For many independent advisers and planners, putting a marketing program in place can be a daunting task. There are many variables to consider, such as identifying key audiences, crafting effective messages, and selecting viable strategies to engage audiences,
I’d like to quickly address some of the top issues that financial advisers bring up when seeking to deploy a marketing effort.
- Identify Target Audiences–This exercise is of utmost importance, as even the most sophisticated and well conceived marketing plan will miserably fail unless an advisor identifies his/her key audiences. Once the target audiences have been selected, the advisor must first and foremost attain an intimate understanding of them to fully grasp their specific needs. Based on the size of your practice, this could entail surveying your current client base or conducting an in-depth analysis of your existing and potential target markets. Once you have established your audience profile, you’ll need to define your services from the client’s point of view.
- Establish You Core Messages–Undoubtedly, you can come up with a plethora of valid motivations why an investor should engage your practice. However, the main issue is how you want to be known. Do you want to position yourself as specialist? A family oriented practice? An elite advisory firm? Providing the most honest and detailed answers to these questions will enable you to single out the most compelling reasons why your key audiences should choose your firm over your competitors’. Surprisingly, you may find out that the most critical reason(s) has little to do with your practice or your personal investment abilities…and that should become your primary message.
- Stick with Your Message–Since you are not yet a household name with a well established brand, your efforts should focus on creating a clear and memorable identity of your firm in your audience’s mind. Ensure that your messages resonate at a personal level. Constantly communicating your fundamental beliefs and expertise will enable you to create a positive and lasting impression on your constituencies. A word of caution: Resist the temptation of changing your messages if immediate results are not achieved.
- Social Media: Should I or Shouldn’t I?–We should look at social media as a world-changing innovation — one that removes significant barriers, just like the wheel, the telegraph, the automobile and the Internet have done in the history of humanity. It is not an ephemeral phenomenon, rather an agent of change that is putting consumers—your target audiences—in control by giving them greater access to information and empowering them to implement faster and more educated decisions. Social Media is increasingly becoming a fundamental component of the adviser’s marketing mix. Advisers’ success with Social Media hinges on their ability to be willing to share their insights and knowledge without obsessing about what they will get in return. Your honest, engaging, and valuable input will not go unnoticed. Eventually, it will command respect and consideration and lead people to seek your service and guidance.
- Not a 100-meter Dash–The deployment of a marketing plan is a journey, and the benefits it will generate do not materialize in the time span of a 100-meter dash. It is a slow building block process during which your target audience must be consistently exposed and attracted to your brand. Building your brand takes time and patience. Sticking with a well-conceived marketing effort is similar to adhering to an investment plan—the primary goal is to reap long-term results. You must commit to your messages and realize that in the long run, this is the core strategy that will enable you to build credibility and brand recognition for your business. Building the credibility and trust required by clients to entrust their life savings with your firm cannot and will never be achieved with a single mass mailing, a seminar, or an appreciation event.
As always, questions and comments are welcome.
i-Impact Group Inc.