7 MIN READ
A handful of professional fields have changed so radically over the past couple of decades to make those who were previously experts feel like they need to go back to school—let alone those who didn’t have a degree in the first place. Marketing is an incredible example of this. Newspaper and phone book ads used to cover the entire marketing strategy for some businesses! Oh, how times have changed for us marketers, and how quickly.
Marketing trends can go in and out of style faster than “gurus” can make new Facebook ads promoting them. We know it can feel really hard nearly impossible to keep up, or to know which tactics are worth keeping up with in the first place. Trust us—we get it, and we’re here for you. One of the most valuable things we can help with is cutting through all the clutter and getting down to practical tips and advice that will help you gain traction with your ideal clients.
That’s why earlier this month, XYPN’s talented Director of Brand Communications, Kelly Moorman, and I had the privilege of talking about some of our favorite marketing tactics in our 30 Top Marketing Hacks in 30(ish) Minutes webinar. We're apparently pretty passionate about marketing—30(ish) minutes quickly turned into 50(ish) minutes, which didn’t give us a lot of time for Q&A. But, as it turns out, repurposing content is a pretty solid marketing idea (who knew?), so it wasn’t hard to convince Kelly and me to address the questions through this blog.
If you missed the live event, I encourage you to check out the recording of 30 Top Marketing Hacks in 30(ish) Minutes. It’s available for free to anyone willing to listen to my recorded voice (is it just me who cringes hearing themselves talk?). Nonetheless, grab a pen, paper, and maybe a snack, as here are your most burning marketing questions answered.
1. What’s the best ‘bang’ for my marketing buck?
Katie: We see this question a lot in marketing. Just like no two advisor firms are identical, what works for one in terms of marketing may not be the most effective strategy for another. Before investing in marketing techniques with higher price points, I encourage you to implement some of the free or low-cost tactics we discuss in the webinar. Experiment with a handful of those options, track and report on the results, and then make decisions about where to invest dollars based on what is getting traction with your target audience. The key takeaway here is tracking and reporting—if you’re not tracking your results, you won’t know what is effective for you and what is a waste of your money. And reporting doesn’t end when you determine where to invest marketing spend. You should always track your marketing efforts so you can continue to monitor and make adjustments.2. How do I truly know if my written materials are being received favorably and converting to interest?
Kelly: To measure effectiveness, attach all blogs to a lead magnet or email capture opportunity like a blog subscription. Creating these conversion goals allows you to actually measure what content is driving conversions (contacts downloading your content or signing up for emails) versus what content is not. I strongly suggest setting up Google Analytics (if you haven’t already) and regularly looking at the data to see who is showing up where. The important thing here is the trend. As you continue to write, you should see readers and visits rise. You can use Google Analytics to see where traffic is coming from and monitor interest. Additionally, you can use social share links or embed click-to-tweet links in your content and see what engagement and traction you get through those.3. If I’m not a writer, how do I know who to trust when outsourcing this piece of my marketing.
Kelly: First, you don’t have to be a writer to be a marketer. Writing is not the only form of content. If it’s not your thing, that’s okay. In the webinar, we cover several forms of content marketing that can be just as powerful for your firm—without a heavy writing lift. Video, for example, can be a powerful tool in allowing your authentic self to shine through.
If you’re at the point where you are hiring marketing help, be sure you know what you’re asking for. I often recommend someone who has editing credentials versus solely writing. Someone at that stage of their career has mastered the art of writing and can actually improve the work of others. I encourage you to have brand standards established—this isn’t just valuable for contractors but for your firm in general as you think about maintaining and building a consistent, cohesive brand. Clearly define the voice and tone of your firm, and have “discovery” meetings with your writer that are entirely focused on them understanding that voice and tone.
Katie: It’s important to remember a contractor is an ongoing relationship—you need to think of them as an extension of your team. This means keeping them updated on the evolution of your firm so that they can be true to your brand.4. How do I address having different client avatars within the same small RIA?
Kelly: It’s absolutely okay and normal to have multiple client avatars! My biggest piece of advice is to ensure you’re creating diverse content that speaks to all of them and you’re creating experiences that aid each persona in their journey to becoming a client.5. Will my key avatars turn away other business that might fit my niche? How do I focus on niche but not so much to preclude other viable, fitting clients?
