Monday, June 29, 2015

4 Critical Marketing Considerations for RIAs

Summer is a great time to focus on your marketing and to give you some food for thought, here’s a recap of my ‘practical summer marketing tips':

1      1.      It Starts with a PLAN...

The old adage “Plan your work and work your plan” may be clich√© but is often the difference between success and failure to execute your marketing goals.

Start by defining very specific and measurable goals. Try to set short term and long term goals that are reasonable and achievable. Next, develop a strategy that details the tactics, resources, budget, and schedule.
As an example, if you’re thinking about your website:
  • Assign a staff member to become the project lead and get familiar with the features and benefits of the different content management systems (CMS) and hosting services, such as Word Press and Media Temple.
  • Determine what internal and external resources are required for design, photography, copy writing, etc.
  • Plan for 2-3 month to complete the entire project.
2.      What’s You Budget?

A question that often comes up is -- As a small business, how much should I allocate on a marketing? Although opinions vary, I think this fairly straightforward explanation from a SBA.GOV blog post is provides some a starting point
[Many businesses allocate a percentage of actual or projected gross revenues – usually between 2-3 percent for run-rate marketing and up to 3-5 percent for start-up marketing. But the allocation actually depends on several factors: the industry you’re in, the size of your business, and its growth stage. For example, during the early brand building years retail businesses spend much more than other businesses on marketing – up to 20 percent of sales. As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing. This budget should be split between 1) brand development costs (which includes all the channels you use to promote your brand such as your website, blogs, sales collateral, etc.), and 2) the costs of promoting your business (campaigns, advertising, events, etc.)]

3.      Take Inventory of what you HAVE and what you NEED….

Logo, website, brochure, social media. Is everything consistent, up-to-date, and how you envision them?  Does your brand need a facelift or a complete overhaul? 
Start by making a complete list of everything, yes everything!, that is client facing. Determine what the priorities and goals are for each component. You may not need to change everything all at once. In fact, it’s best to make changes in phases. 
The best place to start can sometimes be your logo because it effects many other things. Minor design refinements can produce major changes. The main thing to keep in mind is that you can’t do everything at once. Focus on those areas and activities that matter the most and will have bottom line impact. 
And when you make the list, remember to include every touch point to your clients and prospects. Your phone answering message and email signature are part of the brand image. The little things can make a big difference.

4.      Just Do It…Better!

Start with what you’re most comfortable and see the best potential results.  Content marketing, public relations, speaking events are all great marketing opportunities. They’re also repeated activities which presents a great opportunity for continuous process improvement. 3 quick tips to get you going in make sure your efforts get the most return of investment:
  •     Start with a clear and well documented plan—that includes a budget, logistics and resource needs, schedule and, most important, what do you want to accomplish from this effort?
  •     View all marketing initiatives as “works in progress”—always be looking to make small adjustments along the way that can push the needle forward to success.
  •     Conduct after-action assessment—take the time to what worked, what didn’t, and what to needs changing. Analyze all aspects of your effort and set qualitative and quantitative goals for the next time around.

These simple steps can make the difference between failure and success in your marketing efforts.

Bill McGuire is principal of W.M.McGuire, a full service marketing firm serving the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) community. We help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. Let us help you with your marketing plan, contact by email bill@wmmcguire.com or (973) 216-4152.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Just Do It…Better!

 Webinars, Whitepapers, Events are all great marketing opportunities. They’re also often a repeated activities which presents a great opportunity for continuous process improvement.  3 quick tips to get you going in right direction:

  • Start with a clear plan—what’s your budget, logistics and resource needs, schedule and, most important, what do you want to accomplish from the effort?
  • View all marketing initiatives as “works in progress”always be looking for small adjustments along the way that can push the needle forward to success.  You should also be nimble enough to make changes midstream, if required.
  • Conduct post-program assessment—take the time to review what worked, what didn’t, and what to change for next time around. And document everything, set both quantitative and qualitative goals for the next time around.
These simple steps can make a big difference between failure and success in your marketing efforts.  For more ways to improve your marketing, read ‘ 5 Tips to Jump Start Your Marketing this Summer

Bill McGuire is principal of W.M.McGuire, a full service marketing firm serving the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) community. We help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. Let us help you with your marketing plan, contact by email bill@wmmcguire.com or (973) 216-4152

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How Much to Invest in Marketing?

