Quick Guide To A Super-Successful 2016 With Your Financial Advisor Marketing Plan

By Bob Hanson

Each November and December for the past 10 years, I’ve worked with clients on marketing plans for the next year.

I also study trends and predictions from thought leaders and undertake at least one survey of marketers on “What’s Working Now” to validate what I’m hearing.

Around this time in December, I feel as if I’ve taken a journey into the future.  I know what your peers are planning for next year’s communications strategies and growth initiatives.

Back From The Future

This year, I decided to come “Back from the Future” to share 5 lessons I learned (or re-learned) in marketing planning for 2016

I’m sure you have seen the surveys that show that most individuals and couples don’t have an up-to-date financial or retirement plan.  Likewise, our surveys over the years have consistently revealed that fewer than a third of advisory practices have a current marketing plan.  Paradoxically, this number does not seem to vary even if the advisor or practice puts together a financial plan for all of their clients.

A successful financial advisor I interviewed recently had a lot of intriguing sayings that stuck with me.  Here’s one of his best:

1 – “A Very Good Plan Today will Always Beat an Excellent Plan Tomorrow.”

You can always wait to gather more information or to further refine a financial advisor marketing plan.  But putting a stake in the ground and acting on a solid plan will get you moving towards your goals.

The positive outcome of annual or quarterly marketing or business plans is that the calendar forces a deadline.  Once you are in the habit of timely planning and execution, you recognize things will always change in the future.  But it is better to start the year with a rough roadmap to your destination.  Otherwise, you may end up at a place you did not want to bump into.

2 – Recognize Social Media is a Piece to the Puzzle . . . Not the Entire Puzzle

While most advisors are now incorporating social media tactics and channels into the marketing mix — and many are able to show client-attraction successes from it — having a social media strategy is not to be confused with a comprehensive growth or communications plan.

After all, what do you want your new social fans, followers, and connections to do?  Often, the idea is to drive them back to your website to benefit from your marketing content or to contact you for a consultation request.

Click here to get a new, free report on Content Marketing for RIAs and Independent Advisors.

Stepping back to the time when websites were being added into the advisor marketing mix, then we advised financial advisors to integrate online and offline channels.  It’s no different for social networking. Strategize about coordinating your social networking with your in-person networking and, also, your social media plan with the rest of your marketing plan.

There is still time to create or update your “Success Plan” to increase the odds that next year will be your BEST

For the first 5 advisors who contact me for a “Super-Successful 2016 Consultation,” I will give you a 20-minute consultation with the outcome of 3 action items to help ensure that 2016 will be “Super Successful.” All I will need from you is your answers to 7 simple questions in our “Success Plan 2016 Questionnaire.”
Call Bob Hanson for your complimentary consultation at 617-901-6886 or send an email to bhanson@marketingplanfinancialdvisor.com

3 – Most Organizations Are Not Tapping the Potential of Front-Office Technologies Like CRM and Marketing Automation      

I recently engaged with a new client to help develop a marketing plan for 2016 geared to reaching a new audience for them. Before we started, multiple people in the organization eluded to the fact that the organization had “advanced users” of CRM, in this case salesforce.com.

Well, as we went through the planning and peeled back the onion a few layers, we found that they  were using their CRM for basic contact management.  It served as the master contact database which they actually used.  They were NOT, however, really leveraging any of the advanced features such as web-to-lead tracking or sales opportunity management. They only scratched the surface of the benefits that these technologies have to offer.

For those serious about getting close to customers and growing, cultivating, and harvesting a prospect base, sales management and marketing automation technologies will offer an immediate ROI.

In the case above, we recommended in Q1 starting to drive leads into the CRM and track them directly there using the web-to-lead module.  Then later in the year they could implement a new marketing automation package that integrates directly with their salesforce.com database.

Be aware: For many smaller organizations, a broad technology like Red Tail or Infusionsoft can do the job on its own for both marketing and sales.

4 – Content Marketing Is Now Mainstream, Yet Most Organizations Don’t Have a Formal Content Marketing Strategy

Studies show cold calling is even less effective than it was 10 years ago.  Today, it takes roughly 3 times as many calls to get someone on the line.  And I would argue it was not a productive marketing strategy 10 years ago.

Other studies estimate that roughly two-thirds of product research happens BEFORE talking to a company or salesperson. Your prospects are not only asking friends for referrals but also searching online articles, downloading calculators and reports, watching videos, or checking your website for helpful information, etc.

Content Marketing can be thought of as creating and publishing or distributing any kind of content — online, social, or offline.  It extends your reach and influence, and your team’s, to more potential clients before they are ready to select an advisor.

Click here to get a new, free report on Content Marketing for RIAs and Independent Advisors. (This is also an example of content marketing in action.  We create custom free reports for advisors for their marketing.)

Our planning with advisors and organizations for 2016 shows that content marketing adoption is spreading.  More will benefit by reaching more prospects and generating more qualified leads from their marketing budget.  Yet fewer than half of these organizations have a formal content marketing strategy.

Be Aware:  Those without a formal strategy are more likely to experience frustration and disappointment from their content marketing efforts.

5 – Avoid the Checkbox Approach to Marketing; Focus on Meaningful Results

At last count we developed a list of 115 marketing tactics for advisors and practices to consider.  If a small firm tried to implement most of them in a year, you can imagine the likelihood of succeeding at any one tactic would be pretty low.

Sometimes I get the feeling that people approach marketing by the numbers . . . keeping score of the tactics they try and checking off each one as they go.  For those who are familiar with basketball, one of the key measures of an offensive player’s effectiveness is how many baskets/points they score, not how many shots they take. In fact, if you only score a few points but take a lot of shots, you actually hurt the team.

You may have heard that implementing many tactics rather than one or two is likely to yield better results in the form of new clients and assets.

Caution:  Be sure that you thoroughly understand each tactic, implement each one effectively, and track each tactic to measure the Return On Investment.

Best wishes for a Super-Successful 2016.

P.S.  My Special Gift to You:  There is still time to create or update your “Success Plan” to increase the odds that next year will be your BEST!

For the first 5 advisors who contact me for a “Super-Successful 2016 Consultation,” I will give you a 20-minute consultation with the outcome of 3 action items to help ensure that 2016 truly will be “Super Successful.”  All I will need from you is your answers to 7 simple questions in our “Success Plan 2016 Questionnaire.”

Contact me at bhanson@marketingplanfinancialadvisor.com or call me directly at 617-901-6886

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About Bob Hanson

Principal, Client Attraction System for Financial Advisors
Bob Hanson has worked with hundreds of financial advisors, professionals, and companies to drive documented results of 300% in new prospect flow within a week, a 70% increase in annual income within 12 months, and a boost in sales of 5 times for a firm in a little over 36 months. In addition, Bob is a Webinar specialist, a White Paper expert, and an experienced Centers of Influence strategist who helps marketers tap the full potential of these powerful marketing tools.

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