8 MIN READ
Many financial advisors consider marketing a necessary evil. They realize its importance in creating brand awareness, supporting their business goals, and, of course, attracting prospects and successfully converting them into clients. But many also feel intimidated by the mere thought of marketing. From social media to content creation to SEO, there are so many topics to master and, even worse, it seems the rules are always changing.
So it's no surprise that when it comes to marketing their firms, XYPN advisors often have a lot of questions.
Where should I start? How will I know if my marketing is working? Do I really need a marketing plan?
Learn the basics of successfully marketing your firm—and find answers to all these questions—in our roundup of XYPN's best marketing blog posts.
8 Totally Avoidable Marketing Mistakes Independent Financial Advisors Make
How do you get better at marketing? By learning from your mistakes.
Or better yet, by learning from the mistakes of others.
Marketing your firm is one of the most exciting parts of owning a business (no really, I swear). But it's also very unlikely you became an independent financial advisor because you love marketing.
For many firm owners, especially those who are completely new to marketing, it also involves a lot of trial and error. Wouldn't it be nice if your marketing could involve more intentional trial and less unintentional error?
Lucky for you, it can. You simply need to know what major downfalls to dodge.
Email 101 for Firm Owners: How to Write an Email People Will Actually Read
With over half of the world’s population using email today, incorporating email into your marketing strategy isn’t really an option—it’s a necessity.
In 2019, it’s projected there will be an average of 293.6 billion emails sent daily. As for the average office worker, they alone receive 121 emails a day. That means just sending an email isn’t enough. You have to send a carefully crafted email that people will actually open and read.
Email is an oversaturated medium, but if you do it right, your current and prospective clients will actually be excited, not annoyed, to get your emails.
If you want to learn how to create emails that inspire people to hit “open” instead of “delete”, read on.
The Five Habits of Highly Successful Marketers: A Guide for Independent Financial Advisors
Why are some people better at marketing than others? And how can you be one of those people who's a cut above the rest?
The bad news is there's no magic recipe to become a master marketer. The good news is there are a few habits that set highly successful marketers apart from the mediocre (or just plain bad) ones; better yet, these habits can be learned.
For many independent financial advisors, marketing is mysterious, mercurial, and downright miserable. But it doesn’t have to be.
The most effective marketers have mastered five simple habits that help drive their marketing success. Sure, some are seemingly gifted with an innate marketing savvy. But most honed these habits over time—and you can too.
A Strategic Guide to Google Search Ads for Growing Advisory Firms
Consumers search online for financial advisors every. single. day.
In fact, according to Google’s Keyword Planner, more than 112,000 searches occur for either “financial planner” or “fee-only financial planner” during an average month.
So why not pay a few dollars to appear when the right person is searching for you?
Video Basics: How to DIY Your Firm's Videos the Right Way
In today’s digital landscape, video is a powerful medium for creating connection and sharing messages. However, most advisors don’t have a background in video production nor the budget to hire a professional team every time they want to talk to the camera.
That’s where DIY comes in handy. To do it yourself, it helps to know a thing or two. So, here’s a roundup of my top tips for every financial advisor who wants to DIY their own videos.
Why Advisors Should Use Tiny Marketing Funnels
Have you ever heard of a tiny marketing funnel? I’d be surprised if you had as they are my own creation. I invented tiny marketing funnels out of necessity after hearing from hundreds of independent financial planners about their struggles marketing their firms.
For many advisors, confusion, overwhelm, and blind attempts are the norm when it comes to marketing. Clarity, direction, and motivational curiosity are not.
Tiny marketing funnels are a great way to overcome the overwhelm and head towards clear action.
Before we explore how tiny marketing funnels can set you on the path to marketing success, let’s start with the basics.
10 Must-Haves for Your RIA Website
I’m not that old, but I remember being years into my career when my office first got internet service. The bandwidth was low, so we needed to ask permission to dial up and to justify each visit to the world wide web.
In those early days, I don’t recall ever needing anything online, so I mostly took a pass on cruising the “information super highway.”
I blinked and everything changed. My daughter got her first cell phone to access the internet in first grade. It was a hand-me-down with no service contract, but she could access everything a six-year-old would need via WiFi. She’s 13 now and high-speed video streaming seems to be a matter of life and death.
It goes without saying that our reliance on the internet has evolved. Now, I rarely sit down in a restaurant without first sizing it up online. And that’s only for the minor investment of a meal. For a major decision such as choosing a financial advisor, you can bet your potential clients are scrutinizing you and your firm online. Your website has an important job to do.
