When opening your own financial practice, one of your immediate goals is keeping your business pipeline full of ideal clients to be successful over the long term.
Even if you’re starting out with a solid client base, winning over new prospects is crucial for growth. If you’re unsure where to start, it can feel overwhelming. But with the right planning and approach, you can absolutely do it!
So, how will you stay relevant and position yourself as the right advisor for your target audience?
One way to market yourself and your new business is with an effective content marketing strategy. (Don’t worry right now if the term “content marketing” is foreign to you or if you’re unsure how it can work for your new firm.)
This guide breaks down how to use content marketing to your advantage as you take the leap from the wirehouse to building your independent firm.
What Is Content Marketing?
It’s a proven, reliable, and effective way to authentically connect with prospects—and convince them why they should hire you over other advisors. In fact, studies show that 70 percent of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing and 82 percent have a more positive impression of a company after reading custom content.
Content marketing helps convert leads into prospects and prospects into paying clients by creating a relationship that helps solve their problems, answers their questions, and otherwise delivers value through intentional content.
Effective content engages, educates, and entertains, showcasing your expertise and highlighting your style. It also connects with your audience on a personal level, increases brand awareness and visibility, and fosters trust.
Although a blog article may be what comes to mind when you first think of “content,” your content marketing strategy can also include podcasts, videos, social media posts, white papers, and more.
Depending on your skills, preferences, and how your target market consumes information, you could create and publish a variety of content. This could include the following:
- Showcase your human side by sharing your story—why are you in this business?
- Explain critical personal finance concepts through blog posts or articles.
- Provide financial education, reminders, and event invitations in newsletters.
- Answer common or listener-submitted money management questions via a podcast or short video.
Just remember: Your content marketing shouldn’t be all about you, your credentials, and your service; instead, focus on your prospective clients’ needs. Done well, your content will not only educate people, but it will also help them realize you’re the perfect match to help them reach their financial goals.
How to Use the Content Marketing Funnel
The content marketing funnel, which resembles a traditional sales cycle or sales journey, focuses on the customer’s transition from prospect to client. Typically, it’s the order of events for how a potential client will consume your marketing materials.
As you create content, you may want to provide information and resources for each of the following stages:
- Education: Top of the funnel
During the education phase, your prospect realizes they have a need that must be addressed.
- Solution: Middle of the funnel
Next, during the solution phase, they research which products and services could help solve their problem.
- Selection: Bottom of the funnel
Finally, they enter the selection phase and choose which solution to move forward with. (Hopefully, if you’ve done a good job in the previous stages, they’ll pick you!)
Content Marketing Funnel in Action
Education phase. Let’s say, for example, that a potential client comes across a video you published about the importance of saving enough for retirement. Your message gets them thinking. They agree with you, but they’re not sure how to make it happen.
Solution phase. Out of curiosity, they click a link that takes them to your website. There, they find even more valuable information about the importance of saving for retirement—and how your firm can help.
Selection phase. The content on your website resonates with them so much that they click to book a consultation with you. After they’ve spoken with you and you’ve impressed them over the phone, they sign on as a client.
Of course, this is a simplified example of how the content funnel works. Generally, a prospect won’t go from being unaware of their problem to hiring you right away. Potential clients may need to interact with your brand several times before deciding to hire you.
Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. In fact, research shows that it takes five to seven interactions before people even recognize your brand, illustrating the importance of effective content marketing over the long haul.
How to Identify Your Ideal Client and Create a Targeted Content Strategy
It’s important to remember that if you try to cater to everyone when launching an independent advisory firm, you’ll likely appeal to no one. That means you need to identify your ideal client so you can create a targeted content marketing strategy designed specifically for them.
Your ideal client could be similar to those in your book of business at the wirehouse—or you may decide to target a different audience.
So, take a moment to pinpoint who you want to help. Your ideal clients might be socially conscious investors, high-net-worth individuals, or emerging wealth holders. Once you determine your target audience, jot down the types of client problems you want to solve or the goals you want to tackle. This exercise will help you get to know who you plan to serve, so you can effectively reach them through your content.
Next, design your prospect’s journey: their path from learning about you to doing business with you. You’ll need to let prospects know that you exist (awareness), captivate them with relevant content (engagement), convince them to become your client (conversion), and turn them into a raving fan that generates more leads for your practice. Although it may seem like a challenging task, your content can guide them through each step of their journey.
Before they can walk that path, though, they have to find it. Help potential clients discover the road they should take by publishing your content where they spend their time. For example, research shows that one social network people younger than 30 are more likely to use is Instagram, while those nearing or in retirement are typically more active on Facebook and YouTube.
When a potential client happens upon the beginning of the trail, you need to quickly make a favorable and memorable impression. One of the best ways to do so is to tell your personal story, tying it to what you do today. People tend to do business with those they feel connected with, so showcase your human side and share why you’re in business. If that content resonates with a prospect, chances are there’s a great advisor-client match waiting to be made.
Ways to Make the Most of Your Content Marketing
Keep these best practices in mind as you figure out how to incorporate a content marketing strategy into your independent advisor business plan:
- Have a clear point of view, so your content stands out from what other financial advisors publish. For example, you could highlight your specialized investment management philosophy or your involvement with a charity.
- Impress your prospects from the start by presenting solutions and possibilities that never crossed their minds.
- Ensure that each piece of content at every point of the prospect’s journey demonstrates your value and is cohesive.
- Create a content calendar, so you always know what (and when) to publish.
- Post new material consistently, so your audience knows when to expect more from you.
- Update outdated content to ensure that it stays relevant and accurate.
- Share everything you create on the social media platforms your target market uses.
You’ll also want to periodically assess how well your content performs by tracking metrics, such as social media post comments, website visitors, and email newsletter opens, adjusting your strategy as needed.
Partner with a Firm That Can Help Keep Your Content Marketing on Track
Although content marketing is a concept and strategy you should understand, you may not want to take on the responsibility personally—especially if crafting a compelling message isn’t your strong suit. In that case, it might be worthwhile to partner with a firm with expertise in financial advisor marketing.
The Commonwealth Brand Studio exists to help you market more and market better—and in less time. That way, you can focus on doing what you do best: advising your clients. Contact us today to learn more about our library of marketing materials, marketing plan templates, educational resources, and other services.
Please consult your member firm’s policies and obtain prior approval for any sales ideas or marketing materials you would like to use with clients.