Improve Your Marketing Next Year  

At this year’s FPA’s annual conference in Minneapolis, I shared valuable advice on the topic of marketing for financial planners. As next year approaches, here are some of those tips I shared in Minneapolis that you can use to improve your success in 2020 and beyond.

1.) Know Why You Are Marketing

When developing a marketing strategy, know what you want as an outcome and hold your marketing tactics accountable. Are they to drive new business, satisfy clients, retain clients, build stronger strategic alliances, recruit financial advisers or something else? If you know what you want, you are more likely to achieve it.

In our consulting business, it is amazing how much money we have seen spent in marketing budgets that deliver very few positive results. That isn’t to say marketing budgets should be slashed. The old adage—“you need to spend money to make money”—is true. Instead, marketing budgets need to be better allocated to deliver real results.

Have a detailed business plan. If growth is a major initiative of that plan, have a growth strategy and build out a marketing calendar that helps plan, budget and track successes and failures. It’s true: a mistake is not a mistake if you learn from it.

Act like a Fortune 500 company and get scientific about your marketing efforts. If you do, you will find each year you become more and more successful at it.

TO DO: Want more tips? Visit the FPA Coaches Corner Business Growth Strategies page for lots of insightful advice.

2.) Think Outside the Box When It Comes to PR

Similar to the marketing advice above, before you start trying to get publicity, know why you want to get it. Is it to get new leads, to convert prospects already in the pipeline, make clients bigger advocates or something else? Some just like the notoriety, but I’d prefer that the public relations efforts help your business in some concrete way.

When starting out, research clients to learn what they listen to, watch and read. This will give some perspective on where you might want to get media exposure. This will likely identify retail press to consider, but don’t forget about industry press, as that can help build credibility (even if your clients and prospects are not normally exposed to that type of press on their own).

Next, look at not only traditional press, but nontraditional press too. For example, it might be beneficial to be in The Wall Street Journal for many reasons, but it might be even better to be on local websites.

For example: if your target market is small business owners, write an article that provides them helpful advice and consider getting it published on the local chamber of commerce website.

If you want wealthy families who are philanthropic, consider getting exposure from a non-profit organization, possibly on their social media pages. Think creatively and many nontraditional ideas will come to you.

If there is a specific industry you cater to, look to see if there is a podcast you can be a part of. I recently took my own advice on this and participated in the FPA of Massachusetts’ “Wicked Pissah” podcast.

TO DO: Want more tips to get positive publicity? Check out a series of YouTube videos loaded with great tips from The PR Planners by Ben Lewis, FPA’s director of public relations, and me.

3.) Text New Marketing Tactics

Marketing is always evolving, in most part thanks to technological advancements. Things like advertising that were kind of hit or miss in “the old days” can be tracked in the digital world with precision, so you can know if they work.

My favorite recommendation today is to try personalized video emails. These are not the videos that get uploaded to YouTube and get blasted out to your email distributions lists. In contrast, these are one-on-one messages that can be used for client service, prospecting and much more.

Personalized videos can be a better way to communicate. Imagine sending a video to a client who is a widow on the anniversary of her spouse’s passing. That message can convey emotions better than written text. Or imagine thanking a client for a referral. The excitement from getting a new lead can really shine through in a personalized video message, much more than written words.

Younger generations are already using personalized videos via social networks at an eye-opening rate, and soon older generations will follow. For now, there is a “wow” factor in using this form of marketing that won’t last forever. Stay ahead of the trends and your business will better succeed.

TO DO: Read more about video emails at

I am excited to be a partner with the Financial Planning Association as part of the Coaches Corner, among other things. If you need advice to be more successful, shoot me a message with business growth strategies-related questions or check out the resources on my Coaches Corner page.

Mike Byrnes is a national speaker and owner of Byrnes Consulting, LLC. His firm provides consulting services to help advisers become even more successful. Need help with business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness? Read more at and follow @ByrnesConsultin.

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