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To succeed as a financial advisor in 2023 and beyond, you need a marketing plan that combines digital marketing strategies with traditional sales and advertising tactics. This is especially important today if your goal is to build a sustainable and profitable business.
Getting the attention of consumers and then converting them into paying clients is more complicated than ever before. Your competition is no longer limited to just local financial advisors. Consumers are turning to apps and online tools to manage their money, hiring specialist financial advisors who live hundreds of miles away, or choosing a combination of human financial planners and robo-advisors.
Despite these headwinds, smart advisor marketing strategies can help you accelerate the growth of your business and attract new clients, no matter your budget. You should think of your marketing budget as an investment in your business, so if you’re able to allocate additional funds towards strategies delivering the best results or can afford to hire an experienced marketing consultant, you’ll likely hit your growth goals even faster.
Regardless of whether you’re working with in-house marketing professionals, a marketing consultant, or looking for ideas you can implement on your own, the tips in this article will help you build a robust marketing plan to stand out from the competition and profitably accelerate your growth.
Of course, we don’t have all the answers, so you’ll also find links to videos and resources created by many of the leading voices and experts across the financial services industry.
In the near term, we suggest focusing first on identifying the tactics you’re most comfortable with to gain early momentum. Then come back to this article to review additional ideas you can implement when you’re ready.
Table of contents
- Building Your Brand
- Creating Client Personas to Define Your Target Market
- Winning with Your Website Homepage
- Attracting Your Ideal Clients with Content Marketing
- Here are five powerful ways you can grow your business with content marketing:
- Promoting Your Content
- Content Marketing Offers Many Benefits for Financial Advisors
- Get Listed in General Online Directories
- Create Profiles on Find-An-Advisor Sites
- Growing Your Business with Online Reviews & Testimonials
- Email Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Start a Podcast
- Cultivate Referrals
- Host Client Appreciation Events
- Host Educational Seminars & Webinars
- Social Media
- Google Ads
- Get a CRM Application (and Learn to Use It)
- Establish an Effective Sales Conversion Approach
- Hire a Marketing Agency or Consultant
It’s best to walk before we run, so let’s take a minute to talk about building your brand and determining your target market.
Building Your Brand
To avoid being known for nothing, you need to be known for something. With 300,000 financial advisors across the US, it can feel intimidating to try and carve out a unique niche or value proposition to avoid swimming in a sea of sameness. This is why it’s important to establish your professional brand to ensure you stand out.
While the word ‘brand’ may conjure up images of well-known corporate logos we’re exposed to every day, the brand you create for your advisory business is so much more than a logo. Your brand should be a reflection of what makes you and your firm unique.
If you serve a clearly defined niche, you’re at an advantage when it comes to building your brand. But a narrow niche isn’t a requirement to build a strong brand as an advisor.
For example, if your primary focus is working with clients who live nearby, you can distinguish yourself as a specialist with deep knowledge of the compensation plans and benefits packages of major employers in your area.
📺 Related Video: Fighting the Fear of Focusing When Trying to Select a Niche
Creating Client Personas to Define Your Target Market
Unlike many advertising strategies designed to reach a broad audience and build general public awareness, the marketing ideas in this article will prove most effective when squarely focused on consumers in your target market. By developing client personas, you’ll more easily identify natural opportunities to reach prospective clients who are a good fit for your practice. This also ensures you will get a bigger bang for your marketing buck.
To create client personas, take the time to think about what’s most important to your ideal clients when it comes to their finances. What are their near and longer-term financial goals? What questions do they ask most often? What fears do they express when it comes to planning for retirement? Are there common characteristics and interests they share that create opportunities for you to uniquely meet their needs?
Once you’ve gathered these details, think about clients you can speak with to ask questions and get answers which will help solidify your understanding of their needs. While your questions can focus on financial planning topics objectively, make an effort to listen intently to understand the why and emotions they share when discussing their dreams and concerns.
From here, you’ll have a wealth of information that will help shape your marketing activities and more naturally attract your ideal clients.
Winning with Your Website Homepage
With your client personas created and as your brand becomes more defined, it’s time to revisit your website. Beyond ensuring your site is easy for prospects and clients to navigate, it’s important to emphasize what sets you apart to quickly capture the attention of your ideal clients.
Is there an emotional connection you can establish in your messaging based on the client personas you’ve created? Are there common pain points among your clients you can address on your homepage to showcase your unique knowledge and ability to meet their needs?
Simply by tailoring your messaging to your target audience, you can increase the percentage of visitors to your website who are likely to become clients.
Five Important Homepage Features Easy to Implement on Any Budget
Our team reviews hundreds of advisor websites each year to identify opportunities for improvement. Of particular importance, we look for five features known to turn more prospects into clients when they arrive on your homepage:
1. Mobile Friendly
With more people browsing the internet on their phones than on desktops, a mobile-friendly experience is a must. Your website provider knows this as well.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective client and spend a little time looking at your website homepage from your mobile phone. Consider asking a couple of colleagues, friends, or family members (including young children!) to offer feedback on their experience viewing your website on their mobile phones. If the feedback isn’t as positive as you hoped, it’s time to talk to your website developer or find a new provider.
2. Straightforward Messaging
What’s the first message prospective clients see when they land on your homepage?
