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Good VS. Bad Advisor Marketing: Tactics to Stop and Start Doing Immediately

Do your marketing tactics strengthen your credibility and amplify your expertise? Or is it possible that your tactics are actually damaging your reputation and costing you time, money, and opportunities?

Financial advisors don’t deliberately use bad marketing tactics. That’s why I’m about to show you the differences between good and bad marketing. 

Let’s begin…

 

What does BAD MARKETING look like?

  • No clear audience
  • No clear benefits
  • No empathy for what ideal audience is going through
  • No clear story 
  • Inconsistent messaging
  • Inconsistent execution
  • No clear marketing mindset or an undefined strategy
  • Tactics that change without a clear why
  • Focuses on selling versus educating and building credibility
  • Focuses on converting leads versus building relationships
  • No one owns its execution and outcomes
  • Annoys more people than it attracts and engages
  • Creates a “sea-of-sameness” name for yourself in your industry
  • Constantly searching for the next big idea because most of what you touch loses effectiveness quickly or never really worked, or you didn’t stick with it long enough to experience the benefits
  • Focuses on short-term gains
  • Focuses on short-term ROI: direct measurable results that don’t account for long-term marketing benefits

Good marketing is good for your business. Good marketing takes time and requires effort and planning. There are no shortcuts. It builds your credibility, most importantly –– the basis for trust. 

 

What does GOOD MARKETING look like?

  • Clear audience
  • Clear benefits
  • Clear story 
  • Empathy for what ideal audience is going through because you researched and know your niche
  • Consistent messaging
  • Consistent execution
  • Clear marketing mindset and a defined strategy
  • Tactics that evolve in alignment with a clear purpose/outcome/strategy
  • Focuses on educating and building credibility
  • Focuses on building relationships
  • One person/team owns its execution and outcomes
  • Attracts, engages, and endears people to you
  • Creates a reputable name for yourself in your industry as a person who brings real value to the relationship
  • Focuses on building momentum over time and understanding the direct and indirect benefits of good marketing
  • Understands that keeping a client or inspiring them to refer is often more effective than just focusing on attracting new opportunities
  • You are bought into a long-term strategy and you stick with it
  • You create more value within your niche than other advisors because you are focused; they aren’t

 

You might be wondering how to jump from good marketing to great marketing. Great marketing can only truly be measured over many years. Great marketing is measured by the momentum it builds year after year. Good marketing done consistently over time keeps getting better and produces more and more results. 

Ready to learn more? Tune into our Top Advisor Marketing Podcast for strategies that you can use right away to shift your marketing into the good category!

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Advisors’ Best Practices for Creating a Clear Message and Building an Audience

The two consistent elements to successful marketing have always been, and always will be, a clear message and a clearly-targeted niche audience. Eventually, you hope your message will become your brand with the people you ideally want to attract. 

WHAT COMES FIRST:
THE MESSAGE OR THE AUDIENCE? 

Your message and audience are interlinked and, therefore, should be considered and developed together. 

For example, if you are great at estate planning but prefer working with 45-55-year-olds, your approach to messaging for estate planning would be significantly different than if you were targeting a 65+ audience. For people 65+, your message might revolve around getting it right, saving taxes, protecting your spouse, and leaving what you can for the next generations. For 45-55-year-olds, you might focus on purpose, living a legacy, and using the ideas and planning strategies to achieve something now.  

CREATING YOUR MESSAGE

Your message should focus on what you want to be known for and what you deliver to your ideal clients: outcomes, experiences, and feelings. 

If you offer “holistic planning,” you need to not only ask deeper questions, you also need checklists and a story that proves your holistic approach doesn’t end after the first meeting. When your clients hear your message, experience a process, and enjoy the outcomes that reflect your holistic approach — that’s a brand. But it has to start with a better message because that’s how you capture your audience’s attention long enough to prove your credibility and engage them in your expertise. And that’s how you start relationships — with marketing. 

Your message moves into brand status when what your audience knows becomes their new expectation, and, ultimately, it’s when they talk about your product or service with others while using that same language as you. 

Nurturing a brand and message is a long-term commitment but when done properly, it will produce momentum and opportunities — outcomes that make it all worthwhile.  

