AssetMark: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Advisor Marketing

(AssetMark) Research shows that 80% of financial advisors have no defined marketing strategy. Is this a mistake? A missed opportunity for growth?

There are a lot of potential reasons behind that figure. Some advisors might not have the time, while others might not see the point of marketing.

In this guide, we’ll cover the why behind marketing, the common challenges advisors face, prevalent myths about marketing, how to get started, key strategies to consider, and more. 

Let’s dive in.

Why Do Financial Advisors Need Marketing?

Financial advisors provide a much-needed service—they help people build and manage wealth. Everyone—no matter their net worth—could benefit from this service but it’s not easy to find that guidance.

New clients don’t jump on board without doing some research to gain confidence in the financial advisor. Financial advisors can’t just rely on the fact that many investors need their expert advice; they need to get the word out that they have the answers investors are looking for. 

Unfortunately, most financial advisors have been trained on how to provide financial services, not on how to market financial services. You can’t build it and hope they come—you need to tell them the services are there and explain why you are the right fit for their needs.

Your marketing strategy should be a defined and actionable plan to help you spread the word.

Why Is Financial Advisor Marketing Important?

Marketing isn’t necessarily an essential aspect of being a financial advisor, but it is an essential aspect of being a business owner. Solo advisors, RIAs, and other financial advisors who run their own practice are business owners, whether they want to be or not. And with that categorization comes a host of responsibilities requiring skills that may not fall within a financial advisor’s traditional sphere.

Plus, marketing is essential if you want to grow your financial advisory business

Successful advisors recognize that at least part of their success is due to marketing; they choose to double down on marketing to achieve future growth. Just consider the fact that when financial advisors gain additional capital from business growth, two-thirds report that they intend to re-invest that capital into marketing efforts.

Marketing also makes your financial advisory practice more valuable. 

If part of your goals for your practice include eventually selling it to another entity and retiring, then a robust and well-structured marketing operation is essential to maximizing the value of your business. Potential buyers want to know that they are purchasing something capable of future growth with a healthy prospect pipeline in place. A truly valuable marketing operation takes time to build, so it’s essential that advisors get started early—even if their exit date is far off in the future.

What Are the Biggest Challenges Associated With Financial Advisor Marketing?

While some advisors may not realize the benefits of marketing, others might feel highly motivated to start attracting new clients to their practice—only to find they’ve bitten off more than they can chew and they weren’t prepared for the sorts of challenges that a marketing campaign can pose to a financial advisor. 

Here are five examples of the most common challenges financial advisors run into when trying their hand at marketing for the first time.

1.  Feeling Like It’s All Work and No Play

Why It Happens: If financial advisors generally liked marketing and were curious about it, then they would have become marketers. Advisors may find that successful marketing takes a very different approach and skill set when compared to financial advising.

How to Overcome It: Advisors either need to find a way to enjoy marketing or buckle down and get through it, all while cultivating knowledge of the strategies and perspectives that capable marketers cultivate. (While we can’t make you enjoy marketing, we can certainly help you learn the right strategies and perspectives. Just keep reading this guide!) Additionally, outsourcing your marketing (or parts of it) can lift a huge burden.

2.  Struggling to Translate Goals into Actions

Why It Happens: You might know that you want to grow AUM. Maybe you’ve gotten even more specific than that and know that you want to drive referrals, grow your HNW client base, and gain more AUM as a result. But what’s the best way to do that? You could do anything—but what’s the perfect strategy for your given goal?

How to Overcome It: As before, the only way to mitigate this challenge is to educate yourself on the various marketing strategies that are available to you. The best way to turn goals into actions is to set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) goals. You need to determine what key objectives best align with those specific goals. Also, remember that marketing is a fast-fail process; there is no silver bullet—you need to test out your theories to see what the data reveals for your business and your audience.

3.  Struggling to Translate Actions into Goals

Why It Happens: Where some advisors know what they want but not how to get it, others become hyper-focused on some trendy marketing tactic and fail to justify its execution. You might want to start a podcast, for instance, or begin blogging. But why? What are the precise steps you’ll take to translate that into your business goals?

How to Overcome It: Here’s where a robust business and marketing plan comes into play. Some advisors get so excited about getting started that they don’t adequately plan out the metrics they’ll track, the follow-up actions they’ll take, and the outcomes they want to achieve. As you set S.M.A.R.T. goals, the “measurable” and “time-bound” part should really come into play. What is the objective, how will you define success, and how much time do you expect it to take?

Fortunately, as a financial advisor, planning is very much a skill in your wheelhouse. We’ll go into more detail about how to leverage that skill later in the article.

