You want to grow your AUM, connect your firm's brand with a wider audience, and compete with larger firms that have a bigger voice and stronger brand. This article will dive into how to create powerful and effective messages that connect with your next ideal client.
First, let us set the framework for the traditional methods a financial advisor has turned to when it comes to marketing and differentiation. In our RIA industry, the standard is to focus on providing personalized, high-quality service to a smaller number of clients. By building strong relationships with clients and developing customized financial and investment plans that meet their specific needs, financial advisors can differentiate themselves from larger firms that may not provide the same level of individualized attention. Another way to compete is to specialize in a particular area of finance, such as retirement planning or wealth management, and focus on surgeons or executives in the airline industry. This focus on a niche can help advisors attract clients who are looking for specific services and are willing to pay for expertise and experience. Additionally, financial advisors can use digital marketing and social media to reach a wider audience and promote their services online. By leveraging these and other strategies, a financial advisor can effectively market their services and compete with larger firms in the financial industry.
It is widely agreed that the above-mentioned strategies work and that financial advisors are embracing the digital revolution by leveraging various digital channels to expand their brand’s reach and connect with their next client. While advisors are implementing digital marketing strategies – thanks to new rules that allow such activity – it can be difficult to create the perfect message that will attract, engage, and add value to your ideal client. But who exactly is your ideal client? This is where client profiles come in.
Client profiles are a collection of psychographic data (pains, habits, values, interests) that will help you refine your marketing message, so it speaks to your ideal client. The more psychographics that you have about your clients, the easier it will be to craft an effective marketing campaign. And the more direct the message to the ideal client, the less money you will spend on marketing.
The idea of creating client profiles is not new. Marketing firms have client profiles to create these very same authentic messages that connect with you, only they have access to your buying behavior through your interaction with search and online brands – it’s how you can often be amazed at how an add pops up that is precisely what you are considering – or perhaps just talking about (yes, your phone, Alexa, etc. are listening and sharing that data and evolving your client profile with thousands of servers within seconds).
By understanding the specific needs, wants, and preferences of the target audience, a large agency builds a detailed description of an ideal customer or group of customers. This data is then used to tailor messages to resonate with a particular group of buyers and increase the chances of building brand awareness, directing eyeballs to a website, or helping facilitate a sale. For example, a marketing firm that is targeting young, tech-savvy consumers might create a client profile that includes information about their interest in technology and their desire for convenience and innovation. With this information, the marketing firm can craft messages for its client that will highlight the benefits of its products or services in a way that will appeal to this group of consumers and deliver immediate value that builds trust, engagement, and brand loyalty.
Unfortunately, most financial advisors do not have access to this treasure trove of behavioral, demographic, and psychographic data, or the 6-figure+ budget to work with an agency that does have access to the consumer profile of likes, dislikes, wants, desires, and needs.
But there is a method to discover how to connect, engage, and deliver incredible value so that the next client wants to learn more about you:
Conduct client profile phone calls with your top clients.
These phone calls take time and require a reasonable level of comfort to ask the questions that will drive the conversation. And a side benefit to the call is a chance for you to not only learn why your client loves you but to hear what you are doing wrong. Both are good outcomes that will lead to improvements at your firm. And the process is easier than you may think with results that assuredly will move the needle on your digital marketing efforts.
When you understand the pain points clients felt before working with you, then you can use that to create client profiles and messaging that speaks to the same fears and concerns of future clients. Matching your message to the client profiles that you like best will make it measurably easier for you to attract your next ideal client.
Here are three quick tips to help you get started:
Step 1: Identify 7-10 clients for interviews
It is important to understand the client's perspective on why they chose to work with you and why they continue to work with you. This goes for both new and long-standing client relationships.
Plan to conduct the interview via Zoom or GoToMeeting (make sure to record the meeting, otherwise it would be fine to do these in-person), and let your client know it will take no more than 30 to 45 minutes. Your client will benefit from having the opportunity to share deep insight into the relationship with your business.
Step 2: Make a list of questions that go beyond their interests
This is the step where many business owners drop the ball. The questions you will ask should go deep into the reasons that answer why your clients chose to work with you and what was going on in their life that made them say yes to starting a relationship with you and your firm. Example questions:
What challenges would the client continue to face if they were not working with you?
Tell me about your relationship with your previous advisor.
If they did not have a financial advisor before you, why did they wait?
What specifically does your team do to help the client overcome the challenges they had before they worked with you?
What was their biggest concern before deciding to work with you?
What kept them up at night?
Do they use social media, and which channels?
What are the types of accounts they follow on social media?
And the question that may provide you with the best insight into the mind of your client and why they chose to work with you was discussed here.
Step 3: Develop a marketing campaign with focused messaging that focuses on the pains, wants, and needs that your clients have shared with you.
Take this information and develop value-based content that addresses the specific needs and concerns of your next ideal client who will match your client profiles. This could include articles, blog posts, videos, and other forms of content that provide valuable information and insights on compelling topics that are of concern or interest. By providing this valuable content, which is matched to your client profiles, you can position yourself and your firm as a trusted resource and expert in their field, while speaking specifically to your next client’s fears, desires, and needs.
Examples of putting client profiles to use in the world of financial services
Charles Schwab's "Talk to Chuck" campaign. The campaign, which ran from 2003 to 2011, featured a series of humorous television commercials in which everyday people discussed their financial goals and challenges with a friendly, down-to-earth character named Chuck, who was supposed to represent Charles Schwab himself. The ads were designed to show that Charles Schwab was a relatable and approachable financial firm that could help ordinary people take control of their finances. The campaign was an enormous success, and Charles Schwab saw a significant increase in brand recognition and customer acquisition as a result. The "Talk to Chuck" campaign is often cited as a prime example of how effective value-based marketing can help a financial firm connect with its target audience and grow its business.
Another example of a successful social media campaign in financial services was Capital One's "Journey to Financial Wellness" campaign. The campaign, which ran in 2016, featured a series of videos, article posts, and other content that aimed to help people take control of their finances and achieve their goals. The campaign included a mix of informative, entertaining, and inspiring content, and it was designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences. To promote the campaign, Capital One used a combination of advertisements, social media influencer partnerships, and organic content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The campaign was a success, with many people engaging with the content and sharing it with their friends and followers. As a result, Capital One was able to increase brand awareness and engagement, and it saw a significant increase in traffic to its website and other online properties.
A final example of successful marketing to the ideal client conducted by an advisor, albeit a robo, was Betterment. To build brand awareness and connect with potential customers, Betterment used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The company posted regular updates, articles, and videos that provided value-focused content, information, and insights about personal finance, investing, and other topics. Betterment also uses social media to interact with its audience, responding to questions and comments and engaging with people who are interested in financial services. Like the company or not, by leveraging social media, Betterment has been able to reach a large and growing audience and establish itself as a trusted source of information and advice in the world of personal finance.
Founded in 2009, AllBackoffice Consulting provides operations and administrative services to registered investment advisors, financial planners, and holistic wealth management firms. Through AllBackoffice, financial professionals transform daily functions and tasks into automated data management. Outsourced workflow support, turnkey management of technology platforms, designing and implementing workflow best practices, quarterly billing and reporting, client support and training, and more are all included in AllBackoffice's personalized support packages.