Creating a marketing strategy is a key component for the success of your business. In this era of constant communication and instant notification, marketing is more important than ever before. If you think that a marketing plan is just an email newsletter or a Facebook page, get ready to change your mind. Marketing strategy and business strategy go hand-in-hand, and if you have goals to grow your financial planning practice, this eBook offers the framework to help you meet and even exceed them.
A strategic marketing plan usually has all of the following components. If you’re just starting out, it’s possible to get away with not having all of them, but the more you integrate into your plan, the more strategic it will be.
At minimum, you must have a goal, objectives, and tactics. These three components will drive everything else. The best way to achieve a goal, especially a big goal, is to start by clearly defining it.
How do you achieve a goal? Start by clearly defining it — and writing it down. What you write is as important as having it written down. Make sure that your goal is SMART:
Lots of people, in every industry, struggle with goal-setting. The best way to write marketing goals is to base them off of business goals. Ask yourself and your leadership team these questions:
If you can articulate these things, you can write a business goal. Start there. Write down where you’d like your business to be in one, three, or five years. Now, take a look at what you’ve written. Revise it until it is clearly defined — and SMART. Want examples of SMART goals for financial planners? Download our eBook and check out page 6.
Objectives are measurable steps you take to achieve your strategy. A marketing objective could be related to increasing leads or website visitors. It could be related to your social media strategy or email campaigns. To start, you might have four to 12 objectives, give or take. The number of objectives is not as important as writing them clearly and being concise. Check out page 7 of our eBook for examples specifically for financial advisors.
A tactic is a tool you use to achieve your objectives. Each tactic is an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end. You should have lots of these, anywhere from three to 10 (or so) per objective. There's a list of examples on page 8 of this eBook, but think about things like:
Analyze your business’ strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats that you face. Taking the time to outline your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats will help you amplify messaging about your strengths, minimize or combat competitor threats and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Every strategic marketing plan includes information on the company’s target audience. Right now, the best way to do this is to create a persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal client based on market research and real data about your existing clients. When creating personas, consider including client demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better. Having a deep understanding of your client is critical to building anything that relates to client acquisition and retention, and you’ll use this information every time you make a decision about your business. Need some help? We've got you covered. Download “The Financial Planner’s Guide to Client Persona Development” for free.
After writing a brief summary about your ideal client, get more granular. Here’s what you should nailed down:
Key messages communicate the points you consistently want to make to your audience. Different messages can be developed for different purposes: referrals, networking, etc. Your key messages should be targeted to your audience. Start by crafting a set of short, standard phrases or paragraphs that describe your business overall, what you offer and specialize in, and the benefits of doing business with you. These messages should always tie back into your goals. A well-crafted message will highlight your unique benefits, target your audience, support your goal, and often include a call to action. With repeated use, key messages serve as the foundation of your branding and marketing efforts, and they should be reflected in all written and spoken communications. You can find several examples in our eBook on pages 12 and 13.
Make sure all of your content is similar, wherever it lives, and at all touch points:
Write your strategic plan first, then build your budget. It’s all right if your budget will not allow you to execute every objective and tactic right away. It’s better to have outlined everything it will take to achieve your business goals and then figure out how to pay for it. If you start saying you can’t do something before you’ve even decided if it’s necessary, you’re not going to get very far.
Building a strategic plan is exciting. You get to think about and explore all of the “what ifs?” Enormous goals seem possible during the planning process. Adding budget to the mix can crush the energy — that’s why it’s important to save budgeting for last. As you execute your strategy and become successful, you will be generating more revenue, and a portion of the profits can go towards expanding the execution of your plan. Here’s how to do it:
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