Own Your Space: A Three Step Marketing Process for RIAs

Attendees at the Fidelity Inside Track Conference final stop in New York City were given a 2-for the-price-of-1 value.

Kristen Johnson, vice president of marketing for Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions , presented both a Part I refresher and the latest installment of ‘Own Your Space Part II: Stand Out in a Crowded Market’.

The practice management session emphasized the need for RIAs to stand apart in this competitive market. Kristen detailed a step-by-step “how to” process for building a powerful narrative to tell your own story. The primary focus on messaging and website strategy to better capture the attention of a target market.

Part I refresher, ‘Own Your Space’ approach consists of three-steps aimed at taking client acquisition strategies to a new level:

1. Be specific about who you serve . It’s hard to have a compelling message that really resonates with investors if you say you are serving individuals and families broadly. Defining a narrower playing field and creating areas of specialty can provide the opportunity to relate to your target audiences in a more personalized manner.

2. Customize messages . In essence “Know Thy Customer”. If you are targeting business executives, they may be receptive to a message about maximizing the value of their stock options and minimizing taxes. Likewise, if you are targeting young parents, they may be interested in a message about how to pay for day care and/or the benefits of 529 plans.

3. Maximize impact with multichannel marketing . Savvy marketers use a combination of offline and online initiatives to help build the business. Among other things, your firms’ outreach activities can include events, blogs, online ads, and emails. Also, explore social media as a valuable approach for adding new clients.

Part II continued with the art of defining your firm’s ‘why’ or ‘core purpose’.

“[It’s] the organization’s fundamental reason for being. An effective purpose reflects the importance people attach to the company’s work—it taps their idealistic motivations—and gets at the deeper reasons for an organization’s existence beyond just making money.” Built to Last, Successful Habits of Visionary Companies – Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras

The three essential questions that all RIAs should have answers for are:

  • Why were we founded and live each day?
  • Why is what the firm does important?
  • Why does it matter to us?
  • These are questions that require deep examination and introspection. Exercises were provided for you to get started in this process:

  • Ask your team members to write down their elevator pitch. Are they consistent? What can be improved/changed to better resonate with your target clients?
  • Schedule a team meeting to discuss your: Why, Who, What, and How. Combine the most authentic and compelling responses to craft a great firm story
  • Ask each member of your team to write a short client story that demonstrates your value/approach. Share them in a team meeting, and document the best ones.
  • Pretend that you are your ideal target client visiting your website for the first time. Would they reach out to you? What can you improve on your site to really speak to them?
  • Visit 5-10 competitor websites and identify opportunities for you to enhance your message and website presence vis-à-vis theirs.
  • Just as you help clients establish a plan for their financial future, a marketing plan is the foundation for your overall growth and future. However, for the same reason individuals put off creating a financial plan, many RIAs don’t have a marketing plan – they find the hardest part is just getting started!

    For additional ways to approach your marketing, read my A Procrastinators Guide to Marketing: 6 Steps to Get You Started article.

    I hope you’ve found this helpful. Please feel free to reach out to me if there’s any way that I can help you or provide clarity to your marketing efforts.