To outsource your marketing efforts or not? It’s a difficult question and one we try to help Advisors answer on a regular basis. Marketing has always taken a back seat for many Advisors due to the nature of the business but heading into 2020, the question for Advisors is no longer whether marketing is important or not, it’s about how you can build and execute on your marketing strategy.
In any marketing effort, there are 4 primary steps to getting it up and running – strategy, content creation, distribution, measurement/analysis. Rinse and repeat – strategy informs content and distribution; analysis informs the strategy.
The biggest issue is we’ve seen many Advisors face is that they’re paying for people to manage their channels (e.g. social media) without having the strategy in place or really understanding their goals – they are essentially throwing s**t at the wall hoping it will stick. The control that’s possible when you take things in-house can set up a long term growth framework, but there are a few items to tackle before you do.
Here’s what Advisors need to do instead
Define your strategy
Trying to market anything without the proper strategy is setting yourself up for failure. Taking the time to understand your audience, determine your content calendar, identify the proper channels, and root it all a few key goals, each move you make can be made with proper intention. Setting this strategy often gets Advisors out of this “I need to be on X channel” mindset and into this “where are my customers living and what are they looking for”.
Develop your foundation
We hear a lot about scaling a practice in the modern world. Some say it’s easier than ever given our access to technology and the ability to reach anyone at a moment’s notice. Scale = efficiency. It allows us to deploy faster, pivot on a dime, serve more people, but without foundation, scale is easily breakable. If you’re trying to market, but your brand and messaging are inconsistent, nothing will stick. If you’re trying to sell, but your talk track changes, you’ll lose the network effect. If you’re trying to move fast, but your processes and systems aren’t in place, it will result in chaos. This is why your brand foundation is critical – your messaging, your visual identity, how you talk about your practice, etc. Because if every time you execute, something’s slightly different or your process changes (without good reason), you likely have a foundation problem.
Get trained up
Biggest speed bumps Advisors run into when getting their marketing up and running – time, resources, and understanding the marketing channel landscape. This is why training is so critical, because if you can take the time to get trained on the specific platforms, then you inherently become a marketer yourself. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, content production – just a few of the key platforms you should ensure you’re not only familiar with, but expert enough to manage them in-house. In-house social media management is 10X better once you have the proper level of education and the right tools at your disposal. Invest in getting yourself or someone on your team trained.
Invest in content
The other biggest speed bump Advisors run into? Proper, compliance-OKed, content. You can’t have a marketing strategy without content. Every distribution channel loses its long-term value without content. Outside of training, content is one of the most critical elements you can invest in as an Advisor. Whether that’s carving out the time to build your own content or investing in a platform that provides differentiated content, this is a place you can’t short – particularly because the world of financial management is so important to investors.
Heading into 2020, marketing is clearly a key to any business, especially within the FA world. Investing in the right areas can help differentiate your practice on a local and national scale. This also allows you to not be at the mercy of any one platform, channel, or third party software.