There are about one thousand different ways you can market yourself as an advisor. Even though this is a very positive thing - it can also be overwhelming! It’s tough to know which strategy to work on when there are so many different options. As an advisor (and, you know, a human) you have a limited number of hours in a day. That means you need to make every minute count. Wasting time on ineffective marketing strategies isn’t an option. So, what’s available to you? And how do you pick what works for you and your practice?
It’s not about you.
Well, it kind of is. You are marketing yourself and your expertise, after all. But selecting a marketing strategy isn’t about you - it’s about your clients. To find something that works for your business you need to identify where your people are - and then go get them! Finding out where your tribe is already existing is the first step to a successful marketing strategy. It opens up marketing avenues for you, and it also helps you to eliminate ones that simply aren’t going to work.
To figure out where your niche is hanging out (virtually or in real life) - ask around. Reach out to current clients or contacts you have in that group of people. Chat with centers of influence to figure out if there’s a Facebook group or a monthly meeting for a local alumni chapter. Do the legwork ahead of time so that you can focus your marketing time and money in an efficient way.
Know the classics.
There are some oh-so-obvious marketing tactics that have been beaten to death already. Of course, they’ve been beaten to death because they work. These tried-and-true marketing methods include (but certainly aren’t limited to):
- Networking events.
- Blog writing.
- Local chamber of commerce.
- Public speaking.
These marketing tactics are tried and true, but they all work for different reasons. In-person networking is a much faster form of marketing than virtual networking. So, attending a networking event or conference is bound to get you more warm leads than hanging out online and waiting for someone to stumble on your website.
That being said, you don’t want to entirely neglect your blog and online presence just because you’re focusing on some in-person networking. Everyone and their grandma is online these days - so you need to be there and be active, as well. I believe in a healthy balance of both virtual and in-person marketing strategies.
In-person marketing works - but only if you do.
In today’s virtual world we often forget about in-person marketing strategies. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t incredible opportunities! You just need to be selective with the events you choose to attend. I’ve harped on being choosy about networking or “lead meetings” for a long time - and that’s because some of them will be a total bust if they don’t focus on the niche you focus on. So, do some research. Determine who will be at the event, and why it’s beneficial for you to go.
The biggest piece of advice I can give you about in-person marketing is to build relationships. Whether you’re spending time with centers of influence or actual prospective clients, focus on forming valuable connections with individuals. It also pays to mention that building relationships with CPAs and attorneys who share your client market is also a valuable way to spend your time. These professionals can act as excellent referral sources, and vice versa.
As is the case with all forms of marketing, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Instead of just attending a conference - invest in a table at their exhibit hall. Offer to give a financial talk to a local residency program, or a seminar on 401(k) and company stock at a local business you’d love to work with. It’s often useful to “borrow” someone else’s audience in these situations. For example, I don’t usually recommend the old “rent a room in the library for a presentation” tactic. Instead, find an event or a group that already exists and figure out how to get in front of them.
Virtual marketing is good for both short and long term goals.
Many people associate virtual marketing with long term growth. In many ways, that is absolutely the case. A blog is an excellent touch point for a prospect who’s considering reaching out to you. A social media presence is a good way to stay in front of your clients to build the potential for referrals. But when was the last time you rethought your virtual marketing strategy?
If you’ve been trying the same stuff with no results, it might be time to add something new. You have so many options here it can be dizzying. There are blogs, social media, podcasts, webinars, email marketing campaigns, courses, DIY financial planning products, list building tools...and that’s just scratching the surface.
Short term marketing goals can be achieved through virtual marketing, but it involves some creativity. One of my favorite ideas is to create a community of your niche - where you’re a leader in the space. The easiest way to set this up is by creating a Facebook group for your niche. For example, create a group for young optometrists in the midwest area. You can encourage them to start discussions with one another and post a wide range of material there that addresses financial planning but also changes in their industry, work-life balance, and more.
This method works because you’re already viewed as an influencer in that space - since you solidified yourself as one. You also have an immediate list of warm leads with every member who joins the group. Not a bad situation to be in! This is, of course, just one of many out-of-the-box virtual marketing methods. Some other ideas might be:
- Doing a brief, weekly Facebook Live video where you answer questions.
- Advertising a webinar or live course where people can attend both in-person or online (hey - this combines BOTH in person and virtual marketing - nice!).
- Starting a YouTube channel if you prefer the look of polished, edited videos.
- Guest posting on other financial blogs and sites.
- Acting as an interviewee on someone else’s niche-relevant podcast.
The more engagement you can garner from a virtual marketing tactic, the more likely you’ll be able to convert those leads to clients. But make sure you’re picking something you enjoy. If you’re spending time on it, the fact that you’re enjoying yourself will shine through and you’ll find more success!
I keep repeating this because it’s important! Whether you’re marketing virtually or in-person, don’t be afraid to let your creativity shine through. If you love working with medical professionals, sponsor a monthly meeting or cater lunch to a local clinic or hospital unit. You can show up with physical marketing materials in hand, ready to chat about your services, while they serve themselves up some tacos.
It’s also worth mentioning that the more specific you are, the more likely you are to find success. You’ll be able to connect with other businesses or professionals virtually or in your area who serve your same niche. If you’re looking to do something in-person you could partner up with a local business and sponsor a 5k or another event. If you’re wanting to stick with virtual marketing, you can contribute to a giveaway or guest post about something financial (or non-financial) on a relevant blog, podcast, or publication.
During an XYPN17 breakout session, Carolyn McRae suggested printing your logo on water bottles and passing them out at a protest you’re attending or a charity 5K you’d like to support. She suggested finding a way to cross your interests with your marketing, and I completely agree. The more you enjoy your marketing efforts, the more you’re going to pour time and energy into them. Your awesomeness will inevitably shine through - and you have so much awesomeness to show off!
Don’t be afraid to switch it up.
If you reevaluate your marketing strategy and decide to try something new, don’t feel like you’re obligated to stick with that new tactic. Throw a few things at the wall to see what sticks. If it isn’t working, it’s okay to move on to the next strategy. Of course, give yourself some time to test a new strategy. But if you hate it, or the idea of blocking out an hour every week to blog exhausts you - don’t do it! There’s a reason so many different marketing options exist. It’s because we’re all incredibly different people, and you have to find what works for you.
You are in charge of your own financial planning practice. However you choose to market yourself is entirely up to you. I suggest trying out a few different things to see what works. If you find something you love that’s raking in clients left and right - stick with it! There’s an ebb and flow to switching up your marketing game - and different things will work for you during different seasons of your business. For now, try to find something that you enjoy and that’s effective.
About Arlene Moss, Executive Coach
Arlene gets a kick out of helping financial advisors get over being overwhelmed and take on their frustrations so their businesses soar. Arlene works to ensure XYPN members are able to help their clients prosper while creating a sustainable business model. Through XYPN Academy and one-on-one coaching, members get the support they need to grow their businesses and overcome the challenges that come their way.