- Need to come up with some really awesome ideas for your practice?
- Stuck in a rut with your marketing?
- Need a kick in the rear to get going?
Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas
I’ve been working with Financial Advisors as a Business Coach since 2004. I love the industry and the work that intelligent, client-focused advisors do with and for their clients. I have a passion for marketing and promotion as well as coaching advisors on how to build their business, get productive, brand the benefits they offer, and play a much bigger game.
In this article I will be giving you a BLUEPRINT for how to get active marketing your practice using 39 Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas! I am giving away many secret goodies!!!! So get ready for the good stuff.
Don’t know how to market
I have found that most advisors don’t know how to market themselves. Marketing is not a skill that is taught! It’s easy to be the technician in your business doing the day to day work you do with managing client review meetings, investing client portfolios, and answering client questions.
It’s much more difficult to go out there day to day and market the heck out of what you do for clients, not to mention learning how to highlight the benefits clients receive. In this article I am going to give you a ton of GREAT ideas that you can use to build your practice.
What is the difference between marketing and prospecting?
The only difference between marketing and prospecting is that prospecting is ACTIVE rather than PASSIVE. With marketing, you have a message, you put it out there and you wait for someone to bite. With prospecting, the actions are very ACTIVE: You are talking to people, picking up the phone, meeting people, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Prospecting requires your constant attention.
This is what I’ll be covering in this epic 4800 + word blog post
- What you’ll need BEFORE you actively market and promote your practice
- Definition of marketing and prospecting
- Two basic strategies for prospecting for new clients
- How much time you should spend marketing
- 39 marketing tactics for both strategies
- Action plan
- Creating goals
- Tips to implement these strategies and tactics
- Daily/weekly activities you should be engaged in
Are you passionate about helping clients?
I offer up this free information because I am passionate about the industry and helping advisors build a valuable practice. My hope is that you will use this information to provide excellent service and benefits to your clients. When you are passionate about what you’re doing, good things happen. If you are in it for a quick buck, success will elude you.
What I want for you: A prosperous practice and a comfortable life
There’s work to do so let’s get going!
- LinkedIn profile – well written and professional.
- 30 second commercial focusing on the benefits of financial planning. See this “how to” article to create your own elevator speech.
- Professionally branded brochure and matching business card
- Professional website (you can start with a template website for ease and simplicity, but I recommend going to a custom site within one to two years).
- Thank you cards
- Email newsletter
How much time should you spend marketing?
Length of time in years Time spent marketing
You’ll notice that even if you have been in business six plus years, you will still have spend 25% of your time marketing your firm. This means time actually doing it, not time getting ready to do it. In my coaching practice I have seen advisors make big plans for marketing. It is the follow through and implementation that counts. Not just the planning.
What is marketing and prospecting?
- It is the LIFEBLOOD of any thriving practice
- It is a PROACTIVE process as opposed to reactive
- It is a CONSTANT and well planned effort
What are the main strategies to market and prospect for new clients?
- Grow your practice through people you know: existing clients, centers of influence, friends, relatives
- Grow your practice through people you don’t know: strangers, those who have never heard of you, new contacts
39 Marketing and Prospecting Ideas
Section 1: Marketing to people you know
It is much easier to develop ideas to market to people you know versus those you don’t know. Referrals from your clients and strategic partners will be pre-sold and eager to get started working with you. This is a great area of focus!
Marketing to existing clients
(1) Provide EXCELLENT SERVICE – create a client service matrix
There’s nothing like providing a raving fan experience for your clients. When working with me, some advisors want to jump straight ahead and find new clients rather than paying attention to the ones they already have. In order to receive referrals from your existing clients, you must be WORTHY of referrals. so make sure your service is exemplary.
One way to do this is to create a service matrix that spells out the services clients receive, based on their assets with you. If you focus on your “A” clients and provide them raving fan service, they will be good referrers for life. The client service matrix is a private document for you and your staff that helps ensure the service is delivered. This can go hand in hand with a Marketing Calendar to plan out your entire year of events and service.
