8 Ways to Start Marketing for a New Financial Planning Business
Written by: Amanda Romano
At Twenty Over Ten we work with a wide variety of financial advisors. Some are seasoned experts and others are just getting started establishing their practices. What we’ve noticed is that some independent advisors can be uncomfortable investing time, energy and money into their marketing efforts. The U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that businesses with less than $5 million in sales should spend on average 7-8 percent of their gross revenue on marketing.
Starting a new financial planning business can be a challenge for many different reasons but your marketing shouldn’t be. As a new financial planning business, marketing is key to building the clientele you enjoy working with and establishing your thought leadership in the space. Here are 8 ways to start marketing for a new financial planning business.
1. PURCHASING A DOMAIN NAME
Having a domain name gives you credibility. Few people will be willing to do business with a company that does not have one, especially in the financial services industry. At Twenty Over Ten you own your website content, as well as your domains. All Twenty Over Ten customers continue to own their own domain (and can manage their DNS accordingly). If at any point you choose to go elsewhere, you may do so without requiring to register a new domain or have to go through the tedious transfer process. You will always have complete control over where you choose to register your domains.
2. CREATING A WEBSITE
There’s no doubt that your website is the first impression new clients will experience. It is available 24/7, at all the hours that you are not. The website standards that applied for financial advisors just a few years ago are no longer going to cut it, yet the new standards are ever-evolving. A boiler-plate template with stock quotes says nothing about you or why someone should choose to work with you, yet you must still take industry regulations (such as compliance and archiving) into consideration. We specifically created Twenty Over Ten to introduce great design and accessibility into the financial services industry with a low-risk, affordable up-front cost (and no contracts). Our platform is the most comprehensive, allowing you (or us) to tailor your design, content, and structure to meet your specific voice and offerings.
3. SETTING UP SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES & SHARING
80% of financial advisors are using social media to market their businesses. So, the chances are if you’re not on there, your competition is and they’re dominating the market. Having a presence on social media can not only convert prospects into clients but it also increases exposure for your practice, fosters brand trust and establishes thought leadership. And best of all – it’s free! From Twitter to LinkedIn and Facebooksetting up social media pages can be a daunting task and there’s a right way to do it. Our social media StarterKit and Strategy+ packages were designed specifically for financial advisors. Whether your just getting started or have reached a social plateau, we can help.
4. REGISTERING YOUR BUSINESS
Registering your financial planning firm on sites like Google My Business, Brightscope, Credio and Yellow Pages simply helps your business be found. Registering on any of these sites takes a matter of minutes and will help bring additional exposure to your financial planning business.
5. STARTING TO BLOG
Did you know that those who blog regularly generate about 67% more leads? One of the easiest ways to get your unique message heard is by including a blog on your website, and then sharing those blog posts on social media. Our platform is the most comprehensive blogging and archiving experience on the market for advisors, enabling you to create diversified blogs, categorize posts, enable social sharing options and much more!
6. CREATING LANDING PAGES
Landing pages are one of the top underutilized tools by marketers, but why? Having a good landing page will allow you to target a specific niche and offer that audience something of value. We believe advisors should have unlimited access to marketing tools like landing pages. We believe advisors should have access to free marketing tools like landing pages. That’s why all of our landing pages work with the same tools and easy-to-use interface within the Twenty Over Ten app. You can easily add unlimited landing pages of any type to promote an offer, event or target a niche.
7. DEVELOP A FREEMIUM
Freemium’s are a popular marketing tactic used to draw customers to a new product or service by offering it free of charge for a limited amount of time or offering a free version with restricted functionality for an unlimited amount of time. However, offering a freemium on your website is a balancing act. If you offer too much for free, your conversion rate will be abysmal and if you offer too little, you’ll frustrate users who will never truly commit to your services.
8. HOST/PARTICIPATE IN EVENTS
Our final marketing tip for new financial planning businesses is centered around events. Events are a great way to create and maintain relationships placing yourself in front of qualified prospects and COIs. Hosting your own event can be a daunting task but by leveraging some of the above mentioned communication vehicles like landing pages and social media you’ll quickly be on your way to attracting attendees. Engaging in events throughout your local community also communicates to current and prospective clients your commitment to the community in which you work, live and play.
Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips
Written by: Shileen Weber
When the American Funds’ Capital Group asked 400 advisors last year to name the biggest issues they face in their businesses, it wasn’t the DOL, market uncertainty or the economy that sat in the center of the idea cloud of answers.
It was client issues.
At a time when regulatory concerns and market turbulence would seem to be at all-time highs, the advisors who answered the survey were most concerned about servicing their clients as well as ways to find new ones and grow their businesses.
It’s one of the ironies of the business, that the things most people find so hard to manage – creating financial plans, managing assets and staying ahead of events – are what advisors find to be the easiest parts of the business. Marketing - the business of selling themselves – can be the area advisors find the hardest elements to master.
In this age of instant communication, it can be even more intimidating to market your practice, especially to younger clients for whom many traditional methods like newsletters, postcards and phone calls don’t work anymore. For them, email is the preferred way to get information, and, if it’s important, they are more likely to respond to texts, not phone calls.
But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The digital age gives you access to ideas and content of all kinds you can use to touch your clients in a way that positions you as a valuable resource. The key is to keep it simple, stick to some basics and create consistent outreach that clients and potential clients are interested in and will appreciate you sharing with them.
Here is a common-sense approach you can take that will not require you to hire an expensive agency or take valuable time away from managing your clients’ assets and running your business.
Content is King
Create a content calendar for the year: Think about reasons to touch a client 13 times during the year – that can be once a month and on their birthday. (The common rule of sales is that it takes at least 7-13 touches to make a connection.) The number is limited and keeps you from inundating the clients who likely already feel inundated with content. You can take the seasonal approach – tax planning in the fall, January for account review content, college financing in the spring – and supplement it with topical events during the year. Creating a calendar will help you stick to a plan. Here’s one resource for a content calendar.
Review what content is already available to you: Basically, this means finding the resources you already have and determining what pieces will be most valuable to your clients. Start first by checking out content your broker-dealer already generates that you can personalize. Many firms have economists who write regularly about the market. That’s content you can pass along to keep clients up-to-date they would not have access to anywhere else. In addition to your broker-dealer, mutual funds, your clearing firm, and money managers are all excellent sources of informative and even analytical content.
Personalize the content you use: Add your name, the client’s name or some way to avoid making it feel like canned content that you are using just to check the outreach box. See what capabilities your email program may have to help you.
The birthday strategy: One advisor used clients’ birthdays in a new way. Instead of the card or lunch date, the advisor asked the client’s spouse for a list of friends he could invite to a birthday lunch and made it a memorable event that was also a soft approach to getting referrals.
Become a curator of good content: What your review will show you is that you don’t have to generate the content yourself. You can point clients to pieces you find insightful. You are likely already doing this every day just to keep yourself informed. The next step is to compile it and send out the very best pieces to your clients, again, with a note with your own thoughts about why you found it valuable.
Find out what is working and do more of it: Use your client interactions, in-person and online, to find out what types of content clients liked and any they didn’t. You can use tracking on your emails to see how many were opened as a measurement tool, but the personal interactions tend to provide more insight than raw data.
Be disciplined about your execution: Get help from an office assistant or schedule the time each month to do the content development and outreach. As any good strategy, if you make it a habit, it won’t seem so hard.
Most importantly, be yourself and be personal: You may want to regularly get personal by talking about your family and hobbies. The ultimate is if you can provide content that is personal to your clients, not just about their investments – they get that from their statements, apps and online portals. Think alma maters, hobbies, children and parents.
Of course, as a disclaimer, you have to make sure all content and communications are complying with regulations and the rules of your own broker-dealer.
The process of creating a plan will get you thinking about your clients in a new way. That exercise alone can re-energize your business and get you seeing marketing opportunities in places you may never have seen them before.
Shileen Weber is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at GWG Holdings. She was previously Director of Online Strategy and Client Experience at RBC Wealth Management, where they placed first in two JD Power and Associates U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2011 and 2013).
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