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Finding prospective clients can be difficult. The marketing process can seem overwhelming, and unfortunately, the solution is often to cast a wide net to try to attract as many prospects as possible. However, when you try to market to everyone, it becomes incredibly difficult to differentiate yourself.
If you really want to grow, the first step to effectively marketing your practice is to focus on a specific and narrow target market. Then, you can create marketing that resonates with those people. The 2018 FA Insight Study recently published by TD Ameritrade Institutional shows that firms with a specific target market are achieving greater rates of growth and profitability than their peers — the median operating profit margin was 18% greater, and the median annual client growth was 35% greater.
As niche marketing becomes increasingly popular in the financial services industry, gaining a deep understanding of your buyer is critical to building your business. Want to get started right away?
Here are five steps to grow your niched practice:
- Work through the client persona building process.
- Audit your service model and update it based on the people you describe in your client persona.
- Build a communication strategy that resonates with your client persona.
- Speak to your clients in the places where they are, using your client persona as your guide.
- Provide value by solving the challenges for which that specific client persona seeks financial advice.
A client persona is simply a hypothetical profile of your ideal target client written with enough detail that you can put yourself into the mindset of that prospective client and see if your marketing resonates.
When creating client personas, consider including demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, as well as goals and financial details. In fact, the more detailed you are, the better. Use these personas to create marketing messages and make business decisions about what new services to roll out to clients.
How to write a client persona for your financial practice
Start by asking yourself who you want to make up most of your business and then start with this checklist to outline your target audience. It’s also important to recognize that while you are creating a client persona, targeting based solely on wealth or potential AUM doesn’t cut it. Sure, those may be relevant criteria to include to ensure that your client persona is someone who could actually work with you and afford your services, but it’s not distinct enough to create marketing messages that resonate. Prospective clients want to be understood and feel heard for who they are, not the number of zeros on their balance sheet.
Next, write a list of attributes about your ideal clients. Use the traits from your list to write a short summary about your ideal client. Now, name your ideal client. This might seem silly at first, but the significance of a detailed client persona is that now you can really begin to focus your marketing and messaging. The question changes from, “Is this something a prospective client would like?” to “Would this resonate with Engineer Ed?”
- Marital Status
- Educational background
- What industry are/were they in?
- Job title/role (current or former)
- What are their media and social behaviors and consumption?
- What kinds of content do they read, and what specific blogs or publications?
- Are they members of Facebook groups? Do they subscribe to magazines or newspapers? Which ones?
- What kind of activities do they enjoy? Do they do yoga, run, fish, boat...?
- What traits do they value in a financial planner?
- What expectations do they have of their engagement with a financial planner?
- What are their goals?
Delight your customers and keep them coming back and referring
If you want your ideal clients to know who you are, you need to be where they are. You need to commit to helping them achieve their goals, listen to their needs, provide insight they didn’t expect, and delight them in such a way that they become your most credible lead generation medium. It’s important to take a critical look at your service offering before you begin to build a marketing strategy.
- Do your client acquisition, on-boarding and retention processes optimize the client experience for your niche?
- Are you providing more value than the client is looking for?
- Is your process systematic and repeatable for your ideal client persona?
If you’ve nailed these three business processes, congratulations! If not, make sure that improving your client experience is a priority for your business while you are building your growth strategy. Advisors who focus on the entire client experience, starting with a clearly defined target persona and a core set of services, are better equipped to effectively market and deliver their services.
Looking for more information about crafting a client persona? Download our client persona guide.