Make a great first impression by using simple and straightforward messaging. Using as few words as possible, try to convey the unique value proposition you offer to distinguish yourself and your services from the sea of sameness often experienced when people are looking to hire a financial advisor online.
By helping people quickly decide if you may be a good fit for their needs, they enjoy greater satisfaction in their first interactions with your business, and you benefit as the people likely to set up an introductory call will more likely fit the profile of your ideal client persona.
Of course, many people do want to learn much more about you and your services. This can be accomplished in pages linked from your homepage and in FAQs, as we suggest just below.
3. Clear Call to Action
Your existing clients may regularly visit your website for access to educational blog posts and logging into a client portal. Most likely, they already know where to find what they’re looking for on your website or will get there directly via a link you send an email or client newsletter.
Prospective clients, on the other hand, need a helping hand to know what action you would like them to take next. This could include asking for their email address to subscribe to your weekly commentary or to download a free resource designed to help them solve a pain point related to the planning services you offer.
Most often, the best call to action is usually a prominent button that appears on each page of your website encouraging prospective clients to ‘Schedule a Free Introductory Call’ linked to your calendar tool (e.g., Calendly) to instantly book an initial meeting as we discuss in the next point.
4. Calendar Integration
With more people browsing the internet on their phones than on desktops, a mobile-friendly experience is a must.
While most websites will include a ‘Contact Us’ form, integrating your calendar using a tool like Calendly streamlines the appointment-setting process and offers an improved experience for you and prospective clients alike.
A traditional ‘Contact Us’ form requires a prospect to submit a form followed by exchanging multiple emails simply to book an introductory call. While it’s useful to include a traditional contact form on your website, especially for inquiries and questions that don’t require an appointment, your ideal journey for prospective clients likely includes getting them on a call as soon as they’re ready to chat.
By including a clear call to action on your homepage linked to your calendar tool, prospective clients feel empowered knowing they can find a time that’s most convenient for their schedule. Because the dates and times available for them to select have already been set aside by you as convenient with your schedule, everybody wins.
5. Link to FAQs
While your homepage is designed to quickly capture the attention of prospective clients with snappy text and fewer words, your FAQs page is the perfect place to expand upon the questions you most frequently hear prospects ask when they first meet with you.
Further, we encourage advisors to include a clear discussion of your pricing within your FAQs. Doing so mitigates the risk of clients feeling surprised when the topic comes up in conversation, avoids confusion if they otherwise find your pricing published in regulatory disclosures linked from your website, and can keep you from wasting time on introductory calls with prospective clients who aren’t a good fit for your pricing model
Of course, your website should include basic security measures and load quickly, features all reputable website developers will provide.
And while it’s easy to bust your website budget by adding lots of bells and whistles, simply ensuring your homepage includes these five features will help you achieve impactful ROI at a very low cost.
Choosing a Website Developer
Especially today, it’s important to think of your website as an investment that offers the potential for a very rewarding ROI. While the value of your website involves so much more than its design and aesthetics, it’s often worth choosing a service provider that offers a combination of technical expertise and specific experience serving financial advisors and wealth management firms.
When evaluating providers, ask for references you can speak with and links to sites they designed that you can test yourself. Do they load quickly? How do they look on your mobile phone? If you put on the hat of a consumer, how does the experience make you feel?
Spending time checking out websites built by the website developer you’re thinking about hiring is also a good way to get inspiration for your own website refresh. Are there calls to action that capture your attention, like buttons to book an appointment or subscribe to the advisor’s newsletter? Can you find examples of websites that steer you to take the actions you want visitors to take when they visit your website?
Here are a few website developers with experience serving financial advisors:
📺 Related Video: Key Elements of a Great Financial Advisor Website
Creating an Emotional Connection with Your Website Homepage
Beyond the facts like your education and the professional designations you’ve earned, it’s important to personalize your website homepage so people can get to know who you are and if you’re a good fit to work together. By creating an emotional connection, people will feel more comfortable setting up an appointment, reaching out with questions, and diving deeper into your website.
If your specialization is serving clients in your region, a homepage that includes images of local attractions and a description of your involvement in the community will capture the attention of the ideal clients you’re hoping to attract. What are your favorite local restaurants, sports teams, and places you like to spend time in your city? By helping people learn more about what you love in your city, they’re likely to share a common interest that can become a conversation starter or even a comfortable setting for your first meeting.
If you specialize in a particular niche, designing your homepage with relevant imagery alongside a discussion of why you chose this niche and your unique value proposition can be an impactful way to build a loyal following. What information can you share that shows how you keep abreast of developments in your niche? Are there magazines, interest groups, blogs, podcasts, and/or other resources you enjoy that you can highlight on your homepage? Not only are you offering resources others may find valuable, but you’re also establishing a connection with others who may have their own suggestions and ideas to share with you as well.
A new and powerful opportunity to build an emotional connection with website visitors is publishing client testimonials directly on your homepage. Thanks to the new SEC Marketing rule, the financial services industry will spend the next several years catching up with other trust-based professions where online reviews have become an influential source of referrals. We’ll discuss how you can grow your business with testimonial marketing later in this article.
INDUSTRY INSIGHTS WORTH READING
- How to Make a Great First Impression (AltaStreet)
- 5 of the Best Advisor Homepage Designs (Twenty Over Ten)
- 5 Design Tips To Boost Trust And Credibility On Your Advisor Website (Kitces)
Build Trust with Online Reviews on Wealthtender. ⭐
🎉 The new SEC Marketing Rule is a game-changer in advisor marketing.
