Marketing your services as a financial advisor isn't as hard as it seems.
If financial services was a foot race, marketing would be the first giant hurdle you had to leap over, right after the rope ladder that is getting your licenses and certifications. Business marketing is the process of promoting your services to potential clients so you can move them through the lead pipeline. To successfully market your services, 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 re-engage existing clients and turn them into regular sources of referrals. These 10 financial advisor marketing ideas will help you grow your business inside and out.
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 practice management solutions, independent advisor solutions at SEI in Oaks, Pennsylvania. “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 has a 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 design their websites with their target client in mind. A recent Broadridge survey found that 57% of industry innovators generated leads from their website. “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, vice president of advisor solutions at Broadridge. This way prospects can do 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 be personalized for your target audience, too. According to Edward Jones research, clients and prospects spend 16% more time on a personalized website, says Matt Burkemper, principal of Branch Team Talent Acquisition at Edward Jones. Nearly 80% of the 18,500 Edward Jones financial advisors have said they benefited from tools allowing them to personalize their online presence, he says. For instance, within weeks of reinforcing her personal brand online with some of her accomplishments and local community philanthropic involvement, Sarah Reznik, 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,” advisors need to “embrace the notion of connecting your clients to aging, transportation, health care and caregiving resources,” says Julie Genjac, managing director of Strategic Markets at Hartford Funds. “Gather a group of longevity experts in your community and ask them to speak on a panel.” These experts could be assisted living facility directors, elder law attorneys, certified aging-in-place specialists (CAPS) or geriatric care managers. “When your clients share what they learned with friends and family, you will be at the center of those conversations,” Genjac says. “They will appreciate your willingness to help them navigate these life phases and you will undoubtedly deepen your relationship with them.”
Host your own 'genius bar.'
Financial advisors can take a page from Apple’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, suggests 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.” Then, every time one of them uses an app they downloaded at the event, they’ll be reminded of you and how you helped them.
Teach them something non-financial.
Client events needn’t be technology or finance-related to improve financial advisor marketing efforts. Edward Jones recently “partnered with the producers of PBS’s Tastemakers series to host nine culinary events across the country,” Burkemper says. The events allowed clients (and their friends) to learn a new skill alongside their financial advisor. “The memorable events, managed by the home office marketing team, are not only immersive, they’ve brought together more than 850 financial advisors, clients and prospective clients to learn enriching skills,” he says. They’ve also helped advisors expand their businesses. Paula Fedirchuk, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Seattle, used the events to connect with prospects from professions and organizations she had yet to explore.
Send offseason’s greetings.
Nothing beats having your face adorn your client’s holiday mantle alongside dozens of other greeting cards except having your face adorn your client’s mantle all by itself. “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 advisor,” which could segue into a referral opportunity.
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. By doing so, 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.” She suggests picking some timely educational articles to include with an update on the team.
Measure the right things and measure them obsessively.
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 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.” 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 which 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.
Don’t be afraid to invest more money in your marketing.
Financial advisor marketing is more than just 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 heavily in any-and-all aspects of your marketing.” Broadridge’s survey found that those financial advisors who were winning more clients were also the ones more frequently investing in all 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, that’s a defendable figure.”
Financial advisor marketing tips:
Ditch the general messaging.Optimize your website for your ideal client persona.Personalize your online presence.Be a resource matchmaker.Host your own “genius bar.”Teach them something non-financial.Send offseason’s greetings.Send a regular newsletter.Measure the right things and measure them obsessively.Don’t be afraid to invest more money in your marketing.