(2) Master referral conversations
After you are providing excellent service to your existing clients, you can take the step to ask for referrals on a regular basis. Asking for referrals is not as simple as just asking. You need to incorporate finesse in the way you ask. One way to do this is to master referral conversations.
65% of high income wealth managers ask clients for referrals an average of FOUR times annually
Having a script doesn’t mean you should recite it like a robot. Using a script just helps you to practice asking in a natural manner that is authentic for you. Practice makes perfect. When you practice and the opportunity presents itself, you will be MORE POLISHED.
(3) Send out a service survey
Sending a survey helps you determine what products and services your clients want you to provide. It shows that you WANT to be their “go to” financial person. What tools and services are available to you on your broker-dealer platform that you are currently not offering? Are there other ways to increase the income you are getting from your existing clients? In your survey, you can also glean important information that will help you market to people you don’t know. See below.
(4) Create a client call list
This goes back to service. When was the last time you picked up the phone and called your clients for no reason at all? How about checking in on them and finding out if there’s anything you can do for them? Even if you don’t get them on the phone, leave a message and that will count towards a “client touch” that demonstrates excellent service. As you become better with service, you can also use this as an opportunity to ask for a referral.
(5) Send a 3 letter referral campaign
This is one of my favorites! Send three referral letters two months apart from each other. You can focus on three different issues; you can focus on what’s going on in your practice; or you can tie in an event to coincide with the sending of one of your letters. No matter what you decide, each letter is subtle and positions you as the helpful advisor at the ready for your clients – the person they can count on.
An example of this is:
Letter one – follow up letter after a Client Review meeting – review the action items from the meeting. End the letter with a well-worded request for referrals.
Letter two – advertise your upcoming client appreciation event. Close the letter with a request that your clients bring a friend or relative.
Letter three – the third letter is always positioned as an educational piece meant to demonstrate the life changing situations that would warrant a referral to you. Clients must be educated regarding when it makes sense to refer a friend or relative to you. Births, deaths, divorces, job changes, business owners selling a business, selling real estate, and much more. This is where you show all the life altering events that signify a movement of money.
Updated: this tactic still works very well! The reason is that when done as a campaign, the messages build on each other and reinforce your brand. The key is to incorporate a Call to Action that is appropriate for the letter and that motivates the receiver to make a decision about someone they know that needs a referral to you.
Need prospecting help? Check out my Prospecting Coaching Program
If you’ve never held a client appreciation event before, now is your chance to plan out your next year’s events. I recommend one event per quarter, but if you are just beginning to have events, you can start with two per year. The key to this tactic is to ask your clients to bring a friend or relative. In the beginning you will be introducing the “we value you” concept, and as time goes by, you will focus more on the “bring a friend” component.
(7) Conduct a Client Review Meeting – ask for a referral
In your quarterly review meetings you tend to cover wide ranging issues and concepts that demonstrate commitment to your clients. At the end of such a meeting, ask for a referral. Make sure you use an agenda that the client can follow along with. At the bottom of the agenda, include “Introductions” as a point to review. This tactic can be used in tandem with referral conversations and a 3 letter campaign.
(8) Leverage Centers of influence
I’m not going to go into how to get referrals from other professional advisors except to say that you should be getting them. If you are not, have an earnest conversation with your COI’s and explain that referrals seem to be one way and not reciprocated. Explain your expectations. Create some accountability. If you are still not getting referrals, STOP referring and find someone else who is good at what they do and who WILL reciprocate.
Section 2: Marketing to people you don’t know
Developing ideas to attract people you don’t know is much more difficult than targeting those you do know. You will have to hone your message and prove your skills before this strategy can pay off. This is where a professional brand and website is CRUCIAL to your success.
Direct Mail Lists –purchased
I have a few companies I use for obtaining mail lists that I recommend to my clients. Defining who your audience is and having the right message is essential. Make sure you have your mailer professionally designed. In order to garner the attention of busy people, your message should be directed at the end users’ needs and it should GET THEIR ATTENTION. Always have a strong call to action in several locations on your mailer. I recommend postcards over letters, but it all depends on the message and the audience. Direct mail is not a onetime thing. It must be repeated for best results.
