Top Financial Advisor Marketing Strategies
Whether you’re excited to dive into financial advisor digital marketing or standing on the precipice full of anxiety, gaining knowledge on best practices will help you better prepare for your marketing journey.
Marketing is what makes your brand identifiable – it garners new prospects and impresses current clients alike. Marketing is the face your firm shows to the world.
Today, we’re pulling back the curtain on top advisor marketing techniques and showing you how to narrow down your ideal clients, communicate effectively and purposefully, keep your content compliant, and build a referral network that really works.
Target Markets for Financial Advisors
One common issue in advisor marketing? Casting too wide of a net. Marketing that appeals to millennial female entrepreneurs is going to look very different than marketing aimed at 65+ LGBTQ retirees.
Instead of creating a marketing plan that caters to everyone, RIAs can find more success by honing in on a niche (a.k.a. the specific clients you can serve best). Just take a look at the advisor who used client personas to attract neurosurgeon clients! Client personas are a great way to narrow down that ideal client and create content that addresses their specific wants and needs.
And that ideal client isn’t just whoever has the highest net worth. Just as your advisory style is unique to you, each client is unique, too – and that means there are some clients who will be a better fit for your practice than others.
Maybe their risk tolerance is balanced just right, or they share your beliefs about values-based investing. Maybe they prefer to meet on the golf course as opposed to the office. Perhaps they have careers that require specific industry knowledge that you happen to have.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Your ideal client is someone with needs and goals that you feel most prepared to handle, given your background, experience, and the tools available.
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How to Build Ideal Client Personas
There are a couple of rules to keep in mind before we dive into identifying your ideal personas:
You can (and most likely will) have more than one client persona – but you can’t have endless client personas.
Your ideal personas might look similar to your competitors,’ or they might look totally different – there’s no one “right” way. It’s great to differentiate, but don’t force it.
Now, let’s get to how you can discover your unique client personas. We suggest you set aside some time to really think about the following questions, free of distraction. Building personas is a brainstorming exercise and deserves your full attention. When you’re ready, grab your pen and paper or laptop and start jotting down your notes:
- First, consider the current clients at your firm that you really enjoy working with – let’s just say your top three. Why do you enjoy working with them? What do these top three clients have in common? Are they geographically close to your firm’s office?
- Next, think about your greatest strengths as an advisor – where do you really shine? What clients benefit most from this skillset?
- Lastly, consider what needs or wants your perfect client might be bringing to your firm. What’s their mindset? What are their values?
Pay attention to any patterns that emerge in your brainstorming session, and your ideal client(s) will start to take shape. You may even find it helpful to give your personas names and other details like occupation or location – the more concrete you can make these personas, the better. Think of it like building a social media profile for your imaginary perfect client: add their name, a short bio, and what they’re looking for out of life and finances.
Putting Ideal Client Personas to Use
Once you have your ideal client personas ready, it’s time to start crafting your firm’s messaging based on those people. Dive into your research on these clients, like what social platforms they use the most or what questions they tend to Google. There’s a plethora of research out there waiting to help you; you just have to find it.
Our Advisor’s Guide to Social Media is a great place to start when matching up your ideal personas with the best social media platforms.
An RIA’s Guide to Compliant Marketing
If there’s one main rule to marketing financial services that you’re going to need to remember, it’s to avoid promissory language. Just as in all content your firm distributes, promissory language can put you in a compliance bind and leave you vulnerable to costly SEC fines.
Let’s explore some other key points you’ll need to keep in mind for compliant marketing success:
Your Firm’s Processes
Every firm has a different set of processes and procedures in your daily work and by extension, your marketing.
Consider an email you’re sending out to prospective clients: Who is writing the email? Who will proofread it? Who will load it into your CRM and identify which contacts it will be sent to? Which platform will you use to send it out?
Sending an email sounds simple enough, but when you add in the pressure of documentation from compliance departments, it can complicate the process.
If you’re an RIA, getting approval on a new blog might be as simple as tapping your partner (who happens to pull double-duty as CCO) on the shoulder to give it a quick read. If you’re a B/D rep, your compliance process is probably a little more drawn out, so it’s important to build that timeline into your creation process.
When it comes to compliance, technology is your best friend. It can streamline archival, bring efficiency to training employees on best practices, and even automate some of those mundane (yet necessary) compliance tasks.
Tech that allows you to find issues before they become problems are great tools to have on your side. For example, compliance software like Nitrogen’s Compliance Solution can help your firm synchronize data, spot discrepancies, and drive your overall success.
Did you know that more than half of wealthy investors found their advisors via a referral?
The stats don’t lie: People trust other people’s opinions and feedback when choosing their financial advisor – that’s why client testimonials are so powerful.
