The vast majority of Americans struggle with financial illiteracy and anxiety about money.

In fact, according to a report published by Walden University, over 65% of Americans are financially illiterate and unable to manage their finances. In addition, The National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), a project of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation), found that 53% of people claim that thinking about their personal finances made them nervous, while 44% said that discussing their finances made their hearts race.

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of Americans are financially illiterate and unable to manage their finances

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of people say thinking about their personal finances makes them nervous

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of Americans say discussing their finances makes their heart race

As a Financial Consultant, you’re poised to do something special. You have the power to change people’s lives. You are able to help consumers grapple with and overcome their financial fear, anxiety, and skepticism that causes paralysis.

So, what can you do to help consumers eliminate fear? Answer: Engage and Educate

The most effective consumer engagement strategies at this stage in the consumer journey focus on problem awareness, recognition, and education. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes you can make at this point is focusing your educational content too much on a particular solution, product, or financial strategy instead of on the problems your audience is facing.

Identify Your Audience: Who is your ideal consumer?

Depending on the outreach methods you decide to employ, you will have different targeting options and limitations. The good news is that you can usually narrow your focus to target audiences based on household demographic data or, at minimum, an interest, category, or demographic range.

This intelligence, paired with relevant content, can be compelling, engaging, and effective. In most cases, you’ll find that direct marketing channels allow you to build audiences using individual household demographics. On the other hand, traditional media leverage interest-based categories and demographic ranges.

Reach Your Audience: How can we target them specifically?

Remember, most people don’t even realize they are facing obstacles until someone helps draw attention to them. So, while inbound marketing strategies like your blog or website can be powerful conversion tools to help you acquire clients, they are not the best fit for the awareness stage. Instead, outbound marketing strategies tend to be the most effective approach in generating awareness.

Direct marketing vehicles like direct mail, social media advertising, email marketing, and even telemarking can all be highly effective in helping you reach and communicate with your target audience. Direct marketing typically produces faster results than traditional media options because the messaging can be highly personalized and extremely relevant.

Leverage Personalization: Why should we personalize the experience?

Personalization can have tremendous effects on the overall success of your marketing efforts. It grabs the consumer’s attention, engages with them individually, and often yields powerful results, so use it!

In his bestselling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie wrote, “A person’s name is to that person, is the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” Coca-Cola proved this to be true when the brand launched its now-famous “Share-a-Coke” campaign in 2011. Over the next five years, the campaign would become a worldwide sensation and a perfect example of how personalization can dramatically impact results.

In addition to a person’s name, you can use relevant content, demographics, and geography to personalize the marketing experience. This personalization can go a long way in bolstering trust between you and your potential clientele.

Key Takeaway – Connect with consumers and educate them on the problems they face

Consumers are faced with a magnitude of challenges and fears associated with their financial decisions. As a trusted Financial Consultant, you have the unique experience and skills to guide consumers toward reaching their financial goals. When you focus on delivering an unparalleled experience for your clients and educate consistently it will accelerate your growth.

Ready to learn more? Up next, we’re going to break down proven methods for identifying, connecting, and motivating your audience to act. Our next blog, Marketing Strategies for Awareness and Problem Recognition, covers the ideal strategies to make consumers aware of their financial issues and how to help educate them to make healthy financial decisions.

About the Author

Jerry Lanier is the Vice President of Financial Sales at LeadingResponse. For more than 16 years, he has made it his passion to help consumers navigate life’s most challenging financial decisions by connecting them with financial professionals. At the same time, he helps those advisors achieve sustainable growth by uncovering additional revenue, profits, and missed opportunities.