4.  Failing to Find the Time

Why It Happens: You have a lot of responsibilities. Your clients take priority, of course, so you need to spend your time focusing on their needs, financial plans, investment portfolios, and more. But you also have to run your business. Part of why you’re reading this article at all is to find a way to meet your business responsibilities without adding another 10 or 20 hours to your work week. What often happens is that marketing takes a backseat until you see numbers slide and don’t have a solid lineup of prospects on the horizon.

How to Overcome It: There are as many ways to get more time in your day as there are ways to be busy. And being busy doesn’t always mean you are actually being productive. For one, learning how to efficiently perform tasks that you haven’t been trained on before (like marketing) will help you cut down on wasted time spent researching, tinkering, and seeking assistance. And as a business owner, it’s important to remember that part of your responsibilities include effective delegation as well. You don’t have to do everything. You can outsource front- and back-office tasks in ways that allow you to spend more time on client-facing initiatives.

As an example, research shows that advisors who outsource investment management save 8 hours a week, with 80 percent of advisors reporting that outsourcing enabled them to build stronger client relationships.

5. Failing to Follow Up and Follow Through

Why It Happens: Often, advisors forget to follow up on leads and follow through on meaningful moments that support cultivation. This most often occurs because there is no solidified plan in place. Sometimes, advisors will execute a given marketing activity and then do… nothing. They’ll assume that the webinar they hosted, the blog they wrote, or the emails they sent out are the be-all and end-all of marketing. 

How to Overcome It: In reality, financial advisor marketing is so much more than a single activity. In a healthy marketing strategy, a webinar should be followed up by a relevant email nurture or downloading a specific material should trigger a follow-up call to see if you can provide supportive services. Advisors need to ask themselves what they intend to do with the emails they collect from their webinar registrants, who they want to read their blog post, or what desired action they want to elicit from their email recipients, forming those S.M.A.R.T. goals and key objectives.

The Fundamentals of a Financial Advisor Marketing Plan

Simply put, advisors should start with a marketing plan—or rather, a business plan that includes a cohesive marketing plan.

Most of the challenges we described above (such as struggling to translate goals into actions or vice versa) result from a lack of initial planning. We go into detail about what makes for a good business plan in our blog post, Gaining an Edge: 5 Key Elements to a Financial Advisor's Business Plan, but broadly, you’ll want to build a plan that captures these elements:

  1. Your Vision: What’s your desired end state? This doesn’t have to be precise. For many advisors, their future vision might simply be one where their practice has a greater AUM in five years.
  2. Your Objectives and Goals: Here you’ll take your vision and break it down into more specific pieces, such as attracting five new clients a year from now, ten in the next year, and so on.
  3. A Lead Generation Strategy: This is where your marketing plan comes in. Now that you know what your target objectives are, define the activities you’ll use to achieve them. This requires understanding your audience, where they spend time, and what matters most to them. It might include advertising upcoming webinars on LinkedIn, becoming a guest speaker, building a strong referral network, or improving your web content to be a more effective pipeline.
  4. Scheduled Reviews: Assess your plan every month or quarter. Set checkpoints for each major goal. Now that you’re executing on it, has anything changed in light of your experiences thus far? Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s really an opportunity to pivot and learn. The real issue is if you are failing at marketing and don’t even know it because you aren’t measuring anything.
  5. Defined Metrics: Record what metrics you’ll use to measure success. While revenue is the end goal, it’s not always the right starting point to facilitate long-term value and success. For example, you might need to see a marked improvement in your client satisfaction rate, slow turnover rates, or improve your reputation as a firm. Or perhaps you want to increase the number of clients you onboard or hone in on a specific audience. You might set goals for things like getting new email addresses from prospects, increasing organic traffic to your website, and so on. Focus on goals that really support your objective and aren’t “vanity metrics”—or metrics that simply look good (like social media followers or website visitors without increased conversion rates).

To put it all together, let’s consider a hypothetical.

Your vision is a more lucrative practice with more AUM in the next 10 years. Because your client base is predominantly elderly retirees, you decide that the best approach to growing AUM is by focusing on generational wealth. Thus, your objective is to convince more of your clients’ family members to become clients themselves.

What’s the best way to get in front of your clients’ family members? Your value proposition should take on a broader stance to include younger generations. and family services. Your digital marketing strategy might include hosting family events. Remember, the goal is to get younger members of your clients’ family, so an overly formal event probably won’t be too attractive. Maybe you decide to host quarterly events for your longest standing clients, such as a beer tasting at your local brewery during the summer, complimentary family photos around the holidays, and so on.

