Understanding Community Marketing in 2023 for Financial Advisors
In the last five to ten years, the financial planning industry has undergone radical changes in terms of marketing and technology. Still, the lifeblood of winning and retaining new clients is relationships. With a sales pitch as big as a family’s financial future, trust and familiarity are in high demand.
This relationship-centric business model makes community marketing a powerful option for financial advisors. If you’re interested in implementing one for your business or improving your current approach, we’ll explore how top advisors are leveraging communities to grow their businesses.
Community Marketing = Supercharged Word of Mouth
Community marketing is a marketing technique that involves marketing to pre-existing groups that share a common factor. The shared factor can be almost anything, from beliefs to passions to work to location. Whatever the factor, the best targets share some sort of relevance with the value you provide.
When marketing to a community connected by the same thread, the content created can be more tailored, relevant, and valuable. You can leverage the familiarity that already exists within the group’s relationships and identity.
The Key Ingredient to Community Marketing Success
The way we like to describe the superpower that drives community marketing is like a beachhead. In a battlefield strategy, you work to establish a single point of access from which you can launch other objectives.
You establish this beachhead by tailoring some of your marketing content to that community. You leverage the familiarity of their world by meeting them where they’re at.
Once you’ve established marketing “beachhead” where you win the relationship of a handful of community members, you’ve given them additional context to refer you to others within the community. When they see your unique interest in things that matter to them, it’s likely easier for them to refer you to others that share their unique interests.
The best part isn’t just making your brand more referable by focusing on communities. People who share interests, passions, beliefs, or other defining factors tend to feel a sense of connection with one another. Just as people seek out connection with others, they also build more loyalty to brands that they feel a connection with.
When a business uses community marketing, they are not only reaching a large number of their target audience at once, but they are also providing a means of connection. By developing content that speaks to a certain community, the business is showing that community that they have a shared value. When anyone from that community is looking for the product or service the business offers, they’ll know exactly where to turn.
What are the Benefits of Community Marketing?
Now that we have covered the “secret sauce” so to speak, let’s dig into the individual areas to focus on. Let’s take a closer look at how community marketing benefits your business:
Be More Intentional with Your Target Audience
Many advisors struggle with the generic broadcast approach – they may have an ideal client, but they’re not taking steps to find and engage those prospects. Community marketing is literally created around the opportunity to target and reach a certain group of people.
Any community that you target with your campaign will be a part of your target audience. By taking the time to determine and get to know your target market, you’ll be ready to launch an effective community marketing campaign. Any content you create will be relevant and directly for your target audience. As you share your content with your chosen communities, you’ll be reaching your desired demographic.
Build Immediate Brand Relevance
Your brand isn’t just about recognition. It’s about magnetism. Building a magnetic brand is one of the most important things you’ll do for your business.
Your branding includes a ton of visual elements, such as logo, design, fonts, and colors. It also includes non-visual elements, such as values, mission, and messaging. All of these elements combined make up your specific brand. They’re the things that draw people to your business and create loyal clientele.
When you create content for a certain community, you are aligning yourself with that community and what it stands for. This is another way to build your brand. Your target audience will see that you have shared values with their community and will consider that when they think of your business.
It Can Be More Cost-Effective
When done well, community marketing is a cost-effective marketing option. Instead of creating a ton of content and sharing it widely, you are zeroing in on specific groups of people. Content will be narrowed down and less will be needed. Sharing in fewer places also reduces costs.
How Do We Use Community Marketing?
If we could boil this big topic down to a 3-step plan (who doesn’t love a 3-step plan?), it would look like this:
- Identify communities you can uniquely connect with and serve
- Determine how you’ll engage those communities
- Create a “welcome” strategy to engage those who may be interested in you
Identify Your Target Communities
This step may be the most important. Identify communities that have a unique avenue for connection. Advisors who have succeeded in community marketing often have a shared passion like fitness, entrepreneurship, hobbies, or other common passions. They don’t need to be finance-related, but these things shape the way we see the world.
Another avenue doesn’t have to be passion related. It can reflect your unique value as a business. For example, you may not both be health nuts, but you may have a specialization in something like executive compensation or planning for divorcees. As long is there is a context for your connection, you can leverage your unique relevance.
Determine How You Will Engage Those Communities
There are a wide variety of engagement strategies available, and the best one is mainly dependent on the community you’re targeting. We’ll walk through a few examples:
- Create a digital advertising campaign that allows you to target communities (i.e. “employees of ___”)
- Sponsor events or communities that allow you to share your unique value with a relevant community
- Volunteer with your team to build in-person relationships and build goodwill
- Co-host events with leaders in the community that you want to engage – even digital ones!
Create a Welcome Strategy
Few things are more disappointing than coming across an opportunity and having no infrastructure in place to capitalize. It’s like drifting over a huge school of prize fish with no lines in the water.
We heard an advisor recently say they had a post go viral with their target audience with over 1,000 engagements on a post. They had nowhere to send their audience beyond a generic contact page, and they lamented being unprepared to capitalize.
To make the most of your community marketing, build out a “welcome” strategy. Don’t greet them as strangers. This usually looks like building a landing page tailored to the community along with a resource like an eBook or webinar that engages their unique needs. This extra effort reinforces your unique value and alignment with them.
Looking for More Great Ideas for Your Business?
At WealthPlan Group, we host a quarterly Peer-2-Peer advisor group where our advisors gather to discuss their challenges and share solutions. We tackle questions like community marketing, operations, investing, and any other hat you might be frustrated with in your business.
If you are looking for an RIA that invests in your growth, talk to our team to learn more.