End the Cycle: How to Make Marketing a Constant Business Generator
Marketing powers growth, which is why it’s a priority when we’re in need of more business. But over time, with great marketing, business starts booming. That’s when many advisory firms begin to pivot to client service and satisfaction, letting the lead generation campaigns run their course. When the funnel starts to dry up, we dig back into early-stage marketing on social media, email campaigns, more lunch meetings – only to hit pause once a few more clients trickle in. Enter the vicious cycle of the start-and-stop campaigns. We get it, you cannot do it all.
But what if I told you there was a way? Would you be interested? We’re breaking down the challenges and matching you with immediate solutions. Let’s go!
CHALLENGE #1: In the Moment Decisions
Something triggers a renewed marketing focus. It could be anything, but more commonly this can come from an increase in capacity (new team members, better technology, clients on target and requiring less focus) or it could be due to a need for more revenue (profit margins are down, loss of a long-time client, more clients entering retirement). Whatever the source, you start looking for ways to boost revenue.
WHY IT’S BAD
Advisors are great at coming up with ideas – and you are a smart group. No one disputes that! This is why clients trust you with their financial future. But when it comes to marketing – well, that’s a discipline that comes with its own set of rules. Without a well-defined approach to an annual, or multi-year marketing strategy, you can easily be distracted with daily ideas. Your marketing becomes sporadic and inconsistent, leading to more reactive and disjointed marketing campaigns that lack continuity and don’t achieve your long-term goals.
A marketing plan will include:
Stated goals and objectives
CHALLENGE #2: Following Short-Term Gains
When our client pipeline increases, we tend to get excited and pivot our attention. This isn’t just an advisory firm challenge, it’s an every-small-business-ever challenge. You shift from growing the sales funnel to only focusing on that new business. It’s the equivalent to whack-a-mole as you close one door and open another.
WHY IT’S BAD
Poorly structured marketing plans fail to address this, allowing that marketing “yo-yo” spike and dip effect to take shape. You set yourself up to drive one action, only to step away to perform another. It’s a relentless loop, because when your marketing performs optimally, you trigger the cycle. You’re guaranteeing the yo-yo.
The best marketing builds upon a value proposition and is not executed in a couple of weeks. Having patience is easier when you approach marketing with intentionality.
Create a roadmap. Celebrate short-term wins while also prioritizing the long game. Stay dedicated to the cause! You may see momentary spikes and dips, but when viewed from a longer perspective, organic revenue growth should look very similar to the S&P 500 chart you share with clients. Identify what you will do throughout the year, taking into consideration key dates and events, and any cyclical firm demands like client review meetings and tax planning preparation.
CHALLENGE #3: Inconsistent Messaging
Firm owners should have a perfect elevator pitch – but so should everyone else within the firm. As you shape your marketing goals, consider the two or three key messages you’d like to focus on this year.
WHY IT’S BAD
Consistency plays a huge role in the overall effectiveness of your marketing strategy. Confusion at the highest level means absolute confusion among your prospective clients. Inconsistency erodes your brand position and makes it harder to achieve your marketing goals.
Clarify your value proposition and train your team. Write it down, first and foremost. Display it, disseminate it, and test your staff on their ability to state it. Once these focuses become second nature, you can rest assured that your team will all be rowing in the same direction. This means the clients you do capture are more likely to stick around, as their expectations of your value should better align with what is being delivered.
CHALLENGE #4: Forgetting Retention
Neglecting your existing customers can be an outcome of heavily prioritizing your inbound marketing. It might be overwhelming to do both, and it’s more exciting to focus on growing the business with new clients.
WHY IT’S BAD
Without an intentional system that addresses messages for both prospects and existing clients, you risk repeat churn within your existing client base. The hard cost and opportunity cost of acquiring a new client is substantially more expensive than retaining existing clients.
There are many ways to deepen your relationship with existing clients. Consider growth opportunities such as expanding into multigenerational wealth or reminding them of additional services.
Build a system that works. It is possible to account for both acquisition and retention within your marketing plan. Be sure your marketing plan identifies both audiences distinctly. You can leverage technology to serve you well on this point. Calibrate your CRM, website and meeting tools to work seamlessly and adopt appropriate messaging. Additional tools like Bento Engine, Asset-Map, Orion and Snappy Kraken can all add additional elements and resources that support retention messaging.
CHALLENGE #5: Failure to Track Results
A huge part of any marketing plan involves regular measurement and assessment. The downfall of many advisory firms is an inability to reflect upon the strategy and pivot based upon results. Whether you lack the marketing knowledge to know when or how to pivot is actually less relevant – it serves you best to at least identify what is potentially working. Wasting time, effort and money is never in your best interest.
WHY IT’S BAD
Forgetting, or putting off, regular measurement of your marketing efforts makes it almost impossible to tell if anything was worth doing. And even more so, if you are seeing an influx of clients, wouldn’t it be important to know what was driving that so you can keep doing it? Flying by the seat of your pants is the perfect way to perpetuate the “yo-yo” effect and continue to waste your money.
Identify the points of success and set measurement intervals. As long as you are monitoring and analyzing performance of your marketing to some degree, you are moving in the right direction. If you feel lost on this point, there are tons of experts in this industry who can serve as an outsourced consultant or at least provide some guidance on an outsourced basis. Additionally, FP Transitions’ clients have access to the FMG team for additional marketing guidance and discounted marketing resources. Learn more here.
Advisors can get stuck on the budget, finding time to plan and execute, and ultimately fall victim to their own fear of failure in executing on a marketing strategy. There is not a great rule of thumb in terms of how much revenue to spend on marketing for your firm. What our team can tell you is what others in your direct cohort are spending on marketing efforts. Additionally, we can help you identify which business levers you can solve in the short and long-term.
Setting goals with your Equity Management Solutions® (EMS™) Consultant allows you greater perspective, and we can begin walking through your options to achieve the results you want.
The answer may be closer than you expect. Set a meeting with your EMS™ Consultant today.
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