On average, financial professionals spend approximately nine hours per week on business development activities.1 That’s an entire day’s worth of work—and… Read More
5 Proven Financial Advisor Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Firm
• Valerie Rivera • November 11, 2021
Building and maintaining a healthy client base is essential for any financial professional—but ensuring that you’re continually growing your current relationships and forging new ones can be a challenge.
While all marketing efforts require some experimentation to refine, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Instead, try these proven financial professional marketing strategies to help you take your business to the next level.
1. Create a Strong Brand Identity
Building a strong brand is one of the most powerful marketing strategies available to any business—including financial planning firms.
A well-developed brand explains who you are, what you’re about, and what you can offer your clients—all of which can help build relationships.
There are a few key steps you can take to ensure that you’re building a distinct brand identity that’s clearly communicated to clients and prospects alike.
Know Your Core Purpose
The foundation of every brand is a core purpose—the reason that a company offers a particular product or service. In the financial advice industry, knowing your “why” gives you a strong foundation for building a brand that differentiates you from competitors.
Why did you get into financial planning? What problems do want to solve for clients or in the industry at large? What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?
These questions may seem abstract but answering them can ultimately make your brand story stickier. One study found that consumers who believe a company has a sense of purpose are four times more likely to purchase from them.1 They’re also four-and-a-half times more likely to recommend that company to friends and family.1
Define Your Ideal Client
To tell your story effectively, you need to know who you’re talking to. Creating buyer personas that outline your ideal client’s demographics, financial challenges, and desired goals is essential.
As the famous saying goes, “If you’re talking to everyone, then you’re talking to no one”—and the research supports this truism. According to one Cerulli survey, investors place a high value on advisors with niche expertise that can offer advice that’s specific to their circumstances.2
The more you understand who your ideal client is, the more you can tailor your message to pique their interest and serve their unique needs.
Understand Your Value Proposition
Keeping your core purpose and ideal clients in mind, it’s time to define your value proposition.
Certifications and experience are important—but in today’s competitive market, they’re not enough to stand alone as a value proposition. A lot of financial professionals might have the same credentials and services, so what makes you worth the cost?
How does your core purpose and skillset serve your ideal clients? What makes you uniquely qualified to provide them with the best service possible? Answering these questions will define why your target audience should choose you over the competition.
Communicate Your Brand Clearly
Once you’ve thought through all these factors, you have the beginnings of your brand story. Now it’s time to shout it from the rooftops.
Your brand story should permeate everything you do, from your website to your email communications. The larger your digital presence, the more opportunity you have to amplify your brand story so it can reach more prospects.
To learn more about the components of developing a distinct brand online and beyond, see our webinar “Building Your Digital Brand,” below.
2. Build a Far-reaching Digital Presence
According to the eMoney Consumer Marketing survey, 42 percent of consumers start their search for an advisor on search engines like Google—10 percent higher than the number of people that would ask friends or family.3
Now more than ever, the digital and physical worlds are intertwined—and a robust digital presence is a must-have financial professional marketing strategy for those looking to maximize their exposure and overall success.
See what you can do to create the comprehensive digital presence that clients have come to expect in today’s competitive marketplace.
Your Website Is Crucial
When it comes to building a compelling digital presence, creating an engaging website should be your first priority.
For many people, your website will be their first impression of your firm. When asked which factors were most important when researching and selecting an advisor, 98 percent of consumers identified the advisor’s website as somewhat or very important.3
An effective website should tell your brand story in an engaging way by highlighting your credentials, the types of problems you solve, and why you’re uniquely equipped to solve those problems.
Most importantly, your website should tell prospects what they can expect when starting a relationship with you. Sixty-eight percent of consumers said a lack of clarity when it comes to fees, compliance, and other issues would cause them to hesitate to reach out to an advisor.3
Get on Social Media
Building a far-reaching digital presence means engaging on multiple digital platforms—and getting on social is one of the easiest ways to do that.
There are many ways that financial professionals can use social media to bolster their marketing strategy—including sharing content, providing commentary on the latest relevant news, and interacting with clients, prospects, and other industry experts.
Social media can even be used for prospecting. According to the eMoney Consumer Marketing Survey, 36 percent of consumers have used a financial advisor who has reached out to them on social media.3
Even still, one of the simplest benefits of being active across multiple platforms is that you create another place for people to find you and verify your legitimacy. It provides yet another touchpoint for prospects to learn more about you and your expertise, giving them the information they need to feel comfortable reaching out.