🥇 Wealthtender is the first SEC-compliant financial advisor review platform.
⭐ Your online reviews become an evergreen source of digital referrals.
Attracting Your Ideal Clients with Content Marketing
When people hear the term content marketing, the first thing that often comes to mind is writing and publishing articles on your own website. But there’s so much more to content marketing, and if writing isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry! We’ll share ideas to help you succeed whether or not you enjoy creating content.
Content marketing strategies rank among the most powerful and cost-effective ways to build your brand and increase traffic to your website. But it’s important to note many of these strategies involve content published on other websites, not your own.
By going where the eyeballs and ears are (e.g., popular websites/blogs and podcasts), you’ll gain opportunities to get in front of your target market, build authority in your areas of specialization, strengthen your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your website, and ultimately get more visitors to your website from your ideal future clients.
Here are five powerful ways you can grow your business with content marketing:
1. Get Featured on Popular Websites
There are many reasons why it’s valuable for you to gain visibility on websites other than your own. While your own website is a great place to build a relationship once people find it, you’re much more likely to get noticed and gain SEO benefits when you’re featured on reputable websites popular with your target audience.
One way to get started is by submitting a guest post to a website or blog whose audience will likely be interested in topics relevant to your area of specialization. Beyond the potential of attracting new clients who read your article, you’re gaining impactful SEO benefits as well. When websites with high domain authority publish your content and include a link to your own website, this helps search engines like Google determine that content on your site is trustworthy and helps your site rank higher in search results.
If you’d also like to have your guest post published on your own website, too, you can do this by simply taking one extra step of not indexing the article on your own website or indicating the original article is the guest post version. While this may sound complicated, it’s quite easy to do, and your website designer can help do this for you in just a few minutes.
If you would rather not spend time writing articles yourself and/or you want to maximize your opportunities to grow your business with content strategies, here are two ideas worth considering:
Hire Freelance Writers
Get to know personal finance freelance writers you can hire to write ghostwritten articles. By preparing an outline or having a conversation to help them understand what you’re looking to convey, you can build a library of content that reflects your thoughts without the heavy lifting of starting from scratch. And you’ll be able to personalize the final product to ensure articles reflect your tone and voice.
Alternatively, there are also benefits to offering byline credit to the writers you hire and quoting yourself within the articles they write. Since many freelance writers hold professional designations themselves and/or have established a strong reputation for their writing, they offer credibility that demonstrates professionalism and can improve your SEO.
Subscribe to a Modern Digital Marketing Platform for Financial Advisors
Unlike traditional find-an-advisor websites that only offer you a profile page listing in a directory of financial advisors, modern sites like Wealthtender help consumers learn more about financial advisors by publishing articles you can be featured in to gain visibility and boost your SEO.
Instead of you having to write your own content, you’ll be featured in articles and guides to help you gain recognition in your areas of specialization, for professional designations you’ve earned (e.g., Certified Financial Planner), and ongoing opportunities to get quoted in articles published on wealthtender.com as well as other publications popular with consumers.
By joining Wealthtender, you also gain access to a growing community of financial professionals and educators, including hundreds of personal finance blog and podcast owners who may be interested in helping their readers and listeners get to know you, especially if your niche aligns with their interests.
2. Write and Publish Articles on Your Own Website
While guest posting and being featured on other websites builds awareness for your professional brand and strengthens your SEO, publishing articles on your own website is an important content marketing strategy to increase engagement and convert more visitors into clients.
If you’re not sure where to begin, a smart approach to deciding which topics you should write about on your website is by thinking about the types of questions you most often hear when speaking with prospects and your current clients.
This is also a good time to think about what your ideal future clients are searching for on Google when they’re preparing to hire a financial advisor. By writing articles that center on the topics and keywords popular among your target audience, your website can become a popular destination for education in the areas most important to you and your ideal clients.
As we discussed previously, if you’d prefer not to write articles yourself or want to complement your own writing, hiring freelance writers can be an affordable and worthwhile investment.
There are also a growing number of service providers who offer access to content libraries you can publish on your website. While these articles are usually not written exclusively for you, this can be a cost-effective way to complement original content on your website with educational articles on a wide range of topics.
It’s also easy to build out an FAQ page on your website with answers to questions related to your areas of specialization. As you develop standalone articles that dive deeper into topics addressed on your FAQ page, you’ll be able to link to them, which can further improve your engagement with visitors to your website and help your SEO.
Turn Your Website into a Powerful Marketing Tool with Content Boost 🚀
📰 Gain access to 100+ articles on a broad range of topics, plus new articles monthly.
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🚀 Attract more prospects and drive deeper engagement with your current clients.
3. Create Lead Magnets with “Gated Content”
You’ll want most of the content on your website to be easily accessible to visitors and indexable by search engines. But you’ll also benefit by publishing some content that is ‘gated’ and only available after you collect an email address from someone who wants to view the content. Often referred to as ‘lead magnets’ and frequently delivered as downloadable PDF files, gated content can be a great way to get more subscribers to your newsletter and learn who among your site visitors could turn into warm leads.
The best types of content to turn into lead magnets can vary but often include resources like case studies and more in-depth tips or ideas you can share related to your areas of specialization. For example, if you specialize in serving small business owners, what guidance can you offer in an article that demonstrates your knowledge and previews the types of insights they can expect to receive when they hire you? Or, if you specialize in a niche like cryptocurrency investors, what information can you provide to help them understand the opportunities and risks associated with alternative investments?
4. Become a Podcast Guest
While launching your own podcast can be an effective way to grow your practice, and many service providers now make it easier than ever to get started, most advisors can achieve considerable success in growing their business by being interviewed as a guest on podcasts.
Being a podcast guest is an effective way to reach new audiences who may be interested in working with you. And listeners who hear your podcast may also tell their friends and family about you if they think you’re a good fit for their needs.
During the interview, you’ll gain opportunities to highlight your expertise and gain recognition in your areas of specialization. And because listeners are getting to know you as a person, an emotional connection is established that warms up cold prospects making them more likely to set up an introductory call.
You’ll likely also enjoy SEO benefits with a link back to your website. And you’ll gain a closer relationship with the podcast host who will keep you in mind for their listeners’ needs. When you promote the podcast episode you’re featured in to your clients and prospects, the podcast host gains new listeners, too. Everybody wins!
When you’re ready to find podcasts you would like to be interviewed on, you can turn to general services like PodMatch that connect podcast hosts with people interested in becoming a guest.
5. Get Quoted on Popular Websites and Media Outlets
Another effective way to build authority, strengthen your online reputation and boost your SEO is to get quoted in articles relevant to your areas of specialization and media outlets popular with consumers. Effectively, this content marketing strategy is piggybacking on someone else’s content, and you’re along for the ride.
Callout quotes build authority and generate interest with SEO benefits that help you rank higher in search results. Once you’ve been quoted in an article, there are several ways you can turn your feature into a powerful marketing opportunity, including:
- Creating social media posts highlighting your callout quote
- Previewing the article in your newsletter sent to clients and prospects
- Adding the article to your ‘media mentions’ page on your website
- Syndicating (republishing) the article on your own website (ask permission first)
- Sharing the article with COIs in your niche and local reporters
Finding opportunities to get quoted does require a degree of effort, but today it’s easier than ever to uncover opportunities to become a source for articles through services available to advisors and subject matter experts.
For example, financial advisors who sign up for Wealthtender gain opportunities each month to be quoted in articles that strengthen their authority and build their professional brand. Or you can sign up for services like Help A Reporter Out (HARO) or Qwoted to receive emails daily with opportunities to be quoted in articles relevant to your niche or areas of experience.
And when it comes to engaging with the media and local reporters, keep these tips in mind for your strategy to be most effective:
- Be persistent in sending emails to journalists and reporters you want to connect with; Ensure your emails convey your areas of knowledge and specialization where you can offer useful insights their readers will appreciate. Have a contrarian point of view? Express it!
- Many reporters read (or at least skim) every email they receive, so even if they don’t respond, continue to keep in front of them with timely insights, offer your views on recent stories in the news, etc.
- Follow the social media accounts of the reporters you’d like to get to know; Like and respond to their posts; Engage and add to the conversation; This is a great opportunity to showcase your knowledge.
- Remember, reporters are people, too. Get to know them. Offer to take them out for dinner or drinks, so you can get to know each other.
- Reporters are tasked with answering the question, “why will my readers care about this?” when writing articles. When reaching out to reporters, think about how you can offer value that addresses this need.
Wealthtender Helps Financial Advisors Get Quoted in the Media. 💬
💬 Get quoted on popular websites, including MSN.com and via Associated Press.
🏅 Build authority and strengthen your online reputation.
🚀 Grow your business faster as a recognized leader in your community or niche.
Promoting Your Content
Once your written content is published or a podcast episode featuring you is released, promoting your content proactively is a best practice to ensure your content gets noticed. Whether the content is on your own website or published elsewhere, there are many ways you can improve its visibility and maximize its impact.
For example, creating posts across your social media accounts with links to the content can drive traffic when it’s first published. Think about relevant LinkedIn groups where the content may be valuable to share and Twitter hashtags that could drive additional engagement and sharing.
It’s also valuable to use social media scheduling tools to periodically recycle your social media posts or set reminders to create new posts linking to your content. This can help keep traffic flowing to older articles and can benefit your SEO, too.
Content Marketing Offers Many Benefits for Financial Advisors
No matter which content marketing strategies you decide are best for you, you’re establishing trust with consumers and showcasing your knowledge and ability to help them achieve their financial goals. Unlike traditional sales tactics like cold-calling or knocking on doors, content marketing is a powerful form of inbound marketing, inviting consumers to learn more about you in a very approachable manner.
The world has changed, and the way people search for financial advisors has evolved with it. As searching online becomes the leading way that consumers find and research financial advisors, content marketing should become a key part of your overall marketing plan to strengthen your online reputation and boost your SEO.
Get Listed in General Online Directories
Given the prominent role online search now plays in the lives of Americans, it’s important to establish your presence on Google since they control a majority of searches conducted online. Fortunately, setting up your Google My Business page is an easy and free way to improve your visibility in search results.
But an increasing number of searches are now taking place on voice-activated search engines like Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri. And millions of additional searches are taking place each day across dozens of other platforms.
