As a financial advisor, it’s necessary to have a crystal clear picture of your firm’s growth and improvement priorities. Just as there are many potential objectives for your clients, the same holds true for your marketing. Therefore, it’s essential to decide what’s most important and what comes first.
I always recommend conducting a marketing audit before starting any new initiatives. An audit is a great way to define your objectives and establish a clear course of action. Here are eight steps to conduct a simple marketing audit for financial advisors.
1. Set Marketing Goals and Objectives
The first step in creating your marketing audit is to identify the marketing goals and objectives of your firm. For example, are you looking to increase awareness or visibility for your company? Or, are you looking build a strategy to attract more high net worth investors? A goal like this could lead you to creating a demand generation component within your marketing to help your potential audience become more aware of what you can do and how you can help them.
Another goal could be to increase the size of your current audience, or to acquire an entirely new group of investors. A byproduct of a goal like this would be to generate qualified sales leads.
You may be interested in activating your audience by getting people to take a particular action such as participating in an event, downloading a file, or registering for a webinar. This type of audience participation is helpful when looking to invigorate the client/advisor relationship.
Some firms may be looking to increase the retention rate of their current clients. In this case, a wise intermediate goal would be to increase communication with your existing audience by sharing your expertise and providing value.
If you’re looking to get more referral clients, a relevant objective would be to get your happy clients to recommend you and to solicit new business on your behalf. In order to get to this point, you’ll need to understand what people are saying about you and become aware of the sentiment within your marketplace.
The most prevalent goal for most financial advisors is to get more clients and increase assets under management. In order to accomplish this, we must drive more leads to your business and work to optimize your firm’s lead nurturing capabilities.
2. Define Your Customers
After defining your goals and objectives, the next step is to describe your current and ideal clients. In order to create the most clear buyer personas, it’s essential to understand who these people are.
By collecting as much data and information as possible about your leads, it will help your marketing plans enormously as we look to align your marketing messages to reach your target audience. Important lead data would include type of investor, their investment motivation, geographic location, size of their portfolio and even their comfort level with technology. For high net worth investors, I recommend the segmentation of High Net Worth Psychology.
3. Define What You Offer
The next step in your marketing audit is to describe what you’re providing: your products or services. We need to know exactly what the features, benefits and purpose is for all of your products and services.
What are the individual strengths and weaknesses of your offerings as compared to your competition? Is the strength of the firm your expertise in a certain area? Do you offer more online accessibility options? Or does the experience of your financial advisors make it unique?
It’s also helpful to understand the current industry awareness of your organization within your marketplace. Are you well recognized and at the top of the mind of the potential clients, or is that part of your marketing challenge?
And finally what is your estimated share of your market for each of your products and services? Has this changed drastically over time, especially within the past few years?
4. Review Your Marketing Efforts
The next stage of your marketing audit is to describe your current and past marketing programs.
- Exactly what tactics have you tried?
- What’s worked and what hasn’t?
- What advertising and promotional vehicles have you tried, such as events, print advertising or online advertising?
- Has your firm used a PR or media relations company?
- Do you conduct, attend or participate in any special events or seminars?
- Have you used market databases, lead generation providers or tracking systems to target clients?
- In addition to all of these tactics, what have you not tried but have considered within your marketing plans?
- What have your competitors been doing to grow their business?
5. Identify Competitors
After taking an inventory of your marketing programs, our next step is to identify your top competitors. What are the differences between you and your competing firms in terms of service features, benefits and attracting new customers?
In terms of digital marketing, which of your competitors has a solid social media presence? Who ranks at the top for your related keywords? Which organizations have a high degree of online authority?
6. Review Your Digital Presence
The next stage of your marketing audit is to focus on your own digital marketing priorities. What is the current reach, or exposure that you’re receiving across all digital marketing channels? How well do you rank on search engines for branded, category and industry keywords? Do you have any email marketing programs in place? If so, what kind of response do they receive? Do you have a clear compliance plan in place for your website, email and social media?
7. Analyze Your Digital Architecture
The next stage of your internal digital marketing audit is to focus on the structure of your digital architecture, including marketing channel design and functionality.
- Is your website easy to use and accessible to search engines?
- Is your site mobile friendly?
- Does your site load quickly or have any broken links?
- Do you have a content strategy for your organization?
- If so, are there financial advisors within your firm to assist with content creation for your website?
- Are you creating content for all of your targeted audiences?
- Are your digital marketing channels being optimized, or are they in “set it and forget it” mode?
- Do you have email marketing workflows in place to funnel current and potential clients towards the next step in their relationship with your firm?
- Is your website optimized to attract potential leads and retain their interests?
- Are all of your marketing channels, both online and off-line, being successfully integrated?
And finally, do your off-line and online marketing campaigns complement one another? For example, are you promoting your attendance at events with promotion on your website, digital advertising and all other marketing materials?
8. Measuring Success
The final element of the marketing audit for financial advisors is to identify how well you’re measuring the objectives and metrics for your marketing performance. Do you have an easy-to-use system for collecting and reporting data to the stakeholders within your firm? Do you have goals and objectives that are clearly available to compare the results of your programs? Do you have reporting protocols in place? Are these reports analyzed and acted upon?
Before you take action, it’s important to identify where you stand and where you want to be with the help of marketing. Financial advisors are in a unique position to help educate current and potential clients online (with proper compliance). Even more importantly, your next potential client is searching for your assistance online at this moment. Now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity and the place to start is with a marketing audit.
Still Have Questions?
If you’re still unsure about what to do next, or you would like a professional review of your current marketing strategy, contact us online or by phone at 708-586-9754.