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A complete guide to marketing to Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals

Marketing to Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) is a relatively niche area of expertise. With few digital agencies specialising in this niche sector, ultra-luxury brands have generally been slower to implement and reap the benefits of online luxury marketing. 

UHNWIs represent a highly attractive and lucrative audience. But, as these groups represent less than 1% of the world’s population, they have different needs and expectations from the general public when it comes to digital marketing strategies.

To successfully engage with Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals, digital marketers need to understand what makes them tick, their needs and motivations, and the type of content that resonates with them. It is also essential to understand the digital landscape that UHNWIs occupy and tailor luxury marketing strategies accordingly.In light of this, Relevance’s President and Founder, Rumble Romagnoli, explore how to target Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals and which factors should be considered when creating digital marketing strategies to engage with this audience.

Why is digital marketing to high-net-worth-individuals so niche?

There is often a misconception among luxury brands and marketers that digital marketing is incompatible with the luxury industry. People believe that UHNWIs do not engage in social media, do not make online purchases etc., or that if they do, it is only through super-exclusive social media sites or at private member’s clubs.

This is absolutely not the case. 

A recent report by professional services firm PwC found that 98% of UHNWIs access the internet daily, with affluent consumers spending up to three hours of their personal time online each day. So, employing the right strategies when marketing to UHNWIs can reap dividends.

In addition, wealthy individuals have traditionally been early adopters of emerging products, including digitally-delivered services and technology, meaning adopting digital marketing is of utmost importance. 

In fact, digital marketing to UHNWIs provides better value for money than traditional marketing methods since ROI is a lot easier to track with digital advertising. This means it can be an excellent way for new luxury brands to get the word out without incurring huge expenses.

And, since digital advertising is much easier to track, thanks to CRM and Marketing Automation, you can provide a healthy ROI.

How do UHNWIs use the internet?

UHNWIs use the internet the same way most people do, which is, in fact, a lot! According to PwC, UHNWIs are more likely to use the internet through a mobile device, and it is important you keep this in mind when creating a website. 

The same PwC study reported that 85% of Ultra-High-Net-Worth audiences use more than three digital devices – most being mobile. This makes sense considering how much they are likely to travel and their preference for completing search queries while on the go. 

It is imperative to ensure that your website is properly configured for mobile users, or you may find potential wealthy prospects visiting your site will immediately leave to find one with a better mobile user experience. By creating a mobile-friendly website, email campaign and even apps, you create an easy-to-navigate environment that this exclusive audience has come to expect.

How can luxury brands market to UHNWIs?

There are a variety of ways in which luxury brands can market to UHNWIs; however, the strategy depends on their goals. Making sure your luxury marketing team or external agency are fully aware of your aims and budget will work to secure the highest ROI possible.

Different methods include search engine optimisation to ensure your luxury brand website is visible when UHNWIs enter search terms into Google relating to your product or service. You can then build on this through digital advertising and working on your organic traffic to make sure your website is at the top of the search results.

In depth editorial articles, thought leadership articles, white papers and social media are powerful tools to build brand awareness with this elite audience. In fact, creating a digital voice and a story for your brand is an excellent method for engaging customers and increasing your customer base. 

PR and digital PR can also be ideal for targeting Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals by ensuring editorial pieces promoting your product or service can be found in publications with an affluent readership.

What marketing strategies do luxury brands use?

  1. Geo-targeting cities/regions where the most wealthy people live or spend time.
  2. Making your organic keywords more location and season specific.
  3. Targeting family offices and legal firms. 
  4. Targeting niche groups of people using LinkedIn and Facebook.
  5. Creating specialised SEO landing pages.
  6. Retargeting people who have spent quality time on your website.
  7. Social media advertising to those in tax-favourable locations.
  8. Collecting information about your customers using specialised CRM properties for ongoing retargeting.
  9. Using display advertising to show banner ads to people searching for ‘luxury’ goods and visiting UHNW publications.
  10. Using advertising to appear when customers type in your competitors’ names or search for expensive specialist goods.
  11. Targeting new people based on interests with high conversion rates on your site, refining by placement site, content topics, and display keywords.
  12. Creating stunning content.
  13. Targeting tomorrow’s millionaires … “son of / daughter of” on Instagram.

My main advice on digital marketing for high-net-worth-individuals is to make sure your brand’s online content is relevant and informative, and therefore useful to your target audience. Many companies in the luxury sector, particularly financial ones, use informational content to become a voice of authority in their sector – this helps build brand trust and recognition.

How to target Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals using SEO?

To target Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals using search engine optimisation (SEO) you should utilise keywords that describe your product and ensure that your site is well-optimised for these keywords.

It’s worth noting that adding ‘luxury’ or ‘expensive’ at the start of your keyword won’t necessarily restrict your product from being viewed by Ultra-High-Net-Worth audiences. This is because people searching for these terms might be people simply curious about or aspiring to certain products. It is unlikely that wealthy individuals would think of many items as ‘luxury’ if they can afford their choice of anything in the world.

You need to consider precisely what kind of person would be searching for your product or service and how you can use the right keywords to address the search terms they commonly use. UHNWIs may have someone doing their groundwork, such as a PA or wealth manager, so you will need to tap into how these people would think. 

Wealthy audiences often search for something specific, so long-tail keywords are a good place to focus your strategy. You will want to create specialised landing pages on your website to target particular searches featuring amenities or trips only UHNWIs might be interested in.

Another aspect to consider is making your website multilingual and optimising for keywords in various languages to target the many non-English speaking UHNWIs worldwide. Your brand should also have local authority in the digital space. This may apply less to cars, watches etc., but it certainly does for things like helicopter charters, real estate, private yacht charters, restaurants and bars, where people typically want to find something close to them. This will mean that your keywords may need to be more geography and season specific, depending on your business.

