(Market Watch) There are many requirements to setting up your financial advisory practice from navigating regulation to filing registration. But even after that, promoting the business often falls by the wayside — Financial advisors are money managers, after all, not sales people.
“A lot of advisors didn’t get into the industry to do marketing,” said Mike Byrnes, president of Byrnes Consulting LLC, which helps financial planners with public relations.
Sales and marketing is a major responsibility which advisors often forget. A firm’s website is always a good place to start. Deciding on content for the website is hard, but very rewarding when done right. Byrnes often tells advisors to disregard “the old model,” where a website functions as both a brochure that describes its services, lists credentials and summarizes an advisor’s approach to money.
Instead, he recommends a more personal touch. “Show them, don’t tell them, so that when they come to your website, they will make a purchasing decision,” he said.
Use multiple channels to establish credibility. Develop copy and graphics including photos, charts or eye-catching illustrations. “Your visuals should be in line with your brand,” Byrnes said. For example, someone targeting entrepreneurs should understand the pressures those business owners face. An adviser with a military background could target veterans with subtle messaging that shows potential clients of their national service.
Promoting yourself is very uncomfortable for most advisors. But advisors can get over that hump by focusing on their personality rather than their strengths. Byrnes notes that the “About Me” page of a website generates a lot of interest, so he always asks advisors to name three goals.
“They want to like you, trust you, and find out if you’re a caring person,” he said. “A good bio accomplishes that.”
A few "fun facts" can boost likability — from an advisor’s favorite books and movies to their heroes and most recent vacation spot. To build trust, an advisor can explain their role as a fiduciary and present a list of commitments made to every client. To show a caring side, mention philanthropy or volunteerism.
Photo galleries can make a practice's site even more relatable. The website can include photos of the advisor traveling, giving a talk, or even attending charitable events.
“Use at least two photos on your website,” Byrnes said. “First there’s the headshot. Smiling is a must because it makes a better connection. The second image should introduce us to the other side of you outside of work either with your family or maybe attending a sports game.
Additionally, Byrnes recommends advisors to record themselves for two or three minutes expressing their love for their job. Along with photos, videos break down barriers and help website visitors feel like they know the advisor. The video should answer these three questions:
• Why are you an adviser?
• Why do you like to help clients?
• How do you help clients?
“You want to answer the ‘why’ before the ‘how’ because the prospect wants to know what’s in it for them first,” Byrnes tells advisors. “And don’t read from a script. You want your passion to come across.”