Please note: direct mail does not work like it did in the past
Prospective financial planning clients have become de-sensitized to invitations, postcards, and other direct mail pieces. They’ve been receiving them for more than a decade and now they are simply throwing your expensive mailers in the trash. While it used to be the norm that you would receive a 4% response rate from direct mail, these days you would be lucky with .01%. So what do you do instead? See the updated list below.
(9) Zip code based mail lists
– send a mailer to a zip code based selection of homeowners in your area.
(10) Affluence based mail lists
– send a mailer based on affluence and level of investible assets. The key to success is to have a client attraction device or custom written report meant for this group. Your mailer should direct recipients to a specific page on your website where they can claim a free report that addresses their top concerns. There are many GREAT ways of doing this, but you’ll have to hire me to find out 🙂
(11) Niche based mail lists
– send a mailer to a niche such as women investors, divorced women, or widowed women. This group is vastly under served and has distinct needs. Think of other niches that could benefit from your offer. Take a look at your book and see which niche markets you are already working with as a starting point.
(12) Industry based mail lists
– this is similar to a niche list except that industry lists are based on professions or occupations and can be a rich treasure field if you know how to leverage the opportunity. Once again, the message is crucial as is the call to action.
Mail Lists – you compile yourself
(13) Business Journal – book of lists – target a niche
– your city’s business journal publishes a book of lists annually detailing the top businesses in many different niche categories. Use this tool to develop your own mail list.
(14) Business Journal – new business listings
– use the weekly listing of new businesses in your business journal to compile a mailer to companies that may need your services.
(15) Direct mail letter to business owners – with a follow up phone call
– purchase a list or compile it yourself and send a mailer to business owners. Entrepreneurs are a rich niche for financial advisors because you can help them in many different ways: help with their defined contribution plans; help with their non qualified plans; help investing the profits of the business; assist with obtaining key person insurance; help with wealth management of their personal assets. After you send your mailer, follow up with a phone call and watch this tactic get great results!
Updated: Business networking still works to grow your practice! It’s important to be seen in a professional environment, but it’s even more crucial to know WHAT TO SAY TO GET BUSINESS. This means having a Value Proposition that is out-of-the-ordinary and that resonates with your target market.
In my workshops speaking to groups of financial advisors, I find they are not getting out of the office very much, sometimes not at all. Advisors need to have networking in their weekly activities. Sometimes success is 50% just showing up.
Being in the right place at the right time can connect you with people you would otherwise never come into contact with. If you want to build your connections, you have to develop a plan to get out of the office at least weekly.
(16) Chamber of commerce
While you will run into many advisors at the chamber, it is still a great way to get exposure. The best way to get the most out of your membership is to volunteer for a board or committee and become involved. You will get to know fellow committee members and key opportunities will become available to you for your effort.
(17) Leads groups
The less time you have in the industry the more likely a leads group like BNI or LeTip will work for you. Never expect to receive more than 5-10% of your business from this tactic. As your experience grows, you will get business from other channels that make this opportunity too time consuming to maintain.
(18) Speed networking
This type of networking event has sprung up all over the United States and can be quite effective as you have the opportunity to connect with many people one-on-one. You will sit down with one person and have a short time period to each share your message. Then you will switch to a new person. It’s like musical chairs. To find an speed networking event in your city, type into a search engine “speed networking your city.”
(19) Industry groups
Do you serve several clients in a particular profession? How can you leverage these relationships for networking? You can find their groups and associations and become a member. This is how I became entrenched in the issues financial advisors face every day, by becoming a member of the Financial Planning Association and joining the board.
Update: Seminars and workshops continue to work if they are done correctly. See my seminar series for more information.
There is no better tactic that is more effective at getting new clients than public speaking. Public speaking establishes you as an expert in your field and conveys credibility. There is a certain cache afforded to speakers that is difficult to duplicate in any other marketing tactic.
Seminars and workshops –
Speak to groups your clients belong to and position your talks as educational classes. In your client survey listed above, ask your clients which clubs, organizations, or groups they belong to. Offer to provide an educational workshop and think about a broad topic that provides education and comfort to many types of audiences. You will not do any selling during your presentation. The opportunity is in the feedback piece you ask participants to complete.
