by Carly Schulaka
All things are not created equal; including marketing methods. Whether your marketing plan includes referrals, seminars and print ads or online ads, social media efforts and podcasting, the goal is the same-to generate leads and eventually convert those leads to new clients. But are some marketing methods more effective at generating leads than others?
The FPA Research Center surveyed more than 300 planners in early 2010 and found that those who implement certain marketing methods are more likely to generate more leads. Here's a look at some of the findings of the 2010 Financial Planning Marketing Methods study, along with possible implications for your marketing plan:
Referrals Are King
Requesting referrals from current clients is the most popular marketing method used by all planners surveyed, with more than two-thirds of planners (77 percent) using this method. When we look at planners who have received more than 20 new leads or prospects in the past 12 months, they are overwhelmingly using referrals from current clients (83 percent), among other methods, indicating that referrals remain one of the most effective marketing methods for generating leads.
Working with your affiliated network for referrals is also an important marketing method to employ if you wish to generate more than 20 leads per year.
However, planners should not assume that successful marketing can survive on referrals alone. In fact, the survey data indicates that if asking clients for referrals is the only marketing that you do all year, there's a good chance that you'll receive fewer than three referrals during that time.
Provide an Online Presence
Another common trait shared by planners who receive more than 20 leads a year is that the majority maintains a Web site for themselves and/or their practices, and they also tend to use e-newsletters to communicate with clients and prospects. While these electronic efforts are also popular with all planners, they are increasingly used by more planners as the number of leads generated each year grows. For example, among planners who use e-newsletters, 22 percent say their total marketing efforts (including e-newsletters and all other marketing methods they employ) generate fewer than three leads a year. However 46 percent of those using e-newsletters say their total marketing efforts generate more than 20 new leads a year.
Seminars Are Not Dead
One-third of planners are using live seminars to educate consumers and gain new clients. Among those who incorporate seminars into their marketing efforts, 54 percent also report generating more than 20 leads a year, making these in-person events an effective way to bring in leads. If you've shunned seminars in the past, or put off doing seminars in the wake of tough economic times, it may be time to reconsider.
Support Your Local Community
Although sponsoring a local event is a marketing method used by only 24 percent of planners, there is a correlation to its use and an increasing number of leads generated.
Among those who do sponsor local events-family fun runs, art and musical festivals, etc.-43 percent receive more than 20 leads a year from all their marketing efforts. Not one planner who sponsors local events also reports generating fewer than three leads a year. So if you're looking for a new marketing method to implement that is commonly used by fellow planners who are successful at brining in new prospects, consider supporting your local community with a sponsorship.
Carly Schulaka is the managing editor of Practice Management Solutions. Contact her at Carly.Schulaka@FPAnet.org .
Most Popular Marketing Methods Used
Which of the following marketing/advertising methods have you/your practice used in the past 12 months (January 2009 to January 2010) for promotional purposes?
|Requested referrals from current clients||77%|
|Website for self/practice||54%|
|Worked with affiliate network for referrals||42%|
|Print ad (newspaper ad, magazine ad, etc.)||29%|
|Printed directory listing (Yellow Pages, etc.)||28%|
|Sponsorship of local event||24%|
|Online lead generator (PlannerSearch, etc.)||19%|
|Social media promotion (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)||16%|
|Cold calling/mass e-mailing (from purchased list or otherwise)||10%|
|Online banner or text ad||7%|
|Online video (YouTube, etc.)||4%|
|Source: 2010 Financial Planning Marketing Methods study, conducted by the FPA Research Center. "Other" includes workplace marketing, direct mail and client appreciation events among other methods.|
Practice Management Center Helps You Market
The Practice Management Center (www.FPAPracticeManagement.org) provides FPA members a variety of marketing resources, including articles, checklists, templates, Webinars, conference audio and interactive tools.
- To learn the four steps to an effective marketing plan, get tips for building a client-centric Web site or download a template for a thank you letter for a professional referral, visit the marketing section of the Website at www.FPAnet.org/PracticeManagement/Marketing.
- For the buzz on Google Buzz or the lowdown on adding video clips to your Web site, check out the Practice Management Center's Ask the Expert feature at www.FPAnet.org/PracticeManagement/AsktheExpert, where you'll find actionable information from some of the best marketing minds in the business. And if you have a marketing question that's not already answered, just ask it!
- For the latest on social media compliance issues, strategies for giving powerful presentations and tips for growing your business through collaboration with allied professionals, read the Practice Management Center blog at http://practicemanagementblog.FPAnet.org where new blogs are posted at least twice a week.
- One of the latest additions to the Practice Management Center is an interactive marketing tool ( www.FPAnet.org/practicemanagement/interactivemarketingtool ). Input your target market or areas of planning expertise, and the tool will generate a customized marketing schedule with links to FPA resources to help you market your practice.