Five Crisis-Sensitive Marketing Moves
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Given the deep disruptions in your life and your practice from COVID-19, what I will share may seem illogical.
This is a promising time for financial advisors to propel your practice to the next level. You must avoid the common mistakes that can thwart your marketing and growth.
The steps to move your business forward are similar to moving into your dream house in your ideal neighborhood.
How can you make the most of this opportunity?
1. Move readiness – Clean out the marketing junk
When moving, if you have not used something in the past year, it is time to donate, sell, or trash that item.
Take inventory of your marketing. Identify which strategies and tools are essential to your practice and which are not.
In essence, clean out your marketing junk.
When taking inventory, review your analytics to answer questions like:
- How many website visitors are you getting a month?
- How many prospects (potential clients) are you adding to your marketing database in a given quarter?
- How many new clients are you adding in the average year?
For example, do you leave content on your website that is out of date? Are you subscribing to content services or marketing applications that you barely use?
Most important, which content is engaging your clients and what are your sources of new prospects?
Consider: You may be wasting time elsewhere in your practice that could be invested in adding highly profitable clients.
Once you have completed your inventory, clean out your marketing closet. You will arrive at a better position to move forward.
2. Movin’ on up – Your ideal neighborhood
Imagine if the clients in your practice included only those in your neighborhood. What neighborhood would you want to live in?
You’d figure out what is most important to you in terms of location, price, schools, amenities, the size and type of lot, and the house itself.
Likewise, develop your list of the most desirable characteristics of your new clients.
In reviewing this target list, are there any current clients that you would enjoy either leaving behind or delegating to another advisor when you make your move to a new neighborhood?
To connect with ideal prospects in your new neighborhood, talk to contacts who are already living there. Discover what media your prospects read, where they “hang out,” what organizations are popular locally, who are the influencers in that area, who is already marketing and selling to your ideal prospect, etc.
Selecting your ideal neighborhood and knowing who and what is popular there will help you meet the very prospects you want to do business with.
3. Move in as a star – Position yourself in a category of one
If you position yourself and your practice in a category of one, you will be the default choice for your target market when they have the type of problems you solve.
In a given neighborhood, for example, you often find one realtor who has as much market share as the other agents combined.
Is this realtor that much better at his or her craft than the other agents? Not likely. But they are better at positioning themselves as the go-to agent for a particular area or type of house.
Advisors can establish themselves in this “category of one” in their target niche or neighborhood by:
- Being closer to your potential client such as by focusing your messaging on their pain points and appealing to their hopes, dreams and fears;
- Selecting marketing tactics and media that not only reach your neighbors but also are ones they are responding to; and
- Positioning yourself as an expert in your niche. If you are targeting high-income professionals, your marketing focuses on the unique problems and solutions this audience faces.
What not to do: You will achieve little if you focus on the same audience, with the same message, with the same tactics as all other advisors in town.
4. Move to the front of the line – Make competition irrelevant
When moving, you want your current house to be attractive to your target buyers to be able to sell it quickly at a fair price.
On the other side of the transaction, buyers want to set and stay within a budget without letting a choice property go to another buyer.
Consider: Are your office, services, communications channels, marketing and client content, type of employees you hire, etc. all tailored to the types of people who live in this ideal neighborhood?
With intimate knowledge of your clients, you are positioned to be the value-add advisor in the space. Make sure you advertise this fact to prospects and clients alike.
Part of your service model may be to under-promise and over-deliver by offering services that others are not doing nor advertising.
- For example, some advisors to ultra-high-net-worth families may tutor their clients’ kids or grandkids about making wise financial decisions.
- Some advisors to private business owners may become experts in selling or transitioning a successful, closely-held business.
Going above and beyond by offering services that are highly customized and valued by your specific audience will help create an emotional connection with your clients. This added value will likely multiply your referrals and your sales-close ratio.
5. Move ahead – Get going
Your move plan should include your schedule to sell your existing house, your plan to lock in on the house in the ideal neighborhood, and the details of how you will transition your belongings and life to the new home.
A plan will help you “schedule-in” success. Single out who will do what and when. Identify any gaps in your capabilities and hire advisors and vendors to get you to your destination.
Check back with your goals. Then, estimate how much in new fees or assets and how many new clients you want in the next year and map those to your plan.
Your 90-day marketing calendar is the equivalent of a move plan.. It is a visual representation of your primary marketing activities and different audiences.
Avoid the pitfalls of FSBO and hire the right marketing advisors
Many solo advisors or small practices make the mistake of trying to do everything themselves. That’s the equivalent of putting up a house for sale by owner (FSBO).
How often do those homeowners sell their house quickly and for the asking price? Rarely.
And too often those homeowners waste their time and struggle with worry and frustration. In desperation, they hire a professional to sell their home.
Have the right advisors in place to help you market and grow your practice. If you are primarily calling on digital and content marketing, for instance, you will need a marketing strategist – someone to create the marketing content to attract your market and to package your practice to engage your desired prospects and help to transform them into clients.
Pulling it together and moving ahead
Perhaps you still devote four days a week to holding your clients’ hands and updating their plans and investments.
One advisor, who created “marketing Mondays,” makes steady progress each and every week towards his goals. Soon he, not his competition, will be in the equivalent of his desired home in his ideal neighborhood.
Bob Hanson is the author of Marketing Power for Financial Advisors. Get his free checklist, 21 Ways Advisors Can Generate Leads, here.