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Ask Abby, Marketing Maven
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How Can I Build a Community With My Clients?

Dear Abby,

I wanted to ask you for your opinion on a business building goal we are working on- really developing a “community” around our clients, prospects and centers of influence. We’re trying to get our arms around everything from messaging, branding, content, segmentation and distribution within the allowable scope (email, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc). We are working on some of the elements and trying to figure out how to tie these all together.  Would you have some guidance or advice on pulling this together?  I realize it’s a large undertaking and we need to move step-by-step.  I want to make sure we’re investing our time & resources in the best way possible.


Boston, MA

Dear John,

Kudos to you for thinking about this concept of community.  It is often times not thought of by advisors and yet it can be a very powerful source of referrals for advisors if done well.  Creating this community can be done in a few steps.  I will outline them below, but recognize it will take some time for each of these pieces to tie together and for you to see the impact it has on your business.

  1. Button Up Your Branding.   Before you start promoting the community concept you need to know how you will want your firm to be positioned.  So creating your unique value proposition and coming up with a mission statement should be the first step so you can be sure to articulate your core message to your “community”.  If you have not gone through this exercise before, you may want to review some guide books through your custodian or broker-dealer that can help you in developing your messaging.
  2. Create an Online Presence.  The next step would be to take what you have created in the way of your “branding” and “messaging” and put it online.  Update your website (assuming you have one) and set up your social networking sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook).
  3. Connect.  Now it’s time to invite all of your “community” members to connect with you and follow your pages socially.  The easiest way to do this is to send an email communication out and include buttons for each of the social networking sites that will link them directly to your page to follow you.  You can also upload a list of your contacts to the social networking sites to ask them to “connect” or “friend” you.
  4. Content Creation.  Here comes the hard part.  Now that you have this presence online, you actually need to build the community through communication and sharing of information.  Think about creating a monthly newsletter that is sent out via email, shared socially, and posted to your website.  You may want to also share articles of interest a few times a month as well.  To make it easier there are firms that can aggregate content for you so you don’t have to go searching for good content online.
  5. User Groups and Chat Rooms.  If you want to take it a step further, you can segment out your clients and Centers of Influence and create separate chat rooms on your website or user groups within the social networking site so that you create almost a Study Group approach to communicating with certain groups of your community that have similar businesses/interests/etc.

Once you have accomplished successfully completing the above items, you will have the basis for the community you desire.  At that point you can also add in events and social functions to continue this community concept in person.  I have no doubt this will be a successful way to create loyalty and engagement among your clients while also generating new referrals. 

Best of luck,

TAGS: Marketing
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