When it comes to marketing ideas for financial advisors, it’s easy to fall back on the same old dusty ideas. We’ve been helping financial advisors grow their firms through marketing since we opened in 2018, so we have several time-tested ideas that can truly make a difference. Here are a few of our favorites.
The ideas on this list range from big to small. Some will require more time and money, some you can do relatively quickly (and cheaply). Some will be a good fit for you, some may not. Save this list somewhere so you can come back when you’re looking for new ideas.
All right, let’s get started!
For my money, this is step one for the majority of advisors. No matter what happens with the markets this year, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is always a wise investment because it makes your site more visible for the long term.
In short, SEO is a strategy of incorporating keywords, headers, images and more to help your site higher in search results.
Yet, according to Kitces.com, only 22% of advisors report using SEO despite it being rated as the second most efficient form of marketing (client referrals was first).
While it is difficult to quantify the exact value of SEO, it is quite easy to quantify the value of a clickthrough to your website that turns into a lead and then into a client. Upping your SEO game can increase your chances of that happening – just look at the numbers:
Where do you start?
You have a few options:
There are a lot of services out there devoted to providing advisors with pre-made, white-label content that you can then share as your own on your blog, website and social media accounts. Nothing against these services – they can definitely serve a positive purpose in helping an advisor publish frequently.
The issue is that your content marketing should be exactly that: yours. It should feature your voice, your perspective, your insights – not to mention your keywords and your target audience.
When it comes to marketing ideas for financial advisors, you have two options: Stand out, or blend in. If you’re publishing canned, white-label content, you’re abdicating your main platform to promote someone else’s perspective.
And writing blogs doesn’t have to take forever. You can write them yourself, or you can hire content writers who understand the industry and will work closely with you to write your content – without losing your perspective.
Establish your voice. Build your legacy. Stand out from the crowd. Make this the year that you start publishing content that is truly yours.
In the same vein, there are several services dedicated to providing template websites to help you build a working site quickly and efficiently. Again, nothing against these services. Template advisor sites serve a valuable purpose by helping newer advisors get a functioning site up and running that helps them stay visible and compliant.
But template websites can only take you so far. They tend to have far fewer plugins and integrations available, leaving a much higher likelihood that they will not play well with your entire tech stack. For instance, Squarespace (a template site provider) currently has 31 plugins (they call them “extensions”), and WordPress (a custom site provider) has more than 58,000.
When you go custom, you have total control over the layout, the words, the tools, the workflows – everything. One of my favorite things is helping advisors build their first custom site. Typically, clients who come to us for websites are a few years into their practice, recognize the limitations of their template site, and know how much better things could be.
If that sounds like you, maybe 2023 is the year to go custom.
From the name of your firm to the logo on your wall to the fonts on your site to the colors in your office to the look of the PowerPoint slides you use for proposals – a lot goes into creating your brand.
Advisors everywhere are waking up to the power of branding, but many have a history of mismatched docs and logos that serves as a constant reminder of the lack of brand standards.
Make this the year you put an end to your Franken-brand and finally standardize everything. Find a marketing/branding agency that can help you walk through every element of how you present your firm. We have helped many advisors perform a brand overhaul that includes:
If you’ve never built a lead magnet (e.g., ebook, fact sheet, calculator, quiz) this could be the year to give it a shot. Lead magnets can help build your subscriber list and connect you with new like-minded leads who may be interested in working with an advisor like you.
But not just any lead magnet will do. Build a lead magnet that speaks directly to your target audience and helps them better understand a problem they’re facing.
For instance, if you specialize in working with doctors, you could create an ebook on financial planning for medical professionals. Put that ebook on a landing page where they can download it, and then set up an automated email nurture series to help pique their interest in who you are and what you do.
Speaking of specializing…
We frequently speak with advisors who say their niche is “successful people with money.” The problem is that that’s not actually a niche. These advisors go on to tell us that they don’t want to limit themselves as they really can work with anyone. Ultimately, their unwillingness to choose a niche seems to be rooted in a fear of excluding people who may not fit in a niche but are otherwise a good fit.
To paraphrase Michael Kitces, while finding your niche may decrease the size of your prospective audience, it will increase your close rate with your smaller audience.
As Stephen Wershing says, your niche should be more than “I work with…” Here are a few examples of niche statements from Wershing’s blog on the subject:
Starting a podcast is an effective means for advisors to reach out to their audience, share their knowledge and expertise and establish themselves as thought leaders in their respective fields. With over 155 million Americans regularly tuning in to podcasts, and 80% of them listening to all or most of those episodes, it’s no wonder that a podcast has become a vital aspect of a successful advisor’s marketing strategy.
