If financial services were a race, marketing would be one of the first hurdles financial advisors have to leap.
Business marketing is the process of promoting your services to potential clients, so you can move them through the lead pipeline.
To market your services successfully, you need to get in front of the right people at the right time. This can feel like trying to hit a bull’s-eye blindfolded, but it needn’t be such a shot in the dark. With the right marketing strategy, financial advisors can attract and convert prospects and even reengage existing clients, turning them into regular sources of referrals. These financial advisor marketing ideas will help you grow your business from inside and out.
Read on for these 20 financial advisor marketing tips:
— Ditch the general messaging.
— Find your unique value proposition and flaunt it.
— Optimize your website for your ideal client persona.
— Personalize your online presence.
— Be a resource matchmaker.
— Understand your clients’ goals and motivations.
— Use a public relations approach.
— Host your own “genius bar.”
— Embrace technology.
— Write a book.
— Send off-season’s greetings.
— Express your gratitude.
— Send a regular newsletter.
— Work smarter, not harder.
— Measure the right things.
— Be consistent.
— Don’t be afraid to invest more.
— Be an advocate for your community.
— Hire a professional.
— If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
Ditch the General Messaging
The first rule of successful financial advisor marketing is to market to your audience, your whole audience and no one but your audience.
“You can’t be everything to everyone,” says John Anderson, managing director of advisor services for Independent Advisor Solutions by SEI. “Prospects will seek out experts to solve their issues, so create personas that you can use to help focus on your ideal client’s needs and concerns.”
He suggests starting with a content marketing campaign directed at your target clients through social media, such as blogs, podcasts or even videos. “By showing your expertise within that persona, you set yourself apart from a generalist advisor,” he says. Best of all: It’s low cost and can be leveraged across multiple platforms.
Optimize Your Website for Your Ideal Client Persona
In addition to social media campaigns, financial advisors should optimize their websites with their target clients in mind. A generic website that speaks to an undefined audience will generate mediocre results in terms of inbound prospect traffic. A 2020 Broadridge Financial Solutions survey found that almost two-thirds of advisors who get leads through their website consider their websites ineffective, suggesting there’s room for improvement in the industry.
“Optimize your firm’s site to educate, connect and capture leads” by making it a “one-stop shop for all information on your offerings as an advisor,” says Kevin Darlington, general manager of Broadridge Advisor Solutions. This way, prospects can research on their own time.
“Your website should also be a straightforward way for prospects to get in touch with you, with all contact information readily available,” he says. “It’s easy to do and can be as simple as adding blog content or an email capture form.”
Personalize Your Online Presence
Like your firm’s website, your own online presence should also be personalized for your target audience. According to Edward Jones’ research, clients and prospects spend 16% more time on a personalized website. Nearly 80% of the 18,500 Edward Jones financial advisors have said they benefited from tools allowing them to personalize their online presence.
For instance, within weeks of reinforcing her personal brand online with some of her accomplishments and local community philanthropic involvement, Sarah Reznick, a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Newbury Park, California, saw an increase in prospects reaching out through the “contact us” form on her site. “When I asked them specifically what it was that brought them to me, they all mentioned my biography on my website,” she says.
Be a Resource Matchmaker
The other side of not being everything to everyone is allowing for the fact that you cannot be the expert in every area of financial planning.
With the future of advice “rapidly transitioning from holistic wealth management to longevity planning,” professionals need to “embrace the notion of connecting your clients to aging, transportation, health care and caregiving resources,” says Julie Genjac, managing director of applied insights at Hartford Funds. “Gather a group of longevity experts in your community and ask them to speak on a panel, which could easily translate into a virtual event, if appropriate.” These experts could be assisted living facility directors, elder law attorneys, certified aging-in-place specialists or geriatric care managers.
Understand Your Clients’ Goals and Motivations
When you know what your target audience wants, you can hone your message to address that need or desire.
If you aren’t sure what is driving your target audience, ask. You could ask your clients directly or reach out to others like them on social media. Or consider going where they go: Who do your clients follow on social media? Chances are this will point to what matters most to them and can give you insights into their goals and motivations.
Use a Public Relations Approach
“As a financial advisor, credibility is one of the most important characteristics to build. Utilizing an organic public relations approach can quickly build your credibility and brand,” says Nick Vecore, a public relations executive at M&O Marketing. “Opposite of advertising, organic public relations allows you to get your message and thoughts out to the public without paying to have it published.”
Being quoted as an expert in the news or having your business featured in a large-name media publication can act as a third-party endorsement. He says organic public relations can be the ticket to getting your prospects from asking “How can I trust you?” to “What do you recommend?”
Host Your Own ‘Genius Bar’
Financial professionals can take a page from Apple Inc.’s (ticker: AAPL) playbook and engage clients and prospects by hosting an interactive, technology-based client event a la Apple’s concierge-style customer support genius bar, says Genjac.
“Technology can seem overwhelming for people of all ages,” she says. So why not have a group of clients (and their guests) bring their tablets and smartphones for some free tech support?
