How Financial Advisors Can Make Their Marketing Message Stand Out
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To be an uncomparable financial advisor, you need a marketing message that is simple, clear, and repeated often. Here’s a framework for creating your message.
Most financial advisors look and sound the same. To a prospect, you offer the same basic services, such as financial planning, investment management, and retirement planning. You work with the same typical client: high-net-worth pre-retirees. And you charge a similar fee, approximately 1% of AUM \, depending on the portfolio size.
How do you communicate a message that clearly differentiates you from the competition, making it easier for prospects to know you are the right advisor for them (i.e., become uncomparable)? You develop a marketing message that is simple, clear, and easy to remember. And you communicate this message consistently.
The best marketers in the world repeat one simple message over and over again. Geico has promoted the message that “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance” for decades. Its simplicity and repetition make the message memorable.
Financial advisors struggle because they get bored with their message and want to change it. Or they want to address all the different ways they can help a client because what they do is not simple. Even though what you do is not simple, it is your job to make it simple so people can understand.
In 1998, Steve Jobs shared his mantra of focus and simplicity with BusinessWeek: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
When it comes to communicating a marketing message that people remember, clear and simple always win.
The messaging formula
An easy-to-remember message can be constructed using a simple formula:
One Client + One Problem + One Solution + One Outcome
One client: Commercial pilots.
One problem: Inconsistent income from multiple jobs and self-employed gigs makes budgeting for both today and the future almost impossible.
One solution: We have a system to help pilots stabilize their income.
One outcome: Live like a normal 9-to-5 person, knowing how much you can spend and save each month.
With this formula, your simple message is:
For commercial pilots, inconsistent income from having multiple gigs is stressful. At Aviation Capital Management, our system helps pilots stabilize their monthly income so that they live more like a normal 9-to-5 person.
That’s it! Going forward, all marketing communications (advertising, direct marketing, social media, website, printed materials, public relations, sales presentations, sponsorships, trade show appearances, etc.) reinforce this message.
For example, say an advisor at Aviation Capital Management was hanging out at the local pilots’ bar. The conversation would go something like this:
Pilot: What do you do?
Advisor: I’m a financial planner who works exclusively with commercial pilots.
Pilot: Oh? What do you do for commercial pilots?
Advisor: So you know how commercial pilots are always stressed out because they have at least three jobs and never know how much money they have each month to spend? Well, I help them with a process that stabilizes their income so they can live more like a 9-to-5 worker.
Meanwhile, the banner image on the advisor’s website would say:
Stabilize Inconsistent Income
Financial Planning for Commercial Pilots
And her company description on her LinkedIn profile would read, “For commercial pilots, inconsistent income from having multiple jobs is stressful. At Aviation Capital Management, our system helps pilots stabilize their monthly income so that they live more like a normal 9-to-5 person.”
Of course, when working one-on-one with clients, this advisor would address the other common problems commercial pilots face, such as:
- Lack of access to retirement plan accounts by employers;
- Underinsured from both a liability and disability standpoint; and
- Dealing with both self-employment and W-2 income issues.
But if this advisor tried to communicate these other messages every time she told someone what she did, prospects and centers of influence would forget what she does. It’s too much information to retain for someone not intimately involved in her business.
Instead, she would address these topics in her content marketing (e.g., blogs, videos, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, and presentations). But, even then, she would make sure she always brought her content back to the core message of “stabilizing your income to live like a 9-to-5 worker.”
For example, she would develop a presentation for aviation organizations on the five steps commercial pilots need to take to stabilize their income. She would include details such as “dealing with both self-employment and W-2 income” as one of the steps to stop their feast-or-famine lifestyle and instead live like a normal 9-to-5 person.
Everyone knows Geico’s “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” You know it because it effectively conveys the problem Geico solves for consumers. And it has been repeated for years without variation.
Ask yourself: What is the problem you solve? And how can you repeat it memorably?
When creating your message, follow these three rules:
- Keep it clear and simple.
- Limit the number of messages you communicate to one.
- Repeat this one message consistently to the point of oversaturation.
Follow these three steps to create a marketing message that makes you uncomparable and attracts your niche client.
Kristen Luke is the president of Kaleido Creative Studio, a marketing consulting firm that positions Registered Investment Advisors and their employees as experts in a niche, making them uncomparable to other advisors. Over the past 16 years, Kristen has consulted with hundreds of financial advisory firms and shared her marketing expertise via industry conferences and publications nationwide. This article is an excerpt from her upcoming book, due out in 2023.