Just as your clients have financial goals, you have business goals — expanding your practice, securing more clients, integrating new planning technology, acquiring a new designation, improving your marketing... the list goes on.
Achieving several of these goals involves some marketing elbow grease. If your marketing efforts in the past haven’t been paying the dividends you expected, it’s time to explore some new strategies. In my experience working with thousands of advisors, I’ve discovered three strategies that are intimidating, yet incredibly effective for increasing referrals, finding new prospects and building stronger relationships with current clients.
In the spirit of resolutions, commit yourself to trying these three marketing strategies (or at least one of them!) this year.
People are visual learners, which is why video has become the dominant resource for information online. Studies show that online video will make up nearly 70% of consumer Internet traffic by 2017. Advisors can’t afford not to be experimenting with video. Video makes it possible for you to connect with clients and prospects in an engaging way. In just a minute or two, you can educate and inform clients on financial topics, your professional background or your firm’s mission, encouraging them to turn to you for financial guidance.
Take Jerry Strayve, a financial advisor in San Diego, Calif., for example. His video sharing his personal story on becoming a financial advisor has been a big hit among his clients and prospects. In less than three minutes, he shares his journey and his commitment to clients. It serves as a powerful value proposition without feeling like a sales pitch.
I understand that video takes time and money to create, and I certainly don’t expect you to be releasing weekly videos. However, it is possible for you to use video in your marketing without eating away at your time and marketing dollars. If you are camera shy and have no interest in creating videos yourself, use a service that provides you with videos that you can use on your website, send via email and share on social media.
HOST A CLIENT EVENT
Holding client events take time and effort, but when properly planned, you can increase referrals, build stronger relationships with current clients, and position yourself as a valuable resource within your community. Start simple with a low-key event. When planning an event, first determine who you are trying to attract. Do you want to build up your client base within your community, or do you want referrals from your A-list clients?
If your focus is the former, consider hosting an educational seminar at your local library open to the community. Advertise on social media and submit an event listing to your local newspaper. Deb Sims, a financial advisor in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., holds regular seminars at a nearby country club to educate women on becoming financially savvy. She lists her events on her website and advertises in the newspaper.
If you prefer to build relationships with your clients’ friends and family, host an intimate lunch or dinner with your top-tier clients and ask them to bring a friend. You can keep it casual with a backyard BBQ, or take a more formal route and book a private room at a restaurant. I’ve heard from several advisors who hosted a retirement party for clients. This provided them the opportunity to show the client how much he cared, as well as connect with that client’s friends who may also be concerned about their retirement.
Whatever you choose to do, your events should accurately reflect your personality and the environment of your office. If you dress casually around clients, keep it a casual event, and vice versa. These events are designed to allow prospects and clients to get to know you a little better and what they can expect when working with you.
For many advisors, the idea of blogging may be as intimidating as the idea of choosing the best investment mix for their clients. However, in the simplest of terms, blogging is an opportunity for you to share your insights and remind your prospects and clients that you are a source for trusted and informative advice.
Sure, there are endless guidelines on what makes a good blog, how long your post should be, and what SEO-friendly terms you should incorporate. Forget the rules (for now) and just start writing. The easiest place to start? Your story. Why are you a financial advisor? What do you enjoy most about your profession and what keeps you coming back every day? Emphasize your passion and your commitment. This is your opportunity to remind clients why they work with you and encourage prospects to see additional value in your services. One advisor who did a great job sharing his story on his blog is Philip Board, based in Upland, Calif. He tied together his passion for the industry with the benefits his independence provides clients.
As you start to cut your blogging teeth, commit to writing one blog post each month. Make it your mission to write bi-weekly or weekly by the end of the year. Set aside a couple of hours and just write. As you write more, you’ll start writing faster, and the ideas will flow naturally. If you are at a loss for topics, I love to use Blog Topic Generator. List three nouns that you’d like to write about and the generator will create a week’s worth of relevant blog post titles.
Marketing requires some risk taking. Don’t be afraid to dip your toes into more adventurous strategies. If you don’t see the results you want, you can adjust or change course. That’s the beauty of marketing — there are endless opportunities to take advantage of and tailor to fit your specific needs.
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