Perspective :

Eight tips to help your brand stand out in a crowded marketplace

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Some advisors might not spend a lot of time, effort, and money on branding and marketing because they believe it’s difficult to differentiate their business from other practices that offer essentially the same services. They may be confident they can distinguish themselves on a personal level once clients walk in the door. The problem, though, is that good marketing and branding are what can lead people to you. Referrals from happy clients might not be enough to ensure your practice’s growth. Good branding is essential. When you raise your game on that score, you may be surprised to discover even your existing clients will become more loyal.

The challenge is to find the right ways to distinguish yourself in the “sea of sameness” investors experience when they encounter advisors’ advertising and marketing. The following tips can help you initiate a journey that may enable you to stand out from the herd of advisors competing to serve your community.

1. Avoid the cliches

If your firm’s value proposition talks about “tailored solutions” and “comprehensive financial management” from “trusted advisors,” your messaging will seem like it was copied and pasted from all your competitors’ websites. Do a marketing audit of all your messaging on your website, in your social media profile, and in advertising to make sure you’re not communicating about your services in the hackneyed ways every advisor uses.

2. Don’t hesitate to tell your personal story

Yes, clients will be impressed to discover your educational background, all your professional designations, and your years of experience, but tell them about who you are as a person. Share why you decided to become a financial advisor. If you or a family member have a compelling story about the challenges of managing finances on your own, explain how that experience drove you to help others avoid the same mistakes and benefit from professional guidance. In all your communications, strive to share anecdotes rather than make banal promises. Stories are what people connect with and remember.

3. Focus on your niche

While you may have a diverse client base, it is still difficult to be all things to all people. If your practice skews in any direction, whether it is working with business owners, helping women investors, or advising people through major life transitions like expanding families, divorces, or the death of a spouse, make sure the focus of your practice is highlighted in your communications. The specific language you provide to explain how you help clients address real-life problems will resonate with prospects who are facing similar circumstances.

4. Be mindful of your own strengths

If you’re a people person, emphasize all the high-touch services you provide. Emphasize all the time you take to listen and deliver solutions for everyone from retirees concerned about wealth preservation and legacy planning to Gen Z-ers starting their careers and managing student loans. If you’re a less social, more detail-oriented person, promote the painstaking research and analysis you do to find the right solutions for diverse client needs. Turn what might otherwise seem to be a boring topic – all the due diligence you do – into a numbers-driven infographic that makes clear you provide a level of scrutiny and research that would be difficult for any investor to replicate on their own. Your commitment to developing your branding, and clients’ reaction to it, will be greatly enhanced when it is authentic to you.

5. Keep the client front and center

As important as it is to tell your story and explain what makes the approach you take unique, it’s equally critical to avoid a lot of “I” and “we” statements. Use the word “you” just as often in your client communications and messages delivered on your website, social media platforms, blogs, and other outlets. You’ll want to always identify the needs of clients and provide specific examples of the benefits clients realize from the solutions your firm offers. Clients need to see themselves in your communications and find ready answers to their question of, “What can this advisor do for me?”

6. Be active on social media – and in your community

Don’t treat your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages perfunctorily as “must haves.” Instead, commit to regular and enthusiastic posting from you or a team member with a talent for social media. Realize that many prospective clients, and young investors especially, will view your social media presence to determine if you’re the right advisor for them. In your profiles, don’t simply offer the basic bio. Instead offer a glimpse of who you are. Use your feeds to promote all your valuable services, like market perspectives or tips on key planning topics like retirement and college planning. Be sure to let your personality shine through. Highlight the volunteer or community service work you and your team do. Share stories about your personal life and family accomplishments to the level you’re comfortable with and that other family members don’t feel intrudes on their privacy. You are an expert on financial matters, but people also want to do business with someone they like and trust. Anecdotes about the work you’re doing at your practice and in your community will demonstrate your integrity far better than any statement on your website that says you’re a trusted advisor.

Beyond social media, staying active in your community will get your name out there. Once again, take the authentic approach, by engaging in activities that align with your interests. That might be coaching sports teams, joining clubs like Kiwanis or Elks, or even participating in or running other activities like wine tastings or book or movie discussion groups. Resist any urge to use these gatherings as an overt networking opportunity because other people in the group will sniff that out immediately. After you’ve demonstrated your genuine interest in the activity people come together for, the other participants’ curiosity about what you do for a living and how you might help them or friends will naturally emerge.

7. Make it easy for prospects to connect

You may regularly audit your service capabilities to ensure that clients find it easy to do business with you and that their needs are always quickly addressed. Be sure you regularly do the same review for prospects. Do all your messages end with a clear call to action? If you post a blog about finding ways to pay for college, for example, does the piece end with a message that lets readers know how to contact you for more information? On your website, do you offer convenient features like an interactive calendar that would enable a prospect to schedule an introductory meeting at a date and time that is convenient for them? It’s easy to make the mistake of spending a lot of money on efforts to reach prospects and then forgetting that last important step to make it as simple as possible for them to contact you when they are interested. Older generations might be comfortable with a phone number or email address they could use later, but younger preparations prefer app-like features that enable them to take action immediately.

8. Get expert help and solicit feedback

Given that marketing is not your primary area of expertise, it’s worth getting help either from a member of your team who has marketing credentials or from an outside consultant. When it comes to your visual brand that will be communicated through your firm logo, website, and other communications, it’s easy to recognize the importance of working with a talented designer. Given that words are the final product of your messaging—and we’re all at least somewhat facile with those—it’s easy to assume anyone can generate communications that will work. Marketing messages, though, are likely to be much more compelling when you partner with an experienced and talented team of marketing professionals. They will know how to convey your key messages in compelling ways and to choose words that powerfully resonate, emotionally and intellectually, with your target audiences.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Frontier Asset Management. The views are subject to change and are not intended as a forecast or guarantee of future results. This material is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice and is not intended as an endorsement of any specific investment. Stated information is derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources that have not been independently verified for accuracy or completeness. While Frontier Asset Management believes the information to be accurate and reliable, we do not claim or have responsibility for its completeness, accuracy, or reliability. The use of such sources does not constitute an endorsement. Frontier does not have an affiliation with any author, company, or security noted within. Statements of future expectations, estimates, projections, and other forward-looking statements are based on available information and Frontier Asset Management’s view as of the time of these statements. Accordingly, such statements are inherently speculative as they are based on assumptions that may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties.

Frontier Asset Management is a Registered Investment Adviser. The firm’s ADV Brochure and Form CRS are available at no charge by request at info@frontierasset.com or 307.673.5675 and are available on our website www.frontierasset.com. They include important disclosures and should be read carefully.

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