<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=319290&amp;fmt=gif">

When shopping online or making a large purchase, think about how you go about deciding which product to choose. Sure — price, brand, and product features all play into it, but when choosing between two similar products, it likely comes down to the reviews. 

When searching for professional services, the process isn’t all that different, and with the new SEC Marketing Rule in effect, online reviews will now play an influential role in the decision-making process among consumers preparing to hire a financial advisor.

"Online testimonials have been prohibited for the last 60 years," Brian Thorp, founder of Wealthtender, said in Episode 6 of the FAST Podcast. "So up until this year, the SEC said financial advisors are now able to solicit reviews or ask their clients for testimonials and publish them online or use them in any activity to promote their business. Essentially what the SEC acknowledged is we realized that consumers, whether they're looking for a restaurant, a hotel, a doctor, a lawyer, or a financial advisor, can really benefit by reading online reviews to make a more informed and educated decision in their hiring process."  

Testimonial marketing increases visibility and transparency, creating a better experience for potential clients in search of professional advising services. It empowers them to make informed decisions and pre-qualify advisors they think are best suited for their needs.

Learn how to compliantly collect testimonials to help propel your leads into clients in just a few simple ways:

How to go about collecting testimonial content 

  • Update your policies and procedures. It is vital to have updated policies and procedures in place to ensure you’re following the SEC’s guidelines when requesting reviews from your clients. The SEC also permits reviews from acquaintances, so people who have never been a client but want to vouch for your character or former clients that would like to provide insights into what it’s like working with you can do so by providing an endorsement.  However, you must disclose that they are not a client.

  • Have disclosures within your testimonials. Transparency is essential when it comes to testimonial marketing. The SEC requires that advisors include disclosures to indicate whether a review was written by somebody who is a client, if they’ve never been a client, whether they were compensated in any form, and if there are any material conflicts of interest. The good news is, they don’t expect the disclosures to read like a lengthy pharmaceutical ad in a magazine. In fact, the SEC prefers the use of sufficient disclosures.

  •  Reach out to all your clients for testimonials. The SEC also wants to ensure that advisors are not cherry-picking, meaning that you are not just reaching out to a handful of your favorite clients. They don’t want you steering people into only writing a five-star reviews. To prevent this from happening, they recommend you send a straightforward email to all current clients asking them to write a review about their experience working with you. If you have a newsletter that reaches all your clients, you can even include an invite to write a review in your newsletter.

  • Use CRM technology when asking for testimonials. Using CRM technology when sending out emails help provide record of your communications with clients, which ensures that if the SEC were to come in, you are able to provide proof that you reached out to your entire client base.

Using testimonials as evergreen content

Once you have updated your website with testimonials, you can use that as evergreen content to link back to — which means it's not time-specific and will always remain valuable and informative.

Each time you write a blog, think of a way you can insert a link back to your testimonials. That way, when someone just comes across your blog, they'll have an easy opportunity to see if you might be a good fit for them. Also, when writing social media copy, you have those testimonials at your fingertips so you can quickly and easily create an appealing visual of the quote.

These are just a few ideas to help you start leveraging the power of testimonial marketing to grow your business. Interested in learning more? Click here to tune in to Episode 6 of the FAST Podcast.

This article comes from NAIFA marketing partner, White Glove. To read the original article, visit their website. Members can learn more about how White Glove can help their business in the Member Portal.