Why Financial Advisors Should Offer Niche Services
Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.
One of the best moves you can make when growing your financial advisor business is to offer niche services. A niche service is an offering that focuses on one specialization within a broader market that your business can serve. It could mean that you focus on serving one particular type of client, offering a particular type of service, or offer a combination of a specific client type and service.
For example, at Crystal Marketing Solutions I focus on serving financial advisors, a niche within the professional services industry – not attorneys, architects, or IT consultants. And we offer full-service marketing and marketing consulting, not business operations or accounting.
Although many of the same marketing principles and best practices apply to a broader range of professional services, I choose to stick with financial professionals because we are experts in that industry. We could expand our services outside of marketing to become a one-stop-shop for financial advisory firms. But by focusing our service offerings on what we do best, clients are more likely to trust our experience and expertise.
Because we have niched our services, we don’t have to ramp up our knowledge about the financial industry or undergo extensive training every time we begin working with a new client. Instead, we can begin an engagement with confidence, steps ahead of a more generalist marketing agency.
Niching works for all kinds of businesses, including financial advisory firms. Many of my clients have found success by focusing to serve a particular market or offer specialized services. Here’s why this works.
How niche services help advisors grow their businesses
The power of niching is that it can help you differentiate yourself from the competition. You can be the best financial advisor in your area, but unless potential clients can identify the factor that makes you a better choice than your competitor, you tend to blend in and get overlooked.
Choosing a niche helps you create a memorable brand by allowing you to hone your expertise, which is a win-win for both you and your clients. You are able to offer higher value by giving consistent service to clients with similar needs, continuously learning, and sharpening your skill set through immersion in the trenches.
Niching also makes it easier to grow your network and generate referrals. You are able to identify centers of influence in your market and build solid relationships without spreading yourself too thin. Before long, you become known in relevant circles for working with a certain kind of client or addressing a certain kind of problem. If your friend complains of tennis elbow, you’ll immediately think to refer them to your orthopedist, not your dermatologist; that’s how niching can help your business.
The key is the ability to create consistent, clear, unmistakable messaging. Having a niche enables you to speak to the exact challenges, needs, and desires of the people you serve. Prospects will recognize right away that your financial advisory firm is one that works with clients like them. Every blog topic, social media post, workshop, webinar, video, graphic, or email series can be crafted with the niche audience in mind. You won’t waste your time muddying the waters with distracting marketing that doesn’t apply.
Claiming a niche makes it easier to get in front of audiences that need financial advisor services and reach the people you want to serve. Whether your goal is to be a podcast guest, conference speaker, guest blogger, author, or become a go-to quotable media source, a well-defined niche will make you easier to pitch and more attractive to gatekeepers, conference organizers, hosts, producers, and journalists.
Most importantly, choosing a niche allows you to love what you do. While you will need to ensure you are selecting a viable market, you get to pick one that actually excites you. You can choose to work with the kinds of clients that make you thrilled to show up at work in the morning, rather than the ones that feel like a drag. You can focus on what you find interesting and the areas where you are best equipped to make a difference. It can change the way you view your business and enhance your sense of fulfillment.
How advisors can choose a niche
If you are a financial advisor who serves a general mix of clients, you may be wondering how you can focus your business. You may even think it would be a mistake. After all, you don’t want to get rid of your existing client base or turn away business while you are trying to grow. The good news is, you don’t have to unless you want to.
Instead, you can pivot and begin shifting your business in a certain direction, gradually over time. You could also offer a niche program of services that branch off from your general practice, either to test the market or with no intention of making it your only offer.
Start by thinking through exactly how you want to specialize. Answer the following questions:
- What gets you fired up or brings out your passion?
- What are you most interested in or knowledgeable about?
- What kinds of clients do you enjoy working with most?
- What problems do you like to solve? What problems bore or frustrate you?
- Where do you see a void in the market? Is there a segment that’s being underserved?
Again, you are looking to find a niche that is not only viable but also one you would enjoy. The last thing you want to do is pick a market or service that isn’t big enough, isn’t willing or able to pay you, or isn’t a group of people that you truly want to serve.
Next, you will want to determine the type of niche you want to create. You could focus on a specific industry or profession, a particular phase of life, a set of interests, net worth, values alignment, or something else. The sky is the limit and you might be surprised by how creative the niche can be.
For example, you could be a financial advisor who specializes in working with public servants, academics, military families, entrepreneurs, women breadwinners, Christian households, professional athletes, first-generation immigrants, high net worth families, recent retirees, young professionals, medical doctors, married people without children, blue-collar business owners – you name it. If the niche makes sense, chances are there’s a market for it.
Niched services might include applying a framework, formula, blueprint, or roadmap you’ve developed for your target market to solve a particular problem. Maybe you work with recent widows to help them understand their finances, high-earners with big student loan debt, people who come into a sudden windfall or inheritance – whomever – and you walk them through your program to address a challenge they are facing.
Can you see how much opportunity there is in niching? It allows you to break away from the status quo and make a difference as you grow your financial firm.
The bottom line
The biggest objection to niching is that people are afraid to turn down business. They don’t want to turn off their current clients or turn away prospects. But the benefits tend to far outweigh the risks. As long as you are taking good care of your existing clients, they will not care about or even know about your niche offerings. And you still have the power to decide what new clients you will take on; you don’t need to turn anyone away.
Having a niche means having less competition. With consistent, clear, unmistakable messaging, well-honed expertise, and the respect and recognition you will be able to gain, your niche services are more likely to magnetize the clients you do want and repel those you don’t.
If you want to read more useful tips and insights like this one, sign up for our monthly email newsletter.
Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisers. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.