Everybody’s posting articles right now about marketing predictions and strategies for marketing in 2023 – and that’s good! The new year is a great time to re-evaluate your approach and consider trying new things.
While trying new things is always welcome when it comes to marketing, we have found it is also important to stop doing old things that aren’t working for you. That’s why we put together this list of six marketing strategies that won’t work for financial advisors in 2023. (If you are doing any of the following things, don’t feel bad! So are a lot of advisors!)
1. Relying on Third-Party Data
If you’re counting on third-party advertising to reach your target audience, it’s time to start investing in another approach.
Google has been threatening to discontinue third-party cookies for well over a year now, and they’ve kicked the can down the road a few times. Currently, they say they’re definitely probably maybe going to do something possibly in 2024. We’ll just see about that.
Regardless of when Google finally crumbles cookies for good, their continued movement in that direction is a clear indicator of the way the internet is going: Away from third-party and toward first-party audiences, a.k.a., email lists and social media followers.
In other words, now is the time to be developing first-party connections with your audience. Build your list, cultivate your following, and stop relying on data providers to find your people for you.
2. Creating Content for the Sake of Creating Content
The internet is bursting with useless content. More than 2 million articles are published online every single day, and 91% of the internet gets literally zero traffic from Google.
With all that content out there, you might feel like there’s nothing new to say under the sun.
Well, you’re right.
But guess what? That was true looooong before this whole “internet” thing came to be. And yet people still spend hours reading online every day.
But you can’t just write whatever you feel like and then expect people to read it. The secret is this: Cultivate a unique, insightful perspective and then apply it to financial matters that your audience can relate to.
Look at Joe friggin’ Rogan. That guy’s not talking about anything particularly earth-shattering, he’s just got a unique perspective and he says what’s on his mind. Love him or hate him, the guy has the #1 podcast in the country for a reason.
3. Fitting Marketing Into the Margins of Your Business
I don’t have actual statistics on this one so I’m gonna make it up, but I’m willing to bet that more than eleventy-seven percent of advisors entrust their marketing to interns and assistants. Don’t get me wrong, I love interns and assistants, but when you do this, you’re taking a “check the marketing box” approach to marketing.
You would never let an intern handle your client meetings or run a presentation, so why do so many advisors let interns speak for them online?
Which brings me to point #4…
4. Leaving Your Brand Undefined
Your brand is one of the most important things you could invest in, and yet most advisors leave their brand completely undefined.
Take, for instance, my financial planning firm, Zach’s Wealth, which I just made up. We have a name and we even have a nice (clearly Canva-generated) logo.
The logo looks great on our website, but then one day, an advisor grabs it and puts it in the header of a Word document to use in letters to clients. Without knowing it, he squishes the logo a little bit in order to make it fit in the header just right.
Then he saves it in the M: drive as “ZW logo.”
A month later, somebody needs the logo for a presentation, so they grab it out of the M: drive and then tweak it ever so slightly, just to make it fit perfectly in the corner of slides.
A week after that, I need our logo to put on business cards (and, like any good CEO, I have no idea where anything is kept), so I go into that presentation from last week and screenshot it out of there. It looks kind of funky to me, so I squish it a little bit this way and stretch it a little bit that way until it looks good enough.
And on and on.
But it’s not just the stretchiness of our logo. It’s how and where it gets used.
Between letterheads and pens and kickball tournament t-shirts and everywhere else our logo gets used, no one even knows which one is the right one anymore.
If you don’t have a brand guide, that would be my top advice for you for 2023. Create one that covers everything about your brand – fonts, colors, logo use, photography – everything that you create and distribute to clients and prospects.
Here’s our recently updated brand guide if you’re wondering what one looks like. Yours may be more or less in-depth, but that should give you a pretty good idea of what your brand guide should cover.
Want help creating your brand guide? That’s one of our favorite projects, and we would love to help! Click here to answer a few quick questions and drop us a line.
If you’re thinking, “Who cares how my logo looks as long as my name is getting out there?” I hear you. But hear me out:
Consistent brand usage has been proven to increase revenue by 33%.
Using consistent colors can increase brand recognition by 80%.
85% of companies have brand guidelines
5. Spray-and-pray Marketing
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
Peter Drucker’s 1973 definition of marketing still stands as a great description of the hyper-focus required for advisors to market their services well. If you want to make selling yourself easier, then you need to prioritize understanding your customers deeply.
What is your 2023 marketing strategy built around: your company or your customers? If it’s the former, then you should consider a different approach.
When your marketing is built around your company, then the only thing you can do is spray-and-pray – meaning you just amplify your message as far and wide as possible and hope that the right people hear it.
When your marketing is built around your customers, then you’re speaking their language.
Here’s how you can fine-tune your strategy around your customers:
Create personas, or fine-tune your existing ones, to ensure you understand your audience
Evaluate your entire marketing strategy with your personas in mind – what do they need help with, where can you reach them, what do they want to hear?
Schedule quarterly marketing check-ins to ensure your messaging is focused on the right audience and to fine-tune it.
6. Avoiding Accountability with Your Marketing Efforts
We know it better than anyone: When things get tough, marketing yourself is one of the first things to get shoved to the back burner. The problem with this is that when you turn your marketing off, your funnel will begin drying up and eventually you’ll find yourself hurting for customers.
Even Michael Jordan had a coach that helped him get better. Some of the most successful advisors I know have coaches, consultants and accountability partners for their marketing efforts – people who help them plan, create content and/or stick to deadlines.
If you’re tired of setting marketing goals that never come to fruition, this is a great year to find someone who can help you see it through. Your business will thank you.
Related: Financial Advisors: Should Your Firm Hire Internally or Get an Agency for Marketing? 6 Questions To Help You Make the Call