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Using Credibility Marketing to Enhance Your Reputation and Build Buzz
Impact Communications, Inc.
Monday, April 9, 2012
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Spring brings a magic all its own. The flower bulbs planted last fall have begun to sprout and many are in full bloom. Younger trees are sprouting new shoots as the mature trees bud and grow stronger still. A few weeds have taken root and will ultimately threaten the beauty of the garden if not quickly removed.

As I worked in the garden this weekend, planting seeds and trimming vines, putting down weed mat and watering the lawn, it occurred to me anew how marketing a financial advisory business is very much like growing and tending to a garden.

Everything, if properly cared for, matures in its own time. Even in the dead of winter, you trust that seeds planted and regularly watered with eventually bloom (Why? Because of your own past experience or because others that have practiced the protocols tell you it worked for them). Trimming and weeding can be essential to business health. And it’s not just about what’s blossoming on your marketing vine today – master marketers always look toward the future and implement a long-term, if not seasonal, plan.

Last week, we dug into Referral Marketing, the second of three funnels that can help you keep your pipeline full. There are really just three main ways that financial professionals generate new business:

1.     Event Marketing

2.     Referral Marketing

3.     Credibility Marketing

This week, I’ll share a variety of drought-busting tips that hinge on Credibility Marketing as a primary strategy.

THE CURRENCY OF REFERRALS IS TRUST

According to Michael Lovas and Pam Holloway, co-authors of the best-selling book The Credibility Advantage, customers are bombarded with massive quantities of advertising and marketing, most of which they discount, little of which they trust. In this tangled mess, you must stand out as different and better. Establishing and continually increasing credibility is essential for financial advisors today.

Credibility Marketing, say the authors, answers the “Why” questions:

-- Why would people want to do business with you?

-- Why would clients give referrals to you? 

-- Why would people attend your seminar?

-- Why would people book appointments with you?

“The answer is simple – they probably won't – until you prove your value to them,” Holloway says.  “That means showing your knowledge and wisdom, demonstrating how you are relevant to them. That is the essence of Credibility Marketing.”

"Trust is the currency of referrals and few things build trust more than credibility. In fact, your organization's growth depends on it,” says John Jantsch, author of a popular book, Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Useful Small Business Marketing Guide.

Credibility Marketing could also be called Public Relations, or PR.

Wikipedia describes PR as the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics: “Public relations provides an organization or an individual with exposure to their audiences using topics of public interest and news items that do not require direct payment. The aim is often to persuade the public, investors, partners, employees and other stakeholders to maintain a certain point of view about the company, its leadership, products or of political decisions. Common activities include speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, working with the press, and employee communication.”

Bottom line, PR is all about perception and reputation. As the old saying goes, it takes years to build an image and seconds to destroy it – kind of like gardening or caring for an old-growth forest, don’t you think?

BECOMING A MASTER GARDENER

Let’s take a look at a couple advisors who are using PR and Credibility Marketing to build the perception that they are indeed different and better than their competitors.

Anthony Petsis, CLU, one of Transamerica’s top financial advisors, is President of Philadelphia-based Anthony Petsis and Associates, Inc. The firm is a comprehensive financial services firm committed to helping its clients improve their long-term financial success. Anthony has a regular column in the local newspaper. He provides basic financial advice through a regular column. This builds credibility and visibility

In addition, Anthony is active in the community, hosting educational events, partnering with other local business owners or participating in charitable activities and civic good works. While he does run a recurring ad in the same local newspaper for which he writes his weekly column, he has also found a way to put a PR tilt into one of the ads that readers see.

THE DISNEY DARE CONTEST

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