A question that often comes up is, as a small business, how much should I allocate on a marketing? Although opinions vary, I think this fairly straightforward explanation from a SBA.GOV blog post is provides some insight:

"Many businesses allocate a percentage of actual or projected gross revenues – usually between 2-3 percent for run-rate marketing and up to 3-5 percent for start-up marketing. But the allocation actually depends on several factors: the industry you’re in, the size of your business, and its growth stage. For example, during the early brand building years retail businesses spend much more than other businesses on marketing – up to 20 percent of sales."

"As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing. This budget should be split between 1) brand development costs (which includes all the channels you use to promote your brand such as your website, blogs, sales collateral, etc.), and 2) the costs of promoting your business (campaigns, advertising, events, etc.)."

Bill McGuire is principal of W.M.McGuire, a full service marketing firm serving the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) community. We help businesses grow by applying common-sense marketing with a keen eye towards your budgets, deadlines and results. Let us help you with your marketing plan, contact by email bill@wmmcguire.com or (973) 216-4152

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer Marketing Tip: Take Inventory

Make a list of all of your marketing materials;
  • Is everything consistent, up-to-date, and how you envision them? 
  • Does your brand need a facelift or a complete overhaul? 

You may not need to change everything all at once. In fact, it’s best to make changes in phases. Determine what the priorities and goals are for each component.  The best place to start is often with your logo. Minor design refinements can produce major changes. The main thing to keep in mind is that you can’t do everything at once. Focus on those areas and activities that matter the most and will have bottom line impact.

And when you make the list, try to include every touch point to your clients and prospects. Your phone answering message and email signature are part of the brand image. The little things can make a big difference.  For more, see ‘5 Tips to Jump Start Your Marketing this Summer’ http://byallaccounts.morningstar.com/blog/423-5-tips-to-jump-start-your-marketing-this-summer.html


Monday, June 8, 2015

GOT Content?

Content marketing1 is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers.”  For financial advisors, it can be a one of the most effective way to differentiate your firm and tell your story.
Here are 3 fundamental tips to keep in mind as you plan your content marketing strategy:

Tip # 1: Make sure that your content is Authentic, Engaging, and Actionable

First, you need to decide what you want to talk about, starting with:
  • What are you most passionate about and what makes you firm different from others?
  • Is there a particular niche or a unique client type that you best serve?
  • Who within the firm is best to tell your story? P.S. It doesn’t have to be the firm’s principal but should be someone who will be fully committed to the role.
​Once you’ve answered these questions, I suggest to keep 3 things top of mind when crafting your message:
  • Be Authentic – make sure you speak about what you know. Don’t try to compete with or copy anyone else.
  • Be Engaging –Be sure your communication is clear and easy to understand for the reader. Keep it short-and-sweet; it shouldn’t be an effort on their part to get the point of your story.
  • Always have a call-to-action – there should always be at least one takeaway item for the reader to walk away with, usually whatever the next logical step in the process:
    • Download a whitepaper for more information…
    • Attend a seminar to learn more… 
    • Schedule an office visit to meet the team…

Tip # 2: Pick the format that you’re most comfortable with and matches your firm’s culture

There are so many ways to deliver content these days; newsletters, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, Q&A articles,to name a few. Don’t take the “let’s do it all” approach, which often leads to a less than desirable results. Pick the formats that make the most sense for you. Then, do your research on best practices, plan your work in advance, and do it right.  If you have multiple contributors who will be delivering content, consider an editorial calendar, so the messaging is varied and balanced. Also, be mindful that the cadence you use is consistent. You can have different people telling different stories, but they should all still have a united voice regardless of the audience; clients, prospects, COI, etc.

