Most financial advisors rely on referrals from existing clients, accountants or other professional connections to grow their business. These customer acquisition channels are a great first step for many small businesses, but the most successful advisors are leveraging new technologies to reach far more potential clients with relevant offers and personalized messaging. With intensifying competition in the space, these approaches could soon become the new norm.

In this article, we will look at some of the best tools and resources for cost-effectively identifying and communicating with potential clients. These include customer relationship management tools, e-mail marketing solutions and social media management products that can effectively create a reliable source of leads for any practice. (For more, see: Essential Software for Financial Advisors.)

CRM Solutions

Financial advisors must juggle a lot of clients at the same time, which can make it difficult to keep their communications highly personalized. Fortunately, customer relationship management—or CRM—solutions were introduced to simplify the process. By keeping detailed client records in one place, advisors can simply log into the system to see a complete history of communication and a real-time asset snapshot before taking a meeting.

According to the Investment News 2015 Adviser Technology Study, Redtail CRM is the most popular solution for financial advisors with a 27% share of the market. But Salesforce, the largest CRM provider in the world, recently launched its Financial Services Cloud product that could give Redtail a run for its money. Many smaller companies, like Wealthbox, also offer compelling solutions with beautifully designed user interfaces and extensive feature sets. (For more, see: The Best CRM Services for Financial Advisors.)

E-Mail Marketing

E-mail may seem antiquated in the world of Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Snapchat, but it remains the most compelling communication medium from a business standpoint. According to Campaign Monitor, e-mail marketing has a 3,800% return on investment, which means that businesses are making $38 for every $1 spent. Marketing automation has made e-mail even more profitable and easy to get started for businesses of all sizes—including financial advisors.

Many advisors probably already use e-mail newsletter programs, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, but "marketing automation" may still be a foreign term. Drip and other companies enable advisors to create compelling offers for their website and then build extensive e-mail campaigns that take in leads and convert them into active clients. Implementing these kinds of solutions can be a powerful way to build leads and grow a practice over time.

Social Media Management

Many financial advisors have set up LinkedIn Corp. accounts to power referral requests, but ignoring other social media networks can be a costly mistake. According to Putnam Investments, nearly 80% of financial advisors leveraging social media have gained new clients with an average asset gain of $4.6 million. The advisors surveyed were active on an average five social networks with the most popular being LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. (For more, see: Top Digital-Age Tips for Financial Advisors.)

There are many different tools that make managing these social media accounts a lot easier than manual updates. For instance, Buffer enables advisors to upload a bunch of social media posts at one time and schedule them to be sent throughout the day or week. In addition, the service provides detailed analytics to help advisors determine what content resonates the most with potential customers in order to focus on what works.

The Bottom Line

Many financial advisors rely on traditional channels to drive their business, but technology is rapidly changing the competitive landscape. While e-mail marketing and social media may seem difficult to implement, there’s evidence that these technologies are having a big impact on the bottom line of many financial advisors. All financial advisors should consider leveraging these technologies to remain competitive and expand their businesses over time. (For more, see: 10 Best Tools for Financial Advisors.)

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