Your Clients Aren’t Your Marketing Team

This week we’ll continue to focus on fueling your referral efforts by identifying and removing the points of friction that may be slowing you down.

In my last post, I addressed the first point of referral friction.  Specifically, I looked at how you can, inadvertently, lose an opportunity to communicate your value to prospects when your clients share your content with friends and family.  

Today’s ‘point of friction’ is also related to your 'content strategy'.  The friction is created when you assume (or hope?) that your clients will share your content as a way to introduce you to their friends and family.  They don’t.

Understanding Why Your Clients Share Your Content

This point of friction looks something like this.  

  • You work with clients – lots of them - who think you’re great.  Nice.
  • Those clients are very comfortable providing you with referrals.  Also nice.
  • To make it easy, you create - or curate - content and share that with your clients in the hopes they will pass that along to friends and family. Good idea.
  • But they don’t.  That’s a problem.

The question is why?  We know that it’s not a lack of motivation to help you grow the business; clients are happy to see you grow.

The simple truth is that your clients don’t know who would be interested in most of the content they receive.  And it's not their job to figure that out.  I’d suggest that you need to make that obvious.  

Help Clients Spread the Word

Removing this point of friction starts by getting comfortable with the fact that clients aren’t sharing your content to help you, but to help the people they care about. That means you need to get very intentional about providing them with content that:

  1. They want to share
  2. Would be of interest to very specific people they know (because the topic makes it obvious)

Absolute Engagement’s research shows that 76% of clients (who don’t refer) say they don’t know who to refer.  The same is true when it comes to sharing your content.

So it’s your job to put content in their hands that makes it very easy for them to share with the right people.

We Don’t Share ‘Generic’

I’m not that different from your clients.  I’m happy to refer friends and family to a great advisor.  But if I receive a financial/market/tax update, it doesn’t make it further than my inbox.

It’s not that I’m unwilling to share content.  It’s simply that I don’t know who would find it of interest.  I don’t have a running list of people in my head who I talk to about the latest tax updates.  

But I do have a running list of people with whom I might share information on:

  • Hiking trails
  • Recipes
  • Design tips
  • Mental health during Covid
  • Parenting strategies

So you solve this problem when you send me good information on the right topics.  

If you send me a link to a podcast like The Empowered Parenting Podcast (an awesome new find of mine recently) my immediate thought will be “so and so would love this.”

In no world have I ever said “that’s a really insightful piece on investment strategies; I think I’ll send this out to my personal network just in case someone is interested.”  

You’re far better off if I share a targeted article or resource with two people than with none.

Take Action

So what to do?

I know some of our clients have a distinct advantage because, as part of gathering client input, they’ve asked clients what they're interested in learning about and then personalized their communications plan.  But let’s assume, for a moment, that you don’t have that luxury.

  1. Think about five of your best clients and the last review meeting you had with each of them. Identify what you talked about beyond investments and planning.
  2. Select three of the most common themes.
  3. Identify one article, podcast, Ted Talk or resource for each of the three themes.  Get the team involved and use Google as a simple starting point.
  4. Send a note to your clients with a link to the resource.  If the topic is targeted (e.g., parenting strategies) then isolate those clients for whom the article will be a fit, otherwise you run the risk of appearing tone deaf.

Helpful hint.  When you’re sending the link, provide them with some context as to why you thought it would be helpful.  This ensures they know it was intentional.

Here’s an example:

Two Types of Content

Does that mean you should stop sending the market, tax and financial updates?  Absolutely not.  

There is content that’s designed specifically to support your clients, based on the work that you’re doing together.  However, you should also identify and share content that will support your engagement and referral efforts.  

Two different objectives and two different types of content.

Related: Removing Friction from Your Referral Process