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    An old adage says, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Unfortunately, the adage doesn’t apply to marketing. For financial advisors starting out, the learning curve may resemble an obstacle. Michael Kitces asserts that financial advisors are for the most part, “really, really bad at marketing.”

    AssetMark recently hosted a webinar through Advisor Perspectives showcasing the essentials of “Bad Financial Advisor Marketing and How to Avoid It.”

    In the webinar, James Pollard of The Advisor Coach, and Kristi Toland, Director of Advisor Marketing at AssetMark, guide you through what constitutes bad marketing, how to avoid it, and, most importantly, what you should be doing instead. You may have missed the live session, but you can still watch the webinar and earn one hour of continuing education CE credit.

    We recommend you watch the video to start marketing and growing your business. Or scroll down below the video for key highlights and essentials on financial advisor marketing.

    Should you pause your marketing during a market downturn?

    Let’s suppose you do. Like many other financial advisors, you decide to hold back on marketing and promotional efforts until the turmoil passes, to a time when you think investors are more receptive. What will happen in the meantime? The few advisors reaching out to prospects have their full attention because they’re the only ones talking to them.

    Now, let’s take a look at the wealth management needs of bold and timid investors during both a bull market and a bear market.

    During a bull market, bold investors can put their money just about anywhere, and the probability is that it will grow. Timid investors aren’t concerned about their future because the future looks bright when the economy is in a period of growth.

    During a bear market, however, bold investors face the harsh reality that they may need the help of an expert in financial services. Timid investors become scared that their future isn’t secure amidst the economic turmoil and turn to financial advisors to help them with their financial planning for the future.

    Think about your ideal client. What services do you offer that they need today? Look for opportunities for your business to grow in tough times, and you may be surprised by who you can reach and what you can achieve.

    What are the challenges of financial advisor marketing?

    Broadridge’s most recent study on financial advisor marketing revealed that the most challenging aspect is, ironically, where the magic really begins—developing a digital marketing strategy. (Only 9% of advisors said it’s not challenging.)

    The least challenging aspect is answering the question of how much to spend on marketing, which was considered very challenging by only 15% of financial advisors.

    Other financial advisor marketing challenges include finding the time for marketing efforts, selecting the right solutions for the MarTech stack, evaluating marketing ROI, and identifying the right target investor.

    What are the common mistakes made by financial advisors?

    These six common mistakes can hamper advisors’ efforts to grow and scale their business through marketing:

    1. Neglecting to have a strategy.
      With 91% of advisors saying that coming up with a marketing strategy is a challenge, it may not be a surprise that a majority of financial advisors forego creating a mindful marketing strategy. Instead, advisor marketing efforts tend to be ad hoc at best.
    2. Marketing just to do marketing.
      In lieu of a plan or strategy, isolated actions are executed to simply check another item off the proverbial to-do list. In reality, marketing encompasses your client’s journey at the touchpoints that matter most: from becoming aware of your firm to remaining a loyal client in the face of competitive advertising or offerings from other advisors.
    3. Failing to adopt marketing technology.
      When it comes to marketing technology, there are a lot of options. With too many choices, vendors, features, and too little time to analyze the options, many advisors give up altogether and continue using manual processes rather than investing the time today to scale marketing efforts for better business growth.
    4. Ignoring the data.
      Marketing is part of a growth plan and needs to be tied to business goals, measured, and optimized. Many times, advisors fall into the trap of “It feels like I should do x,” possibly driven by FOMO or keeping up with trends, instead of looking at the numbers and comparing the return on investment of marketing efforts and following data-driven decisions.
    5. Avoiding digital marketing.
      Digital is the now...and the future. In order to meet your clients where they are, you need to develop your online presence. If you’re looking for scalable or cost-effective strategies, then you need to deploy more digital marketing strategies and tactics.
    6. Following capricious trends.
      New marketing channels can be very exciting. But before you start chasing a trend, ask yourself two questions: Is this the channel that your ideal client is on? Can you consistently deliver content? For example, if your ideal client is on TikTok and making videos is something you can commit to regularly and long enough to have a presence and gather a following, then it might be the right choice for you. If not, then consider other options where you can consistently be in front of and reach your ideal client.

    While you could simply do the opposite of everything in this list, read on for concrete examples of good marketing strategies and tactics that financial advisors utilize to see results.

    What are the drawbacks of bad financial advisor marketing?

    When done right, every dollar you spend on marketing comes back to you multiplied. So, any drawbacks of marketing are more a result of bad marketing:

    1. A negative brand perception
      Negative brand perception can not only have an immediate negative impact on client acquisition and retention but also can have a lasting effect as you work toward changing your firm’s reputation.
    2. Lowered expectations by clients
      You want to make sure that you are providing excellent client service. When existing clients begin to lower their expectations, you also lose their appreciation and approval of your firm, which is the first step to losing their assets from your book of business.
    3. Decreased engagement
      Leaving your current clients without consistent communication can make them feel in the dark and, as a result, anxious or, even worse, neglected, which can directly impact client retention.
    4. Increased client acquisition cost (CAC)
      Ad hoc marketing often does not look at the cost of acquisition (CAC), return on investment (ROI), or lifetime value (LTV) of each client segment, which can be extremely costly when not managed as part of an overall marketing strategy. Compound that with the cost of client acquisition and/or replacing lost business, and you’ll find that costs increase well beyond the cost of marketing spend.  

