All too often when I speak to financial planners about potential marketing tactics to expand their practice, they are quick to dismiss them as ineffective. When I ask them why they believe that, I always get one of three replies:
- I tried that once before and it didn’t bring in any new clients
- Another financial adviser told me that they tried it and it didn’t bring in any new clients
- Compliance would never let me do that
It doesn’t take too many probing questions to get them to see the flaws in these excuses.
I use a wide variety of marketing tactics in my financial planning practice, including print and online advertising, seminars, public relations, email marketing and social media. Every one of these tactics contributes to bringing in new clients and building my practice, though of course some are more effective than others. Remember, a marketing tactic is just a tool, and like any tool you need to use it in the right way.
Set Objectives. Every piece of marketing that you do should have a quantifiable objective attached to it so that you can craft each tactic to best accomplish what you are striving for and measure its success. Goals may include generating requests for your free report, adding prospects to your database or scheduling a consultation. Make sure that you always have a clear call to action that matches your desired result.
Test and Improve. Most baseball players don’t get a hit in their first major league at bat, but nearly all of them eventually do get on base and some go on to achieve spectacular careers. They don’t give up after striking out the first time, and neither should you. If you’ve tried a marketing channel without success, take the time to analyze honestly what went wrong. Perhaps you targeted the wrong audience, extended an offer that did not fit, used ineffective messaging or just had bad timing.
Coordinate Your Efforts. Given the nature of our business, it generally takes multiple interactions to convert a prospect to a client, so focus your marketing to make multiple impressions on your best potential clients. A single ad may be quickly forgotten, but when a prospect sees your ad, receives an invitation to your workshop and reads your guest blog post on their favorite local website all within the same week, they will certainly take notice of you!
Don’t be Paralyzed by Compliance. I believe that one of the biggest issues holding back some financial advisers today is that they are so confused and frightened of compliance issues that they choose not to market at all (or worse, waste resources on bland drivel that does nothing to help build their practice). Turn your compliance officer or adviser into a resource who can help you explore solutions for ensuring that your marketing ideas are both effective and meet compliance standards.
Kristin C. Harad, CFP®
Founder and Principal
VitaVie Financial Planning
San Francisco, CA