Building a financial planning business can entail plenty of challenges, not the least of which is deciding how to market your new firm. A solid marketing strategy can catapult your business to success while a weak marketing plan may leave you struggling to stand out among the competition. Effectively marketing financial planning services starts with understanding who you want to serve and shaping your plan around your ideal client.
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Importance of Marketing for Financial Planners
Anyone in business has likely heard the sage bit of wisdom that ‘if you build it, they will come.' While that's not bad advice, it's not foolproof either.
Why? There's so much competition in the financial services industry that it can be difficult to get seen without a concrete marketing plan in place. Simply putting up a website for your financial planning firm isn't enough; you also have to do the work to bring prospective clients to you, at least in the beginning.
Marketing can help you develop your brand as a financial planner and increase visibility in the marketplace. Brand recognition and awareness can be critical for building trust with your audience and conveying your firm's unique value proposition. That could help you acquire more clients, which can in turn generate more leads if those clients trust you enough to refer you to friends, family members or coworkers.
While you might be concerned with working out the legalities of establishing a new financial planning business on paper or obtaining the necessary funding you need to open the doors, marketing is not something you can afford to neglect.
Strategies for Marketing Financial Planning Services
The most important thing to remember when developing a marketing plan for a financial planning business is that you'll need to figure out what works best for you. With that in mind, here are some tried-and-true strategies for marketing as a financial planner or advisor.
Start With a Self-Evaluation
Before creating a marketing plan to grow your client base, it's helpful to first establish your starting point. That involves doing some analysis to better understand:
Who your biggest competitors are and how they're marketing financial planning services
Where your strengths and weaknesses lie, relative to your competitors
Who your ideal client is and what type of buyer persona they project
What message your branding conveys with regard to what you do and why prospective clients should care
Knowing your client is perhaps the most important part of a self-evaluation. If you don't know who you're trying to help or what their biggest pain points are, it's likely going to be more difficult to fine-tune your marketing message or determine where to project that message online so that it's seen by the right people.
It's also a good idea to evaluate any tools you might already have in place that you plan to incorporate into your marketing plan. That might include a company website, blog, email list or social media accounts.
When evaluating these tools, ask yourself how consistent your branding is across each one. Also, consider how user-friendly they are. A website that takes too long to load, for example, could lead people to click away and miss out on the valuable message you're trying to share.
Set Your Marketing Goals
Once you've done the initial groundwork you can move on to setting some goals for marketing your financial planning business. You may start with some broad goals, and then narrow them down to make them specific and actionable.
For example, your initial goals for marketing may include:
Acquiring new clients
Driving traffic to your website
Gaining new followers on social media
Those aren’t bad but you'll need to narrow them down. For instance, instead of saying that you want to grow your social media presence, you might specify that you want to gain 1,000 new followers on Instagram or TikTok if you're marketing on those channels. You might also set a goal to acquire 20 new clients within the next six months.
Once you have a goal in mind, you can then lay out a plan for achieving it. For instance, if you're hoping to get your first 1,000 followers on TikTok your marketing action steps might include spending time on the app to get a better understanding of what type of content gets the most views, likes or shares, brainstorming a list of content ideas and creating a consistent schedule for posting.
Develop Your Content Strategy
There are a number of different types of content you might produce when marketing financial planning services. The options include:
Social media content
Webinars or online workshops
While papers or in-depth research papers
Having so many choices can be a little overwhelming if you're just getting started with marketing as a financial planner. You may benefit from focusing on one type of content to start, then branching out to try your hand at other forms of content creation.
One thing to keep in mind regardless of the type of content you're creating is search engine optimization or SEO. SEO encompasses a number of techniques but what it comes down to is this: Making content that can be easily found in search engines.
With so many people using online search to access financial information and connect with financial planners and advisors, spending time learning about SEO can be a worthwhile investment. You may also consider hiring an SEO expert to evaluate your website or marketing content and offer advice on how to improve it.
Remember that any content you create should reflect your branding and your unique value proposition. The message you send to prospective clients should be consistent and immediately tell them what it is you bring to the table. Prospects may need to be told what you can do for them multiple times in order to be convinced to try your services.
Leverage Existing Audiences to Market Your Business
Creating your own website and maintaining social media channels or an email newsletter are all ways to get your brand out there and build an audience. But the reality is that doing all of those things yourself can be time-consuming and exhausting and it may take a little while for your efforts to begin producing fruit.
If you don't have the means to outsource some of those activities or you're not yet seeing the kind of results that you'd like, you might consider looking into opportunities to leverage an existing audience as part of your marketing plan. For example, that might include:
Being a guest on a podcast that has an established following
Writing a guest article for a popular website whose readers represent your target client base
Taking part in an online webinar or workshop as part of an expert panel
Getting quoted as an expert in media outlets, which can help build your credibility
Collaborating with other financial professionals or publications in the financial space can help put your business in the spotlight. Even if it's only for a moment, you may still be able to reap significant benefits from the extra exposure.
Track What's Working (and What's Not)
Marketing as a financial planner may have ups and downs and it's important to focus your time, energy and money on things that produce results. Keeping track of each strategy you implement and tracking it in measurable ways month to month can offer some insight into what you're doing well, where you may need to adjust and what you might want to spend less time on.
Some of the metrics you might track include:
New email list subscribers if you're trying email marketing
Number of press mentions
The most important metric, of course, is conversions. The best and most effective marketing strategies are the ones that help you to gain a steady stream of new clients. If you're spending time and money on something that isn't helping you to get those valuable leads, you may want to dial back your focus on in that area.
You may also consider simplifying lead generation to drive better results. Using an online lead generation tool like SmartAdvisor, for example, can help bring qualified leads to you. That could free up time you could spend serving your existing clients and scaling your business.
Marketing a financial planning business usually means going through some trial and error. Taking time to research different tactics, understand your clients and hone your brand message can increase your chances of seeing success at a comfortable pace.
Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business
Getting referrals can help you to grow your advisory business but online search can be an exceptionally valuable addition to your marketing plan. The more visible you are online, the easier it may be for clients to find you. If you don't have a lot of time to spend on launching a digital marketing campaign, you might let a tool like SmartAdvisor do the work for you. SmartAdvisor is an online lead-generation tool that can help bring clients right to your inbox.
Social media is a critical element in any online marketing plan. Developing an effective approach for social media marketing means knowing where prospective clients typically spend their time online. Identifying the channels they visit the most can help you better shape your social media content and messaging. If you’re unsure where your clients spend their time, sending out a simple survey is an easy way to find out.
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