Do prospective clients compliment you on your website? Or do they leave after one click? Do clients beg to bring friends to your events…or beg off from attending your 17th Annual Prime Rib Fiesta? Do you have a special niche market…other than rich people with a pulse?
Marketing is a critical area that many, many advisors struggle with. And it is not just about your website or your mission statement or your logo (though these are all important). Successful marketing involves a deliberate, consistent approach to everything from your client experience and ongoing communications to how your phone is answered.

To help you think through the important elements involved, we’ve put together this 20-question diagnostic. Check all that apply:
___ I have a compelling mission statement that clearly articulates the value I provide. And I know how, when and where to use this mission statement.
___ My logo/brand is a modern, appealing reflection of who I am and who I serve.
___ My website is easy-to-use, up-to-date (and search-engine-optimized), and it tells my story well to prospective clients.
___ All my messaging and communications are client-focused, relevant and jargon free.
___ My materials – from business cards to website to stationery–are consistent and professional.
___ My office and reception area are welcoming and upscale.
___ I have LinkedIn profiles for myself AND my firm that reflect who we are (including both professional and personal information) and what we do.
___ I also have a Facebook page for my practice.
___ I am connected on LinkedIn to a majority of my clients and their Centers of Influence, and I know why this matters.
___ I regularly celebrate important client milestones, such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, etc.
___ I have segmented/tiered my clients and service and communicate accordingly.
___ I have identified at least one niche market I’d like to grow and I understand the needs and demographics/psychographics of this niche and have a marketing strategy for it.
___ I have a well-thought out marketing plan, including budget, goals, timelines, strategies and tactics.
___ I regularly earn the right number of referral s from clients and their Centers of Influence.
___ I have an ongoing strategy for regular communicating with clients and prospects as well as Centers of Influence.
___ My client experience is well thought out and consistent for every step of a client’s journey with me.
___ I have a set of service standards that I share with clients (time to respond to calls, emails, etc., frequency of meetings and communications, client bill of rights).
___ I regularly survey my clients to get feedback on what I could be doing better and what they value least and most about my services and our relationship.
___ I conduct regular client events that my clients rave about and ask to bring friends and colleagues along.
___ I have built strong relationships with my clients’ spouses, partners, children, grandchildren and other important people in their lives (and even, sometimes, pets).
___ Almost all my clients consider me their most trusted—and primary— financial professional.
Now Score Yourself
20 – 17 checked
Outstanding! It looks like you understand the power marketing, branding and messaging to help you grow and create an exceptional client experience. But don’t get complacent. Be sure to look at everything you do at least annually and evaluate if it is still working or if it needs updating or rethinking. For example, today’s phenomenal website can look very dated in just a few years.
16 – 13 checked
Pretty Good. You are doing some things right, but you may want to prioritize and address some of the areas you didn’t check. Making sure you serve existing clients better should usually be prioritized ahead of marketing initiatives focused on prospective clients.
12 – 9 checked
So-So. You’re probably doing no better or worse than most advisors, but this means you are missing opportunities to differentiate yourself and communicate the real value you provide. In other words, you are hampering your potential for growth and even deeper client relationships.
8 – 5 checked
Time for a Marketing Makeover! You need to spend more time, energy, focus and money on your marketing. Successful advisors often dedicate at least 20% of their time and 10%+ of their budget to marketing. And if you don’t feel confident in your own marketing expertise, outsource to firms with financial services marketing expertise.
4 – 0 checked
Yikes! You may be doing a few things right, but your neglect of so many marketing areas could be putting your business at risk. You may be losing significant opportunities for growth and even putting client relationships at risk. You need a plan to fix things now!
Before utilizing marketing material or social media for business purposes, be sure to check with your compliance department regarding your firm’s policies.
Click here for a printable PDF of this diagnostic

IRN R 14-180 (Exp 3/16)