It’s not too early to prepare to rev up your marketing machine for 2018. To help you get started on your marketing plan and calendar, here are six steps we recommend:
Step 1: Begin with a review of your marketing results for the current year.
- Check your stats for the number of new client households joining your practice this year, as well as the total amount of new assets brought in.
- What percentage of your new clients would you consider ideal?
- How were these new clients acquired?
- What percentage of new assets came from new versus existing clients?
Step 2: What are your marketing goals for the new year?
- How many new ideal households do you want to bring in?
- How much increase do you want to see in new assets under management?
- What is your total revenue goal? How would you break down that goal by sources, such as planning fees, AUM fees, other?
Step 3: Review and refine, or redefine, how you define your target/ideal client.
- What quantitative factors do you look for?
- What qualitative factors do you want to see?
- What are the typical needs and concerns that your target/ideal clients have?
- What are the unique qualifications that enable you or your practice to serve these target/ideal clients?
Step 4: Review and refine, or redefine, your marketing messaging. How do you tell your story so that it:
- Connects with your prospective clients?
- Speaks to their concerns and challenges?
- Demonstrates your ability to help them?
- Differentiates you from everyone else?
- Compellingly calls them to action?
Step 5: What are the strategies that you plan to put in place that will enable you to get your story to exactly the people who need to hear it—your target/ideal clients? Here are some suggested strategies to consider.
- Raise brand awareness. What will you do to make your message (who we are, what we do, how we’re different from our competitors) known in your community and particularly to your target/ideal client?
- Promote referrals from existing clients. What will you do to motivate your clients to introduce you to ideal prospective clients they know who need the help you provide?
- Develop relationships with centers of influence. What will you do to establish and develop relationships with COIs that will lead to their connecting you with ideal prospective clients?
- What other strategies will you use to engage and develop relationships with target/ideal clients?
Step 6: After deciding on your strategies, it’s time to lay out your marketing calendar, so that each month has specific events and activities that relate to your chosen strategies.
Start with your biggest and most important strategies and events, and get them on your calendar first. Then you can fill in the smaller activities as appropriate. Some planners like to include themes for certain months or seasons of the year.
Events and activities could include:
- Client social events. Strengthen your client relationships and provide opportunities for them to introduce their friends to you in a relaxed, comfortable setting
- Educational events. Educational events could include small workshops in your office or local library, presentations to established organizations, or teaching adult education classes at a community college or university.
- Letters, newsletters and blog articles. Written communications provide an opportunity to showcase your knowledge and expertise in areas of interest to clients and prospective clients, and are easy to share for referral purposes.
- Notes, cards and gifts. Individual reminders that you are thinking of your clients and prospective clients help keep you top of mind and strengthen relationships.
- Relationships with COIs. The best relationships with centers of influence develop over time with lots of nurturing, including one-on-one meetings discussing common concerns and challenges.
- Community involvement. Engagement with and for non-profits and community organizations can help build your brand, enable people to experience the benefits of knowing you and get your story to more people.
- Networking. Active networking can be done many ways and in many places—in your neighborhood, at social gatherings and while enjoying your favorite sports or recreational activities.
- Other. You are limited only by your imagination in opportunities to engage with others who could become ideal clients or who could introduce you to your target or ideal clients.
If you are energized and ready to get started but need a little more structure, we would be happy to provide a 2018 marketing plan and calendar template that incorporates the concepts described here. Just send us an email and we’ll forward the template right back to you.