Letting the world know that you exist somewhere out there can be a challenge if you’re a small business owner or run your practice with only a few team members, like most financial advisors do. However, that problem can be solved depending on how you approach your marketing strategy and efforts.
WHAT IS THIS ARTICLE ABOUT?
What if we were to tell you that the main reason you’re having trouble growing your business - through generating more leads - is lack of time? You may not even realize it, but that’s the bitter truth.
This is a fundamental problem, and it’s got nothing to do with your business model or your niche or even the financial landscape.
WHO WILL FIND THIS ARTICLE VALUABLE?
This article is written with financial professionals in mind. Anyone running a small business in the financial services industry looking to grow their business will find several helpful tips here.
WHAT COMMON FACTORS CONTRIBUTE TO LACK/LOSS OF TIME FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS?
Lack of marketing know-how
We have been working with financial professionals for well over 15 years and in our experience, marketing has been a constant thorn on their side.
The underlying issue is that when they think “marketing”, they imagine that if done right, they’d be dealing with more prospects than they can handle. That is VERY optimistic, but not entirely incorrect. Yet, marketing is a full-time job, just like being a financial advisor, and it requires some serious investment to start delivering results.
So then, what happens when someone with no prior experience jumps on the marketing bandwagon and starts swinging ideas wildly with less-than-ideal execution? You guessed it; frustration due to bad results is what happens.
There is just SO much to marketing, and a small business can’t handle everything while being occupied with their core business. So, you have to pick your battles wisely. Is it the coding or the web design you want to get done first? Or would you rather focus on content marketing? How about segmenting your target audience?
Not enough resources
You’ve probably heard of the term ROI - Return on Investment. Investment - that’s the keyword here. You need to invest either time or money (often both) in order to see some kind of return.
Being a small team (or a one-man team like most advisors) limits your options when it comes to what’s doable and what isn’t. Can you afford to take 4 hours off your other tasks to write an article? Will you be comfortable with investing $5,000 for an SEO audit of your website? If you answered “NO” to the above questions, then the resources at your disposal are possibly eating into your available time due to inefficient use.
Fear of the unknown
Everyone likes money (well, almost everyone). But how do you make more if there’s only one sure way that you know of and are comfortable with? You still can in theory, but wouldn’t you want to achieve your own financial independence as early as you can? Oh yes, you would! This gives you a reason to look into other options, but also instills fear because you don’t know what to do or how to do it.
It’s a vicious cycle, you don’t take the risk and stick to what you know, so you’re back where you started. In fact, you didn’t even move. Kudos to those who took the leap of faith, but what about the ones who didn’t, or couldn’t afford to? They find themselves trying to figure things out, wasting valuable time that could’ve been used better elsewhere. After all, time is money, right?
YOUR PROBLEM IS LACK OF TIME
If the above problems don’t apply to you, great! You don’t need to spend time reading the rest of the article. If they do, still great, since now you know what the real issue is. Managing time is not the challenge here, knowing how to spend it efficiently is.
Think of it like this, there’s a puzzle you have to put together, but you don’t know what it’s going to look like when completed, so you have no idea which piece goes where. You spend hours examining the pieces but you don’t make any progress, because it’s a mystery to you- is it a painting? A map? A landscape? The same issue applies to your business, especially on the marketing side of things. To that end, we created a Marketing Self-Assessment Worksheet for financial advisors to help them visualize every single piece of the puzzle that is growing their business. By answering the correct questions, you’ll be able to pinpoint where the problem is and act on it.
Below you’ll find several cases that we’ve noticed to be far too common with financial advisors. See if they apply to you!
COMMON CASES OF TIME-WASTE FINANCIAL ADVISORS EXPERIENCE
Case 1: Amount of effort required for proper marketing miscalculated
You’ve heard of the phrase “content is king”? Well, you have now. We won’t go into details as this is not that kind of an article, but you should know what it’s good for: people to find you and trust you.
Say you have an article that speaks to specific problems retirees deal with, and you actually offer a well-thought-out solution. That’s fantastic! You put it up on your website and start seeing people trickling in through Google because of that article.
Ideally, you should be posting at least one article every week. That’s 4 articles per month. This might seem manageable at first, but let’s take a look at how much time it’s going to cost you:
- Research - 2 hours
- Writing the article - - 2 hours
- Editing & Publishing - 1 hour
That adds up to a total of 5 hours per article, and through simple math, 4 x 5 hours = 20 hours a month. That’s 2.5 business days lost every month! And we’re not even including the time it takes for compliance to approve the content. Can you afford to take time off from your main duties and focus on content creation for 20 hours every month?
There are some really interesting studies done on content marketing, like the one here. Check out some of the key statistics below and see how you feel about spending time on content:
- 61% of consumers say they feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are also more likely to buy from that company.
- 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.
- 50% of consumer time online is spent engaging with custom content
We think you’d agree that there’s no denying that content could give your business the boost it needs to boom. Back to the problem then? How do you manage your time regarding content creation?
The answer is simple: you curate content in addition to creating it. The best way to do that is by obtaining access to content library which has articles written specifically for financial advisors. If you are curious about how that works -and you should be-, go here to learn more about it.
1B) Website Design
We’re sorry for what you’re about to see, but it’s for your own good. The website below (if you could even call it that) is the very definition of hideousness.
