Now Is the Time to Build Your 2017 Marketing Plan

It is that time of year again, when you review your marketing efforts and build out your marketing plan for the next 12 months so you can hit the ground running in January. Whether you are a small or large business, if you want to grow your firm, then you should create an annual marketing plan.

At Kaleido Creative Studio, we believe there are four building blocks that create a well-balanced marketing plan for financial advisors: infrastructure, awareness, lead generation and conversion. We will walk you through each block so you have a clear understanding of what they are and how you can build your 2017 marketing plan.

Building Block #1: Infrastructure

We always begin with the infrastructure block as it is the foundation of the plan. Start by reviewing your branding to see if it is working or if it is an area that you need to focus on. Your brand includes your company name, logo and colors. Are you happy with your brand? Does it resonate with your clients and potential clients? If so, then you can move on to review your messaging.

Messaging comprises the key words and phrases that you use to define your firm and that differentiate you from other financial advisors. These key words and phrases should be incorporated throughout your marketing. It is vital to ensure that you are sending out the appropriate message to your clients and potential clients.

The next step in infrastructure is to review your website. Is the design outdated? Do you have calls to action inviting people to sign up for a free portfolio review or to sign up for your newsletter? If you have not changed anything on your site in a couple of years, then you most likely will want to focus some of your marketing efforts on your website.

It is easy to get stuck in the infrastructure stage of the marketing plan process. Even though infrastructure is very important, don’t fall into the trap of remaining in this stage. You need to move on to the other building blocks.

Building Block #2: Awareness

Now that you have a strong infrastructure block, it is time to build out your awareness. This block is all about getting your name out there. You will not get new clients if no one has ever heard of you. There are many ways to build your awareness: word of mouth, speaking engagements, direct mail, social media, sponsorships, newsletters and so on. You just need to make sure that you are doing a couple of these strategies and doing them consistently.

Building Block #3: Lead Generation

Lead generation is where the fun begins, as this is when you see the fruit of your labor. People often get frustrated with marketing, as they think they are doing all of these marketing activities and nothing is paying off. In such instances, most people are only building awareness and not doing lead generation activities.

For financial advisors, most leads tend to come from client referrals, center of influence referrals and events. Now would be the time to ensure you have a client referral process and COI referral process in place. Then schedule events every quarter where you invite clients, their friends and any other contact who is a potential client. The event can be an educational activity or a social one. The choice depends on which resonates better with your clients and potential clients. At each event, be sure that you have a conversation with every new guest and capture their contact information so you can follow up with them later.

Building Block #4: Conversion

Now that you have all of these leads, you need to make sure that you are doing everything possible to convert them to clients. In the conversion block, you can do marketing one-to-one or one-to-many. One-to-one marketing would include personally reaching out via email to offer a free consultation or scheduling a lunch with your client’s friend who seems eager to learn more about your services. One-to-many marketing would be sending out a monthly email newsletter with a “Schedule an Appointment” button or mailing a postcard with your phone number to call for an appointment. Keep in mind that conversion is a process and takes time. You need to constantly stay in front of your leads so that when they have a need for your services, you will be the easy choice.

Building an annual marketing plan does not have to be complex and time consuming. You just have to make sure you are including the key ingredients. Following our building blocks makes it easy to see where you need to add or remove activities. Tailor your plan for you and your firm, and make it easy for you to implement. If you start out by doing just one thing in each of the blocks, that is fine. Just be consistent with whatever you choose.