Could COVID-19 actually have had positive repercussions for the financial planning profession? Over the past year, demand for financial advice has skyrocketed, with over 70% of advisers reporting a larger client base now than before the pandemic. Looking ahead, financial advisers are challenged to find more effective ways to serve this growing client base and build lasting relationships.
Historically, many financial advisers have pursued a generalist model to create their practice. However, a growing number of advisers are realizing that it can pay to take a more targeted approach to serving clients. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, advisers are becoming specialists in the unique financial planning needs of certain subsets of clients, potentially including a specific age group, profession or gender.
No matter the niche focus you choose, here are a few key marketing strategies that can help you attract and retain your target clients.
Leverage earned media to boost SEO and build credibility
For individuals who have a financial planning question and no financial adviser, one of their first steps is typically to conduct a Google search. Leveraging the power of earned media is a great avenue to get in front of these potential clients during the early stages of their search for answers.
Develop a media strategy positioning you as an expert on the unique financial issues facing your target audience. Getting quoted in a well-known business outlet such as CNBC.com on steps to take before getting married, or featured in an industry publication like Citywire RIA on your experience working with doctors will help enhance your SEO results. Strong SEO can help ensure your name and firm appear first when a potential client is conducting a search on a specific topic. Additionally, media coverage in a third-party outlet adds an extra layer of credibility in the eyes of potential clients looking for help.
Create thought leadership content to demonstrate your expertise
A top priority for clients looking for a financial adviser is ensuring that someone has the experience and skillset to handle their specific needs. Thought-leadership content can help you demonstrate that you truly understand your clients’ distinct financial challenges and opportunities.
Create a targeted content strategy that allows you to “own” a specific topic and offer insight into your approach to handling a certain issue. Take into consideration the medium that your target audience is most likely to consume (e.g., a blog post, video or podcast), as well as where you’d like the content to live. Advisers can create their own content channels — check out “The Young Money Podcast” for millennials from Dasarte Yarnway, head of community at Gregory FCA client Altruist. You can also contribute content to trade outlets or industry associations. For example, if you work closely with clients in the construction industry, you could explore industry trade publications such as Constructive Dive or associations such as the National Association of Home Builders.
Host virtual or in-person educational events on timely topics
Hosting educational events either in-person or virtually can help foster relationships with existing or prospective clients. Small group events can be particularly helpful for expanding your client base locally and building a referral network. When it’s safe, consider hosting a “Lunch & Learn” or happy hour at your office, providing the opportunity for clients to speak with you one-on-one and also learn more about a specific topic. While we’re still recovering from the pandemic, Zoom and other conferencing platforms can be used for webinars and virtual discussions. As an added benefit, webinar recordings can be posted on your website or social platforms, as well as shared with clients who weren’t able to attend in real time.
Implement a targeted social media strategy
With over 3.5 billion social media users globally, social media can be a powerful tool to have in your arsenal. From TikTok to LinkedIn, social media offers a unique opportunity to share content and firm news, discuss timely topics and engage with existing and potential clients on a new level. Remember, it’s important to meet your target clients where they are. It’s unlikely that baby boomers are spending much time on TikTok; however, this generation tends to be very active on Facebook.
Another important consideration in developing your social media strategy is paid social advertising. Placing ads on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook can be a cost-effective way to amplify your lead-generation efforts, particularly if you’re looking to reach a narrow audience. Say, for example, you’re looking to get in front of high-net-worth individuals working in the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay area. LinkedIn provides comprehensive targeting options, including location, company, demographics, education and experience, which can help get your ad in front of a narrow group of high-quality leads.
As we slowly move out of a pandemic world, the opportunity is ripe for financial advisers looking to grow their practice. For advisers seeking to take the specialist route, creating a multifaceted marketing strategy with a mix of earned media, content development, social media and some good old-fashioned client service can go a long way toward reaching your niche client base.
Interested in creating a marketing strategy for your niche practice? Reach out to Gregory FCA to learn more.