Why Advisors Need to Master Marketing and Branding

In this episode, I want to talk about three different, yet three interrelated scenarios for advisors. I want to talk about marketing, branding, and business development. Three things you all need to master and determining what the key differentiators are. So let’s get into it on today’s episode. When I started coaching back in the 90s advisors really needed to be marketers in the sense of personal connecting whether that was on the phone, networking or being in the center of the influencers. We didn’t really get into branding because back then all the firms did the branding. Today it’s a whole different world with the internet and social media. Advisors need to realize they need to master the marketing and branding game. This is a whole new development recently and I spend a lot of my time talking to my clients about this. The first thing we need to do is differentiate the three areas – marketing, branding, and business development. Let’s start with marketing. Marketing is really code for messaging including newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, video, audio, and anything you would put in an email. This is your voice. It’s getting your uniqueness out there in the space. Branding is what we call your storefront. It’s your website, your social accounts, they all need to feel and look the same and look top-notch. Your branding is really your first impression. Think about this about 10 or 20 years ago first impression was based on when somebody showed up to our office and they checked out our office and how we were dressed or what we look like. Today, it’s people hitting your website and they draw a conclusion based on what they see there. If your website looks like it’s stuck in the 1990s then you are at a disadvantage. The branding part you need to look at and see if it’s the best it can possibly be. Business development is our contact game. This is where you do your one on ones or you’re networking in a group, asking for referrals. You have three buckets and you need to master all three. Let’s talk about best practices in each one of these. First on branding your website when you look at your website are you proud of it? Is it current? Is it mobile friendly? Is it dynamic? Do you have the stupid ‘contact us’ tab which nobody ever fills out the form or do you have something that says book your introductory phone call and it’s linked to a scheduling application like Calendly, so you can empower your marketplace to go ahead and get some of your time. Websites matter! They really need to be your storefront. I had a client spend $10,000 on video shoots for his website, but when you look at his website you know that’s a team you want to work with. My point being years ago the saying was dress for success, you would start in your career and buy suits you couldn’t afford because that was the brand and image. Now days though you need to put money into your website, Facebook business page, and your LinkedIn account that’s all part of your brand. Ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 how your website is, how your LinkedIn is and how your Facebook page is. Look at each one of those and see where improvements may need to be made. Now let’s talk about marketing with your messaging and voice. Voice has some different elements to it. It could be video, audio, images, or text. Ideally, you want to put all these elements out on a regular basis. What I tell my clients is they really need to be out there every day posting on their social pages. Be posting daily some small content and weekly or bi-monthly where were posting larger content like podcasts or videos. Here is the key thing: do not confuse buying third party junk to original content. A lot of you I’m connected to you on LinkedIn or elsewhere and I’ll see the same content piece 15 times from different people. Remember marketing is about your message. What are you really trying to do here? What’s the outcome that we see happening? There’s a difference between corporate marketing and personal branding. You’re in the personal branding business and here’s why. People hire you because of who you are, not because of the name on your business card. I don’t care what the larger organizations are telling, they’re using you and it’s a lie. People hire you because of you. When you look at your marketing or your message/voice is that really truly your voice? Or are you just buying videos from some third party sources? Some of you have videos from other people and I don’t even know who those people are. Your marketing needs to be real, raw, and authentic. I understand that you have compliance and everything, but the key is you just need to plan. The message you want to put out today probably needs to be created three weeks ago. It’s doable, but you need to make the time to do it. I went to a mastermind over in Minneapolis and they were talking about Facebook and boosting your ad to your target market. One of the participants there made a powerful comment: “What you’re saying to me is for $100 I can take a 3 minute video, audio or blog post put it up on my Facebook business page and I can push it out to a target market and get 500 – 2,000 people look at it?” And they said yeah! Then he goes “Well that’s like the equivalent of doing 2,000 cold calls every day.” A lot of you look at your social media and are asking why you’re doing this stuff. If you’re just posting third party content out there it probably isn’t going to do a whole lot for you because it’s not your voice. People need to get a feel for you as a human being and a professional. Marketing is about rapport building and building that communication bridge. Once that bridge is built and they resonate with you then they’re more open to reach out to you when they have a need period. If your message is not doing that and is basically just information – remember the last thing we need is more information – it needs inspiration and guidance. If you’re pumping out the latest market update or what the latest economist says, first of all, nobody cares and number two is it’s financial pornography. I’d rather have you talk about a client situation or case study. I’d rather have a picture of you at a client event thanking all your clients being there and asking people to reach out to you. That is way more powerful than a market update that isn’t even yours. Business development really hasn’t changed that much, but the modalities have changed. I was talking with a client about following up with our client’s centers of influences or referrals and the first thing we usually want to do is call people. That is the worst thing you can do and here’s why. How often do you pick up your phone when you don’t know who’s on the other end? Even when you do know who’s on the other end, how often do you not pick up the phone because you’re just not in the mood to talk to them? To sit there and call somebody and try to parachute in is the same thing as in the 1950s with the door-to-door vacuum salesman. Business development today is done electronically. It is done via text, email, and direct messaging through our social apps. You do this so you’re not obtrusive and you make it convenient for the person to respond back. People in my age group can sit there and say you prefer the other way, but this is reality and your bank account is going to suck if you don’t get with it. This is a game. If the rules to the game change players need to adapt to the new rules otherwise they’re out of the league. You’re in that same boat. Our business development is going to be played electronically because that’s how it needs to be done. I’m not talking about taking a generic email and blasting it out to 50 people. That’s not contacting 50 people. I want specific notes, video bomb bombs if your firm allows you to do that, I want all these things done in a 21st century matter because that is the business and game. I’m telling you from the clients who have embraced that game they have seen tremendous results. Let’s recap this episode:
  1. Understand branding – you can not over-invest in that
  2. Your marketing message has got to be you. Make sure the content is your message and voice. Shoot a five minute video.
    1. My process over here is I shoot the video and we take the audio from the video and now we have a podcast. We then take the transcription and now I have a blog post. Then, we post all this to social media. I can do one thing (shooting the video) and get all these different medias out of it.
    2. It’s not that complicated to create content you just need to think differently.
    3. Promote the events you’re going to. Take photos and post about what you’re learning.
  3. Business development is our contact game
Our industry sucks at communicating everything that we do to stay on top of our game. How often do you communicate the conferences you attend? Your clients wonder what you actually do all day. There’s a lot of things we do, but you’ve got to promote them. It’s not going to happen if you just think about it – you need to go do. I hope this episode has been helpful to you moving forward. I invite you to join the Magellan Network for 30 days on me. We talk a lot about marketing and branding to help grow your overall business. So let’s go make it a great day and thanks for watching! Related: What It Takes to Be a Successful Advisor