In fact, in a recent study of more than 20,000 businesses conducted by Yext, an NYSE-listed online reputation management firm, they reported that approximately 73% of people searching for a business online visited a third-party website first to learn about the business before visiting the actual website maintained by the business. This reinforces the importance of being proactive in your efforts to manage what people see on the first page of Google when they search for you. By getting listed in general online directories and creating profiles on find-an-advisor sites, you’re taking important steps to strengthen your online reputation.
SEO experts will tell you it’s important to ensure your information is published consistently across these platforms since search engines like Google use these ‘citations’ (mentions of your business) to help measure your prominence and determine their confidence in the accuracy of details about your business. There’s generally no cost to create these profiles directly on your own, but it can be time-consuming to manage dozens of accounts and passwords to maintain your presence.
What does Google say about the importance of being featured in articles and directories?
Excerpt from “How to improve your local ranking on Google” published by Google Support:
“Local results are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence. A combination of these factors helps us find the best match for your search… Prominence refers to how well known a business is… Prominence is also based on information that Google has about a business, from across the web, like links, articles, and directories.”
If you don’t have time to manage your online presence on your own, you may want to consider digital marketing platforms and service providers that can automatically sync your professional bio and business information across dozens of directories and voice-activated search platforms. Here are two examples:
By ensuring your information is listed consistently across dozens of online directories, your local SEO will benefit, and you’ll increase your likelihood of appearing higher in local search results.
Create Profiles on Find-An-Advisor Sites
Beyond general online directories and search engines like Google, establishing your profile on websites that help people find a financial advisor offers both obvious benefits and advantages you may not have considered.
While some find-an-advisor sites don’t offer much more than basic details about you and your firm, others are designed to not only help people learn more about you and the services you offer but also offer you powerful digital marketing and SEO benefits to strengthen your online reputation.
Here are 5 ways you can benefit by creating profiles on find-an-advisor sites:
1. Easy to Set Up and Maintain - The most popular find-an-advisor sites make it easy to create and update your profile page. Some sites also offer a done-for-you service option by creating your profile based on information found on your website and other online platforms. While you won’t need to make frequent updates, it’s important to revisit your profile a couple of times each year to ensure your details remain current. Be sure also to choose platforms that allow you to quickly update your profile at any time.
2. Get in Front of The Right Audience - Consumers browsing find-an-advisor websites usually fit into one of two categories. Many are naturally searching to find an advisor who may be a good fit for their individual needs, while others may be farther along in their search and looking to learn more about you from websites other than your own. Accordingly, it’s important to keep your profiles up to date on these sites to ensure people can find timely and consistent information about you everywhere they look, especially at the point in time they’re preparing to make a hiring decision.
3. Build Your Professional Brand - Your profile offers an opportunity to reinforce your brand and make an impactful first (or second) impression. For some consumers, viewing your profile will be the first time they learn about who you are and the services you offer. For others, they’ve already visited your website and are now looking at your profiles on find-an-advisor sites to learn more about you. And as online reviews of financial advisors proliferate in the coming years, consumers will be able to learn more about you based on the reviews they read on your profiles.
4. Gain Immediate Credibility - Reputable find-an-advisor websites have already established authority with search engines like Google, which means your profile on trustworthy sites offers immediate benefits in the form of credibility among consumers and your online reputation with search engines. In fact, when you Google yourself, you’ll often find your profiles on find-an-advisor sites rank nearly as high (or sometimes higher) than your own website. Remember that many people thinking about hiring you are likely to Google you before they do, so ensuring your profiles on find-an-advisor sites are up to date can help ensure they find consistent information about you wherever they look.
5. Cost-Effective - When it comes to digital marketing, creating your profile on find-an-advisor sites offers considerable value for a low monthly subscription or annual cost. In fact, paid web listing services rank among the top 5 most cost-effective marketing strategies according to a 2020 industry benchmarking study conducted by Michael Kitces at Nerd’s Eye View. Maintaining your profiles on find-an-advisor sites can be a great foundation from which to build your overall marketing strategy.
Which Find-An-Advisor Sites Should You Choose?
To determine which find-an-advisor websites are best for growing your business, there are many factors to consider.
To start, you may be affiliated with associations or networks like NAPFA or XY Planning Network that offer you a profile page listing in an online directory. Or directories sponsored by credentialing organizations like the CFP Board that help consumers find advisors who have earned the designations they offer. Since your annual membership likely includes a profile page in these directories, it’s smart to maintain these at the very least.
Next, you’ll want to consider creating profiles on find-an-advisor websites where their primary business is helping people find the best financial advisors for their individual needs. Profile pages on these websites are generally more robust and designed with SEO in mind to help you rank higher in search results and better manage your online reputation.
If you’re a fee-only financial planner, Fee Only Network is a find-an-advisor website you may want to join. If you’re eligible to be listed in their directory, you can create a profile page for a reasonable cost and gain visibility among consumers looking for a fiduciary financial planner near where they live. You’ll also gain SEO benefits.
The latest find-an-advisor website you should consider joining is Wealthtender. Unlike most find-an-advisor websites, Wealthtender helps people find advisors based on the areas of specialization most important to their individual needs, along with their location if proximity is important. In addition to the SEO benefits from your profile page, you’ll also build authority and gain recognition when you’re featured in articles and guides relevant to your business.
