There’s no one-size-fits-all marketing solution for all businesses.
Perhaps the most common marketing questions asked by financial advisors is “What’s working?” What are other advisors doing to successfully attract new business and create loyal advocates among current clients?
This is a tough one to answer because it varies based on each advisor’s unique practice, target audience, resources, skills and interests. In other words, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” marketing solution that applies to all businesses.
To determine the best strategies for your practice, here are a few key areas to consider, and best practices for each.
1. Consider your practice size and available resources to determine ideal marketing tactics
These two topics are usually intertwined since the larger the practice, the more resources you tend to have—budget, employees, etc.
Smaller practices often look to automated solutions to keep them actively engaged in marketing and communications without taking up too much time.
Best practice for smaller firms: First, look at the resources available to you within your firm. If you're with LPL Financial, for example, you'll have access to low-cost or no-cost marketing solutions. There are also recommended third-party solutions for a fee.
Best Practice for Larger Firms: Hire a dedicated team member with a marketing background to strategize and manage your marketing efforts.
If a full-time employee is not desired, you can also devote a portion of an operational staff member’s time to overseeing these activities.
This person should consider your brand voice, objectives, budget, and target audience to determine an ideal customized approach to client communications and prospecting.
One-on-one consultations with your marketing department can help guide these efforts.
2. Keep Your Marketing Objective in Mind
What are your main objectives for your practice today and in the near future? Your approach will depend on whether you’re in growth mode or looking to maintain your current clients.
Best Practice in Growth Mode: A more active approach includes both client communications and prospecting initiatives. Here, you’ll want to consider your target market before you develop a strategy. See best practices for targeting below.
Best Practice for Mature Practices: If you’re not looking to bring on a lot of new business, then your objective is likely to maintain current client relationships and focus on retention. In this case, taking a more passive approach, such as leveraging automated communication tools, may be the way to go.
3. Define Your Target Market and Choose Marketing Tactics to Match
Who are you trying to reach with your marketing efforts? Key demographics might include:
Once you identify who you’re trying to reach, then the how naturally follows. Here are a few examples:
Small Business Owners: Join small business associations, the local Chamber of Commerce, host seminars and other educational events targeting their common issues and challenges, and become active on LinkedIn.
Women: Host educational and social events specifically targeting your female clients and prospects. For example, pair an educational presentation on social security or investing basics with a wine and cheese reception afterwards.
Women are also more active social media users, so post often on your Facebook business page, remembering to make it personal and engaging.
CPAs: When targeting certain professions, such as CPAs, consider hosting events that offer continuing education (CE) credit, which can often be sourced through wholesalers in your area.
4. When It Comes to Your Marketing Plan, Keep Your Own Skills and Interests in Mind
Picking marketing activities that match your own skills and interests also helps. For example, if you enjoy public speaking, then hosting seminars might come naturally to you. Here are a few ideas, based on skills and interests:
Public Speaking: If you have the gift of gab, standing up in front of a crowd might suit you. Host seminars and parties, and attend networking and charity events to get your name out there.
Writing: If the written word is more your thing, write a blog and put more energy into social media marketing. You could also explore local publications that might be looking for contributing writers.
Cycling or Golfing: Any activity you’re naturally passionate about can become a networking opportunity. It might not always be appropriate to sell your services in these situations, but you can certainly socialize your knowledge and skills.
And there are often sponsorship opportunities for events you might already be participating in, such as charity bike rides and golf tournaments.
These are just a few marketing plan examples and best practices, but hopefully you get the idea that there isn’t just one “right” approach to marketing. You have to identify what’s right for your practice, and leverage your home office marketing team for resources, support, and guidance.
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Sarah provides custom marketing and social media consultations for LPL Financial advisors and investment programs. In this role, she consults with and supports clients in effectively marketing their business in today's increasingly competitive environment. View full bio.