Financial professionals often feel as though nothing works when it pertains to a seamless marketing strategy that attracts new clients to their practice. I have heard “I’ve tried it all and nothing really works!” more times than I can count.
My team at Hartford Funds and I recently conducted a study that examines how investors of different genders and generations want to receive financial advice and marketing materials. We understand that the next generation of clients has more options than ever when it comes to financial advice, so it is important for financial professionals to have a buttoned-up approach.
To create an organized marketing plan that will attract younger generations of clients, consider the following tips.
Commit To A Strategy
This is a phrase that I repeat multiple times per day. I am a true believer that financial professionals can work to enhance their email marketing and social media plans by truly focusing on and committing to one strategy.
I recently had a conversation with a team whose members felt as though nothing was working with the plans they put into place, so I asked them to describe their strategy to me. It was a little bit of this, a touch of that, a pause, then a restart. This was then followed by some talk of using LinkedIn, some website and some email. What their strategy didn’t have was consistency.
Here’s the analogy I used with this team: If you set out to lose 10 pounds and you work out for one day, don’t work out the next day, do half a workout on the third, binge on cake on the fourth, and then go back to a light workout on the fifth (and repeat), you will be frustrated at the end of the month when you either haven’t lost a pound or have actually gained one or two. Consistency is key. Apply this same thinking to your business plans. Consistent, repeated implementation is crucial to ultimate success.
For example, when you think about ways to connect with younger generations, it may be helpful to consider some of our findings. We found that 42% of younger consumers are attracted to lifestyle-oriented materials that highlight how sound investment advice and decisions can support their lifestyle goals. This compares to 25% of older consumers. Could a member of your team focus on engagement activities related to life, balance or leisure to attract young adults?
In addition, our study found that design is also important. Content that is colorful and engaging resonates with 28% of younger consumers, compared to only 10% of those from older generations. Although these details are just that — details — they ultimately can impact your marketing strategy’s reception.
Your Strategy Must Have Only One Owner
Now that you have your plan in place, who will take the lead? Do you have a teammate in mind to follow up on the next task? Do you have a main point of contact? These are important questions to discuss with your team before taking any next steps.
Assign one person on the team who is responsible and held accountable, even if it’s you. I always say the most dangerous word on a team is “we” because it is nearly impossible to hold “we” accountable: “We should do this.” “We should do that.” When those actions aren’t executed, it is easy to hide behind “we didn’t get it done.”
In order to take something from a great idea on paper to a great idea in execution, designate one person on your team to own it, and make the rest of the team aware of who is overseeing it. This way, the point person is the central repository for ideas, setting the strategy and executing, and each member of the team can articulate the plan.
I hear numerous success stories about how making this small change to the process has yielded results. It’s amazing how quickly something like marketing can be set aside when markets change, tax season arrives, client emails and phone calls increase, or any of the other peak times in a practice occur. Accountability and ownership are key elements of a successful strategy.
Be Patient With Your Strategy
Creating a seamless marketing plan takes time. We all are inundated with email messages, mail, phone calls, social media ads, etc. A name or a theme must be in front of people multiple times before it catches someone’s attention. And a haphazard, try-everything-for-a-short-time approach will not capture the attention you want.
Commit to a certain period of time to execute your strategy. Will it be one quarter, six months, a year? Be sure to build a written plan, track the execution of activities and keep track of results. Be willing to adjust and be nimble, but don’t become frustrated if you don’t see overwhelming results immediately.
Use this time as a learning experience as well. For example, our study also showed that when it comes to receiving marketing or prospecting materials, consumers on both ends of the age spectrum rank email as their top choice (27% for younger generations vs. 32% for older generations). But beyond that, the desired channels for receiving materials ranked differently for younger vs. older consumers.
Do you have a team member who is interested in learning more about using social media for business or website design? If you’re looking to attract younger consumers, this may be the next step to take to achieve that goal. Giving yourself time to monitor results can help you better plan and shift your focus (if needed) to better engage with younger clients.
Persistence, repetition and consistency are essential to your approach. Those teams that see results will tell you that they went through their process time and time again before seeing those results. Had they given up early on in the process, they would have missed out on positive results in the longer term.
Committing, assigning ownership, and executing consistently for a period of time are the keys to marketing successes. Tapping into specific ideas through survey results and your team’s unique values is a key ingredient.
Sit down with your team and discuss all the things you’ve tried over the years. Did an element of a plan work, or did it work so well that you stopped doing it? We all have those elements in our life — those habits or processes that fall off the radar over time, just because. Be honest with yourself, and determine what approach excites you and your team. Having true passion and energy behind your strategy will make a significant difference in your team’s ability to stick with the plan.