Quit Sputtering Around with Your Marketing Plan for 2021
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If you feel like you sputtered around and never got what you wanted out of your marketing plan this year, here are three tips so you can rock 2021 like Eddie Van Halen.
Why advisors hate marketing
There’s no worse position than when you are half in and half out of something. Not only do you get nowhere, there is no limit to the time you can waste in this limbo. Most advisors take a wishy washy stance on marketing, sputtering around the lake with no rudder and hoping something will work.
That’s totally understandable.
You built your business through referrals; you cold-called and knocked on doors before there was email. Now you have to Tweet with the millennials? Plus, to have to go out and market is overwhelming for people in this profession. Look what advisors have to deal with:
- Pain-in-the-neck clients who compare every trade against Cramer;
- Whining staff;
- Compliance; and
- The IRS.
You somehow muster up the strength to post a selfie on social media every two weeks – but you hate your marketing consultant for making you do it. And then you get an email from your IT person at 7 PM about updating your blog plug-in. Plugged in? Leaking, you mean, because that’s a quick $200 down the drain!
Ever notice how IT people do that, by the way? They just drop things like, “You need to upgrade your website CMS system or else it won’t work anymore. This will cost $60,000.” And then you send them a barrage of emails like “WHAT IN THE BLAZES DO YOU MEAN BY THAT” and they pretend to be unreachable fixing someone else’s server that just crashed.
Oh well. There go the kids’ 529 plan savings for this year. Not like any of our kids had a fighting chance at college after virtual learning anyways.
Three sputtering prevention tips for 2021
Here are three things to do in 2021 to increase your chance of rocking like Eddie Van Halen. If you are looking for a template to use to design your 2021 marketing plan, I provide a marketing plan kit in an e-book about financial advisor marketing plans that I recently wrote.
- Make it as simple as possible
This is not a Roth IRA. There is no need for diversification in your marketing plan.
You don’t need to be on a million different platforms running from LinkedIn to Facebook to YouTube. Most of you are in the position where you don’t need a million new clients.
Do you know happens when you try to do too much? At first you are all hyped up about setting the world on fire. So you get a marketing plan stuffed chuck full with the videos, the blogs, the advertising, the webinars. It all gets mish moshed together. The questions multiply.
Tired and confused, you surrender.
The more complex your marketing plan, the lower the chances it will work.
Everyone repeat after me:
CLEAR AND SIMPLE
Clear And Simple
ClEaR aNd SiMpLe
clear and simple
chiaro e semplice (Italian)
claro y sencillo (Spanish)
Devote your energy to finding one repeatable process that brings you one high-quality, profile-matching client a month, consuming as little of your time and money as possible. Hone that process to perfection. Once you do that, think about adding one more process. Maybe.
Make it a one-stock portfolio. There is no asset allocation here.
- No lazy goals
Whenever I ask advisors what your marketing goals are, I get these responses back.
- To get new clients;
- To have a good social media presence; or
- To develop my brand.
That’s like you asking me what my financial goals are, and I say to you, “I want to have a good portfolio.” Oh okay, now I know what to do! That means I should direct your SEP account into mid cap pharma stocks with a growth tilt, targeting a 12% annual return net of fees.
Don’t be lazy with your goal-setting. Your goals must be numerical and time-stamped; otherwise they are too weak and plus they make you sound like some corny motivational speaker. Write them down, and assess progress monthly.
Examples of robust goals:
- I want to increase my website traffic by 30% over the next three months using SEO keywords related to step up basis in the state of North Carolina.
- I want to use LinkedIn messenger to reach 30 new business owners, and close three new clients over the next six months with at least $2MM in AUM.
- I want to run a seminar series over Zoom for CPAs in my area and get at least three referrals over the next six months.
None of these ho-hum goals anymore, advisors.
- Cover the basics before you do anything else
You can’t invest without establishing that six-month emergency fund, right? Before you move forward with any marketing plan, you have to get the basic elements in place.
There is a great deal more depth to each of the required elements in an advisor marketing strategy; here’s a primer.
Your website should have Google Analytics and Google Search Console hooked up that way you can see how much traffic you are getting and the behavior patterns. These are free tools and if you want to be cheap about it, your neighbor’s kid who is an IT major in college could probably install them for $50.
Your website should have your phone and email address clearly displayed. There should be a way for people to sign up for your newsletter and follow you on social media. You also need a picture of yourself that is not from 1995 (I know, we all had less gray hair 25 years ago).
Although you all cringe when I say this, your fees should be on the website. At the top of the home page you should clearly state the type of business you run (fee-only, fee-based) and the locations you serve.
You need a personal Linkedin page for yourself, and a business page on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Each of these pages should have some call to action that directs the reader to your website. These pages should also contain a headshot of you and clearly display your contact information.
Email opt ins
You should have some way for people to provide their email address to you and join your newsletter. This can be in the form of a lead magnet, or a document that they download in exchange for their email address. Or it could just be a simple pop up or sign up form on your website.
Just don’t use one of those stalker pop-ups. The other day I was on someone’s website and every single page I was assaulted by a pop-up. Gasping for air, I had to flee the website and instead went to a competitor’s site.
Bonus: Exclude what doesn’t fit
Marketing for most of you is going to be very personal. That is because your practice is a reflection of your personality. So the way you market yourself has to fit. Like I said, you only need one or maybe two stocks in this portfolio.
- Maybe you love talking to people. LinkedIn messenger and social media groups are good options.
- Let’s say you are a prolific writer with tons of creative ideas. Start writing 2,500-word blogs with SEO keywords in key places, and post them to your website.
- Perhaps it is neither option. The majority of advisors fall into this category.
Ask yourself how you’ve been successful so far in getting people’s attention. Who sees you as the Eddie Van Halen of their world? That should be the basis for your Marketing Plan.
In my latest e-book I will provide you with a simple and clear Financial Advisor Marketing Kit with only five basic requirements. You can get it here.
If you need ongoing social media coaching, try my membership.
Sara Grillo, CFA, is a marketing consultant who helps investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms fight the tendency to scatter meaningless clichés on their prospects and bore them as a result. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor.