“Marketing does not come naturally to me” and “Marketing is not my strong suit” are just a few of the excuses financial planners rely on to justify why they fail to implement their marketing plans (or even write one in the first place)!
Like it or not, marketing is part of the deal when it comes to having a financial planning practice. Whether you are independent or work for someone else, you will have to execute some level of marketing to grow or maintain a viable practice. It’s time to discard the excuses and get to work.
If the following excuses slow down your forward progress, take these steps to quiet or distract that inner critic:
“I don’t know what to do or how to do it.”
Take a class, hire a coach, watch a training video, read a book. Talk with advisers in your community or through the associations to which you belong. Pick one marketing initiative, break down the steps, and make it happen. Focus on one effort, complete it, and move on to the second effort. (See my recent Journal of Financial Planning article “Go Small to Grow Big in 2014” to learn more.)
“I’m afraid I’ll look foolish.”
You are your own worst critic. Marketing today is about authenticity. Be yourself. Clients want to work with humans. Write in your natural style; record video in the same manner you speak with a client. You don’t have to be high-tech or 100 percent polished to gain results.
“I fear that I will make a mistake.”
You will make a mistake. Count on it. Trust that you will know how to “make it right” when you do, or relax knowing that any single marketing effort, especially on the Internet, is replaced by another within seconds or minutes. People move on to the next thing. Plus, in many instances, you can undo digital blunders. You’re better off succeeding four out of five times rather than trying nothing at all. Be proactive—talk with your compliance person before you market and find out what you can do. Learn the acceptable boundaries and operate within them.
“I don’t really have the time or energy.”
Sounds like you need an assistant, paraplanner, intern or support in other areas of your life. How’s your nutrition? Are you getting enough sleep? Enough exercise?
“I don’t want to bother anyone.”
Communicating too often is very rarely a risk to financial planners. Remember the recency effect—people have to hear from you if you want to stay top of mind. (See my blog post “Are Your Communications Annoying?”) Take pride in what you have to offer.
What marketing strategy do you yearn to try? Do you want to launch a social media campaign or perhaps leverage more expansive content marketing? Does hosting a seminar or developing a loyalty program top your wish list?
Facing your fear may mean speaking in front of an audience, claiming a niche, sharing your opinion through a blog or simply calling clients more regularly.
Let the optimism of a new year may bring out the risk taker in you. Leave the excuses behind.