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The Ultimate Guide to Advisor Marketing

A financial advisor researching how to create an attention-grabbing marketing plan.

If you want to succeed as a financial advisor, you can’t simply wait for clients to show up. Advisors who have built sustainable businesses know that what you really need is an attention-grabbing marketing plan that’s tailored to your target audience. The best advisor marketing strategies combine proven old-school techniques with the latest tech innovations.

Ready to grow your client base? SmartAdvisor helps you connect with leads.

Why Financial Advisors Need a Marketing Plan

Marketing is something you might think you can worry about later once you’ve gotten your advisory business up and running but that could put you at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting clients. When advisors dedicate time to developing an effective marketing plan right out of the gate, they can gain some tangible advantages.

Good marketing can help you:

  • Be found in online searches more easily
  • Establish your brand reputation and expertise
  • Build credibility with your target audience
  • Gain PR exposure
  • Increase conversions

Digital marketing has become particularly important as more investors turn to online searches to connect with financial professionals. If you’re not actively marketing your advisory business online, you may be rendering yourself invisible to the exact people that you want to reach.

It’s important to remember that you’re not just competing with other advisors in the same geographic area either. Investors are increasingly demonstrating that they’re comfortable with virtual meetings and that an advisor’s location is less important than the quality of the services and advice they’re offering. When you use the right approach, digital marketing can open the door to even more opportunities to grow your client base.

Ultimate Advisor Marketing Plan

Financial advisors working together to create an effective marketing plan.

What you decide to focus on when marketing your business is entirely up to you. Having a marketing plan template to follow can help you develop a promotion strategy that aligns with your goals.

Here’s how to put together an advisor marketing plan in five common steps:

Identify Your Goals

What do you want to achieve with your marketing efforts? That’s one of the first questions to consider when planning your marketing approach.

Ideally, the goals you set for your business should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

When setting marketing goals or objectives, think about the end result you’re aiming for in as much detail as possible. Then, work your way backward to determine which steps you’ll need to take to achieve it.

If you have multiple things you’d like to achieve with marketing, consider prioritizing only the top two or three to start. Trying to tackle several goals all at once could be a hindrance to reaching them if you’re spreading your time, energy and resources too thin.

Define Your Brand and Mission

Good marketing techniques convey a clear message, so the next thing to consider is what you want to say.

If you’ve created a financial advisor business plan you may have defined your vision and mission already. But if you haven’t, it’s wise to spend some time thinking about how you want prospective clients to perceive you and your business. Then, try to distill that down to a simple, yet memorable, tagline that defines what your business is about and who you serve.

Once you’ve got your tagline, consider how your overall branding reflects the message and image you want to project. That includes your business logo and website design, down to the type of fonts, colors and images you use. Your branding should be eye-catching but cohesive so that the same message is transmitted across different marketing channels.

Know Your Audience

When creating a marketing plan, you need to know not only what you want to say but who you want to hear it. Blasting out a marketing campaign without a target audience in mind is another version of throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.

If you’ve created a business plan, then you’ve likely already done some research into who you want to serve. But if you haven’t, you might benefit from creating an ideal client persona or personas that reflect the people you most want to help.

There are two benefits to doing this. First, it becomes easier to fine-tune your marketing messages so that you’re speaking to the exact problems or challenges a prospective client needs help with. And second, knowing your clients can help you figure out where you should be promoting your business.

For example, if your target client is a married 50-something who’s five to 10 years away from retirement, they might be interested in learning more about:

  • Long-term care planning
  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Asset drawdown strategies
  • Wealth preservation

A 30-something who’s just starting their career, on the other hand, may be more interested in how to pay down debt while investing. Taking a deeper dive into your ideal clients’ needs can help you develop messaging that gets heard and remembered.

Choose Your Marketing Strategies

There are different ways to promote yourself as a financial advisor and it may help you to think of marketing as a pie. Within that pie, you might have slices for each of the following:

  • Email marketing
  • Video marketing
  • Content marketing (on your website or someone else’s)
  • Podcasting (on your own show or as a guest on someone else’s)
  • Social media marketing
  • Direct mail marketing
  • Cold calling
  • Public relations outreach
  • Digital ads on Facebook or Google
  • In-person marketing events
  • Referrals
  • Client appreciation events
  • Outsourcing marketing to an agency
  • Online lead generation tools

What you have to decide is which slices you want to include and how large each one should be. One way you can narrow it down is by going back to your ideal client persona and looking at which types of marketing campaigns they typically respond best to.

