How do you attract new prospects and convert them into new clients? You can’t help people with wealth management or financial planning if you can’t reach them. Financial advisors should create a strategic and measurable marketing plan designed to increase their reach and drive small business growth.
However, before you can start to ramp up any marketing initiatives, you need to establish a firm foundation with an outlined strategy. Let’s look at what a marketing plan should look like for RIAs and financial advisors. Then, we’ll provide some helpful tips to help you get started.
A financial advisor marketing plan is a comprehensive, written document that outlines the steps you and your staff will take to build brand awareness, socialize your value proposition, engage prospects, and retain clients over time.
A detailed marketing plan establishes a strategic starting point essential for success by defining your vision, strategy, and goals. Your financial advisor marketing plan should support your overarching business plan. Well-rounded marketing plans include both in-person and online (digital) marketing campaigns, materials, and events designed to increase brand recognition and build trust with specific audiences.
This plan should outline your value proposition; explain how, when, and where you’ll deliver it; identify current gaps, issues and opportunities; and define your target market. Importantly, a marketing plan must include a method to track progress (metrics) and the flexibility to pivot if needed.
Your long-term business success depends upon your ability to build and maintain an active client pipeline. Building a steady stream of clients doesn’t happen overnight—or by accident.
The process of converting leads into clients entails telling your target audience why you are the one they should be working with. Offering the best products and services isn’t enough if clients and prospects don’t know about you.
Marketing includes the strategies that help you connect with, engage, and capture clients. These promotional strategies are an integral part of your overall business planning efforts. To achieve sustainable business growth, you need a strategic marketing plan in place that helps guide your outreach actions.
Any marketing strategy you consider must be part of a comprehensive marketing plan. Starting your marketing efforts without a guiding plan is perhaps one of the biggest financial advisor marketing mistakes you can make.
Your marketing plan is your blueprint for success, encouraging teamwork, improving focus, and aligning resources with outcomes.
There are several common marketing strategies that should be considered for your plan. Here are three popular strategies that companies use to strengthen their online presence and remain top-of-mind with clients.
Most people look for information on digital platforms like search engines, websites, and social media. Digital marketing uses complex online advertising tactics that continually evolve, including search engine optimization (SEO), search engine results pages (SERPs), pay-per-click (PPC) ads, and more.
At its core, digital marketing is all about getting your message into the hands of your on-the-go, sometimes impatient, audience. Business owners use digital marketing strategies to target select audiences that are most likely to contain qualified leads.
Email marketing offers a more intimate opportunity to build stronger relationships with existing clients. On average, over 21% of business and finance emails are opened.
Clients like to get emails with deals, timely reminders, or important insights. Your audience might also appreciate getting messages that acknowledge important events, celebrate holidays, or offer interesting information. Helpful newsletters with an impactful message can help build trust with potential clients as well, especially if you are trying to engage prospects who may not be familiar with you or your services.
The goal of your email marketing strategy should be to provide value to the client—not just sell your products and services. Here are some tips to make your email marketing more effective:
Creating or sharing online materials—like videos, blogs, guides, and social media posts—for your website or social media platforms is called content marketing. You don’t necessarily have to author the material, and some professionals do more content curation than creation.
Content marketing should address your audience based on where they are likely at in the buyer’s journey—those who are just considering a need for a financial planner or exploring an interest in financial services may have many questions before they are ready to consider contacting you for a quote. Much of your supportive content should promote your solutions and show your expertise without a “hard sell” message.
You can post articles on your site to build up available resources, or submit articles for publication on other financial professionals’ sites to reach a broader audience and increase brand recognition. You could also provide a quote to be included in an article or get invited as an expert guest on a podcast to provide financial advice to a niche market Professional exposure establishes you as a knowledgeable and trusted professional.
Building a well-thought-out financial advisor marketing plan takes effort but is well worth it for the results an organized strategy can produce.
Ideally, begin using your plan at the beginning of the calendar year or your firm’s fiscal year. Most plans cover a period of one year. You can also create a more long-term plan that examines a broader outlook to help shape your results over time. You should establish a clear marketing budget that works with your bottom line and realistically covers the marketing tools, creation process, and advertising you need for an effective strategy.
Below are some best practices and marketing tips to get you started.
Do you have a mission statement prepared? What is your value proposition? These elements are the foundation of your marketing plan, conveying who you are and what you do. All else flows from them.
Your plan should reflect your marketplace and your position within it. Conduct competitive analyses on your rivals and an internal analysis to uncover your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). Use this SWOT analysis to inform the elements of your marketing plan and differentiate your practice.
Define your target audience and ideal clients, so you can engage them in a meaningful way. This can involve surveying a selection of your current clients and developing personas that help guide your marketing tactics. Learn what interests your audience, the values they share, the concerns that keep them up at night, the characteristics they have in common, and the differences that set them apart as defined audiences.
Developing and implementing your marketing plan takes time, money, and resources. Also consider the skillsets needed, as well as the time commitment involved. How much can you realistically commit to your plan? What kind of Return on Investment (ROI) can you expect over time? One study showed companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spending and, in many cases, increased it.
Set up checkpoints to assess your progress on a regular basis. When you are creating your client/prospect engagement calendar, also create an internal calendar to check the impact of your plan. Don’t be impatient. It can take a year or longer to notice a measurable difference caused by marketing impact. Give your plan time to succeed.
Be sure to include your staff members and key stakeholders in the development process. Not only will your team bring diverse insights to the process, but they are also your “on the ground” force and implement your plan’s elements.
Use SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) goals to set yourself up for long-term success. Clearly define how you will measure your success to determine what is working and what is not. Then make sure you are able to gather the data that you need for your KPIs.
Ultimately, the goal of any marketing plan is to build brand awareness, retain clients, and attract prospects. Effective solutions require both a detailed analysis and a bird’s eye view of your practice to give you a balanced perspective.
An honest evaluation of where you are, an insightful understanding of where you want to be, and a commitment to seeing the plan through will help your practice thrive.
Now is the right time to build up your brand and reputation with a solid marketing plan. Check out other marketing articles in our blog, explore AssetMark's Marketing Advantage offering, or request a consultation to get tailored solutions from our business consultants.
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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