How can you engage with UHNWIs using PPC?

One of the most valuable ways to engage with UHNWIs using PPC is to adapt the metrics of your PPC campaign to target people in a specific area, possibly local to your business, and layering in household income factors. Google collects data based on online interactions and the websites your audience visits to determine their income level, split into a tiered system.

For example, suppose you own a luxury car dealership in Mayfair. In that case, you can run a PPC campaign to market to wealthy consumers interested in cars, who live in the vicinity of your business and are within an age range that is likely to buy an expensive car. You can also use demographic targeting to avoid showing your ads to people not likely to buy your products, meaning a higher ROI on your PPC ads.

Of course, this digital strategy can be expanded to reach all the wealthiest cities and most tax-favourable countries in the world, depending on your audience. You can also set up advertising to those attending high-end events, such as polo, Formula One events or yacht shows. If you have a competitor or competitors who you need to shake, you can even use Google Ads to appear at the top when people type in their brand names, although we would also err on the side of caution here!

Search advertising is a very effective choice when considering how to target Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals because it focuses on people who are already looking for something and have search intent. They may type in particular search terms that an advertiser will target with a set of keywords in order for their ad to show and entice the user into visiting their website.

The Google Display Network also works well for luxury because often, the buyer will not purchase these high-value items. Display adverts using targeted audiences, showing images of luxury products that a user may be considering buying, are often enticing and will attract attention.

Display ads mean that your audience will be reminded of a product again and again as they move around the web, often prompting an earlier-than-intended purchase. To really narrow in on your audience, you could also target wealthy consumers based on interest categories with high conversion rates on your website, refining by placement site, content topics, and display keywords. This could mean targeting people interested in futures trading on luxury lifestyle sites or people into skiing holidays on news/finance sites. If your focus is bringing traffic in-store, try using location targeting that presents a display ad on a user’s phone when they pass your shop or yacht berth.

How can you reach Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals using social media?

Social media forms a significant part of consumers’ decision-making processes, and research points to the fact that Ultra-High-Net-Worth consumers regularly use social media platforms, with 99 per cent visiting social media platforms and spending close to 90 minutes per day on them. Provided you have a cutting-edge social media manager, social media can be a very powerful tool for reaching a highly qualified audience. Indeed, using social media to communicate with customers in a purposeful yet informal way has allowed a considerable number of luxury brands to grow significantly over the last couple of decades.

What social media platforms do Ultra-High-Net-Worth Individuals use?

Different social networks have different uses and tend to attract different users. For example, many UHNWIs are engaged on LinkedIn because it is a tool designed for making business connections.

There are, of course, several social networks used exclusively by the wealthiest individuals, such as Best of All Worlds (BOAW), an invite-only app which is like a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn and aimed at the elite, and Rich Kids, an Instagram-alike app to which membership costs €1,000 per month. However, companies targeting affluent individuals can still make the most of other social sites through high-quality, targeted content.

Layered targeting is essential on social media, enabling you to reach only the exclusive groups you wish to receive your advertising. Facebook and LinkedIn can be highly targeted, making them ideal for reaching this exclusive audience. 

Facebook geo-targeting allows you to target precise locations, as narrow as individual postcodes, and pin drop locations of 1 km2, allowing you to focus your advertising efforts on only the areas with residential high value properties worth £1million+.

LinkedIn targeting is exceptionally comprehensive to the point where you can target individual companies, specific job titles and member skills; however, you need a minimum audience size. There are also family office groups and exclusive members clubs, which contain some of the world’s wealthiest investors and are perfect for targeting. 

Many of tomorrow’s millionaires – the “son of / daughter of”- are on Instagram, and by targeting these new up-and-coming influencers, you can lock in brand loyalty at an early age. Moreover, according to Instagram, these global luxury consumers are highly influential on Instagram, with almost twice as many followers as the average global Instagrammer. They typically use the platform seven days a week, compared to the six days a week of the average global consumer, and like three times more content than the average global Instagrammer. 

Instagram ads are particularly valuable for luxury brands, as they allow you to present a high-quality, aspirational video of your product.

What are some factors to consider when marketing to wealthy individuals?

There are many additional factors to consider when marketing to wealthy consumers. Most importantly, it is impossible to target UHNWIs as a whole group without forgetting the I – the individual.

When targeting a niche but relatively large group of consumers engaged in social media, you should consider whether your strategy caters to different languages, cultural backgrounds, genders, locations and ages. 

In terms of age, millennial investors expect real-time contact with people in their business and professional networks. However, according to Sprout Social, Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennial investors actively engage in social media – 14% of Boomers, 32% of Gen X and 30% of Millennials engage with brands at least monthly – so luxury brands and financial companies should be using social to build their brand and become voices of authority in their sector respectively.

A superb way to capture an audience’s attention and show your brand’s personality is by posting about your company and other topics your audience is typically interested in. For UHNW audiences, this could be wealth management, philanthropy or luxury travel, to name a few.

The most important thing to consider when orchestrating Ultra-High-Net-Worth marketing is that you should not be just promoting your product or service – social should be used to build relationships with your target audience. Good guidance for this is the 80-20 rule – this advises that your content should be just 20% sales and 80% entertainment and extra value content. The methods for marketing to UHNWIs are constantly developing and adapting, and as business owners or marketing professionals, we must keep up to ensure that our brands stay relevant and desired by the world’s wealthiest. Contact Relevance for more information on targeting UHNWIs from our luxury digital marketing agency.

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