Independent financial advisors, like all entrepreneurs, can’t grow their businesses if no one knows about them.
In order to attract new clients, and reinforce the value they provide for existing clients, advisors need to take the time to brand themselves in their local communities, in order to capitalize on their knowledge, insight and experience. Establishing a personal brand requires an ongoing effort to remain a relevant local — and even regional — voice on wealth management and other financial matters.
Some advisors may feel uncomfortable with the idea of “becoming a celebrity.” But raising your professional profile in your marketplace doesn’t involve being featured on TMZ or the front pages of supermarket tabloids. It only involves making yourself someone who community members associate with valuable, insightful financial advice and guidance.
Below are several tips for establishing and building a brand as a respected financial professional:
1. Launch a regular financial program on TV, radio and/or social media: When people see someone speaking confidently in the media, that person’s credibility generally receives an instant boost. To begin positioning themselves as the go-to local advisor on financial and money matters, advisors can host weekly or monthly shows on TV or radio stations within their markets. Half-hour or hour-long programs discussing financial planning, saving for retirement, investing practices, tax reform, and a variety of other topics related to finance and wealth management are ideal platforms for advisors to present themselves as experienced financial authorities to a broad audience in their marketplaces. Furthermore, if you post these programs to social media, you can expand your audience and even attract attention from financial journalists at regional and national outlets.
If an advisor aligns with a wealth management platform specializing in helping independent RIAs grow, that platform may have a creative team with contacts that can facilitate a local TV or radio program. Advisors can also take the initiative to start and promote their own weekly or monthly podcast discussing financial planning and wealth management issues.
2. Support local community initiatives and sports teams: Independent advisors serve a vital role in helping individuals and families in their communities pursue their long-term financial and personal goals. To reinforce the value they provide, advisors need to demonstrate to existing and prospective clients that they have strong ties to their communities.
As local business owners, advisors can proactively contribute by serving on boards of local organizations. By sharing your expertise in this manner, you are opening yourself up to a wide variety of referral opportunities and showing your clients and prospects you are committed to the community you serve.
Another way to support your local community is by sponsoring Little League or other sports teams, as well as philanthropic community events such as charity galas and auctions. These sponsorships not only help others and reinforce your community ties, but also keep your practice name in the spotlight.
If people in your community have questions or concerns related to retirement savings, investing, financial planning and other areas of wealth management, you ideally want them to think of you as someone to call. Seeing your name or your firm’s name around town, associated with organizations and events that bring the community together and improve quality of life, helps make people more likely to consider contacting you about financial matters.
3. Hold informational seminars: Partnering with a local restaurant to host informational seminars is a great way for an advisor to demonstrate their expertise for members of their community. Offering seminars where people can receive dinner/drinks while learning about financial topics which are important to them — such as “How to save enough for retirement as well as your kids’ college tuition,” or “How tax reform may affect your bottom line” — enable residents throughout your community to hear directly from you in an informal, stress-free setting. They also have the opportunity to meet you and, crucially, hear the value-added responses you can provide using your experience.
If these seminars are held with some level of frequency and are advertised extensively, independent advisors can build their firms’ brand recognition in their communities. To ensure people who attend the seminars will continue to recall your firm, give out cards with information about where they can contact you, and follow you on social media and receive regular market insights and commentary.
Positioning yourself as a local celebrity is a branding and marketing strategy that is designed to reinforce your knowledge, experience and value proposition. Financial professionals are ultimately responsible for how these strategies are implemented — and that includes making sure the strategies align with the compliance requirements of any affiliated broker-dealer or RIA and the insurance carriers they represent, as well as federal regulations and state insurance regulations.
But one thing is for sure — independent advisors can’t afford to be “the best kept secret” if they want to grow and remain profitable. Taking steps to become financial planning and wealth management celebrities in their local communities can help advisors position themselves and their practices for ongoing growth and profitability.
— Related on ThinkAdvisor:
- 7 Ways to Convert Community Involvement Into Leads
- Stop Tinkering With Marketing and Get Face to Face
- Grow Your Client Base Through Events
Chris Radford is President of AE Wealth Management.