If someone asked, “What is your marketing strategy for the upcoming five years?” how would you respond? Many advisors are unable to provide a clear answer. Now with digital marketing playing an increasingly important role, creating a thoughtful marketing strategy is more challenging, but more important than ever.
As always, a bit of perspective helps. Word-of-mouth still has the greatest impact on acquiring affluent clients. The affluent are still looking to trusted friends, colleagues, family members, and other professionals for advice. So even as you invest more heavily in digital, save some budget for relationship marketing.
However, the affluent are spending more and more time on their devices, making content marketing a must-have for financial advisors looking to broaden their reach. Essentially, this strategy involves distributing bite-sized pieces of valuable information or free advice tailored to your target market. It piques interest and leaves potential prospects eager to learn more, ideally from you. Sometimes, this approach is labeled as digital branding, magnetic marketing, or thought leadership. In reality, it encompasses all of the above.
This leads me back to the concept of relationship marketing. For it to be effective, proactive relationship building with top clients and centers of influence (COIs) is required. This can be as simple as a thoughtful phone call, a social lunch, or a client event. These are all traditional, time-tested techniques, but they mesh with digital marketing as well.
A perfect example of this is when one of the advisors we coach was having a social lunch with a soon-to-require corner office client. During lunch, the client asked a couple of detailed questions about restricted stock. The advisor answered with a high-level overview but then promised to send a brief video outlining key specifics. In short order, a three-minute video was filmed and emailed to this client. Within an hour of emailing this video, the client called and asked if he could “send it to a couple of his colleagues who were also getting close to retirement.” All of which ultimately resulted in two new clients.
That’s just one example of how interconnected content marketing and relationship marketing have become in today’s world. It tells me both types of activities are worth executing and both are worth tracking.
Remember the days of colder prospecting? Whether you were cold calling or doing seminars, your volume was a great indicator of how successful you were going to be. Tracking is just as important now as it was back then, albeit with a different set of activities. Here’s a quick example of a weekly gameplan:
- Take one client to lunch
- Reach out to one new COI
- Send one small gift
- Make one personal post on social networks
- Connect with 10 new prospects on LinkedIn
- Shoot one 2-minute video.
Everyone’s game plan will be different, but you get the idea. In today’s environment, it needs to be a blend of relationship marketing and digital marketing. Be consistent, stick to your plan, and the results will follow.