Now we know that financial advisors aren’t designers (maybe except a few?), so it’s not really their area of expertise. They don’t know coding, they don’t know which color contrasts well with which, etc. Nor should they!
All they need and want is a good-looking website that reinforces the image of credibility they’re trying to convey online. They want something like this:
Now that’s a simple, effective website that establishes trust-worthiness. You can see the value proposition playing on future retirees’ fears, as well as the services this particular financial advisor firm offers.
In order to get to this stage, in other words; to transform and maintain your website, you’ll need to make continuous updates to your site to stay on top of things and relevant. Developments like the recent DoL changes are examples of why you may need to update your site in addition to improving your sales funnel.
The feedback we gathered from our 16,000 clients and their website activity that we track tell us financial advisors make 2 updates every month to their websites on average, spending 2 hours per update. That time accounts for applying the changes as well as compliance submissions. Now, if you are not using an integrated compliance solution, you’re in for a rough ride. Here’s what you’d have to do in that case:
- Type & explain the changes in an email
- Send said changes to compliance and wait for their reply
- Make the changes required (if any)
- Send to compliance again for final approval
- Apply said changes on the website or hire someone to do it for you
For the sake of keeping things simple, we will assume you do have an integrated compliance solution in place. Still;
- Average time to finalize a website update - 2 hours
Assuming you’d make 2 updates a month, that’s a total of 4 hours every month. And believe us, you have to do make updates if you want to succeed in the digital landscape.
According to Hubspot, a leader in marketing automation out of Boston, MA:
- Once on a company's homepage, 86% of visitors want to see information about that company's products/services.
- 47% of website visitors check out a company's products/services page before looking at any other sections of the site.
Are you confident enough in your website meeting the above expectations? If the answer’s no, you have some work to do.
How many advisors do you think would be able to create something like this without coding skills? Maybe a handful. Why? We’re back where we started: Because they don’t have the time (nor the desire) to do it themselves.
Case 2: Too much manual work
This is especially true for communication efforts, such as posting on social media and sending out email newsletters. See the graph below for the impact of utilizing social media for your business:
Now that we established the fact that social media does help your business, let’s see how much time the marketers are spending on channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn:
The question is, can you afford to ignore social media if you want to grow your business? We’d have to say no. Most financial advisors aren’t social outreach experts, that we get. Yet still, it is just too important to ignore given the recent study by PEW Research Centre:
- Adults using at least one social media site : 69%
- Users checking their Facebook accounts daily: 76%
The time required to maintain an active status on social media and engage in other outreach activities adds up to anywhere between 2 - 6 hours per month for financial advisors, again based on the feedback we got from our client base of 16,000 advisors.
And once again, there’s the issue of time. Will you be OK with spending at least 2-6 hours per month managing your social channels instead of say, golfing with clients or attending a networking event?
If you answer “no” to the question above, you need to streamline your social media efforts. You could use a paid software like Hootsuite or Buffer to do that, but can you be 100% certain that the short and sweet posts you make are compliant? Not even the tiniest mistake is made?
Alternatively, you could find a website provider offering auto-scheduling features with social media snippets included. (hint: we do that for our clients!)
SO HERE’S HOW YOU CAN SAVE PRECIOUS TIME AND WHAT YOU’LL GET OUT OF IT:
Focusing on what’s important isn’t always possible, we know. But, if you can figure out the real cause, the fixes are rather simple.
- Seek out dedicated solution providers for your marketing efforts
- Try to automate / streamline everything that is not the core of your business
If you stick with the suggestions above, you will be able to;
- Focus more on prospects
- Have more opportunities to network and build relationships
- Engage more with your audience, get to know them better
- See a better ROI - both time and money-wise
Everything comes down to this; do you want to invest in your business, however you can, and see significant improvements, or do nothing and keep struggling with processes and trivial tasks?
Time is our most important commodity, both in business and our personal lives. You’ll need to ask yourself this, are you OK with losing 24-30 hours (that’s more than 3 full business days) on activities you could streamline?
Content creation: 20 hours / month
Website updates: 4 hours / month
Communication & social outreach : 2-6 hours / month
TOTAL: 24 - 30 HOURS / MONTH
NEXT STEPS FOR ADVISORS WILLING TO “UP THEIR GAME”
The first thing on the to-do list is to figure out what it is that taking up a big chunk of your time. Once you have the answer, look for a dedicated solution provider. Say, need content curation or a modern redesign of your site? We can help with that!
Next, you need to accept the fact that there are a ton of things you should be doing (which you probably aren’t) but just don’t have enough time for. From pay-per-click advertising to focused messaging, there are a lot of ways to generate buzz around your business online. You need to delegate these tasks to either your team, or a thought leader company in the fintech industry.
To help you overcome the aforementioned challenges, we’re inviting you to our (FREE) webinar; Discover why most advisors will never make the kind of money they truly dreamed of. You’ll have a pretty good understanding of what it is that you need to do to achieve the dream you promise to your clients: your own financial independence.
So you managed to save time, but is it enough to "ace" your marketing? Take a look here to discover what else you should be doing.
We've created this extensive marketing manual for financial advisors willing to stay on top of their game in a highly competitive environment. You'll find a ton of information, tips and tricks to help you throughout your efforts to maximize ROI through sound marketing.