Q. What are the best marketing strategies for financial advisors?
Financial advisors and similar professionals use customer referrals, local Chamber networking, other professional networking, lead groups, direct mail, newsletters, a business website, social media networking websites, direct sales, and other methods. The best marketing plan will be the one that effectively reaches your defined target customers on a consistent basis. Also, you need to consider the messages and content of your ads, sales scripts, websites, and other marketing materials.
Marketing methods are influenced by the industry, local competition, brand recognition, target customers, available capital, customer base, and other factors. Also, trial and experimentation is usually required to determine the most effective promotional methods for a particular market. Businesses normally determine by experience which marketing options provide the greatest response with the lowest cost. Business owners test, adjust and measure their marketing efforts to make sure they are allocating their marketing dollars cost-effectively in reaching their potential customers. The following are marketing comments and suggestions for these businesses:
- Introduction letters. New agents typically utilize a letter of affiliation to send out to clients, prospects, contacts, etc. Also, a press release can be sent to local publications.
- Social Security marketing. Offering Social Security information is a common approach, including educational, non-dinner workshops at libraries, or by direct mail.
- Retirement income workshops. It can be effective to conduct retirement presentations either in a dinner seminar format or pursuing free speaking opportunities at churches, civic clubs, professional organizations, etc. Some agents also do a financial education program where they teach retirement education classes that they charge a fee for. There is some cost involved in getting this going, but it has been useful for a number of agents.
- Radio ads. Radio ads can be used but are often expensive for small businesses in some markets.
- Skype appearances. You can utilize online Skype or other video conference presentation tools – group or one-on-one.
- Open house. If you are setting up a new business, you can consider having an open house (grand opening or kickoff) event that you promote locally.
- Print advertising. Customized flyers, postcards, and newsletters can be used to send out to prospects.
- Customer referrals. Referrals are one of the best forms of advertising and an excellent way to build a small local business. Satisfied customers are very likely to tell others about the great service they are receiving. We suggest you encourage referrals from your customers and make sure you show your appreciation to those who refer customers to you.
- Professional networking. Networking and cross-marketing with bankers, accountants, Chambers of Commerce, churches, and other organizations can generate referrals and prospects.
- On-site signage. Business office locations should have effective on-site signage to attract consumers.
- Contact lists. Target customer lists can be compiled, from various sources – Chamber of Commerce, local government agencies, Yellow Pages, Internet business directories, and others. Also, local direct mail or flyer services can be sources for distributing advertising to target audiences. Though they may cost a few hundred dollars, the most efficient (time saving, accuracy, etc) source of businesses and individuals by revenues, number of employees, income, location, industry (NAICS/SIC code), and other criteria is a commercial list service. You can use print and online business directories or an Internet search engine to locate commercial lists and directories that may provide you with target customer information. The following are example websites:
Dun and Bradstreet is another source of business list services:
- Free publicity. There are often opportunities for free publicity or public relations in local markets by providing public interest stories to local newspapers that lead back to your product or service. Being a long-term business owner in the area, providing a niche or unique service, business of the month and other factors can qualify you for free publicity in your market. Companies should certainly take advantage of press releases and other media public relations that they can obtain for free or on an economical basis. You can check with local radio and TV stations and newspapers regarding free publicity opportunities.
- Business website. Business websites and social media sites are generally effective and a common part of insurance agent and financial advisor marketing plans so you should review the marketing compliance guidelines of your product providers and/or broker in order to determine what type of online marketing methods may be permitted and available for your business.
- Industry associations. State and national financial advisor associations often have marketing articles and information for members on their websites.
- Competitive review. Review how other financial advisors market their businesses in your area to get ideas for your marketing plans.