Email FacebookTwitterMenu burgerClose thin

How to Build a Marketing Plan for Financial Planners


Building a financial planning business can entail plenty of challenges, not the least of which is deciding how to market your new firm. A solid marketing campaign can catapult your business to success while a weak one may leave you struggling to stand out among the competition. To create a successful financial advisor marketing plan, start by identifying your target market and tailor your plan to meet the needs of your ideal client.

Are you looking to expand the marketing of your financial advisor practice? Try SmartAsset AMP, a holistic client prospecting and marketing automation platform.

Importance of Marketing for Financial Planners

Anyone in business has likely heard the sage bit of wisdom that “if you build it, they will come.” While that’s not bad advice, it’s not foolproof either.

Why? There’s so much competition in the financial services industry that it can be difficult to get seen without a concrete marketing plan in place. Simply putting up a website for your financial planning firm isn’t enough. You also have to do the work to bring prospective clients to you, at least in the beginning. In fact, more than a third of advisors say they get no leads at all from their websites, according to a 2023 Broadridge survey of more than 400 financial advisors.

That’s why marketing is so important. It can help you develop your brand as a financial planner and increase visibility in the marketplace. Brand recognition and awareness can be critical for building trust with your audience and conveying your firm’s unique value proposition. That could help you acquire more clients, which can in turn generate more leads if those clients trust you enough to refer you to friends, family members or coworkers.

The same survey found that advisors with a defined marketing strategy recorded 168% more leads from their websites than advisors who lacked a cohesive marketing plan.

While you might be concerned with working out the legalities of establishing a new financial planning business on paper or obtaining the necessary funding you need to open the doors, marketing is not something you can afford to neglect.

Strategies for Marketing Financial Planning Services

Financial planners reviewing marketing strategies for their financial planning services.

The most important thing to remember when developing a financial planning marketing strategy is that you’ll need to figure out what works best for you. With that in mind, here are some tried-and-true strategies for financial planner marketing.

Start With a Self-Evaluation

Before creating a marketing plan to grow your client base, it’s helpful to first establish your starting point. That involves doing some analysis to better understand:

  • Who your biggest competitors are and how they’re marketing financial planning services
  • Where your strengths and weaknesses lie, relative to your competitors
  • Who your ideal client is and what type of buyer persona they project
  • What message your branding conveys with regard to what you do and why prospective clients should care

Knowing your client is perhaps the most important part of a self-evaluation. If you don’t know who you’re trying to help or what their biggest pain points are, it’s likely going to be more difficult to fine-tune your marketing message or determine where to project that message online so that it’s seen by the right people.

It’s also a good idea to evaluate any tools you might already have in place that you plan to incorporate into your marketing efforts. That might include a company website, blog, email list or social media accounts.

When evaluating these tools, ask yourself how consistent your branding is across each one. Also, consider how user-friendly they are. A website that takes too long to load, for example, could lead people to click away and miss out on the valuable message you’re trying to share.

Set Your Marketing Goals

Once you’ve done the initial groundwork you can move on to setting some goals for marketing your financial planning business. You may start with some broad goals, and then narrow them down to make them specific and actionable.

For example, your initial goals for marketing may include:

  • Acquiring new clients
  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Gaining new followers on social media
  • Increasing sales

Those aren’t bad but you’ll need to narrow them down. For instance, instead of saying that you want to grow your social media presence, you might specify that you want to gain 1,000 new followers on Instagram or TikTok if you’re marketing on those channels. You might also set a goal to acquire 20 new clients within the next six months.

Once you have a goal in mind, you can then lay out a plan for achieving it. For instance, if you’re hoping to get your first 1,000 followers on TikTok your marketing action steps might include spending time on the app to get a better understanding of what type of content gets the most views, likes or shares, brainstorming a list of content ideas and creating a consistent schedule for posting.

