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Kristen Luke, Cathy Curtis, Stephanie Sammons and Tanya Nichols Photo by Diana Britton
(L-R): Kristen Luke, Cathy Curtis, Stephanie Sammons and Tanya Nichols

How Advisors Can Find Riches in Niches

You’re not going to lose prospects by carving out a niche. In fact, it can make marketing efforts more efficient and propel growth, said panelists at the Inside ETFs conference.

Coaches and marketing experts in this business often recommend that advisors find a niche for their practices and narrow the type of clients they serve. But a lot of advisors fear the pitfalls involved; many are afraid they’ll lose out on revenue if they have to turn prospects away that don’t fit into their service model. But three female advisors with targeted niches said those fears are unfounded. Becoming specialists in fact streamlined their marketing efforts and helped propel their growth, the women said at the Inside ETFs conference in Hollywood, Fla.

In the past six months, for instance, Cathy Curtis, founder, Curtis Financial Planning, snagged seven new clients with average assets of $1 million who fit into her target market: single, executive women looking for a female advisor.  

“When you decide to narrow your focus and you become an expert in a certain type of a person and all your marketing is geared towards that person, you don’t lose prospects,” Curtis said. “You gain them.”

The hardest part of it, she said, is that you end up turning down business.

“You can’t think, ‘Oh I’m giving up this revenue.’ Because what you’re doing is, you’re just being more efficient. You’re working with the kind of people that fit your service model.”

Tanya Nichols, founder and president of Align Financial, recently started focusing on high-earning women who are the decision-makers in their household; she did so because she wanted to work less and make more. She made two big changes in the past year, including putting her niche and minimums right on her website.

“Putting that right on the website and putting my minimums on the website was a total game changer for me,” she said. “And I had a panic moment, where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going out of business.’”

Early on, she didn’t get as many inquiries as when her website was more general.

“I really had to set my mindset up to realize that’s because the website is doing its job and weeding people out, which is what I really needed because I want to work with everybody,” she said.

“You’ll hear crickets for a while,” said Stephanie Sammons, founder of Sammons Wealth Management, who focuses on LGBTQ clients.

But narrowing the focus will pay off later on, she said. According to an XY Planning Network survey, the year-over-year growth rates for advisors with niches was 2% in the first year, 40% in the second year and 60% in the third year. For generalists, their growth was 25% in the first year, 15% in the second and just 10% in the third.

Curtis said having a niche has saved her a lot of time and wasted energy on marketing and other things; she knows who she wants to reach, and she knows her target market’s pain points. Single women, for instance, are often doing all the finances themselves, so longevity planning and things like long-term care insurance are often topics they’re interested in.

Most of the panelists said they came upon their niche by simply looking at who they already serve and seeing if there are trends. They suggest advisors think about who they like to work with and what their own strengths and weaknesses are. If an advisor doesn’t have a natural niche, research one, they said.  

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