We have a well-performing, growing investment product. It has done great for our early investors, consisting mainly of ourselves and friends & family. It has a clearly defined, value-oriented strategy which has proven its worth since January 2015 with a total return of almost 60%. The approach is at the same time conservative – capital protection is priority, first and foremost. We have achieved our average target return of 8% comfortably.
We think it is a great product and hence are keen on bringing it to the attention of other potential investors in order for them to benefit as well. So Dmitri and I were asking ourselves: How do we do that?
We do not have a branch network like banks where potential clients just walk in. We neither have a network of sales representatives like insurance companies (nor would it work for our product).
Word-of-mouth marketing is great (and we use it wherever we can) but it also relatively slow if you do it the old-fashioned way by meeting with friends (or friend of friends) or an acquaintance of an acquaintance.
As we are both not living in the ivory tower of a gilded private banker as in the old ages, so to speak, we are certainly aware of social media marketing and sales. Successful examples in many industries can be found. There is close to nothing in the asset management business. Obviously, there is a lot of activity in the fintech area with mainly app-based, standardized or somewhat modularized clickable offerings for either investment or advice thereon. We came however to the conclusion that our long-term investment product cannot (and should not be) marketed and sold via an app.
Still we want to bring our product offerings, the Bernstein Value and Income Portfolio (“BVIP” – long-term) and Accumulating Interest – Cash Deposit Certificates (“AI-CDC” – short term) to the attention of new investors - as we are strongly convinced they will do great as our investment partners.
To get attention we have to become visible. Folks have to find us. As such we need to increase visibility on:
- Google for certain keywords describing our business
- Facebook for users to get a personalized view on us and endorse what they see
- Instagram to get a visual impression of our team and what we do in daily life
- Twitter to demonstrate our professionalism and our constant awareness of markets and trends
- LinkedIn and Xing to stay in touch with the overall business community and other professionals and colleagues in our industry
At the same time, we need to make it as easy and understandable as possible - once some has been kind enough to visit our website – to answer all remaining questions and to formally join our investment community.
That is a full-time job. You have to compare it to a travelling salesman on the road for eight hours or more - each day. Social media marketing is a tough, time consuming JOB. Do not expect to become successful in it over night (unless you have worked your ass off before and are already a superstar on your own – like Warren Buffett in investing or the Kardashians on TV) - long before social media marketing took off in earnest.
It is about constantly creating new, interesting and relevant content – both text and image - for your followers. It is about finding the right balance between sales, information and entertainment in your posts. It is about posting regularly (once or better twice a day) - every day – and that better be EVERY DAY (without being perceived as Spam).
It is frustrating in the beginning as you post a lot without getting much feedback. You may win some followers, but they are fickle. They come and go. To build a stable, loyal base of followers (and eventually clients) takes time. Think of it as a five-year horizon.
We are currently at week 4 of our activities. We feel encouraged but we also know it is a long way to go. Don’t be mistaken: we are in the business of making money for ourselves – but we want to do it with a large number of other people - who are wasting their money right now in under-performing, high-fee products or (worse) - leave their money in the bank earning nothing or less.
Social media marketing – like any other real job – is an 8-10 hour exercise per day. I am off now – will do some push-ups – and get ready to interact with our esteemed existing followers, find some new friends on the Internet, inform, entertain and also sell.
We have a great product – so I do it with the greatest pleasure you can imagine!
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