4 Proven & Easy-to-Execute Tactics to Attract Ideal Prospects
It’s easy to get lost in the service, administrative, and compliance side your business while pushing aside the work needed to attract the ideal prospects.
There are simple strategies and tactics that often get started and stopped over and over. It’s a cycle of marketing misfortune. Marketing is often the weak link in an advisors practice and it’s almost always the first “expense’ that gets cut or the first “task” that falls off the plate.
Ready to learn FOUR proven and easy-to-execute tactics, plus ONE critical strategy to help you attract more ideal prospects?
1. Invite People to Your Social Channels
Every time I speak with advisors, it amazes me how poorly they execute this simple initiative. Whether it’s a lack of belief in social media or online marketing, it doesn’t really matter. Digital networking is here to stay and if you’re not connected to everyone you should or could be connected to, you’re not properly maximizing this opportunity.
How many people do you know who you aren’t connected to? It’s a massive opportunity for your practice. Being connected socially helps you:
- Stay in touch with your network.
- Stay top of mind with your audience.
- Build your influence.
- Grow your brand.
- Expand your COI base and reach their audiences (referrals)
- Expand your Ideal Prospect base.
- Encourage and inspire Clients to refer more often and more easily.
- Ultimately, significantly increase referrals.
- Understand your audience segments and be in social networks they use.
- Use personal message when inviting.
- Value of your social network and treat it accordingly.
2. ‘Recommended List’ Social Inviting
Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all make recommendations for new connections for you. They do this to keep you inspired to continue to use their social network and to help you find new opportunities to expand your business. Respect these “connection recommendations” otherwise you may lose your ability to invite. If you play along and obey the network’s etiquette, you can grow your network by 10-50 new connections every month. It’s a quick and easy way to grow your digital network – just don’t abuse it.
While most social networks have abuse protocols in place they still want you to succeed. Do what they allow you to do and take advantage of their recommendations.
- I recommend only inviting 50-100 per week via LinkedIn.
- Twitter has no limits, follow as many as you wish and hope for reciprocal follows. ‘Unfollow’ when your ‘Following’ list gets too high. Twitter has a ratio of Follow-to-Being-Followed – stay within it.
- On Facebook, add friends of ideal friends.
3. Social Stalking
‘Social stalking’ is by no means new but it’s not often leveraged by the average advisor in their marketing arsenal. I’d recommend implementing a simple ‘social stalking’ tactics in your social media strategy.
‘Social stalking’ starts with finding regional and/or local influencers. Once you’ve connected with them, you monitor their online behavior. When you find a relevant social post you ‘like’, thoughtfully comment and share it with your network. Make sure to tag them or a subject in your comment, it helps you get noticed by their network and people interested in that subject. It’s a fantastic way to expand your reach and get noticed by your audience’s networks. You’ll ignite connection requests, perhaps slowly but, if done well, surely. I get 5-10 connection requests per month on LinkedIn. Social stalking may appear selfish but you’re also helping your target get noticed in your network. It’s a win-win-win situation; peer/you/prospect.
- Help Others To Help Yourself
- Add Value with Your Comments, Don’t Challenge or Embarrass
- Identify 10-20 You Can Monitor
- Share Comments @ 5-10 Per Week
4. Invite Guests To Your Podcast/Blog
Business is about relationships. The relationships you benefit most from are often with people who have influence with your ideal audience. In some cases they can add valuable expertise to your audience’s needs and other times they may be in completely unrelated industries. Obviously, the related industry experts and centers of influence are the real opportunity for you and your business.
When you’ve identified experts to follow and monitor, after having built up some credibility and rapport online, it’s a good idea to consider inviting the most engaged peers as guests on your podcast or blog. You can accomplish several key benefits from this: 1) extract expertise that educates your audience and promotes their business, 2) one posted, gives them a link to promote your podcast/blog to their audience, and 3) shows your audience how committed you are to adding value to your relationship with them.
- Use a thoughtful letter or email to invite local peers.
- Be aware of local influencers in case you meet them out and about.
- Help peers identify topics that will appeal to your audience.
