Four Marketing Mistakes Every Advisor Should Avoid

You want your marketing to be a success, bringing in new clients and increasing revenue. But what kinds of strategies should you try? Unfortunately, many financial advisors anxiously chase after the “next big thing” in hopes that it will solve all of their prospecting woes. But the problem is, no single marketing approach is guaranteed to drive hundreds of prospective clients into an advisor’s office. If there were such a strategy, everyone would be marketing the same way.

So which marketing strategies can advisors expect to work? The simplest answer is, “The advisors who are most effective at marketing are the ones who focus on relationships and education and who consistently market their business.” It isn’t a popular answer because it doesn’t provide a quick, simple solution, but it is the truth. While it’s impossible to predict which marketing campaigns would work for you, it is possible to tell you the mistakes that ensure a strategy will fail.

Mistake No. 1: Failing to Define a Target Market

Every marketing book worth its while will tell you that the first thing you need to do before starting a campaign is to define your target market, or as it's more commonly known now, your buyer persona. By identifying your market, you are able to focus your marketing efforts to achieve maximum results. Too often, advisors ignore this important step. Instead, they market to anyone who meets their minimum investable assets requirement.

If asked why they don’t narrowly define their market, advisors will generally say they are afraid to limit their client base or are afraid to turn away business. There are two problems with this perspective. First, if you don’t identify a niche market, you make it difficult for your clients and strategic partners to tell people what you do and who you serve. You thus hinder your ability to generate referral business. Second, if your market is everyone who meets the minimum amount of investable assets, then you have to spread your marketing dollars thin to reach them all.

Mistake No. 2: Failing to Write a Marketing Plan

Writing a marketing plan can seem like a burden, but it’s imperative to the success of your business. Consistency and repetition are two keys to marketing success, but to achieve them, you must write out and follow a plan.

Many advisors make the mistake of hosting a public workshop “here and there,” holding a client appreciation event when they “feel like it” or sending a newsletter when they “get around to it.” Advisors with this type of muddled marketing plan will end up wondering why their marketing doesn’t work. It’s not necessarily the techniques that aren’t working; it’s the lack of implementation and inconsistency. By writing a plan, you can set deadlines for each campaign and ensure that you are consistently marketing on a weekly or monthly basis.

Mistake No. 3: Not Allowing a Sufficient Time Frame

Many advisors get frustrated with their marketing efforts because they decide their strategies aren’t paying off. But if asked how long their campaign has been executed, the answer is often “a few weeks” or “a couple of months.” It’s common for advisors to evaluate their marketing efforts too soon and conclude that a strategy isn’t working, only to move on to the next “great idea.” In reality, if the campaign had been given a few more months, it might have proven to be profitable.

Again, much of a campaign’s success depends on consistency and repetition, so give your efforts some time. That doesn’t mean you keep doing what doesn’t work, but try a campaign for a minimum of six months before concluding it doesn’t work.

Mistake No. 4: Getting Caught Up in the Next Big Thing

Too often, advisors chase after the next big marketing idea because they think it’s going to be the silver bullet. Right now, that so-called silver bullet is social media marketing. Yet social media marketing works for the same reasons other strategies work: An advisor clearly identified a narrow target market and consistently and regularly implemented a campaign.

Shifting efforts to the “next big thing” won’t guarantee marketing success. In fact, it could ensure your marketing will fail if you don’t already have the fundamentals down. Only shift to the next big thing if it makes good sense for your business and you have the discipline to see it through.

So How Do You Market Successfully?

Now that you understand common marketing mistakes, the question becomes, “How can you be a successful marketer?” The answer is simple: Use the same disciplined approach you recommend to your clients about their investments. Define your goals, create a plan, follow the plan and be patient. Remember, there is no silver bullet in marketing. Stay focused, remain disciplined and be consistent, and you will be on your way to marketing success.