12 MIN READ
Want to market your financial planning firm like a pro? You're in luck! I leaned on the "marketeers" of XY Planning Network, who have over 40 years of combined experience, to share some of our favorite pro tips.
Four of us marketeers on the team are tasked with marketing the Network to prospective members, plus one marketing guru assists XYPN advisors directly with marketing their firms. From Boston to LA, we're a dispersed team with no two in the same city and with very different paths to XYPN.
Many of our favorite marketing tricks and tips are things we picked up along the way, from coast to coast.
So, in no particular order, here are 18 marketing hacks we love, and think you'll love too.
1. Create Urgency with a Countdown Timer
If you need prospective clients or current clients to take action of some kind, consider using a countdown timer as a visual reminder of the deadline, like so:
Days Until #XYPNLIVE 2019
2. Size Accordingly
The first step to becoming a social media pro is easy: avoid looking like an amateur. A common rookie mistake is posting graphics or images that are incorrectly sized for the social platform, so part of the image is awkwardly stretched or cropped. Yes, each platform has its own optimal sizing. Bookmark Sprout Social’s Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes for quick reference. - Ivy Taylor, Design Specialist
3. Cheat Off The Smart Kids
Pay attention to advertising materials from other companies, whether or not they're in the financial planning industry. Listen to the messaging used, keep an eye out for trending design aesthetics, and look for themes among successful ad campaigns. Become a student of marketing simply by observing. Homework: start an "inspiration folder" of good examples in your inbox to get your brain churning when it's time to create. - Whitney Mitchell, Email Marketing Specialist
4. Offer an Easy Button
Be mindful when phrasing your calls-to-action (CTAs). Emphasize the end benefit rather than the work they must do. For example:Not Great: Build your monthly cash flow statement
Better: Download our free, step-by-step cash flow template
Remember, you're the guide who can make their life easier or better in some way and that's just what you must demonstrate to earn their business. - Carolyn Dalle-Molle, Marketing Coach
6. Purposeful Word Choice
While we're talking about messages, here's an important point: be purposeful in your word choice. Ask questions that prompt a "yes" response. Answering in the affirmative keeps your email reader, web visitor, or prospect engaged.
"Would you like to find an extra $500 in your monthly budget without having to tighten your belt?" Heck yes! Tell me more!
Another common tactic in both marketing and sales is using possessive words. When promoting a free download, consultation, or the like, speak like it's already theirs. "Download Your Free Template." "Choose a convenient time for your free consultation." - Carolyn Dalle-Molle, Marketing Coach
Leonardo da Vinci said it best, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Your aesthetic does it’s job when it leads to an action you want the audience to take. An unfocused brand look will only confuse your audience. - Ivy Taylor, Design Specialist
14. Give Away Free Content
As long as we're talking funnels, the cornerstone of an effective inbound strategy is the "freemium." Also known as a lead magnet, this tool is essentially gated content you offer in exchange for an email address or other contact information. Gathering contact information will allow you to follow up with web visitors and turn them into clients, but, keep in mind, your visitors will want something valuable in return! Create compelling and helpful content like an eBook, white paper, or infographic. See examples of freemiums on our Free Downloads page.
Provide a solution to your audience's pain points, then put that content behind a lead capture form. Although helpful, you don't need spendy marketing tools to pull off a freemium. Any web form will do the trick. Just be sure you have a solid process in place for delivering what you promise.
You may worry about giving away too much content for free. Rest assured, this is a great way to showcase your expertise and win trust, two essentials for an effective inbound funnel. - Kelly Moorman, Content Manager
15. Find Inspiration...or a Template
Stuck in a marketing rut? It happens to the best of us. Internet to the rescue! Behance is a great website to find design inspiration. No time to think about it? There are hundreds of pre-designed templates available on Behance or sites like Creative Market or Canva from designers who have already put in the time and built an entirely customizable template for anything you might need! - Ivy Taylor, Design Specialist
16. Develop Your Buyer Personas
Although I'm the newest XYPN marketeer, I'm already on board with the value of niching up. Not everyone wants your service nor does everyone need what you're providing, so save time, energy, and money by only marketing towards your ideal client.
To that end, turn your niches into buyer personas or avatars (semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers) and craft all messaging around these identities. HubSpot, the marketing automation platform we use at XYPN, offers a free tool to walk you through this exercise. The more you know about you're ideal clients, the better you can reach them and serve them. - Whitney Mitchell, Email Marketing Specialist
17. Create a Content Calendar
You know what they say: failing to plan is planning to fail. Without proper planning, content is more likely to fall flat, if not fall off your plate entirely. A content calendar provides a visual display of what, how, when and where your content will be distributed throughout the year. All you need is a spreadsheet to start mapping out your content strategy week by week. You'll quickly be able to identify missing pieces and when it's time to revisit popular topics. Perhaps most importantly, you'll have some structure for your ideas. Even if you're a solopreneur, hold yourself to your deadlines. (As they say, the worst part about owning a business is your boss is a jerk!) - Kelly Moorman, Content Manager
18. Crowdsource Your Blog
Are you struggling to maintain your blogging schedule? Short on time and on ideas? Been there, done that. In times like this, get by with a little help from your friends! Decide on a topic, then lean on your fellow XYPN members or other experts for a round-up style blog of tips or advice. Whether you ask your study group or put out a call in the members-only forums, you are sure to get enough responses to hit the 2,000-word recommendation in no time. Some members even submit requests via XYPN's media request portal. Shout out to Kelly, Whitney, Ivy, and Carolyn for bailing me out this time! - Jen Mastrud, Director of Marketing
About the Author
As XYPN's Director of Marketing, Jennifer Mastrud is tasked with sharing the movement at XYPN. Her expertise is in branding, marketing, and public relations. She’s as passionate about the XYPN message as she is about innovating new ways to share it. Before joining XYPN, Jen accumulated several years of experience representing national brands in diverse sectors including technology, gaming, TV, and education. She’s based in Minnesota, but travels frequently to warm up.