- Package your podcast/blog professionally and make it easy to share
ONE PROVEN MUST-HAVE STRATEGY
A Compelling Brand
Who’d have thought a ‘branding’ guy would suggest the need for a compelling brand in attracting ideal prospects online? I preach this daily. It’s the single most important marketing strategy there is for this profession. Be seen as different, better or at least relevant (valuable to a specific audience).
A good advisor brand creates intrigue and establishes credibility quickly. Imagine the waste of money and time in creating and implementing marketing tactics without an appealing brand when they finally get to “meet” you. Advisors I talk with experience a lot of pain when they consider the wasted marketing efforts and dollars they’ve spent without a better story and image.
Sizing up Strategic Beta
Interest in strategic beta ETFs is rising. A few simple guidelines can help investors pick from among the often-bewildering number of options.
The number of strategic beta ETFs has grown at 20% a year, consistently in good markets and bad, since the year 2000. With good reason: Strategic beta ETFs offer a more thoughtful passive option than cap-weighted indexes—and they can do so with a more transparent process and lower fees than actively managed funds.
Bright future, dim past
All well and good, but how should investors assess any particular strategic beta ETF? Close to 40% of these funds have been in operation for less than three years. This lack of an established track record can make it hard to validate their claims. ETF sponsors may try to make up for that shortcoming with back testing, running simulations of holdings they might have had against actual past market performance, but that has its limitations:
Back testing doesn’t always account for fees, liquidity or transaction costs.
Back tests are “selection biased”—that is, back testers have a tendency (conscious or not) to engineer positive outcomes. Live outcomes are therefore likely to be inferior.
Too great a focus on recent history can lead to “driving in the rearview mirror.” While an index or ETF may solve the problems of yesterday well, an investor’s focus should instead be on solving the potential problems of tomorrow.
Three steps to an informed judgment
Because the indexes tracked by strategic beta ETFs are by design somewhat exotic, effective assessment of them calls for some digging:
- Investors first have to understand who the index designer and asset manager are (they may not be the same people). They should have a clearly expressed investment philosophy and the expertise to enact it in practice.
- The properties of the portfolio should reflect the investment philosophy. Not only does the transparency of ETFs allows examination of the holdings to ensure that this is the case, it also measures such as active share relative to a cap-weighted benchmark or turnover can indicate whether an ETF is performing as designed.
- Performance can also be used to confirm that an index is doing its job. While short-term results shouldn’t be given too much sway, the index designer should be able to explain when and why an index will perform and when it might not.
One key aspect of performance shared with traditional passive management is tracking error. Like earlier cap-weighted index tracking funds, strategic beta ETFs should have minimal tracking error to their own indexes. Beware, though, the tracking error to the benchmark can be large and dynamic, it is by this differentiation that strategic beta adds value.
Made to measure
Strategic beta does not defy analysis, despite its novelty. Indeed, it has a lasting advantage over standard active manager due diligence. Strategic beta, after all, is rules-based. What an investor sees in straightforward, well thought-out index composition rules is what the investor will get. In that sense, strategic beta is relatively immune to the personnel changes, style drift and index hugging that can challenge actively managed mutual funds.
Learn more about ETF due diligence here.
This document is a general communication being provided for informational purposes only. It is educational in nature and not designed to be a recommendation for any specific investment product, strategy, plan feature or other purpose. Any examples used are generic, hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. Prior to making any investment or financial decisions, an investor should seek individualized advice from a personal financial, legal, tax and other professional advisors that take into account all of the particular facts and circumstances of an investor’s own situation.
Opinions and statements of market trends that are based on current market conditions constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice. These views described may not be suitable for all investors. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investment returns and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. ETF shares are bought and sold throughout the day on an exchange at market price (not NAV) through a brokerage account, and are not individually redeemed from the fund. Shares may only be redeemed directly from a fund by Authorized Participants, in very large creation/redemption units. For all products, brokerage commissions will reduce returns.
J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the marketing name for the asset management business of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and its affiliates worldwide. J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Funds are distributed by SEI Investments Distribution Co, One Freedom Valley Dr., Oaks, PA 19456, which is not affiliated with JPMorgan Chase & Co. or any of its affiliates.
For additional disclosure
For a longer discussion, please see our recent publication Strategic Beta’s due diligence dilemma (J.P. Morgan, April 2017).
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