If you need help defining your message, and ultimately your brand, I highly recommend this free branding guide

And here are podcast episodes that provide further insight into the creation and implementation of your brand:

 

 

IDENTIFYING & BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE

The only way to build the right audience is to share your expertise and attract people to your thought leadership. This takes years, not months. Some of the most successful financial advisors and influencers have spent 10+ years building their audience and brand. Do not expect to compete with their influence in a significantly less amount of time — unless of course, you hire Top Advisor Marketing (shameless plug). 

Ideally, the audience you want to replicate most should be a vertical or identifiable group you can access and communicate with. If you don’t know how to identify your ideal client/audience, I recommend using this Ideal Client Profile worksheet. If you don’t know the value of having a niche or how to start creating one, start with these podcast episodes:

 

 

There are many tactics and tools to define and search for ideal prospects including targeting AI apps, social media advanced searches, or simply finding an in-person niche network such as a chamber of commerce with local businesses, a specific trade conference, or a center of influence.

 

TARGETING OPPORTUNITIES TARGETING TOOLS
Networking Groups

  • chamber of commerce
  • Hobby groups (runners, yachting, etc)
  • Trade associations or conferences
LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator allows you to create search profiles to find, message, and connect with your ideal audience. 

Centers of Influence

These are typically people you want in your network because they know your ideal audience and add value to their lives. 

LeadCrunch

LeadCrunch finds and engages ideal client/prospect lookalikes, making it easy for you to find new prospects just like the ones you’re already working with. 

Online Influencers

Getting your expertise (i.e. thought leadership) mentioned, published, and shared can have a huge impact on your exposure and credibility.

CrystalKnows

Crystal enables you to know more about a prospect’s personality, interests, and values so you can connect better with them. 

Trade Media 

Getting your expertise (thought leadership) mentioned, published, and shared by an outlet that focuses on your niche audience can have a huge impact on your exposure and credibility. 

AdvisorStream

This content aggregation and distribution tool uses AI to adjust content deployment and recommendations. AdvisorStream offers unique content from paywall providers without the paywall.  

  Seamless

Seamless helps you find everyone you need to sell to and it gives you emails and phone numbers. You can use hundreds of insights to build profitable relationships at scale and import directly into your favorite CRM.

 

Read these articles to learn about more AI tools:

 

Build your audience, share your message, and #BeYourOwnLoud:  

  • Discover and define your key strengths and your audience’s needs. 
  • Define your ideal audience by personality, age, interests, dreams, careers, family, education, fears, concerns, not just basic demographics and AUM.
  • Create keywords and phrases that introduce key concepts and points that are important to understanding your brand. Leverage those phrases and words in your marketing, processes, papers, articles, podcasts, etc. 
  • Develop a marketing strategy that starts relationships instead of only attracting leads.  Relationships are built on sharing expertise, leads are based on trying to sell. 

Leverage the tools and resources above to help you build relationships effectively. And if you don’t have time to do it right, find help.

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4 Ways to Boost Your Online Marketing Strategy

For years, advisors have been able to grow their businesses by using referrals and seminars. In our podcast, we often talk about why those strategies have been successful for advisors so far. 

While those two ways of prospecting show decent results for advisors, having a good digital communication strategy in place is proving more and more important today than anything else when it comes to prospecting. 

Here is why:

  • The boomer generation has become social media savvy. Having a social media presence is not a luxury for your company anymore, it is a necessity. Boomers will Google and search online for your social media profiles if they are referred to you by a friend. 
  • Generation X and Y do not have time for seminars but really need your help, and, let’s face it, if you want your business to be there for the long run, you need to start focusing on prospecting these generations as well.

 

How can you make sure that you have a good digital strategy in place? 

 

Follow my 4 recommendations:

 

You need to have a great website

Let’s start with the content. Don’t put everything on your site. You want your website to give people enough information for them to be interested in working with you, but you have to add a level of intrigue that will MAKE them ask you more. 

Keep your website design simple and offer your audience clear directions (i.e. calls to action) of what they should do while they’re on your site. 

Do you want your users to:  

 

    • Log in to their account?
    • Watch a video?
    • Schedule time on your calendar?
    • Sign up for your newsletter?
    • Download a paper?

