According to a recent survey performed by Broadridge analyzing advisory data from 2021 to 2022, the average per-prospect cost of winning new business rose by 3.3%, while the number of increased inbound prospect requests went down by 16%. So, what does this mean? Simply put, it means that it’s now more difficult to acquire new prospects and more costly to close new business than before. The survey also stated that advisors with a marketing strategy onboarded an average of 41 clients in the past 12 months, as compared to only 17 clients for those firms without a marketing strategy.
No matter where you may think you fall in relation to the broader data, the best thing you can do as an advisor is to make a strategic marketing commitment. Because there are countless elements that go into a marketing strategy, let me share three critical components to consider for your commitment to gaining new business in 2023 and beyond.
1. Budget for Reach, Frequency and Impressions
First off, let’s look at the key areas your clients and prospects will interact with your firm. Hint … it’s your website.
Your website is your digital storefront, it’s open 24/7 and must act as an on-demand educational content hub that showcases your brand. Therefore, you need a physical plan and a monetary commitment to ensure that you have the proper foundation, function and content within your website. And most importantly, this plan must include how you will consistently drive users to your site. When thinking about your website under this framework, you may realize you’re due for a website update or a new one altogether, so consider that as part of your marketing commitment and budget, whether it be for 2023 or further out.
Utilizing your database of prospects and clients, you can drive highly cost-efficient traffic to your website. Include a commitment for a weekly, thoughtful email cadence to both your clients and prospects. Then, consider additional ways for your database of leads to engage with your company such as through text message marketing for opt-ins, and potentially a sophisticated automated email sequence.
To add fuel to the fire, for both existing database members and brand-new potential prospects, you’ll want to evaluate the digital ad space you’re playing in. Google display is an effective tool for driving qualified web traffic to your site or landing page. Google remarketing is an essential tool for following all your website visitors around the web to keep your brand front and center. Additionally, Facebook holds many 50+ high-net-worth users active (and growing) on the platform. The same goes for LinkedIn, and you can also think about utilizing it for more niche-based audiences and topics that might align more with your specialty services. Video and YouTube provide another avenue and pool of prospects which can capture users’ attention online and allow them to interact with your firm and website.
Radio and TV broadcasts are also platforms that you can use to garner more reach, frequency and impressions among your target market. Whatever it is, be sure that you have a welcoming place to send prospects, and several different mechanisms to find the best potential clients.
2. Plan for Consistent Brand Messaging with Unique Selling Propositions
Once you’ve mastered step one, you will have a place built to welcome people and different methods available to attract them. Now, it is time to focus on communicating effectively to those users. This may be one of the hardest commitments you make because there’s no monetary element to it. Rather, communication will only drive success if it is supposed to convey what you stand for, how you want to be perceived and ultimately how you can better the lives of the people you’re trying to reach.
For every email you send, article you post and digital advertisement you show, you’ll want to ask yourself, in the voice of the person you’re trying to reach, “what does this mean for me?” As much as you want to think that it’s all about you and your firm, it’s not. It’s about your existing database of clients and prospects and the new target clients you’re trying to reach. So, it becomes a question of how you will differentiate yourself from the crowded marketplace in their eyes. Try creating a content calendar for yourself, so you can map out (by the week or month) what topics you’ll be distributing, where it’ll go, and to whom you will be marketing to. These principles of marketing communication will be your tools to convey your company and unique selling propositions. Make sure they stand out, they resonate and they’re easily digestible for the end consumer on a consistent basis.
3. Create Reasonable Expectations with Benchmarks/KPIs
Think about some of your recent (good and bad) annual client review meetings or first-time prospect appointments. Your prospects probably want above-average rates of return on their investments, to know when the market will go up and down, to never have to worry about their money for as long as they live, and longer when it comes to estate planning. But are they being reasonable? Unreasonable? Perhaps, it lies somewhere in between and that’s where you and your unique firm comes in.
When evaluating your marketing commitments, it’s important to have the data and insights readily available to help determine what is successful and what is not. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure your expectations are aligned with your output. I can hear you saying it right now as you’re reading this, the three all-important letters: R-O-I. Some aspects of your return on investment expectations will be fixed and made crystal clear to you. But other aspects of your ROI will be variable and sometimes harder to interpret. Between those two facets, certain marketing campaigns will be immediate or short term such as a live dinner event, whereas others will be longer-term such as top of funnel lead generation through brand awareness campaigns. No matter what, be sure to establish key performance indicators and have benchmark check-ins along the way. Remember, some things will be fruitful to you out of the gates, and others could take a year or two before you truly have enough data to decide what works and what doesn’t.
When you’re making your marketing commitment in 2023 and beyond, think about diversification. Your clients undoubtedly like having their various streams of retirement income, and it should be no different for your firm’s marketing strategy. Different ways to engage with existing clients and prospects and multiple mediums to communicate with your target audience sets your firm on the pathway to future growth and success.
Mike Schaffman is Lone Beacon’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing.