Find your voice
“We work with thousands of advisors each year, but recognize that each practice has a unique story. We view these stories as the foundation from which we collaborate with them to develop and articulate their brand.” - Mike White, Chief Marketing Officer
Q. Mike, the Marketing department is one of the most talked about departments after every advisor visit to our home office. What makes your department so unique?
A. We are built like a full-service advertising agency within the firm and staffed with nearly 150 employees dedicated to the philosophy that the advisor is our client. We work with thousands of advisors each year, but recognize that each practice has a unique story. We view these stories as the foundation from which we collaborate with them to develop and articulate their brand.
Q. So you brand not just for the firm but also for the advisor?
A. Yes. We believe that if we can help advisors better manage and build their brand - help them clearly articulate their value proposition and consistently express their values, personality, commitment to the community, etc. - they will get more referrals, have better success with networking, and strengthen relationships with clients and centers of influence. It’s all part of an integrated marketing plan that includes logo designs, various forms of collateral and a digital presence.
Q. Social properties?
A. I’m talking about a carefully crafted LinkedIn profile that provides a summary of the advisor’s credentials; a team or practice Facebook account to reflect the advisor’s values, commitment to the community and personality; as well as an active Twitter presence to demonstrate subject matter expertise important to the advisor’s clients. All these, tied together with a customized website that spells out a compelling value proposition and is designed to be optimized for search engine results, should help convert more referrals into in-person meetings.
Q. Most advisors don’t have the time or expertise to know how to put all that into some type of coordinated action.
A. You are right; this takes work and a thoughtful marketing plan, and this is where our team can add value. We don’t expect advisors to be creative geniuses or even strong marketers, so we take them through a process to help identify their growth objectives, articulate their brand and pull everything together with the resources of our award-winning in-house agency. Case studies of our work can be found on RaymondJamesMarketing.com, and more information about our broader marketing support within the context of our practice management resources can be found on AdvisorChoice.com.
Q. Our best ideas on a public website?
A. Yes. This is a natural extension of our philosophy of transparency and commitment to service. Both RaymondJamesMarketing.com and AdvisorChoice.com let us demonstrate how we serve our advisors as clients and can partner to help them achieve their objectives for their practice.
Q. OK, last question. Let’s say I’m an advisor a bit late to social media. How should I get started?
A. I think it’s important to treat this like any other marketing or communications activity. Be clear about your communication objectives. Then think about what your practice stands for and how you’d want your clients and centers of influence to speak about your team to potential clients. With that in mind, you should then develop mini-plans for each social platform you intend to use, understanding who you are trying to reach and what your communications will say about your brand and your value proposition. Having an editorial calendar to ensure you cover certain topics on a regular basis can keep you on track (e.g., you might plan to post something related to a local charity your practice supports once a month to reflect your values). Finally, working with a marketing agency that’s familiar with the regulations associated with the financial industry can help ensure you remain compliant, leverage available best practices, and effectively build your brand online and otherwise.