Go for the Bronze! Realistic Expectations for Marketing

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As I watched the Summer Olympics, I, like many others, focused on who won the gold medal for each event. “Go for the gold” is always the theme when you think of achieving your greatest potential. Standing on the top of the podium. Hearing your national anthem. As advisers, we strive to deliver the ‘gold’— specific, actionable, high-quality plans and insightful, strong-performing advice, all in the best interest of our clients.

Unfortunately, when it comes to marketing, most advisers also apply this same gold standard. Without a doubt, perfectionist tendencies emerge. But without the knowledge, training and same drive for solving financial problems, marketing at the gold level can leave advisers tripping over hurdles and failing to even finish the race.

What if you go for the bronze with your marketing? Unlike financial advice, marketing efforts can be “good enough.” You may make a mistake, take a tumble or lose a point here and there, but take an all-or-nothing mentality — and you don’t even get to play in the game. Without clients coming in, you do not have the opportunity to share your golden advice. Implementing a bronze marketing strategy lets you try and fail, test and succeed, one marketing channel at a time.

Rest assured, bronze marketing is not tacky or unprofessional. It simply means you do not have to master all facets before trying your hand at any specific marketing channel. To meet the bronze standard, you must be clear on only three elements:

  1. Your brand values and what you stand for. With clarity, you can pursue marketing options to reinforce your brand. For example, if you are fee-only, you want to align yourself with referral partners who support and endorse your model. If “no boundaries” is a key tenet, you may offer Skype or webcam-friendly consultations.
  2. Your target audience that you want to reach. This is your marketing target, not the wider “anyone I will work with” net. This is who you want the marketing initiative to attract. Match this to your ideal client. This way you can evaluate the relevancy of the channel’s audience profile. For example, if your target is a 35 to 45 year old woman who appreciates value, owns a home and is the primary household decision-maker, then yes, you will do an interview with Real Simple magazine or join in on CafeMom discussions. “No, thank you” on the monthly article in Road & Track magazine’sonline newsletter.
  3. Your call to action. What do you want a prospect or client to do next? Register for your free report? Sign up for your video training series? Schedule a consultation? Give you a call? Come in for a meeting? If you do not know what the person should do next, she or he won’t either. Know your objective and articulate an action for every marketing effort you undertake.

With these three components, you can comfortably dive right into marketing your practice. Pick one marketing channel (blog, article, ad, social media, speech—whatever you want to try out) and take the leap, even if it’s off the 10-meter platform! Who knows, maybe next time, you’ll even claim the silver.

Kristin C. Harad, CFP®
Marketing trainer for advisers  
San Francisco

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