This month’s issue of the Journal of Financial Planning included a description of two experiments designed to explore the way consumers make investment decisions. Since success in blog marketing is designed to assist in consumer decision making, I’m devoting this week’s Say It For You blog posts to discussing the insights those researchers share with Journal readers…
Who is investing in ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds)? Using an investor survey, researchers investigated the relationship between financial knowledge of an investment product and consumers’ choice to actually invest in that product. Their hypotheses going in –given that ETFs are still a relatively new product with benefits still not fully understood by the full investment community, increasing investor knowledge would be a significant variable when predicting ETF ownership.
Interestingly, the authors divided “knowledge” into two categories:
- Subjective knowledge (how much an investor SAYS they know on the subject)
- Objective knowledge (how successful that investor is answering knowledge questions on the subject)
Their hypotheses going into the experiment was that both subjective and objective investor knowledge are positively associated with ownership of the product itself. The findings? Both subjective and objective investor knowledge do have a positive association with ETF ownership.
Researchers’ advice to financial advisors? To increase ETF adoption among clients, engage in education efforts to pave the way for greater acceptance. Significantly, the authors stressed that “supporting investors’ confidence in their own financial knowledge may be as important as educating those investors.”
Now retired from my career as a CFP®, I stay interested in behavioral finance, which is using science to move individuals in the direction of better decision-making. In fact, I see my present work as content writer for business blogs as very similar – helping readers gain access to – and process – the information they need to make good buying decisions.
In blogging for business, teaching is the new selling. Since customers have access to so much information, they want to know that you and your organization have something new to teach them. Even more important, you need to help readers absorb, buy into, and use the information you provide through your blog.
At the same time, (recalling the Journal researchers’ advice about supporting consumers’ confidence in their own financial knowledge), even when it comes to myth debunking in blogs, our content has the potential of rubbing readers the wrong way. People generally don’t like to have their assertions and assumptions challenged, even when they came to a website seeking information on a particular subject.
As a blog content writer, then, you want the provider (vendor or practitioner) to be perceived as a subject matter expert who is offering usable information and insights in addition to readers’ own knowledge level…
To the extent you’re successful, the blog content itself constitutes a Call to Action! Once readers feel assured that you’re “meeting them where they are”, they might be ready to take action before they even read all the way into the blog post!