In the past couple of weeks I’ve had conversations with two different financial planners. My conversations happened as a result of networking, rather than me actively seeking financial advice, but what was common among those conversations was the planners’ inability to market themselves well and effectively due to overarching regulations and limitations on their marketing from their governing corporate entity/umbrella.
Now, it should be said that I’m not any sort of expert in marketing specifically for the financial planning industry, but given the information I have from those I’ve recently spoken with I want to offer some suggestions.
First, let’s list some of the challenges from those I spoke with:
First off, I would say that online networking is and likely should be an extension of off-line networking, or rather the catalyst to start relationships online that otherwise may not have started and find a way to bring them off-line to really bring the relationship to life via phone or in person, if geography allows.
So if online networking is a way to cast a wider marketing net more quickly and these financial planners have various restrictions I think the best platform to get the most bang for your buck is definitely going to be LinkedIn. It’s already been established that these financial planners can have their own personal LinkedIn profile, and that’s great…really that may be all they need for an online presence, though I will suggest a few other things to strategically compliment that.
About LinkedIn specifically. LinkedIn can provide these financial planners with their own online one to one marketing presence complete with a growing database of contacts each time they create another new connection. These connections can be emailed (and marketed to) via LinkedIn’s own email platform.
LinkedIn offers several “groups” these financial planners can join or create to attract and/or interact with their ideal prospects. By regularly offering answers to questions in the LinkedIn “Answers” section they can build online credibility as an expert in their field attracting more LinkedIn connections, which will grow their LinkedIn contacts database.
If these financial planners are able to have a generic website I think it’s worth putting in place, even if the website can only be like an electronic brochure that has their contact info. Having a website, even like the one I just described (to me) is better than no official business website of your own…Even if LinkedIn is where most of your dynamic web activity will happen.
Also, I would encourage financial planners to place their LinkedIn profile web address on their business cards. If the overarching corporate body won’t officially allow you to print it on business cards they produce maybe a printed address label with the LinkedIn profile web address can be printed and adhered to the back of the business card.
As a financial planner with a growing database of LinkedIn contacts, I would use the Status/Update section of my LinkedIn profile to publish links to useful financial-related articles that may be of interest to my contacts (as they’ll see my posts if they’re connected to me).
Perhaps, financial planners can have a free unofficial blog (I say unofficial because I doubt it would be sanctioned by a corporate entity). But if it was a personal free blog on WordPress or Weebly that you just wrote on your own, maybe that would be okay. If so, I would start writing one right away that appeals to the challenges of my ideal target audience. If you use WordPress I know that you can link in your blog posts into your LinkedIn profile, so that would allow your LinkedIn audience to view your regular blog posts adding to your LinkedIn online presence.
These are just a few ideas. If you’re a financial planner and have other ideas to share, please comment below.
Posted by: Nick Venturella