Great marketing is not easy. But it is necessary to grow and expand. In the financial services industry where pretty much everything you're "allowed" to do is strictly regulated, achieving great marketing becomes even more of a challenge. A vast majority of financial advisors are not marketers by trade so more often than not, they're not sure where to start.

We've put together this informative Marketing 101 article for financial advisors willing to up their marketing game. The resources and other articles linked here are designed to give you ideas and point you in the right direction. (For more from Advisor Websites, see: Advisors: Save Time With Streamlined Marketing.)

Define You: Craft Your Message

Crafting your message is easier than you think it is. All you need to do is to answer a simple question until you're satisfied with what you find: "Why?" What's great about this question is it forces you to dig deeper. By discovering the details that you didn't even know were there, it makes your marketing more effective and paints a clearer picture about your practice.

Here's an example - say you own a business that sells sports/workout accessories:

"We sell sports/workout accessories. You should buy our products."
Why?
"Because when you exercise regularly, you get better at it and you'll want to exercise even more."
Why?
"Because when you exercise, you feel better and become healthier. When you feel better, your physical and emotional life will be in balance."
Why?
"Because when you feel better and your physical and emotional lives are in balance, you're happier."

Ah, there! Now you have something you can really work with. You've laid out the groundwork. From here, tell people a bit about yourself in a way that they would feel compelled to connect with you. Don't make it a dull resume-like wall of text though. You want to appeal to their emotions so that you can get your message across. Need a little help with writing the perfect advisor biography? You can read more about writing the perfect advisor biography here.

Define Your Audience: Buyer Personas

What exactly is a buyer persona? Simply put, buyer personas are representations of who buyers are, what they are trying to achieve, what drives their behaviors, how they think, buy, and why they make the purchasing decisions they do - all based on research. We here at Advisor Websites even give names to the personas we create. (Yes, you're probably in one of these groups.) We've discussed buyer personas here if you'd like to learn more. (For more from Advisor Websites, see: How to Turn Your Advisor Website Into a Remarkable Brand.)

We don't just assign people randomly though. It's all based on who you are and your behavior, what pages you visited, where you bounced off, what your discussions with our employees look like (if any) and more. Here's a simplified version of the criteria we consider when working with buyer personas:
  • Background: This is a broad category and it could include education, interests, qualifications, designations, job title and even hobbies.
  • Demographics: The usuals - gender, age, location, whether they own their home, etc.
  • Identifiers: What type communication do they prefer? Email or phone? Are they active on social media? If yes, which platforms? Are they seen as a thought leader?
  • Primary and secondary goals: What do these individuals want to get out of their career? Where do they see themselves in 5-10 years? How do they measure success?
  • Challenges/pain points: This could include anything from the problems they face within their role, ranging from time management to lack of knowledge in certain areas.
  • Our solution: Where do we fit? What features or benefits of our product do they value? How are we going to help them overcome a challenge they might be having?
  • Quote: Something that this person might say. It helps attach a personality to the persona we've crafted.
  • Common objections: What kind of objections we should prepare for when we're talking to these individuals. Are they price sensitive? Or do they have expectations we cannot meet?

This is a lot to process and we're sorry we dropped this info-bomb just like that. But mastering your personas helps your efforts greatly, especially when it comes to crafting the right message for the right people.

Boost Your Online Presence: Your Website

We won't spend a lot of time on discussing why you need a website - because it's 2017 - but we'll share some interesting statistics from Iris to reinforce that need: (For more from Advisor Websites, see: Websites: The Front Door to Your Advisory Practice.)

  • Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. Each day, there are over 3.5 billion searches which translates to 1.2 trillion searches per year. (Internet Live Stats, 2014)
  • 89% of consumers conduct their product research using search engines. (PR Newsire, 2014)
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)
  • Nearly two in three of mass affluent consumers take action after using social media to discover and consider financial products and services. (The DigitalFA, 2014)
  • Two-thirds of millionaires surveyed said they would like to use electronic media with their advisors. (The DigitalFA, 2014)
  • About 90% of mass affluent consumers use social media. Of that 90%, 44% engage with financial institutions on social media. (LinkedIn, 2013)
  • Companies that increase blogging from three to five times a month to six to eight times a month almost double their leads. Companies that blog only one to two times a month generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog at all. (Hubspot, 2012)
  • Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (Groove Digital Marketing, 2013)
  • Google says there are more searches on mobile than on desktop. (Google, 2015)
  • Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. (Social Times, 2013)

You need a modern website that provides visual depiction of target clients, copy that's relevant to your audience, more visual content (like videos), and clear, transparent descriptions of the services you provide. Use keywords in your title tags to match to your geographical location and search terms for your service. Oh, and obviously, your website must be responsive so that the viewers can have a good experience on their phones or tablets.

It doesn't end there though. There are many moving parts in a website. What calls to action will you have? What colors are you going to use? Will you have a blog (hint: you must)? Will you offer resources to download? How will these work in unison? Think about seriously untapped markets, and engage with your client base. Simply put, having a website is of paramount importance. We've posted an article on online presence with our good friends at Finaeo.

You'll need to answer a lot more questions and it is a lot of work. But that work will pay off when people just don't want to leave your dashing website or they keep downloading your resources in exchange for contact information because you offer so much value. There are other key contributors to your online presence, such as your blog and social media, but we'll get to those in our next post.

Become the Expert: Create Content

Content marketing - what is it exactly? It's a form of inbound marketing, meaning that prospects come looking for you, not the other way around. In other words, you're trying to "earn" their attention with content. Speaking of which, have you read this article we published on content for financial advisors?

Content can come in many forms, from ebook and whitepapers to blog articles, videos and infographics. You should make sure that whatever content you're creating for you audience provides some value. Try addressing their challenges, their pain points and even if you cannot offer an immediate solution, make sure they understand that you "get it."

Pay attention to the quality of the content you create. The higher the quality, the higher its chances of converting a visitor. Now it doesn't have to be a 50-page ebook, but you'd better give readers more than just non-formatted words on a page. Make an effort in the language and the graphic design. The more diligent you are with your content, the higher the perceived value of it. Needless to stay, the more useful and valuable content you supply your potential customers with, the more willing they will be to convert to leads and provide you with the contact information you need to process and follow up with. (For more from Advisor Websites, see: 12 Web Design Words Financial Advisors Should Know.)

This article was written by Berk Dikmen and originally appeared on Advisor Websites.

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