Financial Advisors: Don’t Make These Marketing Errors!

There’s no question that effective marketing is critical to financial advisor success. In fact, the average advisor spent $17,400 on marketing in 2022, according to a survey conducted by Broadridge, and 30% of advisors said they plan to increase their marketing budgets in the future. Unfortunately, these marketing dollars aren’t always spent effectively. Here are 6 common marketing errors that I see financial advisors make with their marketing campaigns:

  1. Being “one and done.” Effective marketing requires consistency — you can’t give up if you don’t see results quickly. However, many financial advisors start off with a bang only to lose momentum when they don’t see immediate results.

Seminars, like our Retirement GPS workshop, are a good example. This is a tried-and-true industry marketing tactic for advisors who stick with it. But I’ve seen too many advisors give up after conducting one or two workshops if they didn’t see the results they wanted, instead of giving it time to let the marketing play out and investing in the process. These advisors have lost the potential benefit of the money they spent on the workshop without generating any financial return on their investment.

For example, Tarkenton Financial advisors earn an average 5x return on the money they spend on Retirement GPS workshops. So, if an advisor spends $6,000 on a workshop, he or she earns $30,000 in commission from this spend, on average.

  1. Confusing marketing with selling/closing. There’s a common misperception among financial advisors that “marketing” and “selling/closing” are the same thing, but they’re not. The purpose of marketing is to get in front of qualified prospects so you can deliver your message and get them to know, like and trust you — not to sell a financial product. You have to put in the legwork to close the sale and turn them into a client – after you have delivered a compelling message to the prospect.
  2. Not knowing your numbers. First, you need to establish a marketing budget and then stick to it. Then you need a process for measuring ROI on your marketing spend. You should have reasonable ROI expectations for any marketing campaign you conduct.

To measure marketing ROI, you need a process in place to track where your leads are coming from so you can determine which aspects of you marketing campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. Use analytics and other tracking tools to measure the effectiveness of your strategies so you can allocate your marketing resources effectively and optimize your marketing spend.

  1. Pausing marketing during an economic downturn. When the economy and markets are in decline, it might seem logical to rein in marketing efforts until things rebound and prospects seem more receptive to your marketing message. But this is the exact opposite of an effective marketing strategy. While most advisors are pulling back on marketing and communications, savvy advisors are taking advantage by ramping up their marketing and grabbing prospects’ attention while others have gone silent.

Unlike boom times, bold and aggressive investors often come to realize during recessions and bear markets that they need professional investing help to weather the downturn. And conservative investors often turn to financial advisors during downturns to help them mitigate risk and keep their long-term financial plans on track.

This is especially important for advisors who help clients with fixed indexed annuities and fixed annuities. For these advisors, market downturns and volatility are one of the most crucial times to lean into marketing. Many investors close to retirement or in retirement are looking for alternatives to help ensure they don’t lose the money they’re relying on to last through retirement. It’s important to make sure your message stays out there in these market conditions.

  1. Not having a clear, recognizable brand identity. Think about some of the most recognizable brands today and how their identity remains consistent across all platforms and channels — brands like Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola, Walmart, Disney and Starbucks. Consistent branding is just as important for financial advisors; otherwise, clients and prospects become confused about your value proposition and lose trust over time.
  2. Believing that any single marketing program is a ‘silver bullet.’ No matter what type of marketing you use, it won’t work unless you do. There is no such thing as a system where you pay money for a marketing program and then clients just show up to your door and sign on the dotted line.

At the end of the day marketing is a conversation. You’re trying to start a conversation with someone who has a need, so that you can understand their needs and provide a solution that’s right for them. Have more of those conversations.