Don’t be a best kept secret


Don't be a best kept secretIf you Google “Grand Rapids,” you’ll find that it’s Michigan’s second largest city, a world-class destination for arts and culture, and according to several Michigan tourism sites, Grand Rapids offers some the country’s most “spectacular beaches.”

What you may not find during a cursory Internet search is that Grand Rapids is home to a renowned outdoor sculpture collection that includes a 24-foot-tall monument of a horse inspired by a piece created by Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci. The American Horse is just one of several masterpieces you’ll find in the Frederick Meijar Gardens, perhaps the city’s “best kept secret.”

While locals and cultural aficionados may be aware of the Gardens, its prospective visitors may miss out on visiting this unique gallery because they didn’t know it was there.

The same thing goes for advisors who rely on referrals to build their practices with less regard to reaching out proactively. Your clients may know you’re there, but do prospects?

Staying under the radar

Every once in a while we hear from our advisory clients wondering if it isn’t better to remain “under the radar.” After all, they contend, “we’re not selling coffee or T-shirts; we’re providing often high-net-worth clients with expert financial advice.” That may be true, and there is a certain benefit to exclusivity when communicating to a select audience. But, don’t confuse selectivity with cachet. By not actively reaching out to prospects, you not only do a disservice to yourself by limiting your potential for growth you also limit your ability to share your talent with others.

In an industry with some 300,000 financial advisors (Cerulli Associates), your ability to communicate your expertise to both clients and prospects can be what sets you apart.

Develop an awareness strategy

Generating business through referrals is a mainstay for prospecting in this industry. But today, you have more tools than ever to raise awareness and market your services to prospects.

Raise awareness digitally. Your website is arguably one of the best opportunities to communicate who you are, what you do and how you are different from other advisory practices. It’s often the first stop for prospects who may have been referred or found you through a search engine. Make sure you’re speaking to both prospects and clients by presenting fresh visuals and content and plenty of “calls-to-action.” While other traditional marketing tactics, e.g., brochure, direct mail, advertising, etc. are important to your outreach, your website is your first line of offense when communicating to prospects.

Raise awareness socially. Part of your digital awareness strategy should include social media promotion. Tweet, post and draw people to your website with relevant information, commentary and financial news. Raise your profile through social media. A LinkedIn profile is especially vital as the platform allows you to showcase your bio, background and website for more information.

Raise awareness publicly. Social media affords you the opportunity to network virtually. But, nothing replaces face-to-face communications in this industry. Look for local speaking opportunities and ways to build affiliations by being active in the community. Reach out to community influencers and local reporters with research reports and written commentary. Be a source for reporters to contact when they need quotes or financial expertise. In this way, you not only start building a name for yourself with prospects, you build credibility and respect with your clients.

In the 1970s, Northwest Mutual Life Insurance branded itself “The Quiet Company.” Today, being a best kept secret and flying under the radar won’t attract new prospects.

By Teresa Dougherty, Strategic Communications Consultant.

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