Developing new business is part of every financial advisor’s daily business, both to keep up with others leaving your firm and to increase your profits. You could ask your clients for referrals, but at best this would be embarrassing and at worst it could destroy the image clients have of you as a successful advisor. What are other tactics? If you need to expand your marketing efforts, it is time to consider unconventional ways of developing business. Here are seven new ways to market yourself and your business.
Organise an event for customers
Instead of asking your existing customers for referrals and engaging with them, you can let customers come to you. A customer event is a great way to thank existing customers, build a relationship with them by giving them the opportunity to meet you in person and, at the same time, meet new potential customers.
Make sure your customers know that your event is welcoming and that they are invited to bring a guest: every extra person could be a new customer. It is much easier to get in touch with potential customers you already know than to be called by a voice on the phone. However, too often addressing customers directly backfires. As Penny Phillips, co-founder and president of Journey Strategic Wealth, writes in a recent cover story in the Journal of Financial Planning. At the same time, she believes it is best for advisors to avoid asking for direct referrals: ‘I believe clients should be constantly reminded that you are in business and that you are committed to serving other people like them’.
identify local influencers
There are ways to ask clients for referrals without alienating them. Phillips suggests making a list of your customers’ ‘influencers’ every quarter. These are not necessarily customers who are photographed at the entrance of large local events or who know the political ‘who’s who’ in your area. Rather, these customers might have recommended services to you – you know: the person who likes to recommend someone they know, even if you only casually mentioned that you had a dent in your car today or that you can’t take care of the weeds in your garden. Others might constantly post reviews on Yelp or Google.
Phillips suggests sending them an email and writing: ‘We have decided to hire only new families who connect with a select group of our best ideal customers. You are one of these select few’. You have to personalise the message: the less it looks like you have sent it to a list (even if you haven’t) the better, but this way of addressing the issue can make them feel important or like they are one of the chosen few.
be active on social media
On social networks such as LinkedIn, you can reach many of your contacts at once with a single action. This is a much more efficient way to share information and communicate with customers. Although a blog with tips on your website is now commonplace, you can still make your mark by posting short videos with tips on your YouTube channel or, for those who like to zoom in, on TikTok. They do not have to be overproduced, but neither do they have to be sloppy.
Address current financial planning topics in your area, such as a change in tax legislation that will affect many of your clients or how to plan for next year in light of recent Federal Reserve guidance. Share informative content and market news and illustrate your ideas with stories about your business (without identifying details) to help viewers understand the benefits of your services. It is best to be current but avoid controversy: for example, mention state tax cuts but not your political views on them. Once you have collected some of this content, send it to your customer list in the form of a newsletter. Engaging content can help you gain followers, increase brand awareness and attract new customers.
Be sure to include automatic captions in your videos, share the content on your social channels and include a hyperlink to the video series in your business emails.
participate in small business think tanks
If you can join a mastermind group, jump at the chance. These types of groups usually exist online and are the equivalent of a traditional book club. A group of professionals who have something in common (e.g. financial advisors working in the investment industry) get together to share best practices, develop new ideas, discuss their business and look for opportunities to collaborate. It’s a great way to meet new people, mentor newcomers and find new ways to improve your day-to-day work.
If you can’t find a mastermind group, why not create one? Expand your digital marketing strategy and contact other financial advisors on LinkedIn to start brainstorming. Schedule one meeting per week and choose a topic to share ideas. The advantage of these online groups is that you can get in touch with professionals outside your area.
attend local networking events
If you want to increase your sphere of influence, one of the easiest ways to meet other professionals in your area is to participate in local networking events. Contact the small business association and chamber of commerce in your area to find out if they offer regular networking events for members.
If you prefer to network online, you can search the name of your city on LinkedIn to find local online groups and associations. Every time you ask a question, answer a question or post something in these groups, your name and title will appear in front of all members. This is a cost- and time-efficient way to meet new people, market yourself and your skills and expand your professional network.
develop financial education workshops or webinars
You can organise educational events on key financial topics to showcase your expertise. These can be face-to-face workshops or online webinars. In this way, you position yourself as an expert in the field and can attract clients looking for sound advice. At these events, not only can you demonstrate your authority, but you can also connect with potential customers and build relationships based on trust and expertise. Online webinars also reach a wider audience, including those who cannot attend in-person events.
offering niche financial services
A recent trend in financial advice has focused on niches, such as retirement planning for small business owners, millennials or even airline pilots. This need not be your entire business, but if you prefer to work with a specific type of client, why not expand your reach to the broader market segment of these clients?
Specialisation allows you to stand out in a crowded market, increase your competence in your chosen field and work more efficiently. Instead of targeting all customers, you can spend time and money on marketing to reach a specific sub-market. This can be advantageous for new entrants who can generate client interest in a niche before becoming a generalist, or for those who have a client base with many people who are about to retire.
How does a financial advisor earn money?
Financial advisors can earn money in different ways. Many work on a commission basis, i.e. they get paid when they sell investments to clients or close deals for them. Financial advisors who work on a fee-only basis do not receive commissions. Instead, they charge an hourly or fixed fee for their services, or they take a percentage of the assets they manage each year. More and more advisors are opting for subscription-based models. This approach could provide a steady income stream and appeal to many clients who are now accustomed to subscriptions for software, apps and more.
What are the 4 Ps of marketing?
The 4 Ps of marketing are the four essential factors to use when targeting consumers. They are Product, Price, Place and Promotion. In short, you must have something to sell, a price that consumers are willing to pay, a place to display and sell the product suitable for the target market, and a way to promote it to customers.
Are there specific rules that financial advisors have to follow when marketing?
Yes, there are Securities and Exchange Commission regulations that restrict how advisors can advertise. For example, a registered investment adviser may not include hypothetical performance in its advertising without implementing policies and procedures to ensure that the hypothetical performance is relevant and probable. Advisers also may not provide misleading or untrue information or present performance periods in an unbalanced manner.
The bottom line
Effective marketing is crucial, especially since with online services you cannot expect clients to find you just because you have a local office. Using alternative but complementary strategies, such as focusing on a niche market, using digital marketing tools, participating in training webinars, etc., can help you to achieve this. Ultimately, the most successful marketing efforts are those that not only attract customers, but also build lasting relationships based on trust, expertise and consistent value delivery.