Every first quarter, your scheduled review will involve looking back on the past year and assessing how effective you were at attracting and retaining your target market. You’ll be able to tell because you’ll have defined metrics to help you measure success, such as the number of event attendees, client family members who have become clients themselves, the number of new names and faces you’ve met, and so on.

Of course, you don’t have to host events, and you don’t have to focus on your clients’ family members. You could focus on attracting net new prospects by regularly blogging, or redesigning your website to increase the odds that anybody stumbling across it will become a client. You could (and should) include multiple fronts in your marketing strategy—maybe you redesign your website for an updated look and feel, so your clients’ younger family members feel that you’re a modern kind of financial advisor.

There are any number of strategies you can deploy in your marketing activities. Let’s explore a few of them.

How Much Do Financial Advisors Spend On Marketing?

Effective marketing is a strategic investment that can yield substantial returns in terms of new client acquisition, enhanced client loyalty, and overall business growth. While the return on investment (ROI) varies based on factors like strategy, targeting, and execution, a well-thought-out marketing approach can generate significant value that far outweighs the initial spend.

According to a study conducted by Broadridgeindependent financial advisors, on average, currently spend around 2%–4% of their budgets on marketing efforts. Yet, the average financial advisory firm spends a much higher 8.7% of the company’s total revenue on marketing.

While average marketing spending dipped drastically from an average of $19.2k per year in 2019 to $12.9k in 2020, it has continued to rise back toward pre-pandemic levels. In 2022, the average spend for financial advisors was around $17.4k, with RIAs spending over $27k and IBDs spending under $10k.

Over the next 12 months, 30% of advisors say they want to increase their marketing spend, while the majority (68%) plan to keep their advertising and promotional expenses the same. The top seven areas where advisors spend the majority of their marketing budget:

  • Website (71%)
  • Referral Programs (54%)
  • Social Media (51%)
  • Digital Newsletters (49%)
  • In-Person Events (48%)
  • Webinars (32%)
  • Digital Media Advertising (31%)

Financial Advisor Marketing Strategies

If you’ve decided to build out your marketing plan, it can be tough to know exactly what to plan for—especially if you’re new to marketing as a financial advisor. We can discuss some of the activities you can implement as part of your overall marketing plan.

Note that there is some overlap within these activities. Additionally, we recommend implementing more than one. An email marketing strategy, for instance, won’t have much substance to it unless accompanied by content marketing.

And lastly, this is by no means an exhaustive list. There are as many different marketing strategies as there are different financial practices. This list should, however, enable you to become familiar with some of the general practices and approaches to financial advisor marketing strategies.

Digital Marketing For Financial Advisors

Any modern business, including financial advisory practices, needs to prioritize digital marketing. Simply put, digital marketing for financial advisors is the promotion of your brand and practice across digital channels. The most noteworthy and important example of this is your website.

"Design is the silent ambassador of your brand."

- Paul Rand

No matter what, your website needs to look and feel modern, be accessible on mobile, and be well-designed. Even if you and your clients value in-person interaction, the first place that any prospective customer will evaluate your practice is through your website. Just consider these statistics:

  • It takes a first-time visitor just 50 milliseconds to decide whether they like your website and whether to stay or leave.
  • 57% of website visitors won’t recommend a business if its website is poorly designed.
  • Roughly 39% of prospects judge a business based on its website design.

Most of the other strategies, tactics, and ideas listed here fall under the umbrella of digital marketing. None of them, however, will be as impactful as they can be if your website makes a poor impression.

Leverage Content Marketing in Various Types

Financial advising is a great fit for content marketing. The knowledge required to achieve financial well-being is something that everybody needs, but few possess. As a financial advisor, you have considerable information to share with the world. By creating content that educates and demonstrates your own expertise, you’ll attract individuals most in need of answers and–by extension–your services.

Investors are interested in learning more about investing. If you create content that provides that education, you’ll have created a magnet that brings in leads through search engines, a resource to send out to your email contacts, relevant collateral to show potential clients as they evaluate you, and so much more.

What form should this content take? Types of content vary, but plenty of advisors find success with blogging. Others prefer podcasts or participating in web seminars or virtual summits. Still others create videos to host on YouTube. Others deploy a mix of all of these mediums. The important thing is to create something that educates, promotes your brand, and is highly shareable and discoverable.

Create Premium Content To Trade Value for New Leads

As we will explore below, email marketing is still an effective strategy for advisor marketing. But what happens when your list inevitably shrinks with each send? You have to have a strategy for bringing in fresh subscribers. Premium content might include valuable assets in the form of:

  • eBooks
  • Guides
  • White papers
  • Webinars
  • Courses
  • Infographics

You don't have to reinvent the wheel; you can repurpose content from old blogs or webinars and craft them into a downloadable asset, such as a pdf.

