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Take Action Now!

Your annual marketing plan is useless unless you use it.

By Martin R. Baird

The race is on to make this year one for business growth, and financial advisors with a marketing plan in hand are already in the lead.

If you don’t take the next step of actually putting your plan into action, you will fall to the back of the pack.

Beginning-of-the-year tasks
Oddly enough, it’s important to know what not to do the first two months of the year. If your plan calls for media relations this year, put it off because it will not give you a quick win. It can take two months or more to see your name in print. I’m a big believer in direct mail, but I wouldn’t start with it, either. From concept and copy to production with approval from compliance, you can easily land in the same 60-day quandary.

Instead, reach out to clients and prospects who told you a few months back that they want to do something "after the first of the year." Sure, it may feel more like order taking than marketing, but it will get you moving.

Next, be sure to contact the top 20 percent of your clients over the next two weeks. You need to answer their questions and position yourself as the active expert who is there to help them with all their financial needs. This also protects your book, because other advisors may view your top clients as great prospects. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going on the prowl yourself. Touch bases with the last 10 clients that you lost. Why did they leave you? Get the answer to that question, and you may be able to get them back quickly.

TOUCH BASES WITH THE LAST 10 CLIENTS THAT YOU LOST. WHY DID THEY LEAVE YOU?

A dynamic duo
While you’re getting pumped up by early wins, you also need to start mapping out those long-term projects that will keep you busy throughout the remaining 10 months of the year.

Here’s a bit of inspiration that holds the key to moving forward and maintaining your momentum through December: The difference between a dream and a goal is a timeline and accountability. The dynamic duo of timeline and accountability makes the process of implementation much easier.

Look at your plan and what you want to accomplish with your marketing this year, then set a timeline for each of the activities. Break each activity down into the steps that need to happen and when.

For example, if one of the ways you plan to grow your business is through direct mail, you should look at all the elements that go into conducting a successful direct mail campaign. Who will receive the direct mail piece? What day will it be mailed? What’s the mailer’s design? What is the offer? What is the call to action? How will you differentiate your mailer from the other direct mail pieces someone receives that particular day?

That’s a lot to do, and it may seem intimidating. If you map it all out with a timeline, you will clearly see that this project can be done. A direct mail campaign is probably just one of your marketing tools. Go through this process for each element of your plan.

Who’s your buddy?
The next point to focus on is accountability. If you have a staff, then assign someone to make sure your plan is happening on time.

If you’re a one-person shop, you are accountable for everything in your marketing plan, from research to copy writing to production of all marketing materials. This could be a pitfall—unless you have what I call a marketing buddy.

A marketing buddy could be your significant other, a friend or even a wholesaler. It just needs to be someone who is familiar with your plan and willing to contact you from time to time to see how you’re progressing. Wholesalers make ideal buddies. They not only can help you remain accountable, they also can share new ideas and information about marketing.

Martin R. Baird is president of Advisor Marketing, an Annapolis, Md., based consulting firm and author of The 7 Deadly Sins of Advisor Marketing. Contact him at mbaird@advisormarketing.com or 480-991-6420.

 


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