Ideas for your workshop content:
- (20) Retire in Style – 7 Tips to a Stress Free Retirement
- (21) Money and Behavior: 5 simple ways to stop doing dumb things with your money
- (22) Your Money – Your Life: 4 smart strategies for creating financial success
- (23) Living Life In Retirement – How to create a continuous income stream after you retire
(24) Lunch and Learn
Collaborate with a complimentary business and hold a lunch and learn. Pool your clients and come up with topics that would interest both groups of clients. Provide a sandwich lunch and a great learning opportunity for your clients.
(25) Brown bag lunch for a specific niche
Approach community organizations and offer an educational lunch with specific topic: Women’s Wealth – A Journey to Financial Success
(26) Start a MeetUp Group – Wealth and Wine Happy Hour
Get creative and host a group based on a unique “branded” topic – meet regularly and discusses topics where you have expertise. The MeetUp system is an inexpensive tool to get the word out about your group. As the host you will be perceived as an expert.
(27) Appointment setting services
This type of business will manage the process of sending invitations to consumers for a complimentary portfolio review with you. The incentive for the prospect to come into your office is a restaurant gift certificate. Appointments with qualified prospects are made for you – calls are recorded so that you can review them. The problem can be that some folks will come in just to get the free stuff, leaving you frustrated and annoyed.
The biggest negative to appointment setting services is that the cost can be prohibitive. Your cost per client acquisition can be too high for not just for an advisor starting out, but also established advisors. You’re better off creating a New Client Acquisition Campaign that utilizes several legs of a foot stool.
(28) Second opinion services with a CD Rom
Mailer – we have moved into the digital age which means experimenting with new modalities for getting in front of prospects. This type of business will provide you with CD Rom mailers that offer a second opinion on prospects’ wealth.
Use your website as a prospecting tool by utilizing Inbound Marketing Tactics
Establish your expertise by blogging. Don’t make the mistake of setting up an exterior blog that is outside your website domain. Your blog should be www.yourdomain.com/blog or you will be wasting your time. Use your blog as a way to show how you’re different by blogging on money topics, financial planning, or wealth management.
Write articles for niche online publications
– drive traffic back to your website. The key to this tactic is to write a great “About the Author” section and send readers to your website. Write for the following online websites:
Online publications that your target market reads. Find out what they read from your survey results from existing clients!
Trade publications – targeted to your Ideal Clients. What industries do they belong to?
www.EzineArticles.com – a website where writers can contribute their articles
www.SelfGrowth.com – a website committed to life improvement
www.Business2Community.com –unique blog with great article topics
www.HubPages.com – a site devoted to sharing high quality content
www.BusinessKnowHow.com – a site targeted to business owners and sharing ideas
List your firm with a “Find an Advisor Website”
Updated: getting referrals in this manner no longer works because too many advisors are now listed on these sites, creating a lot of congested competition for too few leads. The exception is #39 below which usually attracts a higher quality lead, one that is seeking a CFP®.
PlannerSearch.org – – for FPA members who are CFP® holders.
Updated Marketing Ideas List
In the 7 years since I originally wrote this epic blog post, many things have changed, as noted above. Your prospective clients have changed along with the times. More people are on Facebook. Fewer people use traditional channels to find their financial advisor. Many are more interested in whether you understand their unique target market challenges and if you have earned a credential such as CFP, CDFA, RICP, ChFC, etc. Many use the internet to do research on their unique problem and if your website or LinkedIn profile, or an article you’re quoted in, come up in their search, this can be a good thing.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
In the old days, reporters and journalists “walked a beat” in search of subjects to interview for an article they were writing. It was a lot of work tracking down sources for specific topics. These days however, all a journalist has to do is register on https://www.helpareporter.com with a description of what they’re writing about and the type of source needed. Then, those who are registered on the site as a source receive an email with the details. (Obtain the free version. There’s no reason to pay for the upgraded version).
The credibility of being quoted in publications such as Barron’s, The Economist, Kiplinger’s, Investors Business Daily, Bloomberg Business Week, Forbes, Money, Smart Money, and Worth is priceless! In some cases advisors receive a “backlink” to their website which increases the quality of their website in the eyes of the search engines.