Kelly: That’s a huge fear a lot of advisors have, and it’s a big reason they don’t end up narrowing down a niche. Targeting is the single most critical element in your marketing, no matter the strategy. If you try to be everything to everyone, you won’t be anything to anyone. So choosing a niche (and then defining your client avatars) is undoubtedly one of the smartest business decisions you can make.
If you’re identifying your personas correctly and defining them well, you will connect with the people you want—and you'll repel the ones who aren't the right fit, saving both you and them time. The best marketing is as much about repelling the wrong clients as it is about attracting the right ones. It’s a waste of time and resources to nurture relationships with people who are a bad fit for your firm.
Katie: Kelly gives a great summary of XYPN’s benchmarking data related to niches when she covers this topic in the webinar. I won’t do it justice, so I’m not going to try, but I’ll say this—defining a niche is a play for long-term success. It’s a little like the tortoise and the hare. Firms without a niche may start off more quickly, but those with a niche end up (big) winners as their firm matures.6. What works the best to get your name out there and build a reputation in a local market of 200,000 people? Social media advertising just seems like there is no ROI. Are referrals and networking still the best way?
Katie: Word of mouth is still the Queen when it comes to driving business. Get involved in your community, attend networking events, focus on building your COIs. Try different avenues of connection and track where referrals are coming from. If you’ve done the legwork on creating your personas, you can use those to inform you about where your ideal clients will be. With a shift to more virtual workforces and events, networking opportunities may look a little different, but there is no shortage of ways to connect.7. What are your thoughts on a good, old-fashioned newsletter sent via regular postal mail?
Kelly: I think it’s a great thing to try! We sort of think about snail mail as being antiquated, but in a way, it’s now quite unique and unexpected because we live in such a digital world. As a result, you stand out.8. How much should I be paying for SEO?
Katie: With Google continually changing their algorithm, you can’t really buy your way to the top anymore. Creating keyword-rich content through blogs, transcribing your podcasts or videos, and cultivating legitimate linkbacks are going to be more effective ways to drive traffic to your site and improve your search engine location. With the changing landscape of SEO, set realistic expectations both in the time you invest and what you plan to get out of your efforts.9. What are the best “plug and play” ways to plug content into LinkedIn and Facebook. I want to market my firm, but I don’t know what to write.
Kelly: When it comes to marketing your firm, authenticity is key. If you’re already blogging, have a podcast, or are using video, I’d encourage you to repurpose that content on social. It can be short and sweet with a link—share press, ask a question, share an interesting article with your opinion on why it’s a great piece or worth the read. I’m not the biggest fan of canned content because I think it skews inauthentic. I think you’d be better off spending money on a ghostwriter or editor who can create on-brand, authentic, unique content for you.10. Any tips for marketing fees on your website?
Katie: I love that you’re asking how to include fees effectively vs. asking if you should include fees (spoiler: yes, you should). Including your fees is about more than transparency—it’s an opportunity to frame the value your services provide. If you’ve built your personas, you’ve laid the groundwork for speaking directly to your target audience. Your client avatars should include pain points, motivations, and objections for your ideal clients. Craft the content for your page to address how you and your firm are perfectly positioned to address those areas of concern. Speak to the objections you know they might have and lean into the reasons they are evaluating a financial advisor—after all, it’s already a win that they are on your site. And remember, this is as much about selling your value to your ideal clients as it is about disqualifying your anti-personas, prospects who aren’t a fit for your firm.
We hope our answers here made up for the wait between now and the webinar and that you can find ways to implement this advice in your firm. The services and expertise you have to offer your ideal clients are incredibly valuable and have the potential to enrich their lives—it’s up to you to make sure they know about them! Approach your marketing with this in mind. You’ve got the good stuff, now go and tell the people who need to know about it.
P.S. Don’t miss this one! Our free April webinar is going to be a real treat—XYPN CEO and Co-Founder Alan Moore will be sharing with us everything he wishes he knew before starting a business. Register here.
About the Author
As XYPN’s Marketing Systems Administrator and former Webmaster, Katie DeMars plays a major role in communicating XYPN’s value proposition to the world through digital mediums. Her career experiences span marketing and web roles giving her a unique perspective when approaching each project. Katie is passionate about creating exceptional virtual experiences and is excited to share XYPN’s story through digital platforms.