Financial planners and advisers often describe marketing as the act of attracting “leads” to your firm whom you can then sell on becoming a client. With this myopic view you will miss out on multiple (and perhaps easier) ways to make more money in your business.
Marketing is so much more than creating awareness and generating an action; it expands from that first impression all the way through to developing deep client loyalty and inspiring ambassadors. Marketing encompasses the experience you offer, the service you deliver, and the fees you charge.
Strategically crafting this spectrum of relationship marketing nurtures a lead from first contact all the way through engaging as a client. Directing your effort in each of the following four ways can pay off with increased revenue in your financial planning business:
1. Attract More High-Quality Leads
Most advisors want more people coming into the “funnel,” but volume without quality can cause waste your effort and keep you from meeting with better suited people who appreciate your value and are more likely to sign on at higher fees.
Before you attract MORE, you must first identify your high value-hyper targeted client so you can speak directly to that person in all of your marketing going forward. This pinpoint focus helps you find more of the right people and subsequently accelerate your revenue.
Scattered efforts like the occasional blog post or coffee with an influencer don’t count as a marketing plan. You must have a client attraction marketing system. And this system starts with your “home base” content marketing channel. Select a single outlet —a blog, podcast, video channel, LinkedIn posts— and commit to it.
Create and share content that educates, entertains and empowers on a regular basis in this first channel. This is the one content marketing effort you will do no matter what, each week or every two weeks. Remember that consistency and quality, over quantity, is essential.
Only after you establish your cadence for this single channel do you begin to layer on new initiatives and expand your presence.
2. Improve Your Conversions
The lead-to-client conversion process begins as soon as a person identifies himself to you, and you start a one-to-one relationship with them. If you execute an online marketing strategy, this first introduction often occurs through a web form on your site.
Most people who arrive at your site are not yet ready to commit to a meeting. Make your visitor feel comfortable. Ease them in with valuable content. Offer up a free guide, a video series, or a podcast recording in exchange for their name and email address. Generic content won’t work. You have to zero in on what matters to your hyper target. For example:
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Cultivate the lead by communicating with additional educational materials throughout the next few weeks and then by sending out regularly scheduled content such as your blog digest.
When a prospect schedules a meeting, get him or her excited in advance:
- Record and send a video to demystify the experience and let him know what to expect. (hint: reuse for all prospects).
- Send out a welcome packet (online or in the mail) to set expectations, pre-qualify, and overcome objections.
- Confirm the consultation. Missed appointments decelerate revenue. Use a service such as my receptionist or a scheduling tool such as apptoto.
- After the consult, do not drop the ball. Send out a thank you note (email or an actual card), and follow-up a minimum of two times in the week after the meeting.
Establish additional check in points in the months and year to follow (e.g. call at six months and the one year point) and keep this prospect on your content distribution lists. Even if the prospect seems lost in purgatory, stay top of mind by using your communication systems. You’ll be first on the list when his trigger event occurs and he is ready to hire an adviser.
3. Increase Engagement of Your Clients
This may be the easiest area to increase revenue. Your clients already like you and most would engage more if you would do the same with them. As business owners focused on attracting new clients, advisers often back -burner current clients because they are already here and often pay every quarter or each year straight out of their account.
Imagine if you implemented a proactive communication strategy.
You can accelerate the time between planning sessions, aid in areas where they may not think to contact you, inspire clients to invest new money with you, or simply demonstrate value and service that retains them as loyal clients.
Build out an engagement calendar for clients that includes personalized communication based on their stage of relationship. Set up a workflow in your CRM to trigger client outreach at predetermined intervals.
Remember that your clients benefit from your content, too. Make sure you’re connected on LinkedIn and other social media channels, email your clients when you post new content on your home base channel (from #1) and invite them when you host educational webinars or seminars. They appreciate the opportunity to learn, you reinforce your expertise, and you may spark a referral.
Remember, clients are your biggest advocates, so let them hear from you!
4. Revisit Your Pricing / Service Offering
Too often advisors structure their services and pricing from a defensive position. Fear of missing out on opportunity results in an “everything but the kitchen sink” list of services and scope-of-work variable pricing that confuses potential clients. Confusion equals indecision, inaction and lost revenue.
Streamline your service offering and pricing to demonstrate value and increase conversion.
- Make it easy for your prospect to understand what service(s) they are buying at what fee, what you do not offer, and for whom your service is best (and for whom it is not). Outline it all on your web site and in your welcome packet.
- Consider the value of the service for the client and align your fees. If you haven’t raised your fees at all in the last two years, it’s time for an increase.
- Eliminate any service you do not enjoy or for which you cannot justify the fee.
- Keep negotiation of fee out of the equation. Have a method for setting fees and stick with them. Clients appreciate knowing they do not have to bargain with you.
- Make sure you vary your level of engagement relative to the fee that your charge. (Do you ever regret the fee you charge for the effort you end up putting in?!)
Finally, if you want to increase your revenue, consider this: How much work do you put into to attract, convert, and service an average or low value client versus ahigh value, hyper-targeted one? Design your complete relationship marketing system around the latter and the dollars will follow. Learn how here.