 

Remember to make sure your website is responsive. Your audience should find your website to be user-friendly and high-quality whether they access it on their laptop, phone, or tablet. After all, over 51% of all website views are done on a mobile device. 

You have to be on social media  

This is now a crucial part of your client communication efforts. Everyone is on social media, and there is a massive pool of possible clients waiting to hear more about you and the help you can offer them.

Most advisors refrain from exploring social media tactics because of the time commitment. But if you don’t have time to maintain a personal or company social media account, you can get professional help with running your accounts. 

In addition to overseeing your accounts and helping you create content, a social media person will help you look polished across all of your social media platforms. Because even if you have no shortage of content it is not as easy as just clicking a button and sharing across platforms. 

 

    • Twitter has different requirements than other platforms, such as a character limit
    • LinkedIn and Facebook require different sized images, so you would have to create two different versions of your graphics
    • The tone you use on one social media platform is not the same one you would use on another 

 

Do consider that social media is not a “set it and forget it” tactic. Don’t hire someone expecting them to handle and create everything that is being published on your behalf. To be unique, you have to share your unique expertise. Add your personal touch to your messages and interact with your audience. 

There are also compliance regulations you need to follow in social media, so whoever you hire should help you stand out from competitors while making sure you stay compliant.

Prioritize content over ads

Don’t place too much weight on strategies like advertising on Facebook. While that can be useful for some, the truth is that, as a small firm or independent advisor, you will not be able to outspend the huge financial services firms. For one, you would have to let an ad run for what can seem like a very long time before seeing any results. 

Instead, create interesting posts that offer valuable and engaging content and boost those posts. That’s not the same as advertising. Producing authentic content is a better idea than to spend time, money and effort in less than effective fill-in-the-blank advertisements. 

Create content that you enjoy and can maintain

If you are a person who doesn’t enjoy writing, it wouldn’t be a good idea to start a blog or base your entire content-strategy focus on blogging.

Most advisors I know talk for a living. And they are good at it. You should use that skill to create content. Of course, if you know who we are and what we do, you know we think you should have your own podcast

Podcasting adds an extra layer of service and value for your clients because it allows them to access your knowledge 24/7. Your podcast also gives prospects a preview of what it will be like to work with you.

On top of that, you can use the content from your podcast to create blogs, social media posts, and videos. This is the kind of strategy that you could maintain and do consistently. If you record one or two podcast episodes a month, think about how many quotes and audio clips you could share on social media.

It’s time for advisors to look at their online presence and consider it is the cost of doing business. These strategies do not always equal obvious and instant lead generation.

Digital strategies are a long play that call advisors to look at ROI differently. And they’re worth every bit of time it takes because, at the end of the day, you’re building your influence, reputation, and making yourself more referable and more available to the people who need your expertise.

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Ep 179 – The Power of Podcast Marketing — with Ben Jones

Nobody knows the power of a podcast like a podcast host.

Today, Matt Halloran welcomes Ben Jones, the host of the Better Conversations. Better Outcomes podcast and the managing director and head of intermediary at BMO Global Asset Management. At BMO, Ben leads a team of sales and service professionals to deliver investment solutions to intermediaries such as RAI’s, broker-dealers, and other investment managers.  

To get the word out about the great work his team does, Ben hosts a bi-weekly podcast called Better Conversations. Better Outcomes, where he provides listeners with actionable content to help propel their practice in different areas of wealth management. Today, Ben shares more about his strategies behind his podcast, and how he makes it as valuable as possible for listeners.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • About Ben’s role at BMO
  • Why Ben believes that better conversations lead to better outcomes for advisors and their clients
  • Three areas of conversation Ben and his team aim to enhance
  • The importance of putting the content you’re marketing first
  • Why Ben believes financial services is a noble profession
  • And more!

Tune in now to learn more about Ben, BMO Global Asset Management, and the power of podcasting with great content!

Resources: Top Advisor Marketing /  BMO GAM/Better Conversations/ Tickle Monster

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Episode 181 — How to ask for Referrals without Begging — Referrals Mini-Series Part 2

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Ep 178 – Show Your Clients How to RetireReady — With Ed Dressel

Today, Matt shares the mic with a guest who has a substantial amount of experience in the finance industry and ideas to help you solve problems and make your life that much better.

