According to the Chinese zodiac, 2018 is the year of the dog.¹ I have no idea what that means for you or if you even care. What I do know about 2018 is that growing your practice will take a big commitment. Here are five ideas that work well when done together and in sequence.
START THE YEAR WITH THE RIGHT MARKETING MINDSET
Do it right
Stop silo-marketing initiatives that don’t create momentum and don’t last. Buy in to an integrated, long term marketing approach that will continue working for you for year. You can add or takeaway parts, but get focused on a strategy that will last.
Build for many years of success, not just the next 90 days or you’ll spend each 90 day segment starting something new with little momentum from last quarter. It’s no way to market and grow.
No short cuts
There are no short cuts. Do it right. Stop paying silo-marketers for shortcut marketing. List buying doesn’t work alone. Seminars alone won’t do it. Search engine marketing only works as part of a much larger strategy. Stop lead generations tactics that aren’t built around an overarching marketing plan.
Nothing comes without hard work and smart investing. Find out what makes sense for you, not necessarily what worked for someone else. 10% of your gross revenue should be dedicated to marketing every year. It may be more if you need to build your foundation (brand, website, social profiles).
Understand your true ROI
ROI isn’t just objective. It’s subjective. Don’t ever forget the value of looking good, being intriguing and making it easy for people to engage you. Too many advisors look for clear and simple ROI guarantees. The greatest wins are the subjective ones. Confidence to close. Attracting more ideal prospects. Inspiring referrals from COIs and Clients you haven’t heard from in a while. Attracting opportunities to network, partner or contribute.
In most cases, ROI is what you make of it, not what it does for you. Stop waiting for the leads to pile in, go get them with your brand, content, website, social network and more. Have a “go get ‘em” mentality, not a “when are they coming” mentality.
EMPLOY THE RIGHT FRAMEWORK TO BUILD TRUST
Own your story
Nothing is more important in financial services than having a story that differentiates you. In the least, it should clearly articulate who you serve, what you do, and why it’s important to them. Your brand precedes you. Your prospects experience your brand before they ever meet you in person. What’s your story? Are you different? Are you better? Who should work with you? Why should they care?
Prove your expertise and commitment
It’s not enough to say you are good, different or better. It’s everything to prove it and your ideal audience expect it. Show you care. Show your personality. Share your expertise. Make a commitment to creating and sharing content that tells your story and more importantly, helps them understand theirs. Prove your brand.
It’s not “build it and they will come”. Get exposed
Once you have a story, you need to get it out there in a meaningful way. Know where your audience is, find them and address them on their terms. Engage them in your story and your content. Get them to share your content with their networks. Expand. Find ways to target build your list. Use LinkedIn search. Find verticals and COIs who work with your ideal audience. Engage them too. Be everywhere you can be and as efficiently as possible.
SAVE TIME & MONEY
Stop “trial and error” marketing
Why try and fail when you can try and succeed. Find someone who’s had success with a strategy, not just a tactic. Will it work for you? Why did it work for them? Will your audience respond the same way? What hasn’t worked for them? Why? Do some research of find a firm that’s helped many different types of advisors find their way.
No more “old school” marketing
If “old school” only meant, build trust, that would be okay. What it means more often than not is trying the same things advisors did 15 years ago and expecting the same results. Old school thinks: referrals are just about asking, “free consultation” is a valid call-to-action, social media is a black hole, direct mail is personal, and seminars are purely educational. Marketing these days is about content, conversations and being everywhere.
Stop “I Hope…” marketing
Every advisors needs a strategy, not just tactics. How does your marketing work together? How do you create momentum? What’s effective and efficient?
Avoid SUNK marketing
Sunk marketing dies after it’s been used. Irt has no long-term value. Some examples are ads (digital, print), seminars (if you don’t follow up), direct mail (if it doesn’t lead to something else), emails marketing (if it doesn’t lead to something else), date specific content, and webinars (if it doesn’t lead to something else. The key is, does it lead to something else and does it have value once it’s been used? Some examples of lasting marketing: evergreen podcasts, videos, blog posts, published articles (if evergreen), and social profiles. Ten podcasts are worth more than 2. They add credibility to your cause. Digital advertising is gone once it’s done. Unless of course it led to content engagement where you can now initiate other marketing: social, email nurture, email newsletter, RSS to your blog/podcast and so on. The key here is to use “Old school” tactics and advertising to engage people in digital marketing, then you have something to build on.
BUILD MARKETING MOMENTUM – EVERY DAY
Get people coming back for more. Share content that your audience will use over and over. Make your content so compelling people want to come back for more.
Use every opportunity you have to get people to engage in digital marketing then eventually face-to-face opportunities.
Once people are engaged, stay in touch with them often enough and with appropriate content to further ingrain your expertise and commitment.
IMPLEMENT, IMPLEMENT, IMPLEMENT
Focus on progress over perfection
If you’re waiting for the perfect website, the perfect paper, the perfect article, the perfect value proposition, you’’ll be missing out on more opportunities and the learning that comes from implementation.
Do what you can and build from there
Start small and focus on building momentum versus only using attraction tactics. Build your brand first, then your website, then your content, then start attracting.
Outsource when needed
You can’t do it all. You don’t have time and you won’t know how to maximize each strategy/tactic. Find help for what you don’t know or aren’t efficient at.
Keep your marketing and relationships as simple as possible. Advisors often have 3-5 marketing vendors working for them at any given time. Start from square one, what’s your strategy? How can you simplify implementation? Can you find one or two vendors instead of 5?
Make sure someone on your team is holding you or others accountable. Too many advisors ignore what’s working or not and wait too long to address the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness.
Be aware of obstacles that steal your focus and keep you from starting or implementing better marketing. One of the most common obstacles advisors face is the “I already invested in this” mindset. If you invested and it didn’t work, don’t stick with it just because you spent the money. Fix it now. If you spend too much time writing blog posts that drain the energy out of you, find another way. Try podcasting for instance. It’s much easier. If you don’t have the right technology to be efficient, find a way to get it. If you have a marketing assistant who doesn’t have the right digital skills to help you, find someone who does or enroll them in our Marketing Assistant Course.
The bigger your marketing commitments are, the harder they become to manage and sustain; both financially and time-wise. It’s best to be really good at a few marketing tactics that work really well together than to be spread too thin.
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
1 – The Chinese regard a dog as an auspicious animal. If a dog happens to come to a house, it symbolizes the coming of fortune.