Whatever you do here, the key is to "gate" your premium content by asking for a contact (email address) in exchange. Don’t ask for more information than you need; the exchange (value for information) needs to be worth it to your contacts and you don’t want to make them jump through more hoops than necessary.

Improve Your Search Engine Ranking

The best part of content marketing is that it is one of the most effective strategies for SEO (search engine optimization). SEO can sound scary to some, but really it just boils down to getting found on search engines like Google or Bing. Helpful and authentic content—especially when published on a regular basis—can do just that for a financial advisor website. Search engines are trying to find the most valuable and relevant content to match every query.

The takeaway? With content marketing, you can be yourself and share your knowledge, all while:

  • Building trust
  • Educating potential clients
  • Bringing in new leads
  • Prospecting to ideal clients
  • Ranking higher on search engines (and getting found easier)

You can drive traffic to your new content, and give your target audience a reason to keep you top-of-mind with email marketing and paid advertising. To target your audience on search engines: write content that answers common questions and reviews solutions for common pain points your audience experiences.

Email Marketing For Financial Advisors

Email marketing might conjure the image on inboxes filled to the brim with hyperbolic, hokey spam messages, but the reality is very different.

For one, you probably conflate email marketing with spam because spam sticks out. If a business sends you a genuinely useful and relevant email, you might follow a link to their website, consider the service, and forget all about the email. If a fishy website you’ve never heard of sends you an email with an all-caps subject line, you’ll likely feel annoyed that it got past your spam filter and flag it as an unwanted presence in your inbox.

"For every dollar spent on email marketing campaigns, businesses earn another $36 back on average."

When performed in a respectful and professional manner, email marketing is actually one of the most effective marketing tools available to you. In fact, for every dollar spent on email marketing campaigns, businesses earn another $36 back on average.

"How Often Should I Email?"

When it comes to email marketing, do not leave it to chance. Successful email marketing programs create an editorial calendar and stick to it.

Whether it's once a month or once a week, we can't really answer the question of what is best for you, but we do know that consistency is key.

In order to email on a consistent basis, you will need a "reason to approach" your subscribers, aka: content. This will keep you on your toes to make sure you are always proactively creating value and getting in front of your current and prospective clients.

"What could be included in an editorial calendar?"

To keep things fresh, you can mix and match your reasons to approach.

  • News - Current events and updates on your practice
  • Upcoming Events - Drive turnout and raise awareness
  • Education - Insert your premium content, videos, and blogs here.
  • Entertainment - Not every aspect of the email has to be dry or academic. If it fits your personality, feel free to include a comic or inspiring quote.
  • Share-of-Wallet / Expansion Opportunities - If you're wondering where revenue comes into play, this is it. Email is the ideal place to showcase the breadth of your solutions to remind clients of your value-add.
  • Calls-To-Action - It's crucial to tell your email readers what you'd like them to do; if you don't ask, you can be sure that they won't do it.

Relationship Marketing

One of the most surefire ways to get clients as a financial advisor is through relationship marketing.

Rather than focus on completely cold prospects who have never heard of your practice before, relationship marketing focuses on generating referrals from your clients and your network.

Every advisor understands that satisfied clients are more likely to recommend their services to a friend. But fewer advisors understand that building relationships with centers of influence in your clients’ networks can yield referrals as well. When we talk about centers of influence, we’re talking about people like attorneys, CPAs, small business owners, or any professional who might drop your name when one of their clients mentions their financial situation.

PPC Marketing

Are you looking for a faster step to help increase your boost of qualified traffic? The right pay-per-click (PPC) ads can help you get in front ideal audiences who might be interested in your services. For PPC ads, you pay a certain fee every time an internet user clicks on your ad. You can host ads on search engines like Google or social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn.

Similar to email marketing, you might think that paid advertisements are just an annoyance—something that can’t really generate results. In reality, setting up a PPC campaign is a great way to attract cold leads to your website. The important thing to remember is that advertisements don’t have to be intrusive and annoying. If you, for example, write a compelling eBook with vital investing information and then advertise complimentary access to that eBook via Google, LinkedIn, or other platforms, people will click.

They’ll be happy to provide you with their contact information, browse other resources on your site, or sign up with you on the spot. The end result is that more people will be aware of your brand after a PPC campaign than before.

