At the heart of great marketing is a simple equation: Right Message + Right Audience + Right Time = Great Leads Crafting the right message is about speaking your audience’s language and identifying with the challenges they’re facing. Getting your message in front of them at the right time depends on knowing when your audience is looking for someone to help with the problems your business can solve.
Notice that both the right message and right time depend on knowing one factor: the right audience. If you don’t start with a clear understanding of exactly who you’re trying to reach, then you won’t know what problems your target audience is facing, or when they’ll be looking for an advisor. One of the main problems advisors face in marketing today can be traced back to their attempts to be everything to everyone.
As long as someone has X amount of assets and a heartbeat, you want to work with them. If they reach your asset minimum, why wouldn’t you? It just makes sense. Aside from the massive practice management headaches that come from working with anyone with a pulse, this approach can severely handicap your marketing efforts. The problem arises when you go to put together a website, email series, ad campaign or any other piece of marketing. If each of those pieces appeals to everyone, then they will appeal to no one.
Take Nike, for instance. When you hit their homepage, it’s pretty clear they’re targeting people who are young, athletic and hip (also, early 90s fashion is back in a big way and I just don’t get it).
Nike knows who they are targeting, and they do it well. But imagine their homepage featured a crowd of people – old, young, large, small, blue collar, white collar.
Do you think that would appeal to anyone? Probably not. It’d be unclear who they’re targeting and what image they’re selling. If you don’t fall within Nike’s demographics, chances are you’re not buying many of their products. And guess what? Nike doesn’t care. They understand the power of the right audience (commonly known as “personas” in the marketing world).
The Power of Personas
Don’t believe in persona-driven marketing? Let’s look at some numbers:
- Websites that use buyer personas are two to five times more effective.
- Persona-driven email campaigns show increased conversions, up to 7 percent (compared to the usual 2.73 percent the financial industry typically sees).
- Persona-driven content increases the volume of sales-qualified leads by 45 percent.
Clearly, defining your personas should be a starting point, not an afterthought. So how can you determine the right personas for your business?
Defining Your Audience
The easiest way to start building your personas is to think about the best clients you currently have. I don’t just mean the nicest or most profitable clients, I mean your best clients. What does that mean to you? Sure, the Jones family brings in the most money for your firm, but they’re also high maintenance and kind of unpleasant to work with. If every client was like the Joneses, you’d be overworked and underappreciated – the perfect formula for burnout within a few years.
On the other hand, you love the Martinez family – they’re pleasant, have similar interests as you and clearly appreciate what you do – but they don’t even meet your minimum AUM requirement, you just took them on as clients because you like them so much.
If every client was like the Martinez family, you’d be underpaid and stretched thin from having to have more clients to make up for the lack of income. What clients hit your sweet spot of maintenance level, profit and relationship? In other words, which clients would you clone if you could? Try to pick at least three. Once you have your favorite clients in mind, you can get started building out your personas. Break down each client into a profile that includes items such as income, number of kids, challenges, goals, and more. You don’t have to write a novel on them, just cover who they are, what they need and what drives them. Here’s a sample persona to help you get started.
(Feel free to steal this one if it sounds like one of your personas. Also, we have a collection of the most common personas for advisors that you can download here.)
Cedric the CEO
Cedric is an executive who doesn’t have time for much outside of work.
Business executive needing to delegate as much of my life as possible so I can find time for the things I want to focus on.
His business comes first. When Cedric reads, it’s for the betterment of his company – trade publications, marketing materials, management books, etc. The little free time he does have is devoted to his family.
Late 40s/early 50s. Three kids in high school through college. Wife doesn’t work. Lives in the suburbs. $750k salary.
- Delegate oversight of his family’s financial future
- Optimize tax efficiency at home and work
- Hasn’t thought much about retirement and needs to start planning ASAP
- No time to shop around for the right advisor
How To Exceed Their Expectations
- Position yourself as a trustworthy advocate who he can trust without having to give it much time or thought
- Lose the mystery of investing. Provide a simpler, straightforward way to work with an advisor that provides clarity
- Prove you can handle his finances better than he can
- Stress importance of planning for retirement, introduce retirement income plans
- Offer tax expertise centered around efficiency
“I need someone I can hand this off to so I don’t have to think about it.” “I know I need to start planning for retirement, but I don’t have any time to even think about it, and I can’t really imagine not working anyway.” “I could handle our finances just fine on my own.”
Advisors Who Are Doing Personas Right
Taylor Financial Group in New Jersey has made it their business to serve women’s financial needs, that’s obvious from the very moment you pull up their website.