To make informed, confident decisions about directing your resources for your financial planning firm you must set and measure against metrics. Tracking marketing metrics not only reinforces singular focus as you hone in on improving specific numbers, it also reveals how well you are performing. And that may be an eye-opening endeavor.
Before I started monitoring my business metrics, I would squirm a bit when my late father would ask (and he always did), “How’s business?” I could share anecdotal observations, but I knew that aside from my year-to-date revenue number (which, mind you, is essential to the viability of the firm), I was at a loss to answer with any detail or confidence. Qualitatively I could say, “I have lots of plans to write!” or “I’m busy with consultations,” but not until I got into tracking did I feel the control and relief of knowing my numbers.
Marketing metrics matter to all financial advisors. You can and should apply marketing metrics no matter what stage of maturity your practice is so you can improve your profitability and efficiency (i.e. less worry, more free time to do what you want). New planners will focus on client attraction and conversion metrics while established practitioners may focus more on retention or loyalty metrics.
Here’s how to measure your marketing efforts:
1. Establish your primary marketing objective. What is most important to the growth or sustainability of your practice for the next 6-12 months? Do you want to:
- build brand awareness?
- acquire more clients?
- convert more of your leads?
- retain more of your clients?
- deepen client engagement?
- change your service offering?
- shift the type of client you serve?
- grow your network of influencers and partners?
- improve your service delivery?
2. Decide on your key strategy(ies) that you will implement to achieve your objective. You may choose to produce and share content, master seminars, form media relationships, or pursue a partnership strategy if your objective is to build brand awareness or attract new clients. If you want to improve your service delivery or conversion, you might select a marketing automation and follow-up communication strategy. For client engagement, you may decide segmentation is the best path.
3. Choose metrics to reflect your progress. Now that you’ve outlined exactly what you want to achieve from your marketing and how you are going to do it, you can choose the measurements that matter. You want accountability, but not overwhelm, so keep the numbers you track in check.
Consider these common metrics and select the combination that will help you stay the course, or create your own relevant measures. You may read this list and think, “I want to know all of that!” Focus on the three or four (or even just one) that will help you meet a single objective. You can expand or shift after you’ve mastered your first set:
- # blog posts published, podcasts episodes, or videos released
- # LinkedIn connections or Twitter followers
- # speaking opportunities secured
- # media interviews per month
- # of events hosted/attendees/resulting consultations
- email open and click-through rates
- # of prospects added to email list
- # of lead magnet sign-ups (e.g. free report downloads)
- conversion % of lead sign-up to consult
- # of consultations, conversion rate of consult to client
- average AUM per client – initial amount & incremental assets added per year
- renewal rate of retainer, retention rate of AUM clients
- average number of hours billed per client, repeat engagement percent, time between engagement
- # referrals generated per client
- # average time to respond to client request
- loyalty score for client engagement (e.g. measured with # meetings per year, phone calls, emails, events attended, referrals sent)
4. Set your target for each metric you choose. If these are new measurements for you, you may have to adjust as you figure out what’s “realistic.” Start with your best estimate, and go from there (this is not a place to research ad nauseam seeking the ‘right answer’ and delaying your start).
5. Assemble your dashboard. What information do you need to retrieve your metric? Where can you centralize the data so you have an at-a-glance view of your stats? Your CRM may offer this feature or you can utilize an assistant or an intern to create this report.
Determine the frequency with which you will track the results. Once a week will give you a chance to make adjustments without being a slave to the daily performance. Maybe you want a report each morning to inspire your actions for the day. Decide what you need to feel motivated.
6. Track, learn, and adjust. Metrics exist so you have performance feedback supported by real numbers. You can amp up or dial back your marketing efforts based on how well you’re performing against targets.
With your marketing metrics on your dashboard, you’ll know when you have to alter the route or simply stay the course. Plus, the next time someone asks, “How’s business?” you will know the real answer. What you reply is up to you!
What metrics do you track that I haven’t included here? Share them in the comments. If you want to learn more about marketing automation and systems that support your metrics, you can sign up for free video training here.
Kristin is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Managing her own firm, she grew it from zero to six figures in less than three years, completely from scratch. In 2014 Kristin transitioned full time into training and coaching, where she now helps independent financial advisors to grow their firms.