Top 5 Advisor Marketing Ideas For 2024

This article was first featured in Financial Advisor Magazine on Dec 6th, 2023.

How do you differentiate yourself in a sea of sameness? As 2024 approaches, several marketing ideas come to mind, and one theme woven through them is the power of brand: Yours should convey the genuine care you have for your clients.

I’ve collected five ideas I think you should be keeping in mind next year. As you ponder each, consider that your audience has real feelings about the topics you’re discussing. Keep those feelings in mind, not just the descriptions of the services you offer.

1. Words Will Matter

Words hold immense power. It doesn’t matter if they’re written or spoken. What does matter is how they make someone feel, so the services you describe to prospective clients must emotionally resonate with them.

That’s why you should use words that showcase your emotional intelligence. Why? Consider that Morningstar research found that clients are 50% more likely to hire an advisor for emotional reasons than financial ones (60% against 40%). Other research suggests that advisors with higher EQ skills get twice as many referrals.

Here’s an example of how words matter. How often do you say, “I help clients save for retirement”?

What if you said instead, “I help clients live a retirement where their choices aren’t dictated by money”?

Do you say, “I create comprehensive financial plans”? What if you said instead, “I create road maps to help clients rest easy knowing they’re on track”?

With these things in mind, you should audit the messaging on your website and client communications. You might find yourself wanting to shift from functional descriptions of what you do—helping people save for retirement, creating comprehensive financial plans, etc.—and instead connect these services to your clients’ larger meaning or purpose, something that fulfills their emotional desires.

2. You’ll Be Capturing Money In Motion

Studies suggest that many children fire their parents’ financial advisors. If that’s the case, how will you improve your chances of capturing the well-publicized “great wealth transfer”?

For starters, you’ll need to make sure your digital brand is appealing to multiple generations. Next, you’ll need to make the kids aware of and familiar with your expertise, using your educational content to draw them in.

We recently teamed up with an advisory firm that wanted to modernize its website—and to make sure the site would resonate with more than one client generation. The firm also signed up for our marketing program, “Do It For Me,” at FMG Suite, which creates two to three blogs per month for advisor firms and also writes email communications and social posts. The results have been impressive.

A study by eMoney offers us some clues about what’s important to prospective clients: 98% of them said in a company survey that a website is important when they choose an advisor, and 36% said they work with an advisor they followed on social media. Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said that informative and educational content would make an advisor stand out.

This all means you should be updating your website and focusing on quality, educational content across multiple channels.

Beyond that, here are two other quick ideas for you:

  • If you have clients with older children or grandchildren, you should send them an email for a “family meeting,” suggesting they involve their children in it. At the meeting, you can discuss what you’re doing for the parents and make sure the kids are comfortable reaching out to you if they have any questions. This is a great way to start building relationships with the next generation of clients—and to do it without being pushy or salesy.
  • If your clients have children or grandchildren in their teens or early 20s, you can suggest that the clients open a Roth IRA for these kids and contribute up to $6,500 per year (or their earned income, whichever is less). This is a great way for their children to start saving and investing early. It’s also a way for them to get to know you as their financial advisor.

3. Marketing Plays A Role In Your Business’s Value

Rampant merging and acquiring is going on in the RIA business. This trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Many advisors are seeking succession plans and ways to leave the business, and that means many of their firms are going to be up for sale and lots of firms in growth mode are going to want to gobble them up.

As buyers and sellers try to make deals and value firms, here’s a question they might be asking: “What role does marketing play in my firm’s valuation?”

As it happens, it plays a big one. The key drivers of a firm’s enterprise value (something important to both buyers and sellers) are its strong brand, its client retention, the wide age range of its clientele and its organic growth. Marketing plays a critical role in all these things, maximizing the rewards.

It can’t be ad hoc marketing. It’s got to be intentional, documented, systematized marketing that’s ingrained in the operations of the business. That means advisors should evaluate their communications process for clients and prospects—their content creation, their social media, their branding, and their lead generation—and identify areas where they have either deficiencies or a lack of process and consistency.

You should develop a monthly plan for each of these categories and stick to them. Whether you’re selling or buying, demonstrating consistency in your approach to the main pillars of a marketing plan will pay large dividends. Don’t wait for something to happen. Start now.

4. AI is Magical, But It’s Not A Magic Wand

Artificial intelligence is changing many aspects of our lives and the world around us. Some people worry that it’s a threat, but I don’t see it that way at all. I’d like to challenge you to at least give it a try. I use, Google’s Bard, and ChatGPT, in that order.

It’s helpful if you think of these tools as your assistants. If you’re going to plan a client event, for example, you can ask the AI for ideas—perhaps for 10 good ideas other financial advisors have come up with for their events. You could also ask AI programs to draft holiday or birthday messages or give you options for a clever subject line. You get the picture.

You won’t necessarily get the final answers to your questions, but you will come back with rough ideas or rough drafts of your thoughts. AI is an efficiency and creativity aid: It can help you demonstrate your expertise and concern for your clients. But it’s not a magic wand.

The secret to your success will be the experimenting you do with the prompts on the various platforms. Don’t be a naysayer before you’ve tried it!

5. ‘Time Poverty”

Have you ever heard the phrase “time poverty”? It’s a fantastic term coined by advisor Michael Kitces, and it nicely articulates the struggle many advisors face to keep up with the demands on their schedule, which continue to increase.

Research and data analysis firm YCharts says 53.4% of high-net-worth investors and 55.8% of younger investors desire more frequent communication with their advisors. So, in 2024, it’s time to think of which jobs you should be outsourcing. You need to make a list of your key growth and marketing goals for the year and the list of things you need to do to reach them. For instance, you might need to refresh your website, increase your appearance in online searches, up the quality and frequency of your communications and content, post more on social media, etc. You should ask yourself which of these things you and your team do well already. When you find a gap, you’ll come up with a list of things you should outsource.

Be purposeful in how you spend your time. The most valuable thing we all have is time, and how we spend it is what matters most.

This article is dedicated to the memory of Ryan Russell, the late founder of the marketing firm Twenty Over Ten, who demonstrated to us all how to live a life of purpose.

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