As advisors, most of us encounter several common challenges when marketing ourselves.
- Consistency of messaging. Marketing efforts tend to get pushed to the bottom of our long laundry list of to do items, so we end up leaving the task of marketing ourselves on the back burner. After all, “time is money.” Preferring client representation over client acquisition, while understandable, leads to a feast and famine cycle that is incompatible with effective, consistent marketing. The key is to do both: support clients and market ourselves to prospects.
- Lack of clear differentiation from competitors.
Since most of us prefer doing the work we are trained and experienced to do—and enjoy doing— our marketing efforts fall short when we don’t have as much experience or expertise in that field. What we need is an effective marketing strategy that requires little time and effort so we can continue to do what we do best.
In the past, marketing efforts were primarily face to face, one to one, usually during meals or seminars with referral sources or potential clients. These activities took time—time away from nurturing clients.
Today, our marketing options have expanded and changed dramatically considering collaboration and communication is so much more effective via the web. Consider this:
- About 77% of professional services firms generate new business leads online.
- Firms that generate 40% or more of their leads online grow four times faster.
- As online lead generation rises, so does profitability.
- High growth firms generate more leads online.
Chances are your firm has a presence online. If so, ask yourself three questions:
1) Are you saying something of value to your target market?
2) Are you stating your value proposition clearly?
3) Are you stating your value proposition with consistent frequency?
1. Are you saying something of value to your target market?
Look at the content you’ve posted online. Does it answer the question: What does a client gain from working with your firm? Is it clear how what your firm offers clients is different from the service that your competitors offer?
Unless your messaging contains content that is useful and informative to the reader, it won’t be read. For example, announcing a new firm hire or describing how to grow a client's business by 15% are two very different ways to market your firm. Which statement is more useful and differentiates you from your competition?
One approach to differentiation is to add a valuable service to your practice for a specific audience—your target market. For example, many advisors to business owners practice elements of Exit Planning in their core practices. These advisors can say, for example, “Not only can I help you minimize your taxes, but I can help you create a road map for your future success, both inside and outside of your business.” It is a true value-added proposition to be able to say, “I can help you leave your business on your terms—when you want, for the money you need, to the person you choose.”
2. Are you stating your value proposition clearly?
Articulating a value-added service clearly and concisely is often a big roadblock for advisors. They need an elevator pitch that explains what they’re offering in plain but persuasive language. That requires some salesmanship. But what if an advisor isn’t comfortable doing that?
We can help. BEI has professionally written materials that give advisors the language they need to clearly and concisely describe their business planning services. Advisors and Members of BEI receive all sorts of tools that articulate what they do for their clients, e.g., brandable presentation materials, assessments, white papers, blog posts and newsletters.
3. Are you stating your value proposition with consistent frequency?
Consistent frequency is a marketing plan element that is typically lacking in professional practices. It takes a lot of time to go out and kiss enough frogs to find a prince of a client.
Harnessing the power of the internet effectively by consistently providing clients, prospective clients and referral sources with well-written and spoken information that is valuable to them is easy, but it does take a lot of effort.
BEI provides Members with a host of materials to help them use internet communication effectively. For example, BEI’s newsletter, which subscriber-advisors brand as their own, can be sent to hundreds of owners and advisors as frequently as that subscriber wishes. BEI prevents other advisors using the newsletter service from sending newsletters to that subscriber’s mailing list.
- Marketing an advisory practice is often a challenge for successful advisors because they are busy, it’s not within their realm of expertise or interest.
- In effective marketing, we say something of value to our target audience, say it well, and say it on a regular basis.
- Intelligent use of the internet is an effective, simple medium for marketing your services.
- BEI provides numerous Exit Planning Education Tools and resources to help advisors establish and deliver a strong value proposition to their business-owning clients.