Growth is a real challenge for many advisory firms, from the advisor who got into the business to help people (not market to them), to the advisor who’s 'great' in front of prospects (with a strong ability to sell their value) but struggles to find prospects to get in front of in the first place. Often at best, advisors find one particular strategy that works at least ‘OK’ for them, and then focus all their time and energy there… and in the process, neglect (or never even attempt) the rest of the steps of a comprehensive marketing plan and doing what it takes to build a steady ongoing pipeline of prospects for growth.
In this guest post, Amy Parvaneh, Founder and CEO of Select Advisors Institute, explains the WAVE Method, a 12-step marketing plan created to apply the concept of diversification to advisor marketing strategy by engaging efforts across four categories: 1) Wealth Detection, 2) Asking For Referrals, 3) Visibility, and 4) Emailing Prospective Clients.
The Wealth Detection category is about advisors staying informed about their communities (through local magazines), and the areas relevant to their niche clients (through Google alerts), as well as creating a pipeline of potential business development leads (by taking notes on individuals and places encountered on a daily basis to ‘detect’ who has wealth or, better yet, money in motion).
Asking For Referrals focuses on using clients and Centers Of Influence (COIs) as primary referral sources, ideally with a systematic routine of asking for referrals regularly. Additionally, more passive strategies can be used to softly ‘Ask’ For Referrals, such as including a brief message in your email signature line or adding a call-to-action banner on your website that directs clients on where to go to “Give a Referral”.
The featured areas of Visibility that can help an advisor grow their business include Social Media Visibility, in which advisors post personalized and relevant content regularly to establish a captivated audience that wants to follow them; Humanized Visibility, in which advisors are encouraged to connect with others as much as possible either in person or virtually, through activities such as attending trade conferences, volunteering, and creating video content; and Public Relations efforts, in which advisors pitch and contribute content to editors or publishers of well-known media publications for brand-name affiliation.
Emailing Prospective Clients helps advisors connect directly with generating actionable leads ready to do business, and can include ‘cold’ emails that are targeted to commercially available lists, or specifically targeted people the advisor is interested in meeting. Alternatively, social media followers, such as connections on LinkedIn, can be reached by sending them a past post of interest (perhaps one that may have been featured on the advisor’s feed). Last, the production of an original, personalized newsletter can be an effective way to reach prospective clients (and then sending it outbound via email to ensure it gets in front of them!).
Ultimately, the key point is that there are many strategies available to advisors to market their firms, but that advisors don’t necessarily have to bet everything on one strategy, and instead, similar to investing, can diversify efforts across multiple areas. Just be certain to also engage in a periodic review of performance and results to understand what’s working!