Looking for marketing ideas? There’s gold in your client base.


Since everyone is into marketing these days (we even market our hobbies in social media), it’s easy to see yourself surrounded by acres of green and greener grass. New markets are yielding sales, or at least promising them. On good days, it can seem like a new frontier. On bad days, every marketing ploy you hear about seems both superior to yours and inappropriate to boot.

But this scenario gives no credit to two things: the distinctiveness of your client base and your knowledge of their priorities and values. Many financial advisors overlook these advantages entirely. Many more have just begun to explore how much their accumulated knowledge can be used to work with their clients.

Start with the basics: communication

Marketing is communication. By extension, there are more ways to market than ever. But you need to know the preferences of your client base. Have you ever asked? Do you serve a group of inveterate phone fanatics? Or do they like texting, email or iChatting? You need to know, and you need to be flexible.

Why? First, because you want to make sure clients have the best chance of seeing your communication in a timely way. But more importantly, you are communicating in the way clients like. Think that won’t make a difference? If you’re allergic to your inbox, but come to attention with every ping notification from your phone, I won’t waste time crafting an email. I’d rather hit where you live the first time.

Do clients prefer paperless statements, or do they want to see everything spread out in hard copies? Do they prefer to talk hard numbers in person or at a distance? These are all data points you should gather and store.

The win is two-fold. The client will get the message that you pay attention and that you care enough about and know them well enough to keep tabs on their preferences. And best of all, your consideration in applying this knowledge will build their trust.

While you’re gleaning information from your base, consider a few other key points:

  • Frequency of meetings. You might think more meetings mean more quality, but for some, less really is more. What is a pest to one client, however, is a disinterested, unreliable professional to the next. Make sure you ask clients how often they’d like you to check in.

  • Your website. Do clients know it exists? If so, do they use it? And if so, what for?

    You know the capabilities embedded in your site because you built your personal specifications into it. Clients weren’t around for that. Canvas your clients to find out how important web-based information and tools are to them. Would they like to be able to interact with you more through the Cloud?

  • Events and interests. Do you have clients with enough overlapping interests that they could be interested in educational events? Or social gatherings where financial planning is an implicit topic, but not front and center?

The principle here is to discern the whole from the sum of a few parts of data.

A restaurateur I knew in college kept file cards (okay, this is a few years back) on all his guests. He asked what they enjoyed about the menu, the service, the décor: anything that contributed to their experience. He did very well.

It was just data. But in his hands, it led to happy guests, who came back again and again.

Judi Rosenthal

Judi Rosenthal is a New York-based financial industry consultant and self-promotion coach renowned for her ability to win sales in any situation. She is also a recognized authority on niche marketing and coaching financial advisors in the techniques of amplifying sales through a well-engineered personal brand.

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Judi Rosenthal