Tip # 3: Do your homework on the technologies and platforms available

So now that you have a foolproof content management strategy, how and who will get it done? Whether you manage it in-house or outsourcing with a consultant, there are many content management tools and service providers that are readily available, affordable, and customizable for your specific needs. Make sure to clearly understand the features and limitations of the products before you pick one and then make sure to leverage to its full capability.
A few of the service provider platforms to be aware of are:
HootSuite and TweetDeck – to help manage your social media<
Wordpress and Blogger – to produce website and blogs
Vertical Response and Constant Contact – to create newsletter and email campaigns
I think content marketing expert, Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute said it best “Content marketing is all about telling a compelling story”. I hope these tips have helped you in thinking about how best to tell your story.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Tongue Tied at Social Events

 If you’re like me the hardest part of a conversation is sometimes starting it. INC magazine's recent article provided ‘10 Foolproof Ways to Start a Conversation With Absolutely Anyone’. Here they are:
  1. Make note of something pleasant.
  2. Comment on the weather.
  3. Ask for assistance.
  4. Offer assistance.
  5. Solicit an opinion.
  6. Mention a mutual acquaintance.
  7. Bring up a shared experience.
  8. Praise the listener.
  9. Compliment the listener's apparel or accessories.
  10. Simply introduce yourself.
For the full article go to http://ow.ly/NVXqf



Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer Marketing Tip: Who's Managing Your Firm's Marketing?

A recent CNBC story discussed how financial advisory practices are businesses like any others, and those not affiliated with larger institutions need to come up with their own marketing plans. However, many simply don't have one.

According to the 2014 FA Insight Study showed:
  • Only 50 percent of surveyed firms developed an annual marketing plan.
  • Just 32 percent of firms had a position dedicated to marketing or new client growth.
Takeaways to consider for your marketing plan:
  1. Target your market. "You can't be everything to everybody,"
  2. Identify your value proposition. What makes you unique in what you do. 
  3. Develop and execute your plan with explicit strategies and goals"Return on investment is key.
Read the full article on the CNBC FA Hub.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer Marketing Tips | June 3: Webinar Success

Nothing replaces a face-to-face meeting, however, a webinar can be an excellent (and very cost-effective) alternative to stay connected with current clients and build new relationships. One of the trickiest parts of the webinar process is to ensure a good turnout. So that you’re not sitting alone on your next webinar, here are a few things to consider when planning your promotional efforts:

Monday, June 1, 2015

Summer Marketing Tip | June 2, 2015: It Starts with a Plan

The old adage “Plan your work and work your plan” may be clich√© but is often the difference between success and failure to execute your marketing goals.

Start by defining very specific and measurable goals. Try to set short term and long term goals that are reasonable and achievable. Next, develop a strategy that details the tactics, resources, budget, and schedule.

For instance, if you’re thinking about your website, assign a staff member to become familiar with the features and benefits of the different content management systems (CMS) and hosting services, such as Word Press and Media Temple.

Determine what internal and external resources are required for design, photography, copy writing, etc. Plan for 2-3 month to complete the entire project. - See more at at my Morningstar ByAllAccounts article.

Summer Marketing Tip: June 1, 2015 New Kids in the Hall and Event Marketing

When writing my WealthManagement.com article I was reminded of a comedy skit from Kids in the hall - Businessmen Networking describing networking as “Businessmen meeting other businessmen for the purpose of meeting at a later date.” Although it may be serve that purpose, there are a few other benefits to networking. I’ve always found very networking events valuable on many levels, more than just the obvious one of business development. Here are 4 tips that to help you make the most of the experience: http://wealthmanagement.com/marketing/kids-hall-and-networking-events