Wealthtender is also the first financial advisor review platform designed to be compliant with the SEC Marketing rule, offering Certified Advisor Reviews that help consumers make smarter hiring decisions. Especially if you plan to grow your business with testimonials in the years ahead, creating your profile on Wealthtender today ensures you’re ready for digital marketing success in the future. The reviews feature can be turned on whenever you're ready or turned off anytime.
|Benefits of Find-An-Advisor Sites||Wealthtender||Fee Only Network||Affiliation Sites|
|Free Profile Setup Service||🟢||🟢||🟡|
|Search by Zip Code||🟢||🟢||🟢|
|Search by Niche / Specialization||🟢||🔴||🟡|
|Search by Compensation Alternatives||🟢||🔴||🟡|
|Get Featured in Articles and Guides||🟢||🔴||🟡|
|Reviews / Testimonial Marketing||🟢||🔴||🔴|
|Opportunities to Get Quoted||🟢||🔴||🟡|
|Access to a Content Library||🟢||🔴||🔴|
|Social Media Amplification Services||🟢||🔴||🔴|
|Advisory Firm Solutions (2+ Advisors)||🟢||🔴||🔴|
Legend: 🟢 Yes | 🔴 No | 🟡 Maybe
Growing Your Business with Online Reviews & Testimonials
Consumers looking to hire professionals in trust-based industries want to know they’re making the right decision. And outside of financial services, online reviews have played an integral role in helping people make more informed and educated hiring decisions for many years. For professionals such as doctors and lawyers who have embraced testimonials as an integral part of their digital marketing strategy, online reviews have become an evergreen source of digital referrals.
Now that the new SEC Marketing rule has opened the door for financial advisors to get started with testimonial marketing, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a head start on a powerful and proven way to grow your business.
Online reviews establish a human connection with prospects, demonstrating your trustworthiness and increasing their confidence in contacting and hiring you. And your online reviews can offer the social proof consumers need to choose you over another financial advisor. Anecdotally, a popular online review platform for lawyers found that those with at least five reviews on their platform achieved four times the engagement compared to lawyers with just one review.
If you decide not to make online reviews part of your marketing strategy, another financial advisor nearby or in your niche who has several positive reviews is more likely to get the call.
When you encourage prospects to read your reviews online, you trigger the SEC Marketing rule prohibitions and disclosure requirements. In order to compliantly grow your business with online reviews, it’s important to keep these requirements in mind:
- Only provide prospects with links to your online reviews where accompanying SEC-required disclosures are present (e.g., your website, your profile page on Wealthtender)
- Be sure each review includes all necessary clear and prominent and additional disclosures
- It’s ok to direct prospects to websites where your reviews can be sorted in different ways (e.g., sorting reviews from most to least favorable), as long as you don’t control the sorting
Beyond these requirements, you’ll want to work closely with your compliance officer to update your policies and procedures and learn how to ask for reviews from your clients and other people who know you well.
📺 Related Video: Financial Advisors Can Finally Embrace Client Testimonials
Finally, it’s important to carefully choose the online review platforms you’ll use to collect, display and promote your testimonials. General online review platforms like Google and Yelp can be problematic for financial advisors interested in complying with the SEC Marketing rule, as these platforms weren’t designed to incorporate the disclosures prescribed by the SEC.
On the other hand, Wealthtender created Certified Advisor Reviews and designed its platform for SEC compliance to help financial advisors confidently grow their business with testimonials.
Your website developer can also work with your compliance team to build an online review collection and promotion platform that incorporates the SEC-required disclosures. Or, if you prefer a turnkey solution to collect and promote testimonials on your website without the cost of custom development, Wealthtender offers easy-to-install widgets you can use to collect and promote your testimonials.
While marketing your business on popular social media platforms is an important part of an effective digital marketing strategy, building your email list can be even more valuable, especially as algorithms increasingly filter out organic content in favor of paid posts.
Since there’s a negligible cost involved when you send out emails, email marketing should be a priority for most financial advisors. While it’s important to get the frequency right and ensure your emails offer value, a thoughtful email marketing strategy can help you stand out as a leader in your areas of specialization and ensure you’re the first advisor who comes to mind among your subscribers.
Whether you offer a weekly newsletter or ad hoc updates, your email messages offer an opportunity to respond to current events or market volatility, share updates relevant to your audience, include links to your latest articles and media mentions, promote activities in your community, or simply connect more intimately with people than you can likely achieve through social media platforms.
With gated content or lead magnets available on your website, you can also send a sequence of emails to prospects that introduce them to you and the services you offer. It’s important to start by offering valuable tips and resources without asking for anything in return, then gradually encourage an appointment or invite to a webinar that can lead to a more formal introduction.
An increasingly popular and cost-effective way to connect with prospects is through video marketing. While it would be easy to spend thousands of dollars to professionally produce a short video, the costs of recording a video from your laptop or mobile phone are negligible and can offer a more authentic experience that helps people feel you’re approachable.
Of course, it’s important to ensure the quality of your videos and accompanying audio are suitable for publishing on social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, or your own website. As a general rule of thumb, videos on social media platforms like Facebook that likely won’t be viewed beyond a week don’t need to be as polished as videos you plan to publish on your own website or distribute as evergreen content on YouTube.
