The best things in life are free, but this isn’t always the case when it comes to your business and building your clientele. We’ve frequently been asked by advisors why they should spend money on marketing, how can they market for free, and how they can justify investing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars into something that doesn’t offer guaranteed results.

The simplest answer isn’t one that most people want to hear: you have the spend money on marketing because that’s how a lot of things in business are – you have to spend money to make money. While there are numerous free marketing strategies of which you can take advantage, most of your foundational needs, such as your website and tech platforms, aren’t free. You certainly don’t need to invest $5,000 to get your marketing up and running, but you should dedicate a percentage of your budget to your digital marketing. Here’s why.

Your Message Matters

As a business, you have something to offer. But how will anyone know what your message is if you don’t have an outlet through which to express it? You need to share your message through your marketing materials and communications. It’s much easier to present yourself first online so people know who you are and what you do before meeting or reaching out to you. It’ll save you a lot of time during your initial consultation.

People Will See You as a Legitimate Business

Everyone judges books by their covers. If you don’t have an online presence, people aren’t likely to trust your legitimacy. 97% of consumers search online for services. If they can’t find you online, they’ll find another financial advisor. By investing in marketing, your prospects will assume your business is successful and thriving, and they’ll be more inclined to reach out to you. Not only that, they’ll actually know your business exists.

The Internet is a Crowded and Competitive Space

There are millions of businesses listed online, and there are hundreds of thousands of other financial advisors competing against one another. How will someone find you if you haven’t invested in an online presence that’s up-to-date and compelling? You need to be online and on multiple channels, from business listings to social media platforms to blogs.

You Don’t Have Time to Be a Marketer

There are always ways to cut back on your marketing expenses. If you know how to build a website, market on social media, and send email campaigns, you can do all of this for cheap. But even if you have the lumber and tools, would you know how (or have the time) to build a house? One of the biggest reasons why advisors invest in marketing is because they don’t have time to do it themselves, nor do they want to or know the best practices.

We certainly don’t advocate blowing your budget on fancy tech tools and marketing strategies, but you likely shouldn’t go the free route either. Find a balance between what you want to accomplish and what you can reasonably afford. Start small with a few tools and see what works for you. From there, you can adjust by adding or eliminating tools until you feel satisfied with your strategies.