legal armies looking through and sanitising every communication can’t do this.

And don’t be afraid of adding some of your life and interests into your emails and articles. The investor Stefan Nilsson – the owner of Terrasias Capital Ltd and friend of ProFundCom – tells the story of securing two meetings through a LinkedIn post about the heavy metal group Megadeth. People buy from people, so showing some personality and telling stories can work well, as it connects with them.

Think of the relationship with your prospects and clients as a friendship. If, when you met with your friends, all you did was boast about how much money you were making, you would rapidly become a loner – as nobody would want to talk to you.

Make Your Content Visible

Good content is only useful if people see it. So, you must ensure your content is getting in front of your prospects and clients, otherwise it’s useless.

One element of this is obviously SEO. This is particularly important for warming up leads at the top of the sales funnel, as these people don’t really know who you are. They may enjoy your emails and attend the odd webinar, but they still need to validate and build on that before you get anywhere near an investment decision.

With good SEO in place, you are going to start popping up when they are searching for relevant investment information. This will boost and validate your position as a thought leader, as they will inevitably read more of your content.

And everything you have out there should point back to your website, which is where you have a single version of the truth about your firm that you want prospects to read. You can also use your website to showcase your articles, webinars and other forms of content, to further build a bond.

In addition, you need to distribute content through a strong social media presence, as this fosters an ongoing connection with your brand. LinkedIn is the pick of the social media sites where asset management is concerned, as it’s business-oriented. The other advantage is that it will link prospects back to a detailed profile of you and your business – in a way that Twitter, Facebook et al do not. But, you should be aware of regional variations in how social media works. In the Japanese market, for example, LinkedIn is much less popular, and Facebook is favoured for investment advice.

To sum up, although your website is your foundation and the place where you have the curated story that tells your prospects exactly what you want them to know – you have to get them there. And that means SEO, consistent content distribution, and territory-specific social media use.

To do all this effectively,  you must have a plan. This may seem an obvious piece of advice – but many firms approach content creation and distribution on an ad hoc basis. Don’t do that, instead have an excel spreadsheet where you lay out exactly what you’re going to do each month – from emails to social posts to webinars and any other promotional activity.

Learn The Art Of Analysis

I’ve shown you how to create decent digital content and get it in front of your prospects and clients. Then, you must double down on what’s working and ease off on what isn’t.

But how do you do that? How do you know what’s succeeding out there and what’s not?

This is where digital analytics comes in. A digital marketing platform like ProFundCom will analyse all your content campaigns and show you, in real-time, what’s working and what isn’t. (Other platforms are available, of course, but there are none that focus exclusively on the fund sector – ProFundCom is unique in that regard.)

This is incredibly useful, as you can monitor performance as campaigns are running – allowing you to quickly change something that’s performing poorly and expand on what’s working well.

For example, you can track a multi-email campaign and see what’s happening with open and click rates – if these look good, you could up the sending frequency or enlarge it to more audience segments or territories. And if it’s going badly, you could tweak subject lines, attachments, or even the whole focus of the campaign.

A platform like ProFundCom can also give you a more general overview of your marketing activity. It can collate and analyse data from all your campaigns and pull out certain words and phrases that are resonating most with your audience – ESG, for example, or compliance – and display it in an easy-to-interpret format, like a word cloud. This helps you see the big attention grabbers, but also the outliers that are creeping into the picture and may be worth some attention.

A digital marketing platform is also extremely valuable if you have a global client base, as it will show you what’s working well in which territories. As I said in the last piece, this is vital – as there are big regional variations. For example, what works well in the UK, may be completely irrelevant and uninteresting to your audience in South-East Asia.

The Gold At The End Of The Rainbow

Everything I’ve talked about in this white paper – content, distribution and analytics –  boils down to one thing:

Identifying those people who are on your radar and can make a difference to AuM, either positively, through investing, or negatively, through redeeming.

This means finding four main categories of prospect and client:

  • Prospects who are highly engaged with your content and look at pretty much everything you send them – but haven’t yet spoken to sales. These people are an immediate target for a sales call.
  • Prospects who previously stopped looking at your content – then started again. They may have gone elsewhere, but are now looking at your firm again and could be ready to invest.
  • Existing investors who have started engaging with content related to products they don’t currently hold, suggesting a cross-selling opportunity.
  • Current investors who have stopped looking at and engaging with your content. This is a red flag for a potential redemption, but a call from sales could head it off.

These four categories are the gold at the end of your digital marketing rainbow, as it is they who can move the needle in terms of increased AuM.

When you know who they are, you can tell your sales team via a lead deck in your CRM, which shows a snapshot of sales-qualified leads, detailing what each client and prospect is engaging with and what they’re interested in.

But this pot of analytical gold has further use, as it also helps marketing teams to justify their existence, by drawing a direct parallel between list growth, marketing activity, and sales.

This is particularly important during harsh economic times because it’s the marketing team that gets cut when belts are tightened.

That is obviously insane and completely counter-productive. But it happens, as often no clear line can be drawn between marketing activity and the bottom line. So, you can’t show you’re doing a good job, even if you are – as you have no proof.

But when you have systems in place that show where money is actually coming from, then the C-suite has direct evidence that marketing works and will act accordingly.




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