Marketing can be a real challenge for financial planners, especially for small businesses. After all, there is already a lot of work to do just to keep up with your existing business, from holding meetings with customers to drawing up financial plans. Here are some expert tips on how to market your business at low cost.
A new brave world
Dennis Nolte, a certified financial planner at Seacoast Investment Services in Florida, says that the goal of marketing has changed dramatically for financial advisors over the years. He says they are now selling long-term relationships rather than any specific financial product.
"Twenty or thirty years ago, you sold the product, [but] the product is no longer sold because the cost has decreased so much, "says Nolte." It all depends on the consulting relationship [now]".
Michael Kitces, associate and director of asset management at Pinnacle Advisory Group, wrote in a recent article for Financial project that most companies spend only 1% to 2% of marketing revenue, unless you are in a large company with several billion assets under management, this does not mean much money.
But what financial planners are missing marketing dollars that often compensate with the hustle and bustle, from publishing articles on Facebook and blogs to dining with potential customers.
Planners say old-fashioned "grip-and-grin" marketing is still very much alive. For example, Nolte says that a younger planner recently arrived in his office in jeans and a T-shirt, preparing to participate in a local group event.
It's an approach that can take time and patience to build trust and contacts, but eventually collect referrals. "You have to plant yourself [in the community] for two or three years before they realize you're going to do the things you say you're going to do, "Nolte says.
Ashley Folkes, vice president of the AXA division, says that her company's consultants in the Phoenix area are organizing educational events for clients who bring friends and help build a "perspective pipeline". Junior planners will also create networking events to bring new customers.
But Folkes says the most productive source of new business is the "COI" – or "centers of influence" – that the company has cultivated. Those are lawyers, accountants and mortgage brokers who send the prospects of the company and get business referrals from AXA in return.
"When you have five to six COI coupons that send you business, you add," says Folkes. "We try to constantly have a lot of tools in the fire".
Kristin Sullivan, a CFP of Sullivan Financial Planning in Denver, relies heavily on social media to bring new business. He writes his copy of the blog and occasionally brings other advisors to post for guests to mix things up.
Sullivan has also hired a social media expert to make a weekly newsletter and messages for her on LinkedIn, Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB). The result: its search engine optimized content is now often on the first page of search results on Google.com, which in turn has generated new business.
"It's not easy or fast, but in this way I get more quality leads in return than I would do with newspapers or other types of explosive ads," says Sullivan.
Ryan Marshall, partner and certified financial planner at ELA Financial Group at Wyckoff, N.J., focuses his marketing efforts on Facebook. It makes the point to post regularly to "stay" on top of the mind. "" He can also track his results and increase the number of eyeballs by seeing them paying Facebook a nominal fee in the $ 50 range.
Marshall says he has noticed that customers are turning increasingly to Facebook to get advice for financial planners instead of doing a Google search.
"The feedback they receive is more reliable in their minds, because [it’s from] their real peers instead of strangers leaving reviews on Google, "says Marshall." With the click of a button, someone can get hundreds of answers from their acquaintances, who may have actually used a financial advisor. "
Combine old and new media
Nolte from Seacoast Financial says it combines social media with more traditional marketing efforts.
Nolte also aims to respond to requests received through the Association of Financial Planning by journalists looking for experts for interviews. For example, he recently spoke with United States news on what consumers can do for their disaster-proof portfolios should another financial crisis occur.
As for social media, the city planner says you have to commit yourself to successfully market there.
"The blogosphere is vast and endless," says Nolte. "If you do it [promote your business] through social media, you will have to do it regularly and with unique content. You have to do it on and on and on – it's a ferocious beast you have to feed. "