If you’re comfortable behind the camera and anticipate video marketing becoming one of your top priorities, it makes sense to invest in professional equipment and service providers who can help your video content stand out. You’ll also benefit from spending time upfront thinking about the videos you want to create, the topics you want to discuss, how frequently you plan to record videos, and the platforms where you can generate the greatest return on your investment.
Start a Podcast
After you’ve been interviewed as a guest on a few podcasts, you may be among the financial advisors who enjoy the experience so much that you’d like to start your own. Starting your own podcast is a major commitment, but the rewards you can reap as a podcast host can make the investment of time and money worthwhile.
Starting a podcast can be an expensive endeavor, but you’ll find options to get your podcast off the ground for minimal costs if you just want to test the waters. But before worrying about the costs, it’s important first to ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with your podcast, the audience you’re interested in reaching, what topics you plan to discuss, the guests you’d like to interview, and how you anticipate promoting your podcast.
Beyond turnkey platforms like ProudMouth experienced in helping financial advisors launch their own podcasts, be sure to speak with podcast hosts you know and respect for their recommendations and tips on how to get started.
📺 Related Video: Start a Podcast to Turn Skeptical Prospects into Raving Fans
While other advisor marketing strategies may come and go, referrals and word-of-mouth continue to play an important role in growing your business. By taking a proactive approach to cultivating referrals, you can increase your odds of getting even more business in this manner.
For example, take some time to think about the people you know who have been a good source of referrals in the past and others who you think should be sending more referrals your way. Build a list of these individuals along with other types of professionals like accountants, real estate agents, and attorneys and prioritize them by the potential value they can offer, the likelihood they’ll be receptive to referring their clients to you, and any reciprocal opportunities you may have to refer people to them as well.
Once you’ve established your list, prepare letters or emails you can share with these contacts highlighting the value you can bring to the people they refer to you, along with talking points they can share when talking about you with people they might refer to you. And when they do send you referrals, be sure to call them personally to thank them for the referral. This ensures they know you appreciate their referral and their clients are in good hands.
Finally, before you get started in your efforts to proactively cultivate referrals, speak with your compliance team to understand any written arrangements you may need to put in place or disclosures you may need to provide for regulatory compliance.
📺 Related Video: Financial Advisor Marketing: 3 Proven Referral Strategies
Host Client Appreciation Events
Hosting client appreciation events is a thoughtful way to thank your clients for their business while also making it easy for them to invite their friends and acquaintances who could be a good fit to work with you, too.
Encourage your clients to bring a guest and choose events that lend themselves to socializing so you’ll have a chance to mix and mingle. Happy hours and informal dinners can be a cost-effective way to meet new potential clients, and you’ll find the next conversation with them easier to break the ice since you’ve already connected on a personal level.
Host Educational Seminars & Webinars
A great way to help prospects understand the knowledge and experience you offer your clients is to host free educational seminars and webinars on topics related to your niche or areas of specialization.
For example, if tax planning is a service you offer, a 30-minute to 1-hour presentation sharing ideas to help people understand how to make the most of tax-advantaged savings vehicles or strategies to lower their taxes can be an effective topic to fill a room or Zoom call.
It can take time to build a presentation and handle the logistics of identifying prospects to invite, managing the invitation process, securing a venue, event planning, and follow-up activities, so be prepared to invest considerable time at a minimum for this strategy to be effective.
Alternatively, it’s worth considering turnkey platforms like White Glove, which specialize in handling all of the logistics of your seminar and webinar marketing efforts for you, or consultants like Indigo Marketing Agency, which offers packages to help you add a webinar to your website.
📺 Related Video: Best Webinar Topics for Financial Advisors
With all the emails you receive each week from vendors promoting the social media marketing services they offer, clearly, there must be value in promoting your business on social media. (But then again, why are they sending you so many emails if social media is the answer? Refer back to our discussion of email marketing above!)
As a financial advisor, it’s important to have a social media presence, if for no other reason than there’s no cost to create your social media accounts and increase your visibility online. But whether or not your marketing strategy should involve paid social media marketing tactics or a significant investment of time to produce frequent posts on your own is another matter.
Social media can be a great way to build a following, engage with your fans and reinforce your brand online. But like many advisor marketing strategies, success will likely involve a major commitment of time and/or dollars.
If you enjoy posting regularly on social media platforms, you may already have a sizable following and experience success in turning your audience into a source of new business. If social media isn’t your thing, don’t write off this marketing strategy yet, as you’ll benefit by engaging with a marketing consultant who can help you decide if investing in a social media manager or service is a worthwhile investment based on your growth goals and the unique characteristics of your business.
While the costs of social media marketing can add up quickly, the ability to target your ideal audience with an incredible degree of precision could prove to be very effective, depending upon the nature of your business or the niche your serve. And retargeting strategies to capture the attention of visitors to your website hours or days later can be a powerful way to turn casual browsers into clients.
📺 Related Video: Social Media Content for Financial Advisors
Similar to paid social media marketing campaigns, buying Google ads can be another effective way to precisely reach your target audience. And similar to social media, the costs can add up quickly, too.
While many of the content marketing strategies discussed earlier are intended to help you rank higher in search results without paying to be featured, Google ads guarantee visibility with your ideal audience for a cost.
