In this blog and podcast, I’m going to talk about the components of a simple and easy financial advisor marketing plan. You will learn:
- Why simple financial advisor marketing plans work better than complicated ones
- The importance of knowing your hourly rate and how much you want to make as a financial advisor
- What financial advisors should cut out of their marketing plans
- What a solid marketing plan for financial advisors consists of
By the way, thanks for joining me.
Financial Advisor Marketing Plan + Downloadable Template
For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics. It is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe!
If you’re looking for some straight up talk then you’ve come to the right place!
By the way, if you want more specific guidance on how to create your own marketing strategy, download this e-book. It contains what may be considered a financial advisor marketing plan template. It also explains how you can execute a marketing strategy customized to your specific style as a financial advisor or planner, which will hopefully lead to new clients.
Why simple marketing plans for financial advisors work better than complicated ones
The first point I want to make about building a financial adviser marketing plan is I want to just knock down the fallacy that you need to go in a million different directions and do a lot of different things in order to market your financial advisor practice successfully and find new clients. This is a difficult thing because as financial advisers, I think you are all in the mindset of diversification and not putting all your eggs in one basket.
This is a one stock portfolio, financial advisors.
And I strongly advise you to do the opposite of what everyone tells you. Go against what all the marketing consultants are telling you out there and even probably what you’re telling yourself. To clarify, I think you should focus on one or two things that work that really ring with you and that you’re good at and you can be effective at you enjoy. And I think you should go hard in that direction. Now, there are certain components of a marketing plan that are compulsory or required, and then there are others that are optional.
The point I’m trying to make here is that you are a busy financial adviser or financial planner. You have clients, staff and compliance (most of all) to deal with, you’re not a marketing guru. Don’t need to spread yourself too thin doing three YouTube videos, two newsletters and sending out three hundred LinkedIn messages to prospects a week.
You just need to find those one or two things that you can do consistently that can bring you a qualified client utilizing minimal resources of yours. And then you need to figure out how to do that over and over again until you really get it perfect and you hone that craft.
And that’s where I see a lot of you going, failing, falling down with this and going in too many directions because you stand to lose me way more than you stand to gain by having a cluttered marketing plan!
Declutter it by reading the rest of this blog post!
Your hourly rate as a financial advisor is the foundation for your marketing plan
The second thing I want you to think about before you create your marketing plan is you really have to think about the monetary value of an hour of your time as a practicing financial advisor or financial planner. This should be the foundation of your marketing plan. In fact, it should be the foundation of the work that you do within your practice.
But yet, as financially savvy as all of you financial advisers are, I see a lot of you overlooking this underestimating and really having no clue what an hour of your time is worth. And unfortunately, it results in very derailing behaviors, such as doing work for free for prospects.
You know what I mean – getting breadcrumbed.
You know, there’s always that one client or one prospect that has 5MM dollars and they’ve given you $150,000 of it to manage. And they’re like, well, I’m just testing you, I need to know you before I give you more.
Loooooooooook, you’re never going to see the rest of that portfolio.
Know that getting burned by performance chasers or DIY clients, this is another form of breadcrumbing, by the way, or just having to put up with annoying, overly demanding clients that suck the life out of you.
All of these are symptoms of a lack of clarity about numerically how you should be investing your time and what the return on that investment of time should be on. These activities are degrading your worth.
So what I want you to do is I want you to put a monetary value to one hour of your time. Let’s say it’s, I mean, I hope it’s not $100, but it might be right now. Let’s say $250 an hour. Or $500 an hour, a $1,000. Now just pick one of those. And then do the research to find out what advisers who typically make that per hour rate, what they offer their clients and how they run their practices, how they do things.
Whatever it is, you have to have a sense of your value and what of value you can deliver that would make people willing to pay. It may sound crazy, but like what would make people willing to pay a thousand dollars an hour? What is it you need to improve or add to your offerings, figure it out, make a list.
It may sound ludicrous, but I know some people out there that are working for $1,000 an hour. And so you have to really set your sights on that and always be thinking, how can I command higher value? How can I command that higher price?
Once you get that foundational per hour rate down, I want you to think about how do you make the numbers of your practice work? That is the precursor to actually going out and executing any marketing strategy. I think it’s really important; a lot of y’all just skip over these steps or overlook them.
This is more practice management stuff. But the truth of the matter is that your marketing is not disconnected from the practice. Because think about it, you’re going to bring clients in at a certain per hour rate or a certain type of client. It’s not going to gel with how you already run your firm.
I mean, how’s that going to work?
That’s just mean someone’s eventually going to be unhappy, right?
Some of it is not going to work within that whole picture. So it all has to go together. But once you figure out, that per hour rate now used amount to figure out how many new clients you need to get.
