On February 23, 2017—a year ago, almost to the day—I wrote a post urging advisors to get ready for an upcoming stock market correction. Were you ready for what happened last week? Did you have a crisis communications plan in place? Did your clients all receive a reassuring call or email? Was everyone in the firm on the same page about your message, or did you have trouble reaching consensus? How long did it take to get something out? A day? A week?

If you had a plan and executed it flawlessly, congratulations. You really took advantage of the situation to cement your relationships with your clients and distinguish yourself from your peers. But if not, don’t miss out on the chance to do better next time—and as we know, there will always be a next time. Yes, it probably feels like buying extra insurance after something gets stolen, but better late than never.

Click on the button below to read the entire post from last year. It includes practical steps that you can take right now to put your crisis communication plan in place.

The best-performing blogs of the year

We are solidly into 2018, and with any luck, you’re a little wiser than you were in 2017. Or at least, by now you should have analyzed what went well for your business and what didn’t. As marketers, we’re always in Analysis and Optimization Mode, but the end of Q4 is always exciting because then you can start to see trends.

Did you get goosebumps? Because I just did.

You built the plan in Q1 and though you’ve seen results in your short-term conversions, you’re starting to understand better what that means for your business overall. Like everything in marketing, success is only as good as the goals you set. And it’s what you can garner from the previous year that can set you in a new direction right now.

So, when it came time to plan our content calendar for 2018, we weren’t just looking at who saw what blog on the day that we posted it. We were looking for trends, behaviors, and data that can help us anticipate the types of content that our readers want to see.

Without further ado, these are the blogs you enjoyed the most (and how we can tell).

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For a job that inherently deals with constant change, from fluctuating markets to the unpredictable life events, the role of a financial advisor is one that is often steeped in tradition.

Tradition is outdated.

As in nearly all other aspects of life, technology has changed the way that clients and potential leads interact with businesses. While many financial advisors have built their business on networking within established social circles, or through client referrals, that type of organic growth is swiftly falling by the wayside of taxi cabs and payphones: it’s becoming archaic.

Before you counter with, “But that rapport is why my clients have stuck around for 35 years!” I want to make clear that relationships are still very much central to being a successful advisor. But it is much more common for a prospect to have Googled you and taken a deep look at your website before ever requesting that first meeting. The prospect is in control of the initial relationship, and many advisors are having difficulty adjusting.

That’s where PR and marketing come in.

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In my final post on annual marketing planning, I want to touch on two topics that always seem to generate a lot of confusion. How should you define your marketing goals? And how do you set your marketing budget?

First up: goals. I’d like to see advisors go back to their marketing goals and take another crack at writing them. I think if you push harder, you can come up with better ideas that stretch your business further than you think possible. You just have to define your goals differently.

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As I mentioned last time, most advisors start their annual marketing planning meeting by reviewing their progress against the firm’s business plan.

I can’t think of a worse place to start.

Never Mix Business (Plans) With Pleasure

Obviously, you need to benchmark yourself. Figure out if you’re hitting your targets. Understand whether you’re spending your marketing dollars wisely.

But please don’t make the first item on your planning meeting agenda a postmortem. It will put you in a terrible mindset for brainstorming. You should be facing the future with energy, enthusiasm and an open mind. Instead, your head will be crammed with stale ideas. You’ll feel sad about the goals you missed and may even hear a few little voices murmuring, “That won’t work,” “Can’t do,” and my favorite, “We already tried it once.” You’re also going to wear yourself out talking about revenue goals and office space and technology upgrades. By the time you get to marketing, you’ll be exhausted.

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Last time, I told you about the crazy way we run annual planning meetings at FiComm. Now I want you to understand the method behind our madness.

I’ve broken down some of the basic principles behind our planning approach into a few simple, easy-to-follow ideas. Try implementing some of these practical tips, and see if they can help you create a marketing plan that makes a bigger impact on your business than the plan you wrote last year.

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The year is almost over. That means it’s time to write your annual marketing plan. (You do have a plan, right? I hope you aren’t spending money without one!) The next few posts are going to show you how to create a plan that gets results—and have fun doing it.

Let’s face it. Most of the time, an annual planning meeting is kind of a downer. It starts by looking backward. What did we achieve against our business plan? Where did we fail? What worked, what didn’t? Obviously, no firm reaches 100% of its goals, so there are bound to be some disappointments. That’s why this part of the process usually feels about as much fun as weighing yourself.

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I’ve been writing about Penton’s WealthManagement.com for a few weeks. There’s one final data point you might find interesting.Sixty percent of service providers don’t personalize their marketing to advisors. To refresh your memory, half of these companies employ full-time staff dedicated to delivering marketing support to advisors. Over 70% say that value-added services are “core” to their offering, not an ancillary supplement. Yet 60% don’t bother to personalize their appeals to advisors?I’ve worked with many large financial and FinTech companies. I know exactly how people who work in those organizations talk. Personalization would be great, a real “nice to have.” Maybe next quarter you’ll try something. You just don’t have the staff or technology to do everything you like right now, unfortunately.

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Last time, I may have given a few people a heart attack. As I mentioned, according to
The Penton’s WealthManagement.com surveys, companies that provide value-added marketing support to advisors are wasting millions of dollars. Because they’re providing elaborate educational platforms and practice management programs that 75% of advisors don’t even use.

This week, I want you to calm down. You don’t have to cancel all your programs or tell the team to pack up their family photos and cat magnets. You just have to focus your investment dollars where they will make the biggest impact.

What is making an impact these days? Turnkey marketing programs. While your 50-page white paper pdfs sit around unread, advisors are gobbling up quick, easily executed solutions.

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I’ve been talking about the Penton’s WealthManagement.com surveys of advisors and their service providers. If you’re a vendor who provides value-added marketing services to advisors—or if you’re an advisor who uses those services—here’s some data you definitely need to see.

Let’s start with questions from the survey of service providers.

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