Wealth management firms know first-hand the importance of client relationships to their business and often depend on those relationships to generate referrals. Firms that apply relationship-building concepts to their marketing programs can scale their client acquisition efforts and gain a competitive advantage. This is often a transformative approach. It starts with putting people first and is enhanced by digital capabilities. People-based marketing requires a close partnership between marketing and sales from beginning to end.
Here are four key components to transforming your client acquisition program:
1. Think Audience First
Begin your people-based efforts with a strong understanding of your best prospects and what you can afford to spend in acquiring their business. Consider these steps when building your prospect audiences:
- Profile your current client base to help you define your ideal prospect.
- Where possible, use first-party data (plan participants, active and inactive leads, event attendees, email newsletter registrants, etc.) to size your prospect audience. Supplement with third-party data sources for increased scale.
- Identify trigger events that drive your clients to think about financial planning and use these to inform communication timing.
2. Support the Full Prospect Journey
The prospect journey for a high-consideration service is not a simple, linear path. You need to manage all the communication points. Remember that you are cultivating new relationships for the future as well as closing prospects that are ready to convert now. You can’t ask everyone to buy immediately. This journey often starts with educational and topical content that prospects can consume to learn more and get comfortable with the brand. Here are a few pointers on content and messaging:
- Consider how you can segment your prospects. This will take you out of the one-size-fits-all approach to messaging and help you tailor the prospect’s experience. If you’re just getting started with segmentation, use simple methods like age, income/wealth, and life stages.
- Personalize communications based on the needs and motivations of your identified segments and create a consistent experience for those segments across communications and sites.
- Tap into your SEO team’s knowledge to help inform and prioritize the content you promote.
3. Digital Media Activation
Activate your audiences across people-based platforms to meet your prospects where they are. Follow these steps to get the most out of your media buy:
- Identify objectives and measures of success for each level of communication in your program. Not all tactics will be managed to a direct conversion but all should contribute.
- Synch your online and offline communications for a consistent experience within each segment.
- Move from last click attribution to an approach that will allow you to properly value the contribution of each media tactic.
4. Score and Nurture Your Leads
A prospect raising her hand doesn’t necessarily signal the end of their journey. Establish a lead-scoring system based on level of readiness to convert and prioritize further investment based on each lead scoring segment. Marketing should work together with sales to determine when to turn leads over, establish a feedback process and continue the conversation until the prospect converts into a client or is otherwise disqualified.