With the number of personal financial advisers expected to grow by 15% by 2026, effective marketing and communication strategies can make the difference when winning new clients. As the owner of an independent business, your time and resources are in short supply. With that in mind, here are some strategies to help you develop and update your marketing efforts.
Calling in the experts
Just as investors benefit from working with a financial adviser, you'll benefit by partnering with a marketing expert. You'll want to work with a professional with expertise in both marketing and wealth management who can guide you through the strategies you need to grow, while implementing an effective plan to reach your target audience.
Crafting your value statement
"We help our clients meet their financial goals." Many advisers make this claim but still the question remains: What makes you different? Here's where enlisting a marketing professional can really add value as you hone this messaging — the direction and tone of which should permeate through your marketing efforts, communications and collateral. This messaging goes hand in hand with your target client. Are your ideal clients business owners? Professionals? Women? Look at the clients you already serve and the common traits they share. The more refined your definition, the more targeted and effective subsequent marketing efforts can be.
Making a good first impression
Your brand and website are your "calling card," so it's important to put your best foot forward. Go beyond the basic templates to align your design with your target audience. Your branding (colors, fonts, design) should be consistent through your website, business cards, letterhead and newsletters. Enlisting a professional who understands the nuances of web design, functionality and target audiences is worth the investment.
Building a social media strategy
Eighty-five percent of financial advisers use social media professionally and of those, 80% credit it for bringing new business, with a median asset gain of $1.9 million. It may be time to enhance your presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to become more engaged with clients and potential prospects. Consider publishing thought leadership blogs on LinkedIn and joining relevant professional discussion groups that cast a wider net.
Facebook and Twitter are great for creating and sharing your own informational videos. FacebookLive and TwitterLive are free resources for you to discuss relevant topics in a quick and impactful way. Regardless of which channel you use, it's important to recognize there's a fine line when using social media — the focus should be on connecting, teaching and engaging — never selling.
Staying in touch with clients
As you develop your offering for prospects, don't forget about existing clients. Have you developed a regular system for communicating with them? Do you have an email list, so you can update them when you return from a conference or when tax season is around the corner? If not, it's simple to start. By dividing your email list into sub-groups — such as your top clients and those saving for retirement — you can implement an efficient way to direct marketing strategies for each client. The email tone should be friendly and informative, and all email campaigns should be mobile-device friendly.
Spreading the news
Consider hiring a public relations agency to help spread your message. Depending on who your target is, you'll probably want to reach local media, as well as national publications that cover personal finance. If you specialize in working with doctors, there are medical publications you can target. Your agency can help you figure out your message, talking points and relevant narratives. Once an article publishes, how are you using that piece of coverage — sharing on social media? Emailing to clients and prospects? Writing a blog post about the article? A good PR agency can help amplify your message to the masses.
Creating a plan
Use a calendar to map out your annual marketing plan — everything from drafting and finalizing newsletters, to website content and even client appreciation events. Consider assigning an employee to spearhead each individual task to lessen your load. The more prepared and organized you are, the more efficient (and successful) your plan will be. Don't forget to carve out time to review the effectiveness of your marketing efforts quarterly, to ensure you're on track.
Like any investment portfolio, a successful marketing plan is a work in progress that doesn't just happen overnight. It requires regular attention, communication and strategy. But once you have a solid foundation, your marketing strategy can help build and support a thriving advisory business for years to come.
Pete Muckley is vice president of marketing at Trust Company of America.