How much you want to make as a Financial advisor should figure into your marketing plan
Let’s say you’re working for $500 an hour, what does that mean in terms of how many new clients you need to get if you want to bring in however many incremental dollars this year or in 2021 or any year in question.
What is the margin on that revenue and how much of that will you take home? So that’s your gross profit and what’s your net profit going to be?
I know so many people that look at these numbers and are like, dang, you know, I’m going to make some major changes here.
Put these numbers into an Excel spreadsheet and start calculating:
- How many leads do you need to get in order to close that amount of clients and don’t even go there and tell me that’s a one to one ratio. Even though you wish you were, chances are you are not closing 100% of prospects you talk to.
- How many reach outs do you need to do to generate that amount of leads? Put some numbers to it. I’m not even going to bother to attach some measly Excel spreadsheet for this. You are the financial advisors and you know how Excel works. In fact, you can probably use it better than me. So start plugging in those numbers.
And what you’re really trying to do here is devise a framework for how many hours of marketing activity you need to go into the machine to produce the end result that you want. It’s not glamorous stuff, but as a high quality financial advisor, this needs to be addressed before you go about designing your plan to market your practice.
You’re not being greedy here. I am sorry, but how much you make as a financial advisor is important. Nobody wants to be the client of a broken business or a business that has no plans to sustain itself, given whatever changes may happen in the world and in the economy. You’re not as much doing this for yourself, really, as you are doing it for your clients. Map it out, because there’s a lot of people counting on you to stay in business and to do it profitably.
How weird would it be for your clients if they knew your business wasn’t profitable?
Or if they knew that you couldn’t pay your bills easy, or live comfortably, or that your own financial future were uncertain?
You’re supposed to be the fountain of wisdom on topics like this and if you can’t even do it yourself it may make your value proposition seem a bit less sincere. Wouldn’t that be kind of a contradiction?
Cut the bad options out of your marketing strategy
Certainly, eliminate the bad options. This is the fourth thing you really need to keep in mind as you market yourself as a financial advisor or financial planner.
I talked to financial advisers all the time who are trying to market themselves in ways that they hate and they’re failing at doing it. When you are figuring out how to grow your client base as a financial advisor, remember that some people just seem averse to doing certain things. I feel like a lot of times people don’t like marketing just because they don’t like going out there. They don’t like rejection. They have a problem with being public and putting their ideas out there; that’s something I feel like you more or less are going to have to get over.
But if there’s just one type of marketing that you hate, then then just cut it out of your financial advisor marketing plan template.
Some people just don’t like public speaking, Or they don’t like presenting content at all. They can’t stand the idea of long form content and having to describe a thesis and and come to some point and pontificate like podcasters like me do.
There’s different kinds of marketing. I’m going to kind of segmented into two major components. There’s content; and then there’s communications.
Here we go! Wheeeeeeee!
OK, so content is a finished product that you make and that you distribute. Examples are:
- Videos, YouTube videos, Facebook videos,
- Guest blogs
Guest blogging – Let’s say you focus on dentists’ and there’s like some dentists quarterly magazine or whatever. And you’re in there with the guest blog talking about HSA accounts, establishing HSA accounts for your practice.
- Lead magnets
A lead magnet is a downloadable document that you have on your website or that you have on social media and people see it and then they provide their email address in exchange for whatever content piece you’re offering them. So it’s there’s an exclusivity to it where people are not going to get the content unless they give up something.
- Pre-recorded seminars or webinars
Those are all examples of content. Now there’s communications.
Communications are very different from content. Content is usually non interactive, whereas communications are a little bit more interactive.
And these communications can happen over the Internet in person or over the phone.
Communication examples are:
- Live seminars,
- Cold calls,
- Instant messages sent to LinkedIn Messenger, Facebook or other social platforms,
- Livestreams over social media platforms where people can chat in and participate
I’m just kind of listing this out to make the point that there’s all kinds of ways to market yourself, and I’m sure there are many more creative ways that I haven’t covered here. That is because it’s 11 o’clock at night and I’m tired and I have nobody to defend me from the cockroaches because my man is sleeping in the other room!
Some of you have compliance restrictions that preclude you from doing some of these activities. OK, don’t waste time whining and complaining. Instead, focus on finding something that works that you actually can do.
Let’s say you’re in one of the wirehouses and you’re like, oh, you can’t post your own content to social media. Yeah, that stinks, but they it’s not like they’re leaving you hanging high and dry, they actually do have some canned marketing that you that you can use and it’s professional looking. You know, they they tie a nice bow on it.
There’s always something that you could be great at, and sometimes you’re going to have to experiment a little bit to find out what it is, these things can’t always be predicted.
Make a list of all types of marketing activities you like doing or that you don’t mind doing. And then make a list of the ones you hate and if you really hate it that much, then stop doing it.