Related: 8 Steps to Starting a Podcast
Nowadays, social media channels are working to transform their reputations from copycat echo chambers to unique communication channels. As a result, they are penalizing people for posting identical content across different accounts (a.k.a., cross-posting) and even discouraging links that point off of their networks. In other words: social media marketing is getting more and more complicated.
Social media is great and all, but how much should you actually be investing in it? According to one study, advisors gave social media an efficiency rating of 0.0 and put the cost per acquisition (a.k.a., cost per new client gained via social media) at more than $11,000. Often, a lot of this problem can be traced back to advisors spreading themselves too thin between social channels.
The solution? Choose one social media channel and become a pro at using it. No more scheduling all your posts out beforehand, no more jumping from Twitter to LinkedIn to Facebook and back again. Choose one channel, post directly to it once per day every day, engage in genuine conversations with others by commenting on their content (this part is super important!), and you may be surprised at the results.
If you’re like most advisors, you have great intentions when it comes to building relationships with COIs, but it always gets pushed to the back burner. Or if it’s not a back-burner item, then it may be inconsistent and what some might describe as “slapdash.”
Scott Ford, who runs a few Carson Wealth offices, says that once he formalized his approach to COIs, he had a constant stream of referrals – and he never had to ask for a single one of them.
He outlines his process here in-depth, but the TLDR version is:
Formalizing your approach to COI relationships could be the key to unlocking huge potential for your firm. Maybe the way Scott does it isn’t an exact fit for you, but it’s a good place to start.
Client referrals are far and away the number one source of new clients for advisors – other methods aren’t even close. Plus, referrals tend to be a better fit and stick around longer. If you haven’t optimized your approach to referrals, maybe now is the time to do so.
Advisor Coach Angie Herbers says the best way to increase client referrals is not necessarily to ask for them, but to deliver excellent service and publish relevant content when your clients will want it. In one of her columns for ThinkAdvisor, she says:
“The fastest-growing firms push out content planning for the next year at the end of each calendar year. As tax season approaches, they beef up their content tied to tax planning. And, as the summer ends, they intentionally push out retirement-planning content.”
In addition, Angie says keeping the referrals metric in front of everyone on your team regularly can serve as a great motivator. Consider adding it to a weekly check-in so the whole team can be made aware when referrals take a dip.
Speaking of client referrals and publishing relevant content, a newsletter can be a great way to stay in contact with clients and prospects alike. Not only does it keep you front-of-mind with clients, it serves as a timely piece of content they can share with people they know who could turn into your next referrals.
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If you don’t already send out an email newsletter, sending one once per month is a great place to start. What you put in the newsletter is entirely up to you, but here are a few ideas:
Putting the newsletter together shouldn’t take you forever. In just a few hours per month, you can nurture your relationships with the people you serve.
There’s always something that could go better in your client experience. Whether it’s a poorly designed client page or a new feature on your website, there’s always room for improvement.
Pick something that needs to be improved and improve it. Then send an email to your clients letting them know what you did. You’re guaranteed to see at least one of two things happen:
One of the most commonly missed pieces of marketing for advisors is how they measure the results. Thanks to digital marketing, it’s easier than ever to track your efforts.
Pick a few metrics and then figure out how to measure them. If you’re new to marketing metrics, here’s our recommended “starter pack” of what to watch:
Speaking of metrics, Google provides a wealth of tools to help you optimize and measure your website’s performance. They’re relatively easy to set up – if you have a tech-savvy team member (or teenager), they can probably get it all connected in under an hour.
Like I said, Google has a ton of tools, but here are a few essentials to get you started:
Like we said before, better service is the best way to increase client referrals, and what better way to find ways to improve your service than to ask the people who know your firm best: Your clients!
Put together a survey of 10 or fewer questions asking them how they feel about specific areas of service – your website, client meetings, emails – whatever you think might be best. Select Advisors Institute has a great sample NPS survey to help give you some ideas to get started.
That’s it! Now it’s up to you to decide which marketing idea is the right one for you.
If you’re looking for more marketing ideas for financial advisors, make sure you subscribe to our emails, where you’ll get marketing thoughts from our founder, Johnny Sandquist, every Friday, as well as our monthly newsletter, Studio 3C, where we share everything we’ve been up to lately.