The key to this marketing tactic is the be on top of reading through the emails sent requesting a source. In some cases, my clients delegate this task to their assistants, to maximize the potential of being one of the first advisors to reply.
Social Media Marketing
Yes, social media does work! If it’s not working for you, it might be because you haven’t put the effort into creating an annual calendar that focuses on specific monthly topics. This creates a “campaign” rather than a shot in the dark with content that is all over the place. The best social media marketing platforms for advisors are Facebook and LinkedIn. Twitter is more time intensive due to building your followers and creating relationships. Instagram is very visual, so having access to quality images with great messages is a must for this platform.
Yes, I know that due to compliance, some advisors may shy away from Yelp and that’s good. But, there is no way you can stop your clients from writing great things about working with you and posting them on a page devoted to your financial planning or investment management business. I have many clients who receive great referrals from Yelp. We are so unaccustomed to hearing about the benefits of working with an advisor (due to FINRA & compliance) that it has become refreshing to read reviews on Yelp. As a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), this marketing tactic is more available to you.
I have written many articles about branding and the benefits of creating a unique Value Proposition focused on what you do best as a financial advisor. What can branding do for you? It can send you pre-sold prospective clients who are ready to sign on the dotted line and work with you. It can send you potential clients who have less objections to working with you.
If you’ve been a financial advisor for many years, it may be time to re-invent yourself using branding. Perhaps a name change, new logo, new tagline, new message, and new website are in order. Re-branding can implemented at the same time as you develop a Business Continuity Plan and a Succession Plan. Check out my page on Branding here.
Inbound Marketing or Digital Marketing
Do clients find you in an internet search? Are you getting calls because clients found out about you from your website? If not, you could be missing out on a great source of new prospective clients. Going back 5 – 10 years, no one found their advisor on the internet, but these days it’s much more common for prospective clients to perform an internet search because they have a specific problem they are looking to solve. If you’ve been working on inbound marketing and talking about these problems, you may win the business. Look, everything is done on the internet these days. As your older clients age, attracting the 40 – 50+ year old clients will become dependent upon your use of digital marketing.
There you have it: Thirty nine marketing ideas that rock. If your mind is full of ideas but you’re not sure how to implement, then the Action Plan section below is for you. After all, there’s plenty of information in this post, but just HOW do you go about putting it into practice?
Towards the end of every year, create your new Marketing Plan. The first year you write your plan will be the most time intensive. In years thereafter you will spend less time updating your plan.
Create goals for:
- Annual revenue
- # new clients
- New AUM
- Production level (if applicable)
Select 5 new tactics you are going to implement in the coming year
- Pick at least 5 tactics from the list of 39 that will help you prospect for new clients
- Write it down in your new Marketing Plan!
- Don’t forget to plan out every detail of each tactic you select.
- Passive versus active – make sure you have at least two active tactics. Active means getting in front of prospects/clients. Active means being bold and stepping outside your comfort zone.
- Plan out a marketing calendar with month by month activities
- Keep in touch with prospects. Just because they don’t convert to a client right away doesn’t mean they won’t be a client in the future.
- Ways to stay in touch: newsletter, quarterly phone call, holiday card, birthday card
- To be productive, you will want to create a daily and weekly calendar based on important, high pay off activities.
These are the activities you should be doing:
- Prospect calls per week
- Centers of Affluence appointments each month
- Prospect Follow-up calls monthly
- Client calls monthly
- Client appointments weekly
So there you have it: A complete blueprint for marketing your practice. You have to be READY to take this on and do what’s necessary. You have to be READY to do the work. If you are not ready, then perhaps you need coaching to get you there. Information is not always the answer.
There’s plenty of information out there. It’s the implementation that leads to success. Either you need me as your Business Coach to move forward or a marketing firm to implement your ideas (I have recommendations – just ask). The great thing about coaching is you will take action and GROW along with your practice.
I specialize in Prospecting Coaching!
Which marketing ideas are you going to use? What works for you? What do you want your marketing to do for you?