The Billion Dollar Formula Part 1: Marketing
In this three-part series, we dive into the workings of the billion-dollar RIA. We’ve included excerpts from our white paper, “The Billion Dollar Formula,” to show how billion-dollar RIA’s supercharge growth by adopting the right processes and right technologies for scale.
Building AUM organically requires an investment in more efficient client acquisition and business development strategies. Marketing and prospecting, unfortunately, are often skills learned the hard way through trial and error. Finding and attracting prospects, communicating the firm’s value proposition, and doing that process all over again, takes up valuable resources. And yet it’s the most important element of building a billion-dollar business.
According to the 2017 Schwab RIA Benchmarking Study, comprehensive marketing strategies supercharge growth: The fastest-growing firms tend to use comprehensive marketing strategies to attract new client assets at 2.4 times the rate of other firms. Systematizing a firm’s marketing strategy results in faster growth—so why aren’t more firms doing it? Truthfully, they just might not know how, or have resigned themselves to referrals in the hopes that providing good service will make up for a lack of marketing (it won’t). Word-of-mouth only travels so far.
“The biggest problem with growth rates being market-driven is that they tend to cause firms to not invest the right amount of time, resources and efforts into a strategic marketing plan to sustain their growth long term,” says Megan Carpenter, CEO of FiComm Partners, a leading wealth management marketing, branding and public relations firm. “From benchmarking data, advisors are only spending 2% of their top-line revenues on marketing, which includes business development — a sales function — and when we back out business development, that means that advisors are essentially spending nothing on marketing…there is a real missed opportunity in wealth management for advisors to fully take advantage of their growth opportunities.”
Creating a budget for marketing efforts, and using it, is something all large RIAs do, and while their budgets are markedly higher, that doesn’t mean smaller firms shouldn’t follow that example and operate similarly. But where do firms start? As AUM and revenue grow, more resources can be devoted to client acquisitions. In the meantime: set a budget, use it, and recruit people and resources to improve ROI.
THE MARKETING TOOLKIT
A website’s importance can not be overstated. As more prospective clients go online in search of advisors, a professional-looking website is no longer an option—it’s a must. To see how firms are utilizing their website to its full potential, we put together Examples of Great Advisor Websites that includes the three things every website needs in order to be effective. There are also companies like Advisor Websites that specialize in the creation of lead-generating, compliance-approved websites for financial professionals.
Utilizing social media is especially important in promoting a firm’s value proposition and raising awareness. For billion-dollar firms with big names, the general public will already recognize their name and what they offer, which is why smaller firms need to be especially diligent in targeting prospects and using social media channels diligently. The Social Advisor Guide shows the different platforms advisors are using, and where to attract ultra-high-net-worth prospects.
At Nitrogen, we provide all of our advisors with an Advisor Marketing Kit designed to jumpstart success. We include a slideshow presentation, press releases, a client-facing video, web and social media guide, and a lead generating questionnaire that turns a website into a prospecting machine.
To read more of The Billion Dollar Formula, download our free white paper.