Many financial advisors start their own firm because of an entrepreneurial itch, a desire to work with a specific type of client, or perhaps because they want to have more control over their work life. But typically, the opportunity to create and implement a marketing strategy is not one of these reasons. In fact, data from the latest Kitces Research study, How Financial Planners Actually Market Their Services, shows that many advisors find marketing to be difficult and not very effective. For instance, out of the 25 marketing tactics reviewed, only 6 of them had a success rate (defined by the acquisition of at least one new client during the past year as a result of the tactic) of at least 70%. In addition, advisors surveyed were largely dissatisfied with the results of their marketing efforts in terms of generating leads, as well as the quality of those prospects. Finally, the study found that in general, advisor marketing tactics are relatively inefficient overall, failing to recoup the costs of the tactic from the first year of revenue generated by new clients.
Nonetheless, one group of advisors reported more marketing success than others: those serving client niches. For instance, niche firms have greater satisfaction with the number of leads received, the ‘fit’ of the prospects with the firm, and the effectiveness of their lead generation strategies when compared to non-niche firms. Further, niche firms reported greater marketing efficiency levels than non-niche firms with respect to most marketing tactics used. In particular, niche firms had significantly higher efficiency scores than non-niche firms when using search engine optimization and drip marketing, two tactics that require relatively little of an advisor’s time to implement. These advantages likely contributed to niche firms’ higher average client growth rate (58%) compared to non-niche firms (26%).
While choosing a niche can seem challenging for firm owners, using a methodical process can help an advisor choose a niche they can serve effectively. First, an advisor can consider the many niche options from which to choose, including professional (e.g., doctors or employees of a certain company), technical (e.g., equity compensation), values-based (e.g., shared religious or political views), and affinity (e.g., frequent travelers) niches. To help narrow down the possibilities, an advisor can consider the types of problems they solve well, any special skill sets they might have (e.g., tax planning or working with blended families), as well as the type of clients they like working with the most. Next, the advisor can decide on the specific services they would want to provide to clients in that niche based on the advisor’s skills and interests, as well as the needs of those in the niche group. Finally, the advisor can create a marketing plan to target that niche, which, as research has shown, is likely to be more successful than marketing to a broader audience.
Ultimately, the key point is that while marketing is a challenge for many advisors, choosing a client niche can make a firm’s marketing efforts more effective and efficient. And while selecting and implementing a niche takes work, research shows that it can pay off not only in better marketing, but also in greater growth for the firm as well!Read More…