Here’s a quick compilation of financial advisor concerns we’ve seen time and time again. We’ll start with some obvious answers to the questions and later, provide some solutions.
A typical conversation goes something like this:
1) I can’t believe how much money I’ve wasted in marketing over the last 10 years.
Answer: We can; simply because we hear it all the time. This comes from people who have spent tens of thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars with no visible ROI.
When it comes to marketing, the single biggest mistake a financial advisor can make is to spend money on marketing without a clear and sustainable plan. Sure, there is some marketing you need. Things like business cards, a LinkedIn profile, a basic website. But, even these bring you nothing (and can actually have negative value) if they are done wrong.
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2) No one is completing my “free consultation” form.
Answer: No kidding. Typically, this is one of the least attractive and least used forms on an advisor’s website. The reason: Booking a meeting is a big ask – even if it’s free. It’s a major commitment to drive to an office and spend time with someone. Especially if you don’t know them and they’ve done little to ensure you that you are the one they should be talking to.
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3) I don’t have time to write articles.
Answer: Agreed (sort of). Advisors who can spend the time to sustain a weekly blog post are far and few between. It takes time and commitment to publish material. It’s also something that does not have immediate payback. Keeping a blog current with original content can be tough.
It may seem a little odd at first to think about a Blog as marketing but, it’s actually one of the best ways to get noticed in an extremely crowded landscape. If that isn’t marketing, then I don’t know what is.
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4) My marketing isn’t producing any referrals.
Answer: That is an extremely common problem. The common and uncomfortable end-of-meeting ask for referrals is seldom effective. Again – why is this under “marketing mistakes”? Because – getting more and better referrals is best way to grow your practice and how you market yourself or your practice is likely the single most important influencer in getting more referrals. If your top clients aren’t sending you more top clients, it’s most often because they are as uncomfortable asking as you are. Add to that the fact that they likely haven’t been shown how to ask. The “right” marketing makes it easy and comfortable.
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First – thanks for sticking with me. This article turned into a bit of a rant. It just hurts a bit when there are solutions that are “right there”. I could have added a dozen more top-concerns but stopped at these 4 since they are likely the most common.
1) With respect to past experienced with marketing:
That creates an ultra defensive and high-risk view of any future expenditure. It makes it interesting for people like us who are in the Branding and Marketing business since just about every client we’ve ever helped got burnt more than once before coming to us.
The solution however isn’t to stop spending money… the solution is to spend the “right” money in a tactical way that targets your most enjoyable clients. There are four strategic components to ensuring your marketing dollars are being used effectively.
The first step isn’t marketing at all… it’s branding. If you don’t build a presence (an aura even) that pinpoints who you are, who you want to do business with and most importantly why it is you chose that client base, you may as well throw your marketing money away.
There is no point spending tons of money inviting people to your party if the party isn’t for them. You need to look and feel different than all the other financial advisors out there. And, if you think being honest, having integrity, being knowledgeable, being trustworthy or, offering comprehensive service makes you different, you’re just kidding yourself. That is how 99% of the financial advisors out there try to position themselves.
You need to figure out who you want to work with and position your message(s) in a way that is compelling, intriguing and valuable to that audience.
2) Regarding your “free consultation” form:
If you complete #1 above, this will be a lot easier. There is a hierarchy of commitments you can ask for from prospects. Booking a meeting is one or the largest commitments as it involves time and the lack of anonymity. No one wants to be “sold to” and that is what a free consultation sounds like – regardless of the ubiquitous “no obligation”. You aren’t selling cars or real-estate. You are offering your time and expertise to potentially help them with their current or future financial needs.
The first and easiest level of commitment is to absorb your knowledge by downloading a paper, or reading a blog post, or listening to a podcast. The downloading part is easy and no-risk . You can collect contact information to nurture the lead later but, the less you collect and the more risk-free and anonymous you can make it, the more likely you are to get them to see who you are and what you have to offer – your wisdom.
If you do collect information, keep it minimal and make it clear that you will not spam them. It’s crazy how often people stop and don’t download something, even if they want it. Lots of people just provide fake or throw-away email addresses to get something if they have to provide an email address to someone they don’t yet know or trust. Sound familiar? Whether or not you choose to collect contact information for your free resources, the point is that this is the fastest and easiest way for prospects to start experiencing you.
The next least-intrusive way to get that first contact is through a webinar (fast, frequent and inexpensive) or event (expensive and infrequent). The point here is that it’s more of a commitment to “spend” time with you than it is to download something and absorb it at their leisure. This type of offer is likely a good next step once someone knows you a little already
All that to say, start the relationship on their terms with resources or offerings that require little commitment on their part. Ensure these resources add value and tell your story (not someone else’s).
3) About the time it takes to get your message out there:
Once you’ve accomplished #1 and #2 above, it’s time to get your message out there to the world. Blogging has a ton of benefits: from credibility, to Search Engine Optimization, to building trust, to networking to attracting leads. The unfortunate truth however is that it can take time and dedication.
One solution that is working for many of our clients is to podcast. The beauty of that is that it is easy, since most advisors actually know their stuff and are comfortable talking about it. If you can get someone to interview you, it’s even that much easier. Once the podcast episode is complete, the content can easily be transcribed. There are services out there that do that at minimal cost. That transcription can then be edited and turned into a blog post. Again, an admin or an external service can do that.
Don’t NOT blog because it takes time. Consider podcasting as either an alternative to or support for your blogging efforts. Not only is it easy…. It’s fun too.
Once your content is in place, get it out there through email, social media and media partners when possible. It’s no use keeping your brilliance a secret.
4) On referrals:
Once you have a clear message of who you are and who you work with… once you have a website that positions your uniqueness in a way that has value to the people you want to attract… once you have a base of articles, posts, papers that support that you are who you say you are… then, referrals become easy.
Think about having your top clients help you with your messaging. Ask them if the material you are producing has value to them. Listen to what they have to say and adjust when it makes sense. Once they understand the real value you provide it will be easy for them to introduce you to others. Make it feel natural for them. Give them a script in the form of a one-sheet to help. Vest them in your success and they will contribute to your success.