Social Media Marketing For Financial Advisors

Social media platforms are a popular place where a lot of your audience is likely to spend their time browsing. People also tend to check social media profiles for updates and reviews when considering an advisor. Social media is a powerful tool for financial advisors to establish their online presence, engage with a wider audience, and share valuable insights. 

Facebook is probably one of the most popular platforms for your audience, with 75% of Americans aged 30–49 and 69% of Americans aged 50–64 on Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center. YouTube is another highly popular platform, with 92% of Americans aged 30–49 and 83% of 50–64-year-olds using it.

To take advantage of social media marketing for financial advisors, consider posting relevant content to each channel where your audience is likely to spend time. 

  • Create educational videos on topics like tax laws or retirement planning for YouTube
  • Share informative articles and blog posts about market trends on Facebook and Twitter 
  • Engage with followers through interactive posts like quizzes or polls on LinkedIn

Use social media to enhance credibility, foster meaningful discussions, build a sense of community, and encourage referrals.

Direct Mail Marketing For Financial Advisors

Physical mail and printed materials aren’t dead—far from it. Direct mail marketing for financial advisors remains an effective way to reach a target audience with personalized messages. While digital marketing is more cost-effective in some ways, many prospects and clients prefer to physically hold your information in their hands.

For instance, sending out well-designed newsletters to clients can provide updates on market developments and investment strategies, demonstrating the advisor's dedication to their financial well-being. Personalized holiday cards can show appreciation and strengthen client relationships. Providing exclusive seminars or workshops via direct mail invitations can engage potential clients and showcase the advisor's expertise in a face-to-face setting.

12 Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas

The right financial advisor marketing ideas can boost your practice but you should have a plan in place before you implement them. Establish goals, timelines, and key performance indicators (KPIs) for each financial advisor marketing tactic you plan to try. Schedule recurring instances for your most popular and successful marketing tactics.

  1. Create Educational Courses
  2. Publish Engaging Blog Content
  3. Create Informative Infographics
  4. Be a Podcast Guest Speaker
  5. Launch a Paid Social Media Campaign
  6. Provide Complimentary Financial Workshops
  7. Produce Video Explainers
  8. Collaborate with Local Businesses
  9. Send Personalized Newsletters
  10. Organize Virtual Networking Events
  11. Utilize LinkedIn for Thought Leadership
  12. Provide Personalized Financial Assessments

The Right Knowledge and Marketing Tools Are Essential to Success

Reading through this article has probably already sparked a lot of ideas about the kind of marketing strategy you want to implement at your practice. Now, it’s just a matter of formalizing and executing that strategy.

Only it’s not as simple as that. The content we’ve covered here is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial advisor marketing. To identify the right approach for your practice and the tools you’ll need to carry it out, you can work with marketing professionals who have previously worked with financial advisory practices. That way, you don’t have to worry about neglecting your current clients when you try to attract new ones.

AssetMark can provide two powerful services to financial advisors investigating how best to implement a marketing strategy at their practice: 1) Dedicated business consultants and 2) our Marketing Advantage platform.

When you work with AssetMark, you gain access to a dedicated business consultant team focused on understanding the unique nature of your practice. Your business consulting team will assess your practice, identify the areas where the biggest impact can be made, define goals, support your marketing plan, and clarify the exact steps that need to be taken along the way. This way, you’ll never find yourself floundering for the next step to take; we’ll walk you through a successful marketing strategy from end to end.

When it comes to the actual execution, advisors working with AssetMark gain access to our complimentary Marketing Advantage platform. Marketing Advantage provides advisors with:

  • White-label content designed for financial advisors to use in their campaigns—this way, you can focus on your clients rather than slave away designing infographics or writing blogs.
  • Email tools to manage your email marketing strategy.
  • Social media management to schedule ready-made or custom posts.
  • Event tools that enable you to create customized landing pages, capture online RSVPs, and promotions in email, social media, and print.
  • Personalized greeting cards to help you stay in touch with your clients.

…And so much more.

There are a lot of ways that we can help support your marketing strategy as a financial advisor. If you’d like to learn more, we recommend exploring our guide, Marketing Matters to see how you can create a marketing strategy for your business.

Why AssetMark?

Getting it right means working alongside a solution provider with the capabilities, expertise, and platform to deliver a diverse, curated selection of institutional-grade investment solutions, technology, and consulting services to help you address clients at every stage of their financial journey. AssetMark can empower you to provide the highest level of service possible to clients while providing high-quality wealth management services across asset classes, risk tolerances, and asset levels.

We’ve been named Best Overall TAMP because we do more than just asset management. Learn how to sustainably scale your business and achieve a better work-life balance. Our team is here to help you get started. It only takes a few seconds to schedule your complimentary consultation!


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