Advisors ask me every day, “What should I be doing with my marketing?” The truth is that “should” is a relative term. The answer depends on two things:
- What are your marketing goals?
- How much are you willing to put into your marketing?
Similar to attending a conference or working out with a trainer, you can expect to get out what you put into your marketing, as long as you use resources in an effective way. Because we know what works in marketing for financial advisors today, the outcome is a function of the goals you set and the time and energy you put towards those goals.
If you would like to grow your AUM by 15% next year, I recommend investing at least 5-7% of your revenue into your marketing budget. However, if your goal is to help support your referral process and double your referrals next year, putting 2-3% of your revenue will likely suffice.
Most advisors understand that marketing is important, but many have been burned in the past by marketing “experts” and expensive schemes that did not deliver results. For this reason, many want to build their marketing plan slowly over time. If you’re looking to create your ideal marketing plan, here are the most important building blocks, in order of importance:
1. A BRAND THAT CREATES TRUST
Your DBA and logo affect all other aspects of your marketing. Creating a brand that speaks to your specific niche makes all of your other marketing efforts more effective. At the heart of your brand is your logo. It’s mission critical to have an updated logo that inspires trust.
Consumer brands update their logos every 3-5 years to stay current. If your logo is cluttered or busy, get a new logo. If it’s outdated, a facelift will only cost you a few hundred dollars and will go a long way towards improving your overall brand. Cost: $400 for new logo, $200 for update.
2. A WEBSITE WITH HORSEPOWER
Advisors need a great website to compete online. But before you get too hung up on design and content, think about function. Your website should be mobile responsive, have built in “forms” that capture leads, include blogging functionality, and have event registration capabilities. This well-built engine will make your marketing more powerful and will save you time and energy in the long run.
One of the biggest marketing mistakes I see is spending thousands of dollars and months on perfecting a new website. When we look at the before and after statistics, as long as your site looks good and functions well, additional time and money will give diminishing returns. Cost: From $300 for a basic website to $6,000+ for a custom site.
3. AN AWESOME LINKEDIN PROFILE
Because Google gives preferential treatment to LinkedIn when returning search results, your profile is as likely to come up for a name search as your website. For this reason, your profile should look as great as your website and maintain your branding. Optimize each of your social media profiles for SEO and match them to the look and feel of your website. Cost: About $200.
4. VERIFIED BUSINESS LISTING ON GOOGLE
Verified business listings show up on Google Maps, include photos and business information, and can be dialed from a mobile phone with one click. This improves your website’s SEO and helps prospects find you. Registering your business with search engines is the fastest way to improve SEO and does not need to be updated unless you change your business address. Cost: $400.
5. BEAUTIFUL EMAIL CAMPAIGNS
By using an email marketing engine, it’s easy to create great looking, mobile-friendly email campaigns that include powerful features like A/B testing, targeting, automation, and analytics. I recommend MailChimp, Hubspot, or Benchmark. Cost: $0-$100 per month, depending on how many contacts you have.
6. ORIGINAL CONTENT
You’ve read to this point in this blog post because I wrote it specifically for you, a financial advisor seeking a marketing plan. If it was for a dentist or a musician, you wouldn’t be reading. I didn’t purchase it online or copy it from another blogger. The bread and butter of an effective marketing plan are quality, custom content that your prospects find interesting and valuable.
Luckily, you’re the natural expert on the financial topics your clients and prospects want to know more about. Turning that expertise into consistent content marketing is where the magic happens. I recommend at least biweekly custom articles that go out via email, blog, and social media. Cost: $400 per month.
The above tactics are an excellent baseline to jumpstart your marketing plan. If you want to make a big impact on your business, I recommend taking those steps over the next six months. Next, we’ll cover some advanced techniques you can employ if you already have the basics in place or if you are motivated to take your firm to the next level.
7. LIVE AND ONLINE EVENTS
Webinars and live events are effective in generating referrals and prospects. I recommend a minimum of two annual live events and quarterly webinars. By promoting these on an ongoing basis, you give prospects who come across your firm a way to get to know you better. Live events also help support your referral process by encouraging existing clients to bring friends. Cost: $500-$25,000+. I’ve seen advisors have awesome events for a few hundred dollars and very expensive events that still provide a positive ROI. If possible, get partners and sponsors to help you foot the bill.
Using video increases email open rates and keeps people on your website longer. You can expect about double the views for a video than a similar blog post. Featuring a compelling video on your homepage can significantly increase your website conversion rate.
There are two ways to do video. First, you can hire a videographer and produce professional on-location videos, which are awesome but expensive. Second, you can buy some equipment and produce your own videos in your office. If you are somewhat tech-savvy and want to create videos on a regular basis throughout the year, I recommend the do-it-yourself approach. Cost: $350 for DIY equipment, $4,000 for professional shoot.
9. WHITEPAPERS OR AN EBOOK
Lead bait encourages folks to download something of value in exchange for their email address. Featuring free downloads on your website is a great way to capture email addresses and introduce prospects to how you can help. I recommend a whitepaper, checklist, or eBook available for download on your website. Cost: $200-$2,000.
10. THE HOLY GRAIL: A BOOK
Writing a book sets you apart as an expert in your field, especially if you have a unique niche. Completing your book is less expensive than you may think and can help you get speaking engagements and media exposure. All of my top advisors have written books and successfully incorporate them into ongoing marketing. If you have been in this business over 10 years, you certainly have a book’s worth of expertise, stories, and insight. Cost: Depending on how much existing writing you can use in your book, the cost ranges from $5,000-$25,000+.
Before you invest in your marketing, take some time to think through your long-term goals and consider which pieces of the puzzle you may already have. There are plenty of effective techniques to get more mileage out of existing content, videos, and publications you have already created. Fancy websites and marketing materials are only as powerful as the traffic that you drive to them. By building a cohesive marketing framework and using existing collateral, you’ll be able to get the most out of your marketing budget.
Want to start building the ideal marketing plan? Learn more about our Monthly Marketing Package or schedule a virtual meeting to discuss your marketing. Not ready to start building your marketing framework? Stay in touch by connecting with me on LinkedIn, visiting my blog, and watching my video courses.