6 Hacks to Refresh Your Firm's Email Marketing Strategy
Email marketing can be an underrated element of marketing strategies, but did you know there are an estimated 5.6 billion active email accounts, and 49% of businesses are leveraging some form of email automation?
Like it or not, email marketing is here to stay, which means the competition for emails to be seen and opened in our inboxes is only getting stiffer.
Fortunately, there are many ways to refresh your email marketing strategy. Some of the tips below will only take a couple minutes to implement; others might require more time and attention.
Whether time-intensive and more complex or straightforward and simple, these hacks are sure to yield a high payout when it comes to a winning email marketing strategy.
How to Exceed Your Marketing Goals as a Financial Advisor
Goal-setting is a hot topic, and for good reason. Goals help us stay focused, measure progress, stay accountable throughout the year, and provide landmarks to celebrate incremental wins as we grow.
However, not every financial advisor has the same goal, and not everyone is confident the goal they have is the right one.
I recently hosted a live workshop to help XYPN members define strong, inspiring marketing goals for themselves.
There was resounding “Yes!” about one point in particular, so I’ve decided to give it some extra air time here.
No matter where you are in the goal-chasing journey, this tip has the ingredients you need to exceed whatever goal you're pursuing.
Want to know my goal for this blog? My goal is that the ten minutes it takes you to read this (and workshop your own answers) will be the best ten minutes you’ll spend all month.
How to Create a Brand Book for Your Firm
According to Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” It’s your reputation. It’s the way people feel when they think about your service or product. And your brand is a tool. You communicate your values and ideas to the world through your brand to find the people your message resonates with—your niche.
There are two key parts of a brand: the strategy and the identity. Your strategy and identity interact to create a robust brand.
Think of an iceberg. The portion we see—the ice above the water—represents the identity of your brand: your logo, your colors, fonts, and other visual elements.
The majority of the iceberg—the 90% that is underwater and goes unseen—is your brand strategy. This consists of your brand’s mission, core values, value proposition, and your audience profile.
Without these strategy elements, your brand has no foundation. It is just a lone chunk of surface ice floating aimlessly in the ocean.
18 Marketing Hacks for Independent Financial Advisors
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.
15 Free Branding Resources for Financial Advisors
Your visual branding is the first impression you make on prospective clients. It is key to establishing your brand identity, setting you apart from competitors, and creating a believable, trustworthy image of your business. In other words, your visual branding is key to helping you connect with your clients, both prospective and current.
Many business owners convince themselves that investing in visual appearance is unnecessary, or that it can wait. But your branding can take your business to another level simply by speaking to your clients’ interests, values, and pain points through design, imagery, and tone. Even something like the right choice of colors can influence a prospective client’s judgment.
While you may not have the budget to support a visual brand created by an expert graphic designer or brand strategist, there are so many online tools that can help you shortcut the process—and the cost—of building killer visual content without sacrificing quality.
5-Part Marketing Plan for Independent Advisors: Why, What & How
As an independent financial advisor, you’re like so busy that you barely have enough time for marketing. You might shoot from the hip, squeezing in time here or there to crank out a blog or post on social media. Is taking the time to put together an actual marketing plan really necessary? Before I get into the ‘why’ of marketing plans, allow me to digress for just a moment about what you don’t need.
I’ve seen many marketing plans during my time as a ‘marketeer’ with XYPN that have more bark than bite. They tend to be too fluffy, too basic, or too high-level to be useful on the front lines. Large companies have marketing plans with hundreds of pages including an executive summary, an analysis of the market situation, a SWOT analysis, and more. I wouldn’t dissuade you from working on any of those pieces if they’re meaningful to you, but keep this in mind: large companies have teams of people putting together their marketing plans and they spend at least a couple of months doing them.
The Independent Financial Advisor's Guide to Measuring Marketing
Recently, a friend reached out to me for a favor. She owns a growing small business and plans to hire her first full-time marketing associate.
“I don’t really know anything about marketing. Can you help me write a list of interview questions?” she asked.
I responded, “You don’t need a list. There’s just one important question.”
It’s true. You can size up whether someone is a legit marketer with one simple question: How do you measure the effectiveness of your marketing? Put another way… what are your KPIs?
How to Build a Great Website for Your Firm
A successful financial planning firm needs to be visible. Having a quality website is the best way to ensure that potential customers can find you, learn what you do, and request your services when they need them. You need to build trust with potential clients, and show off your credentials without being too brash.