Testimonials and reviews are powerful selling tools. According to one study, 95 percent of people say that reviews influence their purchasing decisions.4 It’s not surprising that the financial advice industry, which has traditionally been a referral-based business, is no different.
Luckily, thanks to the recent changes in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations, financial professionals can utilize this game-changing marketing tactic within certain parameters. There are many ways to solicit testimonials from clients.
If you want to take your testimonials to the next level, consider employing video. This succinct, easy-to-consume format is highly engaging. Among people who have watched a brand’s testimonial video, 77 percent say it has played a part in convincing them to buy their product or service.4
To learn more about how to create an expansive digital presence, watch our webinar “Reach Prospective Clients Where They Are—Online.”
3. Utilize Content Marketing
More financial planning firms are building their marketing strategies around content—and that’s because it works. The eMoney Consumer Marketing Survey found that 63 percent of consumers identify informative, educational content as a factor that helps an advisor’s marketing stand out.1
Of course, simply creating content isn’t enough to implement a successful content marketing strategy. Follow these essential tips to build a content ecosystem that supports your business goals.
Be Helpful First, Promotional Second
Good marketing content isn’t overly self-promotional. Instead, it provides high-quality information aimed at solving your prospect’s problems and creating influence.
Content that’s designed to help rather than promote can:
- Show your expertise
- Establish you as a thought leader in the industry
- Build trust
- Reinforce your brand story
- Bolster your website’s discoverability via search engines
- Be used for lead generation
Though the industry shift toward educational, content-driven marketing strategies has been longstanding, COVID-19 accelerated this trend. Content marketing shines during times of uncertainty when clients and prospects are looking for answers to tough questions from experts.
Experiment with Different Content Types
When it comes to creating and curating content, you have a wide variety of mediums at your disposal, ranging from blog posts to podcasts.
Like everything marketing-related, the most successful medium will depend on the target audience. Depending on your audience’s demographics, the topic you’re exploring, and where your user is in the buyer’s journey, some types of content may get more engagement than others.
Finding what most engages your audience can take some experimentation. When you’re just starting out, don’t concentrate on one type of content. Instead, experiment with different mediums and measure your results to see what resonates.
Distribute Far and Wide
While creating compelling content is an accomplishment, ensuring that people can actually find it is equally important.
Even the highest-quality content can get lost in the noise online if it’s not promoted well enough. Push your content out on the digital platforms available to you. Some of the most common channels include your firm’s website, blog, social media, and email.
Learn more about the role content can play in your overall marketing strategy by watching our “Assessing Your Digital Marketing Strategy” webinar.
4. Create a Sense of Connection
The relationship between client and financial professional is deeply personal. That is why trustworthiness is the top determiner of client satisfaction—even above factors like investment performance, financial knowledge, and service quality.5
Creating a sense of connection and building trust should be top-of-mind for every aspect of your client acquisition and retention efforts. Here are some ways you can cultivate a trusting relationship with clients and prospects.
Personalize Your Communications
The average person is exposed to an avalanche of marketing messages every day. They want to know that you understand who they are, what’s important to them, and can help them to solve the problems they care about.
This is why when it comes to financial professional marketing strategies, relationship building is all about making your communications personal. Luckily, the ways you can customize your communications are limitless—it all just depends on how creative you can be.
According to the eMoney ROI of Digital Marketing Survey, 48 percent of financial professionals identify custom content as the most effective marketing method for client acquisition and retention.6 In contrast, only 19 percent of financial professionals identified generalized content among their most effective retention and acquisition tools.6
The eMoney ROI of Digital Marketing Survey also found that webinars and events were the second-most effective tools for acquisition and retention—just after customized content.6
Hosting events either online or in-person builds trust and establishes your expertise. While many financial planning firms utilize events as an opportunity to capture leads and educate, others lean on events that are more entertainment-based and simply meant to enhance the life of attendees.
Both methods are effective because they’re enriching and provide value. Whether you’re hosting an event digitally or in-person, creating these interesting interactive experiences can help you forge meaningful connections with clients and prospects.
Find out what you can do to create more authentic connections with clients and prospects by listening to our That Makes Cents podcast episode “Engaging with Clients in a Way That Strengthens Your.”
