What client has not innocently clicked on a link of interest and is now daily bombarded with e-mail solicitations cloaked with scare headlines and calls to action? Buy this stock, that fund, gold or silver, get this fabulous research free or at a very low price, double your money in a day, a week, a month…..
How might an adviser keep that client grounded, informed, confident – and most of all, free from investing time or, worse, money in those offers?
Then there are those industry “newsletters” where the same headlines are repeated day after day and many “stories”, when you click on them for more, are barely longer than the headline and teaser you read before clicking? No value add, no research, no analysis, just random blobs of information.
So much of what is available on the internet today is nothing more than a sales pitch or a poorly written and ill informed opinion by someone believing they, too, can be a “thought leader”.
How do we help clients (not to mention advisers) avoid wasting their valuable time and energy on these seemingly endless communications and getting caught up in the offers and false urgency?
First of all, receiving these messages is almost inevitable the moment we start using the internet. Our interests are known from the articles we read, the searches we perform, the items we subscribe to and of course whatever we purchase online. We do not want to give up the convenience the internet offers us so we will face some of the deluge no matter what we do.
Second, though it is hard for some of us to remember, our usage of the internet is primarily intended to benefit us in some way. So we do not have to read, click on or even pay attention to material we did not solicit. It does not matter if the material is harmless in the sense that no virus is attached or no malware will be installed if we use the material sent to us unsolicited. What matters is the waste of our time and attention as well as the potential for wasting money, too.
What to do? You may unsubscribe to unwanted e-mails, set an e-mail filter to direct them to some archive you will periodically empty without reading, mark them as spam or just simply delete them as they appear. The real thing to do is to retain control over your time by not allowing it to be diluted with items of no interest or use. Then, the adviser should provide clients with information that can be helpful to them so they won’t be tempted by the constant noise of the internet offers. The adviser should be sure to explain why a particular piece was chosen or written and how it applies to the client.