Are you spending enough time and money on marketing? A recent survey by Fidelity Custody and Clearing found that financial advisors spend on average just 1.8% of revenue on marketing and business development. Here is the kicker, the top firms – the ones Fidelity calls marketing leaders – spend 2.4% of revenues on marketing, and they outperform their peers on nearly every business metric. They experience 40% more growth in clients, 23% more growth in assets, and 20% more growth in revenues than average firms.
The difference between top marketing firms and the rest of the pack is not just how much money they spend. Firms with effective marketing programs generally spend more time on their efforts, narrow their message, and communicate it through more channels. They are more likely to make marketing an integral part of their business all the time, rather than just when work is slow. They are good at building regular systematic programs for reaching new clients, communicating with existing ones, and asking for referrals. If you would like to ramp up your marketing efforts here are 10 ideas to get you started.
1: Identify Your Ideal Customer
Your best customers account for a large part of your fees and revenue. Your goal should be to find more like them. Sit down with your client list and identify the top 10 or 20 customers. What do they have in common? Are the small business owners? Inheritors of wealth? Corporate executives? How did you come into contact with them? Think about what services and capabilities you provide to your best customers. Who else might need this kind of product or service? Analyze your biggest successes to build a profile of your ideal customer, then focus your marketing to identify, approach, and convert these kinds of prospects.
2: Define Your Niche
Advisors who are starting out may feel that they have to accept whatever business comes to them, but in reality specialization is a powerful marketing tool. Consider the difference between these two types of referrals. In the first, a client says to his brother-in-law, “Joe Jones is a really good, smart financial advisor.” In the second, a client tells the same relative, “Joe Jones really helped me figure out long-term care for my parents. Maybe he can help you.” The second is more compelling because it is so specific. It positions you as the advisor as someone who can help solve a particular problem.
Use your insights from #1 above, to determine what kind of approach or combination of services are your best. Are you great at helping executives plan how to exercise their stock options? Do you excel at helping families plan for college tuition? Do you connect best with millennials who are right at the beginning of their investment lives? Once you have figured out your niche, write it down.
Keep it short and easy-to-understand. Make it part of your informal pitch. Incorporate it into your website, your brochure. or other marketing materials. It should become part of your brand and the main reason why people come to you, rather than the advisor down the street.
3: Prove Your Expertise
Once you’ve identified an area where you want to focus, you need to stay on top of it. Stay abreast of market trends, regulatory developments, and new opportunities for clients or new kinds of risks. This gives you the material to continue to communicate with clients and prospects about your niche subject. Think creatively about your subject and how it fits into the real world. For instance, if you specialize in estate planning, what are the implications when a rich celebrity like Prince dies intestate – and what might your clients learn from it? If you specialize in liquidity planning for small business owners, what can they learn from recent IPOs or mergers? You do not even have to write about these topics yourself. Just send along a link with your client emails or tweet out a URL of articles that may interest your clients or prospects.
4: Connect With People Who Need You
Developing a message is one part of marketing. The other is finding your audience. Look for affinity groups on social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook that may require your services. Learn to be creative with hashtags on Twitter and Facebook to make your posts easier to find. Tweeting “12 tips for year-end tax planning” is good. Tweeting “12 tips for year-end #taxplanning” is better.
Connection does not just apply to the digital world either. You can also reach out to local groups and organizations. For example, if you work with women investors, there is probably a woman-owned business group in your community. If you have a good message for elderly people about protecting themselves from investment fraud, see if there are speaking opportunities at local senior groups.
5: Offer To Take A Second Look
One low-key way to market to new clients is to offer a free review of their portfolio. You will get the opportunity to review their current holdings, and recommend additional strategies that might meet their needs. Prospects find out whether they are missing anything. It is a good way to test-drive a new client-advisor relationship, and to follow through on new contacts generated through the types of outreach discussed in #4.
6: Get To Know You Clients’ Families
Between now and 2061, the Center o Wealth and Philanthropy estimates that more than $59 trillion in assets will be transferred from one generation to another. Financial advisors have historically been able to retain less than 50% of asset transfers to spouses and children, according to a recently PwC survey. Starting to build relationships now, with the wives and children of your current clients, will pay big dividends later as this intergenerational transfer accelerates.
Ask your clients to include family members at your next regular meeting. You can begin to introduce them to your approach and strategies that you and your clients are taking with their wealth. Remember to be mindful that some clients prefer not to share sensitive information about their finances with their wives or children. Find out how you can help them communicate with family members in a way that keeps them comfortable. Bear in mind that serving younger family members may require additional technological capabilities, which we will discuss in the next three ideas.
7: Update Your Website
If your website has been the same for a few years, it may be time to give it an overhaul. Of course, you will want to give it a thorough review to make sure that it is still accurate and appropriately that it still appropriately represents your business. Consider these two critical updates to maximize your impact.
Optimize for mobile: A survey by Phoenix Marketing found that more than half of people under 35 use mobile tools and apps to manage their finances. It is critical to make sure that your website looks right on a cell phone screen. You also want to make sure it loads quickly – 40% of mobile customers say they will abandon a site if it takes more than two seconds to load.
Add video: Today, video makes up more than 70% of all web traffic, and people who view videos are 85% more likely to make a purchase. Video is one of the best ways to connect with clients and prospects – through market updates, investor education, even an introduction to your firm. Talk to the people who design and update your website about how to incorporate video into your site.
8: Stay In Front Of Clients And Prospects With Social Media
Eighty-five percent of financial advisors use social media every day, according to a new survey from Putnam. Eighty percent of the advisors who employ social media say that they have gained clients through this medium, with an average gain of $4.9 million. Many advisors say that social media has significantly shortened the amount of time needed to convert prospects to customers, making them more efficient than ever at building their book of business. Right now LinkedIn is the most popular platform for social advisors, but Facebook and Twitter are gaining fast. Remember to always make sure that social media posts meet compliance standards.
You can use social media to build your brand through posts and updates about your business, or to reach out to current and prospective clients on a personal level. Platforms like LinkedIn are great for researching potential new clients, with search capabilities that can identify people in specific companies, locations, job titles, or affiliation groups like alumni associations.
9: Increase Email Impact
Email may seem like social media’s old-fashioned cousin, but done right, it is a cost-efficient tool that can draw up to 40 times the response of social media. To start an email program:
Gather email addresses from clients and prospects: Give them an incentive, like a free portfolio check-up or an update on issues that are important to them. Make sure they know you will be emailing them periodically – they may want to know how often and how they will hear from you.
Tailor content to fit their needs: What are people asking you? Is it boosting income in a low-yield market? Protecting portfolios in a changing political environment? Adapting to new tax laws? Clients and prospects will read your emails if it answers their questions.
Do not overuse: Do not be the marketer that clogs your clients in-box. A monthly newsletter or market update may be welcome. Daily sales pitches will not.
Add a P.S.: Marketers know that clients read the P.S. more than anything else in your message. Add a short, catchy sentence that summarizes your main point.
10: Stay With It
Do not take a one-and-done approach to marketing. Make it a regular part of your week. Set time aside to identify prospects, ask for referrals, connect with other professionals and craft email and social media message that support your business. Marketing has a cumulative impact, and the more consistently you integrate it into your work, the greater results you will see.
Your Partner in Building Your Business
Premier Trust is committed to helping grow your business. We are a Nevada State Chartered Trust Company that focuses strictly on trust administration, not investment management. For over 15 years our priority has been building long-lasting personal relationships with our clients and their financial advisors, to support customized wealth, and estate planning services. To learn more call 702-577-1777 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.