5. Invest in Client Engagement
Once you’ve acquired a new client, it’s time to celebrate—but your work isn’t done. It’s important to keep them focused on their financial plan and deliver an exceptional experience that won’t just keep them around, but will also deepen your relationship.
Here’s how you can keep your clients engaged and delight them with an exceptional client experience.
Create a Cohesive Client Experience
Your marketing strategy and client experience aren’t two separate parts of your business—they should inform one another. A satisfying client experience hinges on clear communication and, ultimately, provides the building blocks for continuing a trusting relationship.
A Cerulli study showed that client expectations of access to online tools from their advisor rose substantially from 2019 to 2020.2 This means that financial professionals need to focus on meeting—and exceeding—client expectations.
There are five key pillars to creating an exceptional client experience:
- Creating an authentic experience through digital branding
- Offering a frictionless client onboarding experience
- Providing the tools and information clients need to create a collaborative financial planning experience
- Communicating with clients frequently through their preferred channels
- Building an excellent client service experience that can deliver on the expectations you set at the beginning of the relationship
Learn more about how to fulfill each of these pillars by taking a look at our client experience eBook, How to Build an Exceptional Client Experience.
Offer a Range of Communication Options
Every client has different communication preferences. Even during the peak of the pandemic, clients preferred to have a variety of communication options outside of video calls—including phone calls, emails, educational or social events, and direct mail.2
Connect with your clients using a variety of methods—ranging from direct to indirect, from digital to in-person—so they can adapt their relationship with you to suit their lifestyle and preferences.
Provide Additional Value
One underrated aspect of content marketing is its ability to keep clients engaged and provide additional value. Educating your clients through content is invaluable for reinforcing your unique expertise and justifying your fees.
The more value you can provide, the more likely your client will continue to invest in their relationship with you. This is one reason why the eMoney ROI of Digital Marketing survey found that 53 percent of advisors identified deepening client relationships and increasing client satisfaction as their most important digital marketing metrics.6
Find out how you can create a more satisfying client experience using marketing tools and strategies in our webinar “How to Approach the Client Journey in Your Business.”
Optimizing ROI for Financial Professional Marketing Strategies
A great marketing strategy supported by thoughtful, well-executed tactics is essential for marketing success. But there are other factors that can help you see the most ROI for your marketing efforts, such as these:
- Written marketing plan: Successful marketing efforts are approached with intention. Your marketing will see greater success if you have a written plan to follow. In fact, Fidelity found that 64 percent of firms that followed marketing best practices had a written marketing plan.7
- Performance goals: Measuring the success of your efforts will help you gauge what marketing strategies give you the best ROI and help you course-correct along the way. Financial professionals who focus on and prioritize improving their client acquisition numbers see better results than those who don’t.6 The same applies to financial professionals who focus on their retention rate.6
- Dedicated marketing budget: While marketing can still be effective on a budget, firms that put more money behind their marketing strategies tend to see greater ROI.7
- Marketing automation: Having a marketing automation tool will help you maintain and scale your marketing efforts without sacrificing the time you need to focus on other aspects of your business. According to Fidelity, firms that experienced a growth in client and AUM at 15 percent and above spent more on marketing and market-related technologies overall.7
Take Your Marketing to the Next Level
While the idea of implementing these financial professional marketing strategies may seem intimidating at first, always remember that you don’t have to execute everything at once.
Identify which strategies best align with your business plan, then create a plan for rolling our supporting tactics and efforts. See what small actions you can take day after day, week after week, and month after month to progress your plan forward. Marketing is all about consistency, iteration, and experimentation.
Read our eBook The Financial Advisor’s Marketing Guide to Digital Content and Campaigns for more information about putting some of these marketing strategies into action.
1. “The 2020 Zeno Strength of Purpose Study.” Zeno Group, July, 20 2020
2.“U.S. Retail Investor Advice Relationships 2020: Accentuating the Value of Advice.” Cerulli Associates
3. 2020 eMoney Consumer Marketing Survey, September 2020, n=2,000.
4. “Testimonial Statistics 2020.” Wyzowl, 2020.
5. “Three Principles of Holistic Wealth Planning: An Approach to Financial Planning to Help Advisors Advance Their Practice.” Fidelity Investments, 2020.
6. 2021 eMoney ROI of Digital Marketing Survey, May 2021, n=188.
7. The Case for Digital Marketing, Fidelity, October 2020.
DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.
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