June 16, 2010

Time for a Transition (X): How to Build Client Loyalty, Part II

A look at more ways advisors can sharpen their client communications and marketing programs.

Last month, I outlined several ideas to help you streamline and automate your marketing and client communications campaigns.

I made the case for staying in touch with clients and prospects (including strategic partners and centers of influence) and profiled two smart advisors who are using a continual stream of communications to build share of mind and retain loyal clients.

This month I'll provide tips on finding free and/or inexpensive solutions to creating or purchasing ready-to-customize content for your marketing and client communications campaigns.

Easy Communication Resources

One of the least expensive options for obtaining communication material is from your friendly wholesaler. Firms such as Prudential and Oppenheimer have material that is already written and approved by FINRA for use with clients.

One of my favorite client-ready pieces is a series of financial planning articles produced by a third-party asset management platform (a TAMP). Iron Point Capital Management writes a great one to two page article, in layperson terms, on various human interest topics, called FocusPoint.

FocusPoint articles in the past have included ideas on how to teach your children about money and strategies for the Sandwich Generation on ways to deal with daily stresses and demands. These articles, as well as economic commentaries and audio podcasts called OnPoint, can be downloaded for free from their public website.

Many broker/dealers also create material that advisors can use with clients. Securities America, for example, creates a weekly economic and market update that advisors can co-brand and e-mail to clients. Raymond James, Commonwealth, LPL Financial, Cambridge and other broker-dealers -- as well as the big custodians (Schwab, Pershing, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade) also offer turnkey resources.

Another option for obtaining effective and diverse material is to work with a firm that specializes in creating mass varieties of material specifically for financial advisors. Three of the most widely utilized companies are Emerald Publications, Forefield Advisors and Marketinglibrary.net.

Emerald Publications has a strong foundation in the financial services industry, having been in business for over 25 years and has a staff of over 100 people. They specialize in creating turnkey seminars, client newsletters, online automatic marketing and full-service printing and direct-mail support.

Many of the financial advisors I work with use Forefield Advisor to help educate their clients on various financial concepts or to help a client prepare for a large financial or life changing event. You can easily print out a multiple page documents that can be branded with your picture and contact information that explains, for example, the difference between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA.

A newer service available to advisors is called Marketinglibrary.net, which provides written material on a wide variety of topics - from suggested content for birthday cards to a concise market commentary. Marketinglibrary.net also has a good compliance review system for broker/dealers and OSJs.

Client communication and outreach has an enormous impact on your practice. Writing, podcasting, blogging and webinars, done well, will strengthen your connection with existing clients and generate a more proficient referral system to attract new clients.

Next month I'll talk about podcasts, webinars and videocasts, and how using these electronic forms of communication can help you build relationships while saving time and money.

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Marie Swift is president and CEO of Impact Communications, Inc., a full-service marketing communications and public relations firm that works exclusively with independent financial advisors, IBD registered representatives and the institutions that serve them. Follow her on www.Twitter.com/marieswift or read her Best Practices in the Financial Services Industry blog at www.marie-swift.blogspot.com.

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