Results. It’s the name of the game. Business has everything to do with results. But in order to achieve measurable results for a business, such as new clients for your financial planning practice, a comprehensive marketing plan must be put in place. Many business owners, regardless of the industry, seem to believe that they can just wake up one morning, decide to start advertising, and automatically the new clients will start rolling in. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Marketing is much more of a science than you may think. Marketing takes precision, planning and often times – patience. Marketing does not equal advertising. It does not equal a direct mail campaign inviting prospects to workshops. It does not equal a billboard by the freeway. Although marketing may include the aforementioned, it is not completed by any one of these items. You should never have just one egg in the marketing basket.
As a financial advisor, there are three essential marketing strategies you need to integrate into your practice in order to have an effective marketing campaign and achieve the maximum results.
1) Define your message.
Marketing begins with defining and understanding your company’s identity. Who are you? Who are your ideal prospects? What services can you offer them? What problems can you solve? What makes you a better advisor than the next person?
And then define your marketing objectives. What do you want your ideal prospects to think when they hear you or your company’s name?
Know this information, and develop your marketing messages to reflect your ideal company identity. Your marketing message should be reiterated in your marketing materials, (e.g. brochures, slogan, websites, bio, etc.) Keep these points and your message consistent so your prospects know what to think about you and your firm.
2) Get your message heard by the right audience.
Advertising is a great avenue for getting your message out, but it’s much like real estate. To get the maximum return on your investment – it’s all about the location, location, location! When you’re media buying, be sure to ask for demographics! You can have the best advertising campaign in the world, but if your target audience isn’t the one seeing or hearing it, it does you and your company no good. Also, think outside the box when media buying. Ask your account executive at the daily newspaper if they do weekly or monthly publications that target your ideal prospect. Many publishing houses do community inserts or specialized newsletters. See if your target demographic is the intended recipient for any of those publications, and if so, advertise there.
3) Become a brand.
Sounds difficult – but it’s very feasible. Advertising enforces a brand, public relations creates a brand.
The single most effective (and most often overlooked) form of branding for financial services professional is done through the media. Become a brand by utilizing your local media and create name recognition for yourself and your firm. Connect with the media; let them know that you are an expert on financial topics, and that you are willing to assist with development of their news stories. Your prospects believe what they see on the news or read in the paper. Journalists need your expertise and facts to create a thorough story. Reach out to your local media, let them know how you can make their job easier, and become your community’s spokesperson on financial topics. This form of marketing creates credibility in the minds of your prospects and puts you in your public’s eye.
How do you connect with your local media? There are a number of different ways. Below are a few tips to start your media campaigns.
- If you currently do print advertising, ask your account representative who you can talk to at the newspaper about writing an article. Many smaller publications are even open to a “pay for play” business structure. See if they would be open to you writing an article on a problem you solve and running your ad in a similar location.
- Create a media kit and send it to your target media contacts. A media kit includes a letter explaining who you are and how you can help the media; a bio; topics of resource; and any previous media mentions you’ve obtained. Send this information to your “hard news” media list. This list includes all media representatives that report on the subjects you specialize in.
- Contact your “hard news” media list with comments about a local or national story. For example, if your community is impacted by the recession in some way, contact the media that covers these types of stories and let them know you can give expert advice on what someone could do to protect their money in the current economic environment.
Media placements, like all forms of marketing, requires planning, precision and patience. And much like advertising, you must be sure the correct media person receives the information for the campaign to be effective.
Take some time to develop your marketing messages, your advertising plan and a public relations campaign. By doing so, you will reach your target prospects time and time again with a message they will understand and remember! Become effective with your marketing and be the advisor in your community that your prospects know and trust!