In this episode, Ed Dressel, president and owner of RetireReady Solutions, shares how his company helps advisors educate their clients about what retirement can and will look like. Most importantly, you will find out how Ed’s processes can be applied to your experience.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • How the reports that Ed’s company provides breaks down retirement plans in a way that everyone can understand
  • What it means to take a smaller step towards retirement and other important questions to ask your financial advisor
  • What Ed likes to do for fun to blow off steam
  • Ed’s go-to piece of advice or life insight
  • And more!

Tune into this episode of the Top Advisor Marketing Podcast and learn how to help your clients RetireReady!

Resources: RetireReady Solutions

 

Brought to you by: Iris.xyz

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Ep 177 – 7 Steps for Strategic Risk-Taking — with Craig Hersch

Today, Matt welcomes back a known thought leader Craig Hersch, estate planning attorney and founder of The Freedom Practice.

Craig is here to share how he’s grown his business to the point where he’s able to spend time focusing on his highest and best use. In this episode, Craig also uncovers seven steps for strategic risk-taking so you too can overcome your obstacles and start generating great ideas.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Craig’s seven steps for following through on your ideas
  • How your personality traits affect your ability to generate and carry out great ideas
  • The importance of looking back at how far you’ve come
  • Why you should be doubling your costs when doing a cost-benefit analysis
  • The importance of delegating tasks so you can carry out your highest and best use
  • And more!

Tune in and learn how to start putting your ideas into practice!

Resources: The Freedom Practice | The Estate Planner’s Practice Development Podcast | Kolbe Personality Test | The Blueprint Program

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Ep 176 – Uncork Your Productivity: Part 2 — With Patty Kreamer and Michelle Donovan

Many advisors tend to have difficulties in the area of referrals. How much is too much? And why isn’t your COI reciprocating with client referrals?

In part 2 of uncork your productivity, Matt discusses the ins and outs of referrals with Michelle Donovan. They go on to answer many questions around referrals that plague the minds of many financial advisors.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Where financial advisors can begin with getting referrals.
  • How the fear of sounding desperate is a self sabotaging belief.
  • Way to deal with the fear of sounding desperate when asking for referrals.
  • How to set clear expectations with your COIs and other existing clients.
  • The influence having a niche has on a financial advisor’s ability to get referrals.
  • How Michelle helps advisors find their niche.
  • What the communication training by Michelle and Patty to their clients looks like.
  • And a lot more!

Need some help with asking for or receiving referrals from your COIs? Let Michelle Donovan help you get uncorked and get results. Tune in now!

Resources: Productivity Uncorked

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Ep 175 – Uncork Your Productivity: Part 1 — With Patty Kreamer and Michelle Donovan

Welcome to part one of this mini-series with our friends Patty Kreamer and Michelle Donovan, co-owners of Productivity Uncorked!

Today, Matt speaks to our special guests about productivity. They bring you actionable advice, covering topics from managing to-do lists and getting rid of brain clutter to calendering and cutting out email-stress once and for all.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What it means to be truly productive
  • How to go about creating and managing a to-do list
  • How Patty teaches people the time blocking system
  • What it means to be unproductive and how to get ahead of it
  • Some of the biggest time wasters financial advisors deal with
  • Tips for reducing the stress that comes with handling emails
  • What the productivity coaching program by Patty and Michelle entails
  • And more!

Are you ready to uncork your productivity and become more effective? Then tune in to learn how!

Resources: Productivity Uncorked

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Ep 174 – Start Creating Documented and Repeatable Systems — With Dean Soto

When Matt gets this excited about a guest, you know it’s going to be good!

Today, Matt chats with Dean Soto, president of Pro Sulum, about scaling your team and saving time by enlisting virtual assistants to document your systems. Dean also explains why rescinding control can be a good thing. In fact, Dean firmly believes that 95% of what we do can be done by someone else if there is a process in place.

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What drove Dean to start his own business
  • Which essential and time-consuming tasks virtual assistants can do for you
  • Who the most important person is to have in your organization
  • How to make standard operating procedures easier to put together
  • Why virtual assistants will save you time and money
  • Where the name Pro Sulum came from
  • And more!

Listen in now to find out how to document your systems and free up your time!

Resources: Dean Soto via LinkedIn | Pro Sulum

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