Being a financial advisor is pretty close to owning your own business. If you work at a big firm, they supply an office, sales support and technology. In exchange, “a piece of the action” goes belongs to the firm. RIA’s have effectively eliminated the middleman, actually running their own business. There’s lots of competition out there. How do you promote yourself without spending lots?One of your big concerns is Compliance. Many clever ideas are likely greeted by “Not going to happen.” Writing articles and becoming a subject matter expert isn’t going to happen.Let’s look at five ideas:
1. The community event
Tax time is coming. People discover they’ve got all kinds of records they don’t need anymore. They are terrified of putting them in the trash. This stuff needs shredding. One of the RIAs in our area hired a company with a mobile, truck mounted shredder. It was a community service type event. They put up a big banner by their office. They sent announcements to the local papers. They promoted it online, e-mailing clients to bring unneeded paperwork. They were encouraged to invite their friends, too. The RIA’s advisors and staff were on hand to meet, greet and help people on that Saturday.
2. The different wrapper
You belong to a community group. They are concerned about social issues. They have a community outreach program, including activities like lectures open to the general public. You find a compliance approved presentation on something like “socially responsible investing.” The topic must align to the objectives of the organization and be public service in nature. You suggest that as a topic for the group’s “series” with you as the speaker. The group promotes it through press releases and social media. Years ago, I saw an advisor’s topic make the front page of the local paper, because it was an activity presented by the non-profit.
3. Feed them
A local RIA firm would do “meet and greets” for clients. Once a quarter, they would do an interesting food and beverage pairing in their conference room. The event was open to clients and their guests. Since its local, people attending usually saw familiar faces. Although the advisors brought in a mutual fund or money manager to help with costs, I think the advisors put up some money too. The quarterly events become popular. Clients look forward to them, wonder what the theme will be and who they intend to bring.
You’ve seen “adopt a highway” signs. A person or a firm takes responsibility to pick up trash along a mile or so of roadway on a certain schedule. A sign is posted along the road with their name. Think about how many cars pass along that stretch of roadway every day during commuting time! Drivers see your name twice a day, day after day. It speaks to public service. People remember your name and associate your firm with doing something good for the community.
5. Public Television Fund Drives
We know public television needs to raise funds from viewers through an annual membership campaign. They often have banks of phones staffed by volunteers. These on camera volunteers often come from a single firm. They are wearing matching company shirts. They might have a big banner in the background. They might be interviewed on camera. You give up some time to do something good. Lots of people see you.There are ways to get your name out there that don’t cost a fortune!
Related: Why Investors Should Pay for Advice