Successful marketing means not just having a website and a brochure to hand out. It’s how you present your firm and your value proposition to clients and prospects. The most successful firms in the industry are thriving, in part, because of the time and energy they put into the marketing process. In this issue, we speak with George Tamer, director of strategic relationships at TD AMERITRADE Institutional, for some tips on how to help your business grow through marketing.
Focus on your ideal clients
You can’t be all things to all clients. Advisors should have an understanding of the products and services they deliver and which types of clients those offerings are best suited for. You’ll get a higher return on investment if you focus on the ideal client for your firm, instead of going off in different directions.
Understand the needs of your ideal clients and deliver the message that meets those needs
Often, advisors focus their marketing efforts on what they are comfortable talking about, such as their investment management approach. But to be successful at marketing, you need to make sure your message is geared toward what’s important to your clients and not necessarily what you think is important. For example, if your ideal client is most concerned about retirement planning, your marketing message needs to focus on your skills in that area. You won’t get people to listen to your message unless you concentrate on topics that they want to hear about—and in a language they understand. Focus first on your ideal client’s needs, objectives and goals, and then present the solutions you can offer.
Consider focusing on a particular market subset
Targeting your practice towards a specific segment or two allows you to gain expertise within that field and better understand the needs and difficulties these people face. Teachers, for example, may have very different needs than doctors, nurses or members of the military. Focusing on a particular group also helps you gain credibility as the “go to” resource within a network of employees in the same field.
Spend time to develop your centers of influence in order to build referrals
Most advisors know they should meet regularly with CPAs, estate planning attorneys and other types of attorneys, but many times they don’t actually follow through. Part of a successful marketing program involves dedicating the time to meet with these professionals. Whether it be lunch, dinner or another time of day, you need to help these people understand why they should refer clients to you instead of another advisor, and also help them to understand what your ideal client looks like. These relationships are works in progress. It’s important to continually nurture and deepen the quality of your networks in order to attain better long-term results and more quality referrals.
Get involved in your local community
Many advisors believe they don’t need to market themselves because the bulk of their new business comes from referrals. This is a faulty premise because more and more of your competitors are marketing; to ignore this completely is risky. That said, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to promote yourself. For example, getting involved in your local community is easy and cost-effective. Take the time to get involved in your local Chamber of Commerce, business clubs and civic boards of your local community. Doing so will help you get to know business owners and other influential people in your community who may be business prospects themselves, or high-quality referral sources. The more you present yourself in the community, the more name recognition you’ll have and the more opportunities you’ll have.
Develop a public relations strategy
Position yourself in the community as the expert you are. If you can be the go-to source for local newspaper or magazine reporters and they quote you on various market-related or business-related events, it’s free advertising. This is an area where you have to be proactive. Look at local newspapers for the names of business editors and reporters and reach out to them with story ideas. If you continue to provide solid leads, they’ll be calling you instead of you calling them. Be careful, however, not to bombard editors and reporters with every little thing that comes to mind or your strategy will backfire. If you’re large enough, you may consider hiring a public relations firm that can help position you and your business within your geographic area.
Have a process in place to measure your marketing efforts
All Fortune 500 firms track the success of their marketing programs, and advisors—regardless of their firm’s size—should be looking at it in much the same way. You should have some sort of measure to track your effectiveness. Set goals for yourself. For example, if your objective is to increase your public relations or name recognition, track how often your name appears in the local newspaper. If your purpose is to increase your centers of influence, you need to have a numerical goal in mind so you can define what success looks like. Or, if you plan to deepen relationships with certain centers of influence, determine a numerical goal you can tie back to each. Don’t sit back and assume you are doing well. Determine a way to evaluate your progress.
George Tamer is Director of Strategic Relationships at TD AMERITRADE Institutional, Division of TD AMERITRADE, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC/NFA.
This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business. Past performance of a security does not guarantee future results. All investments are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of the principal invested. The foregoing does not constitute legal advice. You are urged to consult legal counsel for your specific situation.
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