For example, if you’re interested in social media marketing it may be helpful to consider a demographic breakdown of where different age groups spend their time online. Facebook, for instance, is popular among older adults while 20-and 30-somethings may spend more time on Instagram or TikTok.

Once you know how your ideal clients are consuming information online or offline, you can then decide on which format to use for your marketing materials. That might include:

  • Blog posts
  • Email newsletters
  • Print newsletters or brochures
  • Short-form videos
  • Long-form videos
  • Online webinars or workshops
  • Offline webinars or workshops
  • Social media content, including quizzes or polls

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the different options, you might focus on just one or two areas to start. You can do some A/B testing to try out different marketing formats to see which ones produce the best results. Once you’ve mastered one marketing technique or channel, you can move on to the next one on your list.

While you might be focused on expanding your reach online, remember that local searches can still have an impact. Creating a Google business page for your advisory firm can make it easier for prospective clients in your nearby area to find you.

Set Your Marketing Budget

Setting a budget for marketing can help you gauge the return on investment you’re getting from different tactics and strategies. How much you decide to spend on marketing can depend on your larger business budget.

If you have limited funds to invest, consider marketing strategies that may cost you little to nothing. Obtaining referrals from existing clients, for instance, may not require you to spend anything other than your time cultivating solid relationships. If clients are satisfied with the services you provide and you’re consistently going above and beyond to meet their needs, that could result in a steady stream of referrals at no additional cost.

As you set your budget for marketing, it’s helpful to decide which metrics you’ll use to track your success with different methods. For example, if you’re paying for leads online, ask yourself what percentage of those leads need to convert for you to feel like you’re getting sufficient value. The same goes if you’re spending money on digital ad campaigns, print ads or marketing materials.

Overcoming Advisor Marketing Challenges

No marketing plan is foolproof and it’s common to experience some challenges along the way. The following tips can help you anticipate and overcome obstacles to executing your advisor marketing strategy:

  • Set specific, actionable goals. Setting goals as a financial advisor is a good thing but it may lead to frustration if your goals are vague, or you don’t know how to go about advancing them. Identifying the bigger objectives you want to achieve, then breaking them down into smaller subgoals can help you translate ideas into action.
  • Don’t fall into a trend-chasing trap. Marketing trends come and go, and there’s nothing wrong with trying to capitalize on one if it seems like a good fit for your business. The danger is trying to keep up with every trend that comes along, which can leave you feeling like a hamster on a wheel and produce less-than-stellar results.
  • Build time for marketing into your schedule. Marketing can be exceptionally time-consuming, and it can take your focus away from other business growth tasks. Building time for marketing into your daily schedule can keep it from taking over your days. If you find that you’re spending too much time on marketing, consider what tasks you might be able to outsource or automate. Using an online lead generation tool, for instance, can help you connect with prospective clients without all the heavy lifting.
  • Try to find the fun. Some aspects of advisor marketing can be enjoyable and even fun if you like learning new strategies or find that you have a talent for promoting your business. If you feel yourself getting frustrated or bogged down with all that you have to do, try to find something you find interesting about the process and don’t forget to celebrate your wins when they happen.

Bottom Line

A financial advisor reviewing the results of her marketing plan.

Building an advisor marketing plan can take time and you may need to go through some trial-and-error to identify what works and what doesn’t for your business. The best time to start thinking about marketing is before you even launch your business, but it’s never too late to consider the value of a good marketing plan, no matter how long you’ve been established.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • Having a professional advisor website can be a terrific way to get found online if you’re using proper SEO techniques. Search engine optimization can take time to produce results, however, so you might consider an online lead generation tool if you’re looking for a marketing shortcut. With SmartAdvisor, for instance, you can get connected with leads while still having plenty of time to focus on other tasks to grow your business.
  • If you’re considering hiring a marketing agency for financial advisors, it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand. Some of the key things to consider include how long the agency has been in business, which types of advisors they specialize in working with, the types of marketing strategies they use and the fees they charge. Reviewing testimonials from current clients or asking other advisors from referrals can help you find the right agency to work with.

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