Have you ever learned how to market? Did you find success by accident or inertia? What’s your story?
In 1990 I was a fresh-faced wide-eyed entrepreneur right out of the University of Hawaii’s College of Business and ready for success. I’d already started and grown one affluent company in Hawaii and now I wanted to execute my International Marketing Class project on the mainland.
I opened my upscale specialty retail store in Scottsdale, Arizona with high hopes and visions of cash piled high and customers lining up at the door. I invested in an architect to design my store. I invested in high-end display cabinets and interior design. I invested in my brand. I was ready for success.
Well, the doors opened and then…
No one came.
I realized that I had to LEARN how to get people in the doors.
I realized I had to learn how to MARKET.
Even professionals with marketing and management degrees like me have to learn how to apply the marketing strategies, skills, and tactics to each and every industry. Just because I had been good at wholesale fine jewelry in Hawaii didn’t mean I would be good at upscale retail. I had to learn what worked for me. I had to learn what worked in the desert.
As a financial advisor you have to learn what works for YOU. You have to learn what works in your geographic area. You have to learn what works for YOUR target market (You do have one, right?). And you have to incorporate this into your Business Plan.
Get creative with your message
You have to get out of your left brain and get creative. Financial concepts and wealth management strategies are not easy to market. If you only talk about money management, investments, and 401(k)’s, you will miss the opportunity to attract a more affluent clientele who is well-traveled and cultured and understands a right brain approach to retirement planning.
If someone hires your firm, what is the end result? What kind of life will they be leading five to ten years in the future? Your message should translate the hard edged parts of wealth management and make it real for the end user.
Learn to LOVE marketing
Marketing is the lifeblood of any successful practice. If you are not marketing, you have to learn how. The easiest way to get in the habit of promoting your practice is to learn to love doing it. Make it fun. Get creative with your message. Step out of the mundane. Use color and design in your message. Make it about the benefits of financial planning and wealth management. Learn to use your website appropriately for Inbound Marketing to attract clients right to your front door.
Make marketing a regular occurrence and a team effort
A recent study pointed out the importance of making marketing a top priority by brainstorming and sharing in company meetings. In other words, the entire firm should be involved in growing the firm, not just the firm leader. The firm should come up with a marketing theme during the annual offsite planning meeting. Then, a monthly marketing action plan should be determined based on the theme.
Things you will want to decide and share as a team:
• What are our revenue goals?
• What is our mission statement?
• Who is our target market?
• What is different about our firm?
• How can we market our differences?
• How can we showcase our passion for financial planning?
• What’s our theme this year?
• What marketing ideas will we use?
• What channels will we use?
Get twelve pieces of 8 ½ x 11 paper and stick them up on the wall. Pick a topic for each month and write it down. Brainstorm related messages that can be extrapolated for each month. For example, January can be New Year’s Resolutions: How to create your annual money goals. Week one: create a budget. Week two: plan to get rid of debt. Week three: how to make more money. Week four: how to get a promotion. You get the idea.
It’s a mistake to think that you as the entrepreneur in your practice are the only person involved in marketing your firm. It’s also a mistake to delegate the entire marketing responsibility of your firm to one person or department. You must be involved. You must be in charge of your message. Only then will your true authenticity come out in your brand. Only then will you learn how to make marketing work for you.
Tell me in the comments: what are your marketing challenges? What prospecting strategies do you use?