From the April 2004 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Building Credibility

You may know how to service clients, but how do you get prospects' attention and draw them to you in the first place? Following is the short course in building a credibility marketing campaign:

1. SET UP A REALISTIC MARKETING BUDGET Establish the size of your initial marketing budget, usually $10,000 to $50,000, depending on the size of your firm. Then allocate an amount for each marketing activity: (a) hire help to start the writing process, (b) conduct seminars, and so forth. In the following years, allocate $5,000 to $30,000 annually to maintain those activities.

2. WRITE A BOOK Writing a book moves you into "walking on water" status, partly due to the difficulty level. The process can be lengthy and arduous, but the payoff is huge. So if you can't write, hire someone who can.

3. WRITE ARTICLES As you plan your book, turn the chapters into a series of articles to be placed in industry-wide or local publications. Periodic articles provide the collateral material for what advertising people know works: intensity, reach, and frequency of your marketing message.

4. DEVELOP AN EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR Within two months after completing the book but before its publication, start working on building a seminar around the content of the book to further establish your business identity. Show how the strategy you devised will help prospects and explain how to implement your strategy. Be sure to have a follow-up plan to meet the attendees one-on-one. Having your seminar packaged in audio/videotapes is a good way to extend your reach. You can also turn your book into a PowerPoint slide show to use as your presentation to new prospects.

5. PUBLICIZE YOUR BOOK For at least three to six months after publication, schedule book signings and readings. Send copies to all your local media. You can hire a professional public relations firm, but your publisher and retail outlets may help, too.

6. REPRINT ARTICLES Sending prospects your books, articles, or seminar audio- and videotapes gives them a response mechanism they can control. You can also use article reprints as handouts in your seminar programs and as stay-behind pieces for meetings in place of a brochure. Send reprints of your articles to each of your existing clients. They'll often pass these on to prospects they want to refer.

7. TRACK YOUR RESULTS Put a system in place that collects, organizes, and processes inquiries from your published articles and books. What keeps this campaign alive is monitoring the amount of assets that come in as a direct result of these actions.

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