Yet the idea of putting together your own business website can be intimidating, particularly if this is something you have never dabbled in before. But don’t let that put you off: creating a website is easier than you might think. The following tips will help you build a site that not only strengthens your brand, but caters to the ever-changing needs of your customers as your business grows and evolves. Here's how to rock your web build from start to finish.
How Marketing Can Help You Build a Firm for the Future
True or false: The best way to grow an advisory firm is through referrals. For a long time, the answer was “true.” But referrals are no longer the primary driver of AUM growth for RIAs. Not client referrals. Not professional referrals. Not any type of referral, period. The days of growing ad-hoc because you joined NAPFA and you get client referrals are a thing of the past.
So what is the best way to grow your RIA?
A great place to start is with your marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Basics: Automate What You Can, Manage What You Can’t
Content marketing is all the rage. Many advisors who’ve been at it for a while regard content marketing as one of the biggest drivers of prospects. As a beginner, however, it can be daunting to know how or where start. There are many moving parts and it can feel overwhelming. Luckily there’s a little thing called automation. How exactly does that play a part? And how much of what needs to get done can be automated? Let’s find out.
It’s incredibly helpful and liberating to understand the basic tasks involved with content marketing. Some core tasks can be automated and some cannot. In this blog, I will walk you through this key overview and show you what a beginner’s content marketing “machine” could look like. My high-level advice when building a content marketing machine is: automate what you can, manage what you can’t, and leverage one-on-one coaching when you feel overwhelmed.
Marketing Dollars Well Spent as an Independent Financial Advisor
After boot-strapping your way to wherever your financial planning firm is now, you’ve set aside some money for a marketing budget. But how are you going to spend it?
As a career marketer for start-ups, I’ve lived the dream of building companies (and marketing budgets) from the ground up. After an acquisition of one company, we went from boot-strapping to an open checkbook literally overnight. The new parent company splurged on billboards, radio ads, celebrity endorsements and more. If an advertising salesperson showed up at our door, we became their biggest customer. Spending was excessive and perhaps a bit reckless, but the suits upstairs wouldn’t have it any other way. For me personally, it was a great education. I got to try everything.
Based on my experience, I have a few recommendations for financial advisors on how to spend those first dollars allocated to marketing.
Are You Making These Top-of-Funnel Marketing Mistakes in Your RIA?
The top of your marketing funnel is that magical place where a potential client first discovers your business. You’ve set up the appropriate content marketing channels for your firm, such as social media and blogs, but are they working to drive clients into your RIA? If it seems like your marketing machine is not clicking, you could be making one of these common mistakes at the top of your funnel.
How to Focus on the Marketing Metrics That Matter
Your financial planning firm is up and running. You’ve got clients; you’re generating revenue. You know what technology you enjoy using, and you’re developing systems and processes to better run your business and serve your clients.
In short, you’re past just starting up, and the foundation of your financial planning practice is established. Now, you’re turning to higher-level tasks beyond simply starting and running your business.
This year, you want to focus on growing your firm and attracting new clients. It’s time to market yourself and what you do.
Tracking numbers, data, and metrics is a huge part of marketing. You need to know what efforts are working, and which aren’t a good use of time. Paying attention to marketing metrics can help you better understand what avenues actually generate clients.
But what metrics do you measure? And how do you weed through all the data to find the metrics that matter?
Content Marketing: An Intro for Financial Advisors
Financial advisors are good at many things. Marketing is usually not one of those things.
As an industry, financial planning tends to get stuck in the 1990s when it comes to marketing tactics. Many firms still play by the old rules that are becoming more and more outdated -- and that are failing to attract new clients. Other practices don't bother with marketing themselves to the wider world at all, and instead focus solely on client referrals to gain more business.
But the old rules are unlikely to resonate with the new generations of clients who are looking to hire a financial planner. The old way of marketing means that you buy your audience's attention. You purchase advertising or buy email lists. Then you create campaigns and try tactics to drive that audience to do something.
But when you want to market to Gen X and Gen Y -- two groups who are more skeptical of financial advisors than the original financial planning clients, Baby Boomers -- trying to buy their attention just isn't effective.
Financial advisors need to leap into modern business and understand the importance of content marketing.
About the Author
As XYPN’s Content Manager, Kelly Moorman is tasked with communicating the Network's value proposition to the world. For years, Kelly has helped organizations tell their stories in ways that inspire others to listen, and to care. Her penchant for a well-crafted sentence, good grammar, and clever wordplay has earned her the moniker “Word Whiz” around the XYPN office. She’s thrilled to share XYPN’s story with you and the rest of the world.