The 7 Essential Elements of a Financial Advisor Marketing Plan

When it comes to growing your firm, many financial advisors and RIA leaders have questions when it comes to marketing. What goes in a financial advisor marketing plan?   How should we invest our resources?  What do we prioritize? Which efforts make the most sense to attract the type of clients we want?  How do we make it easier to do our follow-up?  How do we keep our clients happy while we’re trying to bring in new business?

These marketing questions are common, along with many more.  In my conversations with advisors, I often reference this 7-element framework for a financial advisor marketing plan.  So, I decided to include the details here so you can learn how to approach your marketing.  I encourage you to watch the explainer video for each element.

Element #1 – Growth Goal

What does success look like?  “Why are we even doing this marketing plan?”  In a year from now, how will know that we were “successful”?  With the assumption that you are focusing on marketing so you can grow your firm, you must first define what that growth goal is.

Too many advisors come to with a vague goal of “I/we want to grow.” If we don’t know by how much and what that means, it is really hard to figure out what the right marketing plan is to put in place for you.

Be clear on what growth means

For example, I encourage you strongly to ask “If we want to grow by 10%, what does that look like for us?” How many clients does that mean you need to add? If you could only bring in X number of your very best clients and (let’s say) they pay you $25,000 each, how many would that be to equate to the growth that you want?

This is the type of clarity we need for your marketing plan, so we can set this growth goal and build out all of the other elements to make it work.

Element #2 – Brand Strategy

Your brand strategy is made up of three parts:

1. Positioning

This is your slice of the pie; the corner of the market that you want to own. This is your building on the street, so you need to figure out what that “storefront” looks like on your Main Street.  In what sliver of the market do you compete?

2. Personality

How will you show up as a person in the world? How do you talk? What is your vibe? What are you all about?  Consider your brand as a human.  How would you describe yourself?  What makes you likeable?  What attributes draw people to you?

3. People

Who are the people that you want to attract into your business?  Who is your high-value hyper targeted audience?  This means you identify the best people and your favorite people, and you go after them with your marketing. These are the people with whom you want to fill your business.

When you know these three parts, you have clarity on your brand strategy.  You can begin to implement initiatives that enhance the value of your brand.

Element #3 – Service Offering & Pricing

Can a prospective client who comes to your website understand what you offer? Are you tapping into their fears, their aspirations, and answering their questions?  The way you present your service offering is essential, and it is  often overlooked.

Your service offering should answer three questions that your audience asks:

1. What am I buying?

In other words, “What do I, as a client, get for the money I pay you?”  What is the value you offer?

2. How does it work?

You have to outline the process. Show a step-by-step method that they can get behind and understand.  When you explain the way your work, they should walk away knowing what is going to happen next.

3. What does it cost?

Be very clear on your pricing. Are you charging on percentage of assets? Do you charge a flat fee? Are you somewhere in between? Make sure you’re demonstrating value with your pricing.

When you answer these three questions, you give clarity to your offering which will help attract the right kind of client.

Element #4 – Client Attraction System

How are the right people going to find out about your firm? How are you going to build awareness and generate that interest?

What you need to do is break your efforts down into multiple funnels. Alot of times advisors think of everything they do going into one funnel and that’s how it (marketing ) works. What you actually have is one funnel of people coming in that are from your personal networks. What are you doing to be out in the community to be engaged to do one-to-one human efforts? Those types of things have a limited amount of reach, but they can be really powerful.

Lead capture and nurture

Another essential part of a client attraction system is to have a lead capture and nurture system (that goes into a different funnel). How are you getting out and sharing content in the world, letting people know what you’re about and educating them, so you can attract them in to start to build that trust with them.

From there, you add on complexities to your attraction system (each with their own funnel) depending on your goal. Whether it’s focusing on the media, or centers of influence, or something else. When you define your client attraction system, you know exactly where to direct and prioritize your marketing resources.

Want to learn how to use video as a way to market your firm?  Take the first step by watching this video.

Element #5 – Marketing List

This element is the most overlooked, yet the most valuable in your plan: What are you doing to create your marketing list?

Most people who hear about you or who arrive at your website are not yet ready to take action. Maybe they’ve stopped on a lunch break where they’ve taken 15 minutes and done a search. They found you. They need to have a way to be able to introduce themselves without having to commit to consultation right off the bat.

How is that you are keeping track of all of those leads, prospects, and even clients so that you can communicate, nurture, and build trust with them? To be able to do that, you need to focus your marketing on a list building strategy. Most advisors focus on the small percent of people who are ready to take action right now. In fact, most of the people who come to your website or learn about you, aren’t ready yet to take action.

Grow your marketing list with a lead magnet

You need to ask, “How is it that I am going to let people introduce themselves to me so that they can begin to get to know me?” This is done through something called a lead magnet. What kinds of valuable information are you providing in exchange for a name and email address, so someone can raise their hand and say, “Yes, it’s okay if you talk to me. I want to get to know you better.”

This way, when a trigger event occurs in their life, you’ll be top of mind, and they’ll reach out to you. If you don’t yet have a clear way that someone can sign up for your marketing list in exchange for something valuable, then now is the time to add that to your experience.

Element #6 – Relationship Marketing System

This element is actually a complete system. It starts with the point of someone raising their hand and introducing themself, and goes all the way through to them being a loyal client in your firm. I call this your “relationship marketing system.”

Build the relationship

The first half of your relationship marketing system is your lead-to-client conversion process. This is all about structured follow-up. What are the communications you’re going to send this person? What is the experience they will have from the time they introduce themselves and as they continue through the journey of becoming a client? You need to define each and every one of those steps along the way.

Deepen the relationship

The second half of your relationship marketing system is all about the client system. How do you structure that first year experience so that they immediately see the value and begin to build a loyalty to you. What is the experience they have and what are the communications they receive? All of this needs to be defined.

Your goal is to deepen the loyalty of your clients so they become ambassadors of your brand. All of this can be spelled out in your relationship marketing system.

Element #7 – Meaningful Marketing Metrics

How do you know if you’re winning along the way? We need to set metrics that tell us whether or not we’re on track for our growth goal or the initial goal that we set at the beginning of the marketing plan.

It’s very important not to overwhelm yourself with data. You need to decide what the key indicators are that you’re going to track so you know that you’re on pace to hit your growth goal.

Make sure you know who is responsible for tracking each of the metrics, how they’ll be reported, and how often. When you look at them regularly along the way, you can make course adjustments that will help you get to or exceed your goal.

Pro marketing tip

If you do not know how to use google analytics to get the data you want, hire a freelancer who specializes in this skill on a platform such as upwork. You’ll save yourself hours and hours of work and have a dashboard to keep you on track.

Is your head spinning?  Talk it out.

Developing a marketing plan that suits your firm can be challenging to tackle on your own, especially when you have completing priorities for your time, money, and energy.   Maybe now is the right time to have a conversation about your marketing.  If you want help — or some advice on where to focus next — I invite you to set up a call with me to discuss your specific situation.  I look forward to talking with you!