“At the beginning of the event, share a story of how technology has helped you or a family member in a positive way,” Genjac says. “Then ask clients to take out their devices, and help them download apps for ride-sharing, shopping, entertainment and budgeting.”
Afterward, every time one of them uses an app they downloaded at the event, they’ll be reminded of you and how you helped them. And as a bonus, consider hosting this event as a “virtual hands-on event,” and your clients will learn new tech tips and tricks from start to finish.
“In an environment where face-to-face meetings aren’t always an option, financial advisors need to embrace technology to stay connected with their clients and build their practices,” says Don Aven, a St. Louis area-based principal at Edward Jones.
He tells advisors to turn to tools that combine a personal touch with cutting-edge technology. “For example, Edward Jones financial advisors are doing more virtual seminars and using tools to understand what is most important to prospective clients, helping them feel understood by their financial advisor and in control of the planning process,” Aven says.
[ READ: How to Choose the Best Financial Planning Software. ]
Write a Book
Speaking of teaching, nothing says “expert” like having your name on a book. Vecore says that “while writing and publishing your own book can be time-consuming and costly, it is something that can truly set you apart from your competition.”
A book can help highlight your expertise and educate clients on your areas of specialty. They also make great gifts or prizes for seminar raffles.
Send Off-Season’s Greetings
“Instead of sending clients a standard winter holiday greeting, consider picking a more obscure time of year when their mailboxes aren’t stuffed with cards,” Genjac says. For instance, send a “happy spring” card complete with a bulb of your favorite flower. Or a happy Fourth of July card with your favorite barbecue recipe.
“When your client sees the flower sprouting from that bulb or makes your favorite recipe, they will think of you,” she says. And when someone else comments on the flower or recipe, your client will say, “It’s from my financial professional,” which could segue into a referral opportunity.
Express Your Gratitude
Greeting cards aren’t the only game in town. Sending thank-you cards is another great way to keep you and your business top of mind for your clients. Thank-you cards don’t need to be anything fancy. Writing a short and sweet note to say you appreciate your client can go a long way toward endearing you to them.
Send a Regular Newsletter
If you aren’t sending your clients and prospects regular newsletters, someone else is, Genjac says. A newsletter is essential to keeping your name in mind. Your clients and prospects will be more likely to think of you when they have a question or want to make a change with their investments.
“The content of the newsletter is not as important as the activity,” Genjac says, “but be sure to include personal updates about your team,” such as marriages, births, recent travels or milestones. “Sharing those details shows the more human side of the business to clients and prospects and creates points of connection.”
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Maximize the impact of your advisor marketing strategies.
“It is important to fully leverage all of your marketing efforts in order to get your name and company in front of as many eyes as possible,” Vecore says. “If you use an email newsletter or social media to stay in contact with clients, make sure to post about or include all of your press features. If you hold seminars, print out copies of your press features and place them in your seminar folders for people to read.”
Measure the Right Things
Just as a financial advisor’s relationship with new clients typically begins by learning about the client’s goals and devising a plan to reach them, a financial advisor’s marketing plan should be based on concrete goals and driven by metrics as well, Darlington says.
“Imagine an advisor showing up to a client review without data and details of progress and investment performance,” he says. It would not go over well.
Advisors should “take their own medicine” and measure their marketing efforts against a clear plan. “For example, a growth-oriented advisor might be highly focused on attracting and converting new clients,” Darlington says. In that case, he should be measuring the various parts of his sales and marketing funnel based on how many leads he identified and where they came from.
Whatever financial advisor marketing tactics you choose, the important thing is to be consistent. Just as you tell your clients to stick to their financial plans, even if they aren’t seeing immediate results, you need to stick to your plan in the face of not receiving instant gratification.
“You won’t see results overnight,” Vecore says. “But hopefully, if you remain consistent and track your efforts, you will start to see an increase in brand recognition and possibly new clients.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Invest More
Financial advisor marketing is more than a tool in your toolbox. It should be a part of your overall business strategy as a financial advisor, Darlington says. “This means not being afraid to invest smartly in any and all aspects of your marketing.”
Broadridge’s survey found that financial advisors who were winning more clients were also the ones more frequently investing in more marketing channels, from digital marketing to advertising to in-person events. “We found that the average advisor is spending 3.3% of annual revenue on marketing and that the average cost per new client acquisition is $929,” Darlington says. “When you consider the lifetime value of a client, these economics work very well.”
Hire a Professional
If all this marketing stuff sounds like a full-time job, it certainly can be. The best use of your marketing budget may be to hire a professional who can take care of it for you.
“A public relations professional understands the type of content reporters, editors and producers are seeking,” Vecore says. “They also have the ability to fully focus on news and topic trends, as well as build rapport with journalists that can ultimately increase your chances of being featured as an expert in an article.”
He suggests financial advisors consider hiring a public relations firm, full-time staff member or working with a field marketing organization that can provide these services.
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Update: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.