    So, how do successful financial advisors do marketing?

    With endless resources out there about marketing—how to do it and how to do it well—we’re focusing on the top tips for good financial advisor marketing.

    1. Make data-driven decisions.
      Pollard challenges advisors, “Can you imagine if a client told you the following? ‘I feel like Roth IRAs don’t grow tax-free.’ ‘I feel like the stock market hasn’t averaged historical growth of more than 0%.’ Feelings have nothing to do with it. Look at the numbers.”
      Before you decide which campaigns to start or end, take a look at the numbers and optimize your efforts. Don’t throw money into a pit where your message doesn’t get heard, nor divert funds from campaigns that can grow your client base.
    2. Use direct messaging on social media.
      According to Putnam’s Social Advisor Survey, 94% of advisors seeing success on social media are using the platform’s direct messaging capabilities.
      Don’t forget you’re not only using social media to increase your brand visibility but also to facilitate new relationships.
    3. Use more than one marketing channel.
      According to BNY and Pershing’s Advisor Value Propositions study, 41% of investors use Google to search for information, and 27% of investors use LinkedIn to search for information. Reach your clients by creating a cohesive experience between channels that focuses on where they are searching for information. Clients on LinkedIn will visit your website, and visitors on your website will check out your social media to get a feel of who you are. Make sure your marketing plan includes SEO (search engine optimization) to drive traffic to your website.
    4. Build trust and reduce intimidation.
      According to an AARP survey, 45% of U.S. adults aged 40 to 59 say they’d rather visit the dentist than meet with a financial advisor. According to a report titled “How to Attract and Serve HNW Investors” by Orion Portfolio Solutions, 47% of HNW investors under the age of 30 have low trust in financial management firms.

    Whether your target audience is Gen X or Gen Z, you need to be aware that there’s a general distrust and that you need to work to build that trust and reduce intimidation when prospecting for new clients.

    1. Target a niche.
      According to Schwab's 2020 RIA Benchmarking Study, firms with a documented ideal client persona gained 28% more new clients and 45% more new client assets than those without a documented ideal client persona.
      With niche marketing, you can take that step further and target a very specific audience, for example, dentists or franchisers. Pick something you’re interested in, a former career, or expertise. You can introduce yourself or become known as “the financial advisor who helps (dentists/veterans/etc.)”. Then have referrals come in without you having to ask.
      “You want to look for an audience that has something in common not only so they can bond with you and that you can be the expert, but also because they can bond with each other. What happens when you have a niche is you begin seeing opportunities everywhere. Let's say you serve dentists. You will find never imagined opportunities to provide sought-after financial advice or tips in all channels: dental podcasts, dentist blogs, or dental events.”
    2. Invest in marketing.
      According to Broadridge’s Driving Client Acquisition study, 43% of growth-focused financial advisors successfully acquired 20+ clients over the last year, whereas only 16% of other advisors onboarded at this rate. “Growth-focused" is defined as spending at least S5,000 annually on marketing.
      To borrow a term from real estate, forced appreciation is when you upgrade your business and marketing processes, you are like the homeowner who improves their home so they can sell it for more. Start thinking like a growth-focused business owner and not just a financial professional.

    What types of financial advisor marketing support are available?

    If you work with AssetMark, you can reach out to your AssetMark Consultant for help growing your business or more marketing tips. Also, ask about AssetMark Marketing Advantage, our marketing platform powered by FMG Suite that offers comprehensive marketing tech and content support:

    Contact Management
    Effortlessly import your contacts and segment audience groups to personalize and target your communications. Sync contacts from your CRM platform, like Redtail, Salesforce, WealthBox, or Ebix, or simply upload a CSV file.

    Compliance Dashboard
    Send content directly to your compliance team for review and approval through the integrated compliance workflow. If you manage your own compliance, self-approvals are easy and seamless.

    Analytics and Reporting
    Make your marketing work for you. Get comprehensive reporting detailing email delivery, open rates, and click-throughs, so you can see how your audience engages with your email content.

    Modern, Integrated Website
    Create an unbeatable brand with a modern website that works seamlessly with Marketing Advantage content. Additional cost applies.

    Automated Campaigns
    Use pre-built automated email marketing campaigns to keep clients and prospects engaged—and save you time. Send with exceptionally designed, responsive email content that educates and creates action. Additional cost applies.

    White Labeled Content and Event Kits
    Compliance-friendly content that can be sent as is or personalized first, from news outlooks to emails, to social media posts, to a complete kit for webinars (including the slide deck, registration page, and follow-up emails) can all make building your content marketing assets easier than ever.

    Greeting Cards
    Show your clients you're thinking about them with printed greeting cards that help strengthen relationships. Add a personalized custom message and send your card directly from the platform in a stamped and addressed envelope. Additional cost applies.

     

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    AssetMark, Inc. receives a portion of any subscription fees paid to FMG Suite by financial advisors working with AssetMark.

    AssetMark, Inc. is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  AssetMark and FMG Suite are separate and unaffiliated companies.

    Tag(s): Clients , Growth , Marketing

    AssetMark

    AssetMark is a leading provider of extensive wealth management and technology solutions that help financial advisors meet the ever-changing needs of their clients and businesses.


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