Know what the base of a solid marketing strategy for financial advisors and planners consists of
The fifth principle before you get into creating your marketing plan is establish the foundation. Before you go out there and you start to execute any strategy, you need to have the basics.
And these are the basics.
A complete website
I’m going to define what a complete website is in a minute. Most financial advisers have a website. It does not have to be fancy. You don’t need to spend 10,000 dollars on your Web site. In other words, it doesn’t have to have a ton of bells and whistles.
However, there are a few elements that need to be in place on the front end and on the back into the website. Understand first that out of all the pages on your website, the ones that are going to get the most attention are the home page, team page, and fees page.
My personal opinion is that you should state your fees clearly on your website. You want your clients to think you’re transparent, right? Then stop playing this cute little game of hiding what your fees are!
The home page should have a basic statement clearly and immediately visible that tells the reader what you do. It could be something simple like.
We are a fee only financial advisory firm serving Bethesda, Maryland, and the surrounding communities, simple and clear, and it does the job.
A lot of you don’t want to do this, but if you want to qualify people a little bit and let them know if they aren’t for you and you aren’t for them, you may want to put your account minimums on there, too. I know none of you are going to do it, but I just have to say the best practice. OK, that’s my opinion and you know I never keep my opinions a secret!
The team page, it should have a picture of you and the important people in your firm. That is to say, this is not a beauty contest. No one’s going to care if you know, you’ve aged or gained weight or whatever. In other words, it doesn’t matter. Just be who you are. And if people can’t accept your appearance, you should be professional on your website and forget about them. But you and your brand are what they are. And if someone can’t handle it, then adios. Smile and show your energy, they have to see you as a physical person if you want them to trust you.
Newsletter sign up
You should also on your website, have a place where people can sign up for your newsletter. Yes, I know you all want them to just go right to the contact page and ask you for a meeting. But keep in mind that some people are just shopping around. They aren’t comfortable reaching out. I mean, there’s a lot of really bad financial advisers out there. And I mean, trust me, I’ve talked to some of them, like I’ve talked to people that have ripped off 90 year olds and they would do it again if they had the chance.
Social media sign up
Get that newsletter sign up on your website. And just for the same reason, you should have social media buttons right there on the site. You don’t have to be like this big person on social media, but just give people a way that they can follow you and get an update. And who knows, maybe they’ll come around.
You should also have Google Analytics and Google search console hooked up. You might not be out there to argue, oh, we don’t get clients from the Internet, our rich clients don’t go on the Internet. OK, you know what? OK, fine, you win. But just in case one does, you should. You should you should you should have analytics out there, because there may be some surfing around and you need to understand the traffic flow on your site. And, you know, you’ve got to also establish your Google My Business entry.
If you don’t have the technical expertise to do this, then you can hire somebody. Now, I’m not making a recommendation for any particular freelancer, but there are freelancers that can do this on like Fiverr or Upwork. Do this for like twenty five bucks an hour and it’s not going to even take them probably an hour to hook this stuff up.
So Google Analytics, Google search console and Google my business are free accounts. They are free and you can get these hooked up relatively easily. Look at it like once every three months, every six months. And you want to look for like who’s bouncing how many people are bouncing off my website, what pages aren’t working. To clarify, you need to know this. Financial advisors, you need to just take a little bit of time and understand it’s not worth having a website and other marketing assets if you’re not going to maintain them.
Social media pages
The other thing is you should establish some basic social media pages. So at the very basic level, you need a personal LinkedIn page. Also, a LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter page for your business. Even if you don’t post a lot, you need to give people the opportunity to follow you and you need to post every so often so that it doesn’t look like you are a total graveyard.
The personal LinkedIn page is really important. Furthermore, make sure you have a professional headshot and include your website and email and the contact information field. At the top of that page, the top of the page gets way more attention. The about section should display a basic statement about what you do. Kind of like what I mentioned “fee-only financial adviser from Bethesda, Maryland.” Make a clear basic statement about what you do and have a clear call to action. It’s a little boring, but it will do the job for now. Above the fold, so before they have to scroll down for the rest of your page, make it apparent right away how they can contact you or what they what you want them to do.
Email collection sign up form
Now, the other thing is that you have a way to collect emails for your newsletter. That should be fed into from your website, social media, etc. Therefore, sign ups from your website, etc. go into a separate audience in your newsletter, in your email software (whatever you’re using, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, whatever.)
What a financial advisor marketing plan template looks like
I wrote an e-book that gets into what the five components of a financial adviser marketing plan are. It’s kind of like a financial advisor marketing plan template. Download it if you’re looking to create a marketing plan for yourself for 2021 or other years.
Download e-book with financial advisor marketing plan template.
Thanks to all for reading and listening. I hope you’ll subscribe and stay with me for the next one.
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