Kali Hawlk s the founder of Creative Advisor Marketing, an
inbound marketing firm that helps financial advisers grow their businesses by
creating compelling content.
Have you ever worked really hard on a marketing campaign? Be it a blog
post, social media ad, landing page and lead magnet, in-person event, or
anything else you tried to use as a way to grow your firm, you poured a lot of
hours and energy into the effort. You were proud of what you created. And yet,
when you hit publish or sent out invitations or pushed send on that email…well,
cue the crickets.
Nothing. No response, not even a nibble from a curious
prospective client. Unfortunately, this happens all the time to financial
advisers looking for new, innovative ways to market and grow their firms.
Why do your best efforts and intentions fail to resonate
with the audience you want to connect with or reach the prospects you want to
convert into clients?
Why Your Marketing Efforts Fall Flat
The best way to waste a lot of time with your marketing
efforts is to generate ideas on what to do next on your own, in a vacuum,
without getting feedback.
This is the mistake most advisers make—they think they find
a great marketing idea and want to try it. They do an excellent job executing,
except for one fatal flaw: they try to guess what their target market wants.
They spend a lot of time brainstorming and wondering what to write in a blog
post, or record for a video or podcast, or how to host an event.
Doing all this hard work of pinpointing exactly what to
create or do takes a lot of effort. It’s also completely unnecessary. Instead of
guessing what kind of content your ideal client wants and would find relevant,
just ask them.
Your Target Market Can Generate Ideas for You
The best way to create a marketing campaign that resonates
with the right people is to understand the following about your audience:
Demographics. Data like
age, gender, ethnicity, and location.
information tells you about their beliefs, philosophies, biases, fears,
aspirations, and more. It gives insight to their perspectives and
Pain points and
challenges. What do they struggle with? What do they see as a problem in
their life? What causes pain or prevents them from living the way they want?
Needs, desires, and goals.
What do they desperately want to achieve more than anything else? What do they
need in their lives?
Preferences and habits.
What magazines do they read? What websites do they browse? How do they
interact with media? How do they prefer to learn new information?
Objections. What stops
them from taking action? What causes resistance or friction when they make
If you know this information, you can craft messages that
directly hit on pain points and offer appealing solutions that get around sales
objections. You’ll also know where to go to deliver your message and how to
share information about what your firm can do for clients.
Try one of these strategies to understand what your target
market wants from you before you start your next marketing campaign:
Message Boards and Social Media
People are already talking about the topics you’re an expert
in. And because they’re not the experts, they likely have questions they want
If you can find the questions your audience is already
asking, you can design marketing content that answers those questions and
positions you as the solution to the problems they face.
So how do you do it? Two ways: (1) use search functions on
social media to find and monitor relevant conversations; and (2) search for
keywords, phrases, or hashtags that relate to topics on which you can serve as
an expert resource.
Comb through forums, communities, and message boards for
relevant conversations. Facebook groups, comments on posts on Instagram or
LinkedIn, and Reddit forums can all provide ways to “listen” to what people talk
about online—and find your next campaign topic idea.
Invite Your Target Market to Coffee or Lunch
You can’t invite everyone you want to reach to grab a cup of
coffee with you, but you can identify a handful of people who represent your
ideal clients or who already are your ideal clients, and ask if you can
interview them over lunch sometime.
This isn’t a sales pitch. It’s a learning opportunity.
Design eight to 10 open-ended questions for your meetings, ask them, and sit
back and listen to the answers. The idea is to let your guests speak openly and
freely about whatever comes up.
After conducting a few of these conversations, compare your
notes. Do you see any trends or patterns? Were any phrases used by more than one
person? These are things that can help you better understand your audience, how
they think, and most importantly, the language that makes sense to them.
Start Conversations Instead of Sending Out Surveys
Sending out a mass email with a link to a survey and asking
people to take the time to fill it out (even if it only takes two minutes) is
not compelling. Instead, try opening a conversation.
You can do this by tapping into your contact lists, but take
a personalized, personable approach rather than seeking the opinion of the
crowd. Here is sample email to help you get started:
Hope you’re doing well. I wanted
to reach out to share some news I’m excited about: I’m working on a new
[whatever you want to create and launch—new blog, new podcast, new video series,
etc.] for my firm, and I want to make sure what we put out into the world is
Here’s where I need your help: I
don’t want to create something for us. I want to create it for you.
I have a
few ideas that I want to explore for the [blog/podcast/video/social media/email
course/ebook/etc.], including [list your initial ideas that you think might work
well for the audience].
But I don’t want to just assume you’re interested in
I would love to actually talk to you about what you’d find most
interesting, valuable, or useful.
What can I share or explain that
would help you achieve your goals? What kind of topics interest you, or what do
you want to learn more about?
Please let me know! I look forward to hearing
your ideas and opinions.
By using the strategies shared here, your target audience
will develop your marketing ideas for you. They’ll also give you a clear picture
of who they are, which allows you to develop client personas. Use those personas
now and in future marketing campaigns. They’ll tell you what your audience wants
to hear—and how they want to hear it.
This article originally appeared on the Journal's Practice Management Blog. Read more