While Google makes it fairly easy to create ads on its platform, it’s smart to enlist the services of a marketing agency or consultant with experience helping financial advisors build effective advertising campaigns. Before signing a contract, ask for examples of their work and financial advisor references you can speak with to hear firsthand how they describe their experience working with the agency. If you're looking for a marketing agency knowledgeable in financial services, Zero Company has experience helping financial advisors attract new clients using Google ads and related services across multiple online platforms.
If you prefer to experiment with Google ads on your own before contacting an agency, be sure to start with a very small budget to test and learn without breaking the bank. And take the time to learn from financial advisors who have successfully grown their own business with Google ads, as Daniel Kopp, founder of Wise Stewardship Financial Planning, discusses in this episode of XYPN Radio.
Get a CRM Application (and Learn to Use It)
While many CRM (customer relationship management) applications offer bells and whistles you may never use, the value of a CRM system you learn to use in your everyday business is priceless.
In order to succeed (and maintain your sanity) in implementing many of the advisor marketing strategies discussed in this article, a good CRM system used effectively can turn hours of administrative hassles into just a few clicks. For example, email marketing strategies can be effectively managed with a CRM system that includes templates and segmenting tools to help you delineate between prospects and clients.
And with integrations between your CRM system and other applications you use, the possibilities for streamlining your operations are endless. From email sequences to nurturing prospects to form submissions and activity tracking, your CRM system can play an integral role in supporting your marketing efforts for years to come.
Choosing the right CRM application for your business may require a combination of doing your homework in advance, asking other financial advisors what they use, and trial by fire to determine which solution is best for your unique needs. Many CRM providers offer online demos, webinars, and even free trial subscriptions, so don’t be afraid to experiment on your own.
Establish an Effective Sales Conversion Approach
Many of the advisor marketing strategies discussed in this article will result in cold prospects turning into warm leads. But what you do next to turn warm leads into clients is integral to a successful marketing plan as well.
When you get an email or call from a prospect who expresses interest in learning more about your services, you need to be prepared to effectively communicate your value proposition in a manner tailored to their inquiry.
While prospects may have questions to ask you, it’s important you’re prepared with questions you plan to ask them as part of an established process you’ll follow to help qualify if they’re a good fit for your practice.
Your process doesn’t need to be set in stone as it should evolve and be refined as you continuously improve your effectiveness in qualifying and converting prospects into clients. Establishing a cadence to evaluate and measure your success in this area can help you improve your marketing results in the future. And your CRM system can play a valuable role in helping you manage this effort and become an effective practice management tool to grow your business.
Hire a Marketing Agency or Consultant
Does it make sense for you to hire a marketing agency or consultant? It depends.
Depending upon the stage your business is in, your marketing priorities, budget, and your comfort with digital marketing tools and ideas presented in this article, hiring a marketing agency or consultant could be a good investment and save considerable time that you can instead allocate to serving your clients.
It’s also important to remember there may be opportunities when it makes sense for you to hire an agency or consultant for a one-time project that doesn’t commit you to a long-term contract.
Especially if you’re interested in implementing more advanced advisor marketing strategies that require considerable upfront development work or technical expertise, enlisting help from professionals who specialize in these areas can be a smart investment. These experts can also help you evaluate lead generation tools and emerging wealthtech solutions to grow your business more quickly and efficiently.
Be sure to ask for financial advisor references you can speak with to learn firsthand about their own experience. And request a detailed proposal reflecting the costs, including those which are foundational to their service and any other expenses anticipated for your engagement with them to be successful. Also, ask in advance what type of reporting they provide and what metrics they measure to demonstrate the value they will deliver. Certain agencies and consultants may also offer performance guarantees, so it’s worth asking about this as well.
And once you’ve hired an agency or consultant, it’s important to remain diligent and proactive in ensuring you’re receiving an appropriate level of services and value for the price you paid.
One example of a reputable organization worth considering is Advisor Practice Management, led by its founder, Grant Hicks. With over two decades in financial services working with financial advisors after growing his own practice, Grant provides coaching and consulting to financial professionals who want to achieve exceptional results.
For established financial advisors ready to commit to a specific niche, the team at Kaleido Creative Studio, led by industry veteran Kristen Luke is worth considering. Founded in 2008, the Kaleido team specializes in niche-based marketing to help financial advisors attract their ideal clients. Over a period of 8 weeks, Kaleido guides advisors through a four-phase marketing system launch process, from defining a niche and crafting a unique message to the creation of collateral and developing a marketing plan.
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The days of knocking on doors in your neighborhood and cold calling strangers in your local phone book in the hopes of finding new clients are behind us. Unless you show up on the doorstep with an Amazon delivery or you’re already a saved contact in someone’s phone, your odds of making contact are slim.
Fortunately, your opportunities to successfully grow your business in 2023 and beyond with an effective marketing strategy are more diverse than ever before, with options for every budget and an ability to prioritize the tactics best suited to your unique needs. The ideas presented in this article will help you build a marketing plan that’s right for your business and position you for success in the next year and beyond.
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About the Author
Brian is CEO and founder of Wealthtender. He and his wife live in Texas, enjoying the diversity of Houston and the vibrancy of Austin.
With over 25 years in the financial services industry, Brian is applying his experience and passion at Wealthtender to help more people enjoy life with less money stress.
To make Wealthtender free for readers, we earn money from advertisers, including financial professionals and firms that pay to be featured. This creates a conflict of interest when we favor their promotion over others. Learn more. Wealthtender is not a client of these financial services providers.
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