“I have all the clients I need, so I don’t need to do marketing.”
For independent advisors, I believe this is a very self-destructive statement. And, something I hear a lot.
A financial advisory practice is a business and you have to make sure you can handle growth in a scalable manner, but just because your practice has just the right number of clients now doesn’t mean you can write off marketing. All businesses will experience some level of client attrition, so even if you don’t feel the need to search for new clients now, you still have to continually demonstrate the knowledge and value you can provide so you can weather those times.
Marketing is the Answer
Marketing takes time, and if you stop when times are good your firm may not be prepared when you experience these lean times.
Below are some marketing tips independent advisors can incorporate into their practice management routines and workflows to help retain clients and build a lead pipeline:
- Proactively Communicate with Clients on a Quarterly Basis (At Least): Lack of meaningful communication and relationships is one of the top reasons why clients leave their advisors. So for advisors, proactively communicating with clients can help prevent this from happening. Marketing is far more than just promoting your brand. It’s about sharing your knowledge and experience to help clients make better financial decisions, and making sure your clients know you’re there and that you really care about their finances and their families. Part of this effort involves sending clients birthday greetings/gifts and reaching out to congratulate them on lifecycle milestones, such as the birth of a new child or a child’s graduation from high school or college.
However, advisors shouldn’t only reach out every once in a while to express congratulations, or to schedule annual reviews. To truly demonstrate the depth of their knowledge, and the added value it can bring to clients, advisors need to reach out with commentary that can inform clients and give them ideas about how these insights can help strengthen their financial strategies. Such commentary can also include tips for how clients can prepare now for the possibility of downturns or other volatile market conditions in the future.
- Hold Informational Seminars in Your Community: Advisors can make contact and demonstrate their value for clients who live locally by holding informational seminars. Hosting seminars where clients, and their friends can enjoy food and drinks while enhancing their knowledge of the markets and wealth management is a great way to thank your clients and simultaneously strengthen your practice’s brand presence in the community. Seminars can focus on any subject that enables the advisor to share knowledge that can help those in attendance, such as “Understanding Market Downturns” or “What You Need to Know About Retirement-Saving.” In addition, advisors can encourage clients to bring their spouses and children to these seminars, creating an ideal opportunity to cement and strengthen these relationships.
- Share Market Knowledge on Social Media: In addition to sending quarterly commentary to clients and holding informational community seminars, advisors can emphasize their experience and knowledge by sharing their insights on market developments and wealth management trends on social media. Seeing articles written or shared by their advisors reminds clients that they have the experience and market intelligence to help guide them through both good and bad market conditions.
Hosting a blog, in addition to posting insights and relevant articles on social media, can not only help grow their client base, but may also increase revenue from existing clients. You never know who is reading your commentary online—and finding your insights useful. I know of a female advisor who blogged on a weekly basis for four years, and was surprised to be contacted by a high-net-worth individual with $8 million in assets who wanted to work with her as an advisor—based solely on the blog posts the investor had been reading every week for the previous four years!
In short, advisory firms have to consistently engage in marketing efforts, regardless of their size. Without a strong, ongoing marketing initiative, advisors who say “I have all the clients I need, so I don’t need to do marketing” risk losing the clients they already have.
Chris Radford is President of AE Wealth Management