Develop Your Content Strategy

There are a number of different types of content you might produce when marketing your financial planning services. The options include:

  • Short-form videos
  • Long-form videos
  • Social media content
  • Webinars or online workshops
  • Blog posts
  • Informational articles
  • While papers or in-depth research papers
  • Email newsletters
  • Podcasts

Having so many choices can be a little overwhelming if you’re just getting started with marketing as a financial planner. You may benefit from focusing on one type of content to start, then branching out to try your hand at other forms of content creation. For example, when it comes to social media channels, 68% of advisors market their services using LinkedIn, while half do so on Facebook, the Broadridge survey found.

One thing to keep in mind regardless of the type of content you’re creating is search engine optimization or SEO. SEO encompasses a number of techniques but what it comes down to is this: Making content that can be easily found in search engines.

With so many people using online search to access financial information and connect with financial planners and advisors, spending time learning about SEO can be a worthwhile investment. You may also consider hiring an SEO expert to evaluate your website or marketing content and offer advice on how to improve it.

Remember that any content marketing you do reflects your branding and should illustrate your unique value proposition. The message you send to prospective clients should be consistent and immediately tell them what it is you bring to the table. Prospects may need to be told what you can do for them multiple times in order to be convinced to try your services.

Leverage Existing Audiences to Market Your Business

Creating your own website and maintaining social media channels or an email newsletter are all ways to get your brand out there and build an audience. But the reality is that doing all of those things yourself can be time-consuming and exhausting and it may take a little while for your efforts to begin producing fruit.

If you don’t have the means to outsource some of those activities or you’re not yet seeing the kind of results that you’d like, you might consider looking into opportunities to leverage an existing audience as part of your marketing plan. For example, that might include:

  • Being a guest on a podcast that has an established following
  • Writing a guest article for a popular website whose readers represent your target client base
  • Taking part in an online webinar or workshop as part of an expert panel
  • Getting quoted as an expert in media outlets, which can help build your credibility

Collaborating with other financial professionals or publications in the financial space can help put your advisory practice in the spotlight and keep it top of mind for potential clients in your target market. Even if it’s only for a moment, you may still be able to reap significant benefits from the extra exposure.

Host In-person Events

While there are myriad ways to market your business online, don’t discount the potential impact of hosting live events like seminars or workshops. According to the 2023 Broadridge survey, 70% of advisors who have hosted live events had had success generating leads from those offerings.

Live events don’t need to be exclusively geared toward attracting new clients, though. Consider hosting events for existing clients, as well. Events like food or wine tastings, family days, golf or tennis clinics can show your appreciation for your current clients and help you build stronger relationships with them. In turn, these clients may be more likely to refer friends and family to you in the future.

Track What’s Working (and What’s Not)

Marketing as a financial planner may have ups and downs and it’s important to focus your time, energy and money on things that produce results. Keeping track of each strategy you implement and tracking it in measurable ways month to month can offer some insight into what you’re doing well, where you may need to adjust and what you might want to spend less time on.

Some of the metrics you might track include:

  • Website visits
  • Social shares
  • New followers
  • New email list subscribers if you’re trying email marketing
  • Number of press mentions

The most important metric, of course, is conversions. The best and most effective marketing strategies are the ones that help you to gain a steady stream of new clients. If you’re spending time and money on something that isn’t helping you to get those valuable leads, you may want to dial back your focus on in that area.

In addition to lead referrals, SmartAsset AMP can also help financial advisors build on their marketing. An AMP subscription includes automated, personalized texting outreach to prospective clients, as well as automated email nurture campaigns to help you keep up with prospects who need a longer sales cycle.

Bottom Line

Financial planners discussing how to implement a marketing plan for their financial planning services.

Marketing a financial planning business usually means going through some trial and error. Taking time to research different tactics, understand your clients and hone your brand message can increase your chances of seeing success at a comfortable pace.

Tips for Growing Your Advisory Business

  • SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is a holistic marketing service financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • Social media is a critical element in any online marketing plan. Developing an effective approach for social media marketing means knowing where prospective clients typically spend their time online. Identifying the channels they visit the most can help you better shape your social media content and messaging. If you’re unsure where your clients spend their time, sending out a simple survey is an easy way to find out.

Photo credit: ©iStock/courtneyk, ©iStock/VioletaStoimenova, ©iStock/Kosamtu