By Lisa Graham, CEO and co-founder of Graham Media Partners
RIAs have been the fastest-growing category in the U.S. wealth management market since 2016 and it may still be accelerating. More than 2,000 of today’s 6,000 retail-focused RIAs were created since 2016, and about 700 new RIAs are started each year.1 The wealth management market is an exciting place to be right now. It is also noisy.
A clear, effective marketing plan is a critical tool that all RIAs should use to ensure their voice is heard. Once you have decided on your messaging (a concise statement of what makes your firm special or different from the others), you’ll use marketing tactics to share your message with your target market. We like to talk about two different types of tactics with our clients: pull tactics and push tactics. They each behave exactly like they sound:
- Pull tactics pull existing and potential clients toward your messaging
- Push tactics push your messaging to your existing and potential clients
There is no need to implement all the marketing tactics at your disposal. We find that our clients do the best when they focus on these six to start.
Just as you want your office to be professional, easy to navigate, and a positive representation of your business, you want your website to be a positive virtual representation of who you are and what your firm stands for. It should be uncluttered, easy to read and navigate, and it should look and sound like you. In many cases this is the first way that you’ll greet a potential client. You want to make a great impression and you want them to walk away knowing more about you.
“Should we do social media?” is one of the most common questions I’m asked by clients. The short answer is that not all our clients find it useful. We do find that most firms benefit from a presence on LinkedIn. It doesn’t require a ton of effort, but it provides an efficient way to share your expertise, engage with other professionals, and reach new potential clients. Start by taking the time to ensure that your entire team has professional headshots, easy-to-read bios, and consistent company descriptions.
3. Ask for referrals
To make this qualify as a “pull” tactic and not a “push” tactic, you want to set up a system for collecting referrals that doesn’t require you to repeatedly reach out to your existing clients and ask them for a favor. Some RIAs accomplish this with a simple callout that is included in at the bottom of every newsletter, reminding existing clients to “share this newsletter with a friend.” Others keep a form on their website, making it easy for clients to introduce someone new to the firm. Remember, new clients can’t get in if you don’t give them a door. Make it as easy as possible for your existing clients to refer you to friends.
1. Regular email newsletters
A newsletter is a classic for a reason. They work. They also provide great data so that you can improve over time and they force you to keep your email lists up to date. If you must choose between high frequency and high-quality content, go for quality every time. You’ll build more trust with your clients with a really great quarterly newsletter than you will with a so-so monthly update.
2. Regular LinkedIn posts
To get the most out of LinkedIn, it helps to post regularly. Weekly posts are standard, but less frequency can still be effective. Strive for quality over quantity and connection over gimmicks. There is no need to reinvent the wheel – as you put together your quarterly newsletter, break up that content into supporting LinkedIn posts. If you add a few posts about your favorite books or articles that you found particularly useful, you’ll end up with a reasonable content calendar before you know it.
3. Host or participate in at least one event or event series
The wealth management industry has a long history of in-person connection, whether through golf outings, wine tastings, or philanthropic work. Focus on just a handful of events that put you in direct contact with the clients you want to work with. Some firms prefer to host events so that they have maximum control and impact. Others prefer to sponsor key events in their communities, allowing others to do the planning while they focus on connection. Both approaches can work well.
By starting with these six tactics, you’ll build a strong foundation of marketing support for your firm. Already checked these boxes? Add video! We’re seeing firms achieve great results when they add more video to their existing marketing plan.
Sources: 1. Pooneh Baghai, John Euart, Vlad Golyk, John Kelleher, and Jimmy Zhao, “Registered investment advisors: How US banks can weigh the M&A potential,” McKinsey & Company, August 21, 2021, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/registered-investment-advisors-how-us-banks-can-weigh-the-m-and-a-potential
Written by: Lisa Graham, co-founder and CEO, Graham Media Partners Lisa Graham has been supporting financial services firms with their marketing strategy and execution for nearly two decades. To learn more about Lisa and the Graham Media Partners team, visit http://www.grahammediapartners.com.
The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Envestnet. These views reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing contained in this piece is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type.