By Mandy Fisher
I can’t tell you how many people I have spoken with who don’t believe marketing works. They lament all the marketing tactics on which they’ve spent their money. If you are not strategic about the dollars spent on your marketing efforts, you will truly be wasting both your time and your money.
So develop a marketing strategy that will succeed and bring results in the New Year.
The first step is to decide who your firm-level marketing is targeting. This should be your ideal client. When I hear advisors say they want to target women, I cringe. Women make up half the population; your ideal audience must be better defined.
Take a more narrow approach. Identify the clients that you have now that you love working with and you would love to grow. Then list why they are awesome: their demographics, where they live, where they work, what they do for fun, what they read and who they hang out with. See if there are any overarching themes. Maybe you will discover that you want to target successful corporate ladder-climbers in the Bay Area with an entrepreneurial mind and tendency to stay up with the modern world who also need an accessible financial partner to build out their dreams.
Whom you define in this step is the target and the base of your marketing strategy.
Many of you want to work with a variety of niches and target them all. In this case, decide what you want your overall firm marketing message to be. Yes, you might want to target the corporate climber and the successful entrepreneur. What is the one message that would resonate with both? Maybe they both have an entrepreneurial mind that you could target with messages about innovating their business. Think of it this way: What do you want people to associate with your name? Maybe that your firm is innovators in the industry. It should be one message that resonates with all of your prospective clients. It does not have to resonate with your current clients if you are looking to grow a different direction.
Now that you have defined your target message, review your current marketing. Does your website, brochure, e-newsletter, events all reflect this message? Test it. Ask people who do not know your firm well what they think of when they see your website or brochure. Ask them whom they think your marketing piece is targeting. Their answers are invaluable and will tell you whether your marketing is articulating your company’s story the way it should.
Before meeting someone, you probably research him or her. You check out their website and then their social media profiles. This is your first impression of the person. Quite often this first impression does not line up with the real person you meet.
When I see outdated websites, whether financial sites or others, my first thought is that they are not a top-of-the-line competitor. Most of the time, this is not true. Ineffectual marketing created that wrong impression. The reality is that you lose the majority of your prospective clients on misled first impressions. If your company’s online presence fails this test, then revamping your company’s first impression should be the top priority in your 2016 marketing plan.
Taking these priorities and your marketing message, you can now develop your 2016 marketing plan. The plan should consist of the ongoing tactics and one-off projects. The ongoing tactics are the ways you distribute your marketing message throughout the year. This might include events, PR, social media and/or blogging. The priority projects you identified earlier as needing a refresh are likely the one-off projects since updating your website and brochure is a one-time effort.
It seems like marketing can be a guessing game, but it’s not. It is all about strategy. If you are going to spend money on marketing next year, then be smart and develop a strategy now. This is the only way that you will ensure the highest rate of return on your marketing efforts.
Let us help you or a friend! We're offering complimentary strategy sessions until the end of December. Contact us now to begin developing your strategy for 2016!