But testimonials can also bring uncertainty to your firm’s compliance department. You know that the Advisor Marketing Rule now allows them, but what are the parameters? Where can you post them? How should they be formatted?
One of the biggest rules to keep in mind is that you can’t “cherry-pick” your testimonials – if you’re going to ask for one testimonial, you have to ask all your clients. Then, you can’t just pick and choose the good ones to keep in your marketing materials; you have to include a “fair and balanced” proportion.
You’ll also need to provide disclosures on the same page as the testimonial, including whether it came from a current client, whether compensation for the testimonial was provided, and a statement of any material conflict of interest.
6 Marketing Ideas for Your New Financial Advisory Firm
There are six great ways to kick off your newly established RIA’s financial advisor marketing strategy – let’s dive in.
1. Customer testimonials
As we stated above, customer testimonials are now available for advisors to use via the updated SEC Marketing Rule – with a few caveats:
- No cherry-picking
- Include disclosures on the same page
Your firm can also use Google reviews to promote your firm’s services, but the same rules apply.
2. Social media
Social media is all about raising brand awareness and building connections, but that can look different depending on which platform(s) you choose to use.
We’ve rounded up some social media best practices, which are segmented by platform:
- Use Sales Navigator
- Use Publishing
- Use Slideshare
- Treat your Facebook page like a website
- Use Facebook ads
- Create Events
- Take Advantage of Twitter Cards
- Host Contests
- Sponsor Promoted Tweets
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of jumping on all three platforms at once, it’s best to focus on just one. Once you’ve mastered that platform, you can add in more.
When choosing which platform to begin with, consider where your ideal clients are most likely to be. Elderly widows might spend a lot more time on Facebook than on Twitter, while young entrepreneurs are more likely to be found on Twitter or LinkedIn.
3. Website engagement
The best advisor websites invite visitors in for more, always finding new ways to engage prospects. A big part of building digital engagement is to offer value up-front through website-embedded tools.
We offer such a tool through our Nitrogen Lead Generation Questionnaire (LGQ), which can easily be embedded on your website, as well as your email and social media profiles. The questionnaire provides a simple, easy-to-use way for your advisors to collect information from prospects while keeping them on your site longer and generating further interest.
4. Website design
Beyond engagement, you’ll also want to consider your website’s aesthetic appeal. Research suggests you have just seconds to make an impression on your website visitors, so having a clear brand and message is of the utmost importance.
Our suggestion is to learn from the best in website design. Take a moment to browse great advisor websites as inspiration and figure out how you can implement your own website goals in a sleek, user-friendly design.
5. Digital marketing
Applying digital marketing strategies to your existing content can help boost your engagement across the board.
Simple changes like making your copy more scannable by adding headers and bullet points can make a world of difference. It’s also a great idea to embrace CTAs, or “calls to action,” in your content, which can point readers toward other useful resources your firm offers – or even encourage them to schedule an introductory call.
Podcasting is a great way to add value to your clients in their everyday lives. Podcasts can be listened to in the car while completing household tasks while exercising and so on and so forth.
Plus, podcasting is a very accessible medium for advisors – all you need is an iPhone to get started!
How to Generate Referrals
Wondering how to get clients as a financial advisor?
As we stated above, client referrals are a great way to garner new (and qualified) prospects – but aside from just straight up asking for referrals, how can you get them?
We have three key ways to boost those sweet referral numbers:
- Monitor client sentiment
First off, it’s important to have a good gauge for how your clients feel about your service. Are they happy? Uncertain? Only your clients can tell you that!
Nitrogen’s comprehensive growth platform supports proactive outreach through our Check-ins feature, which prompts your clients to leave feedback. You can choose to use Check-ins with all your clients or a select few that you think need special attention at any given time.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
Along the lines of checking in, it’s important to have regular communication with your clients. Studies show that one of the main reasons clients end up firing an advisor is because of a lack of communication.
To get in front of this issue, it’s crucial to be upfront about communication expectations from the very beginning. Be transparent with new clients about how often you plan to communicate and through which methods. Will you be emailing them each month? Each quarter? How often should they expect to get a phone call?
Deciding on a communication schedule early on (and sticking to it) can help your clients avoid feeling left behind or forgotten.
- Deliver excellent service
Sometimes, the most obvious answers are the correct ones: The number one way to generate client referrals is to deliver top-notch service. When your clients are happy with your work, they’re much more likely to spread the good word.
RIA marketing isn’t one-size-fits-all, but with proactive communication, defined client personas, and compliant marketing techniques, you’re on your way to marketing success.
Make Marketing Magic with Nitrogen
Generating financial advisor marketing ideas doesn’t have to be difficult. Nitrogen is here to help your RIA grow your practice, master marketing, and scale with compliant technology tools. Click here to schedule your demo now.