Ah, marketing. RIAs busy serving their clients and running their practices may experience a wave of anxiety at the mention of the word marketing. But, why?
Advisors frequently tell us they recognize the importance of marketing their practice to prospective clients, and many have tried one program or another over time. But, almost universally, we hear the common frustrations that their marketing efforts are costly, time-consuming, and aren’t working.
We work with many RIA firms and hear about their marketing successes and failures. Many firms that struggle appear to make the same marketing mistakes. Below, we highlight some of the common marketing errors with the hope you may benefit from knowing this information.
Failing to Commit
Many advisors either don’t spend enough money for their marketing programs to have a chance to succeed, or try something, get discouraged, and drop the program altogether. Underspending and inconsistency both represent a lack of commitment. Instead, marketing should be an integral part of your practice because it presents you and your firm to a vast world of prospective clients. No marketing equals no visibility.
Failing to Differentiate
It is critical to distinguish yourself and your practice amongst a sea of other RIAs. Have you done that, and have you done it well? The most successful advisors are laser-focused on a niche audience, and they represent themselves as indispensable experts that clients and prospects can’t find elsewhere. You must differentiate yourself, and every aspect of your marketing should reflect your unique practice and why that matters to clients.
Failing to Communicate
You are an expert at what you do. But, how do your clients view you? For example, have they chosen to work with you because of your knowledge of investments and financial planning? Or, are you their advisor because you are friendly, approachable, and genuinely interested in their personal lives? These are important questions and should be reflected in your marketing. The tone and voice of your marketing content should align with what clients value most in you.
A Noteworthy Example of Marketing Success
Believe it or not, developing and consistently executing an effective marketing plan in your business is not as difficult as it would seem. Many RIAs who have made marketing an essential part of their business are expanding their marketing programs because they see the results.
Take, for example, Josh Brown, CEO of NYC-Based RIA, Ritholtz Wealth Management. As Josh explained in a 2017 interview with Michael Kitces, when he and his co-founder, Barry Ritholtz started their firm in 2013, they had a minuscule client base and limited funds to invest in their practice. But they both liked to write and publish their opinions on investing, capital markets, and other topics.
In other words, they spent much of their time marketing their ideas. By 2017, their firm had accumulated approximately $500 million in AUM and generated between 10 and 30 legitimate leads every week. As time went on, Josh and Barry became even more prolific as content producers. They recognized by sharing their insights frequently and consistently, not only were they attracting broad interest among prospective clients, but they were also enhancing relationships with their existing clients.
Today, their company has $1.8 billion in AUM, and their blogs (The Big Picture - Barry Ritholtz; The Reformed Broker - Josh Brown) are consistently ranked as two of the most widely-read blogs in the industry. Josh has more than one million people following him on Twitter. Not bad for two guys who had no clients less than ten years ago.
You Can Do This
If you feel your marketing efforts are not working and you don’t have the time, energy or knowledge needed to re-energize your program, review the wealth of content on Inland Advisor Academy to get a fresh perspective on marketing programs that can engage and help convert qualified prospects into new clients.