Financial professionals can choose from a variety of marketing approaches, from drip email to syndicated radio, but finding what works for you can be a long, frustrating and expensive search. We’ve identified five common mistakes financial professionals make in their marketing. Addressing these before they happen can help ensure you get the most from your marketing budget.
- Not having a written marketing plan: For an industry that prides itself on the value of planning, financial services companies can be notorious for taking a haphazard approach to their marketing. The result is often a scatter shot of marketing techniques, from yellow pages ads to social media posts to email campaigns, with no clear message, no consistency and no measurement of effectiveness. Take the time to craft a marketing plan that starts with who your target market is, and why you are targeting it; what needs that market has; how those needs can be solved; and why they should choose you to solve them instead of your competitor.
- Assuming your marketing speaks only to prospects: In truth, every time you contact a client in any manner, you are marketing. Marketing is everything that goes into building a perception about your company with the intent of having recipients of your marketing take a desired action – such as retain you as their financial professional. When you plan only for those marketing tactics that reach prospects, you ignore a large and more important portion of your market – those who have already taken the desired action but can just as easily rescind it.
- Focusing on yourself: With all the stress on building deeper, more meaningful relationships with clients, some financial professionals have swung the pendulum too far toward the “let me tell you all about ME” approach to marketing. Your marketing should focus on the client or prospect, considering their needs and how those needs can be met. Only then will they care about who you are and why they should choose you, instead of your competitor, to fill that need. If clients and prospects fail to identify with the need, the rest of your message will be lost – no matter how many designations you have behind your name.
- Being cheap: Just because you can produce a brochure on your office laser printer doesn’t mean you should. If your target market is blue-collar retirees with pensions or 401(k) rollovers, you may want a low-key approach to avoid intimidating your clients and prospects. If you’re targeting high-net-worth executives, you should choose marketing techniques and messages that convey that – from your parking lot to your letterhead to your personal appearance. Be careful not to go to extremes to identify with your clients – the blue-collar retiree still wants to work with a skilled professional and the high-net-worth executive doesn’t want to think he’s overpaying for your services.
- Not measuring results: Not every marketing technique can be individually measured. Public relations in particular can be difficult to evaluate in terms of time spent versus results. A relatively simple way to measure your overall marketing is with a brand recognition survey benchmark. Professional market research companies can conduct short top-of-mind awareness surveys for surprisingly low costs. The surveys first ask the respondent an unaided question – “When you think of quality financial advice and service, who do you think of?” Subsequent questions offer increasing aids – “Have you heard of Bob Smith Investments?” – and gauge the positive or negative impression the respondent has of the company. After implementing your marketing plan, you measure again. Have you moved the awareness needle for your target market? Although you won’t know from this type of survey what specific marketing techniques worked, it can be helpful in evaluating your overall marketing effort, particularly if public relations plays a large part. Assigning specific toll-free phone numbers or website URLs to a particular marketing piece or advertisement can help you measure effectiveness of the piece itself.
Securities America offers marketing expertise from planning to implementation and measurement – all focused on helping you grow your business. For more information, contact a Branch Office Consultant at 800-989-8441.