As an Exit Planning Advisor, you’ve got a lot on your plate. When marketing isn’t your strong suit, it can be especially challenging to understand where to start when creating an effective marketing strategy. It’s important to find efficient ways to market your practice so you can spend more time planning for your clients.
When it comes to marketing efforts as they relate to Exit Planning, the marketing goals set should seek to communicate how you are an indispensable advisor to your clients and prospects. No matter your level of involvement in these marketing efforts, telling your story and setting the marketing goals will make all the difference in differentiating your practice, establishing expertise and credibility, retaining Exit Planning clients, and expanding your reach.
There are four goals that serve as a good starting point for your marketing efforts and will help to form an effective marketing strategy if used and modified as needed.
Those goals are:
- Brand Recognition
- Growing a Prospect List
- Client & Prospect Engagement
- Customized Follow-up
Goal #1: Brand Recognition
The goal of building brand recognition is really to solve the problems that are keeping your clients up at night. You want to be known as the advisor business owners turn to when they need help and be perceived as the go-to advisor for their business planning needs.
Think about what makes your practice unique. Further, what makes your customer unique?
Determining your ideal customer profile is a crucial first step in gaining the clarity necessary to know who you are targeting with your marketing efforts. Think about your practice in terms of the following attributes that can differentiate your services:
- Size of business
- Client net worth
- Age of the business and how that relates to a potential exit timeline
- Industry specialization
- Exit path expertise (family business, insider, third party sales, etc.)
Narrowing the focus of your practice based on the attributes not only points to factors that differentiate your practice, but it also defines your target client.
The next phase of brand recognition involves being clear about what it is, exactly, that you do. You’ve likely heard of crafting an elevator pitch, but to make things even simpler, start with creating a one liner that is specific to your ideal customer that you can use when you’re asked, “What do you do?”
The one liner should include:
- Your customer’s pain points
- How you solve that problem
- How do things look for the customer after that problem is solved
Not only can you use your one liner in conversation, but it can serve as somewhat of a branding statement to be used in your email signature, your marketing materials, on social media, and on your website.
You never want a prospect to see a message from you that is unclear, so taking the time to define your brand will promote clarity and recognition when it comes to clients or prospects viewing you as the answer to their questions. Overall, a focus on brand recognition will:
- Remind owners of what their life will look like after you solve their problem.
- Make it easier to stand out from other advisors.
- Give clarity of your offerings
Goal #2: Growing your Prospect List
The steps taken in goal one on brand recognition will add differentiation to your practice, which will ultimately drive prospecting activity. Now that you have your message, who are you going to send it to?
Some tips to grow your prospect list:
Consider building your network to include not only business owners you want to work with, but also other advisors that you want on your team. If it makes sense, you could also consider joining a peer advisory group, attending a networking event in your area, or getting involved in an industry association – all of which can get you in front of people who might be able to help you in the long run.
Beyond networking, after these connections are made you can then ask them for referrals. There are likely people in the networks of your clients and peers that could benefit from the work you are doing.
- Relevant Content
Be sure to put valuable content on your website that asks for contact information. For example, BEI’s business owner assessment is one piece of content that can ultimately go a long way in building an engagement with a prospect. It’s not only a conversation starter, but also lets you know what they are looking for and what needs they have that need to be met.
Goal #3: Keeping Prospects & Clients Engaged
When you are first building your prospect list and growing your network, a business owner might not be ready to move forward with planning right away. In fact, they may not even be able to articulate their pain points, therefore are hesitant to jump in. Staying in front of them with relevant content will frequently remind them of you and your brand when the timing is right.
A few content ideas you can offer to prospects:
- Case Studies
Case studies from previous clients allow you to document why they came to you for advice and what the result was. Mapping out where they were and how they got to where they wanted to be thanks to your help can show prospects that you have the capability to improve their personal and professional lives in an impactful way.
- Tell your own story
Why exactly do you do what you do and why is Exit Planning important to you? Being vulnerable and letting prospects in on your own story allows them to connect with you on a more personal and emotional level, making it easier to build rapport.
- Branded Content
BEI has branded content that you can personalize with your logos and contact information so you can have content available in your back pocket without having to write it yourself.
- Host a webinar or virtual presentation
Providing an educational webinar or a co-hosted event puts you in the position of being a subject matter expert. This credibility adds value and, by joining with another organization or network connection, allows you to expand your reach by getting your name out there to a broader audience.
- Frequently Share Content
Beyond having the content available, you want to be sure that you have a presence in the places where your client is looking for information. Having content shared on social media, though emails and on your website is important so that you meet clients where they are. Additionally, a consistent cadence is key so that prospects are reminded of you frequently.
Goal #4: Customize Your Follow-up
Lastly, customization is one of the most important processes to put into place as it will lead to the actual conversations you will have with your clients.
There are many software platforms out there that provide marketing automation to save you time and help you reach your marketing goals more efficiently. There are many options that cater to different list sizes, budgets, and the type of automation you are interested in doing.
Investing in this type of marketing tool will give you insight to email opens, email clicks, and website visits, to name a few. These statistics can show you:
- Who is interacting with your content?
- What topics are they interacting with?
- Are there trends in what is piquing interest?
Further, with many of these tools you can rank your prospects based on their profile and type of interaction. This type of functionality leads back to your ideal customer profile and can help you prioritize the prospects you should target outreach to based on the activity level and engagement they are making with your content.
For example, if a prospect clicks on a link in an email on a certain topic, having that insight would allow you the ability to not only follow up with them, but to provide them with additional content on that subject. Hence, this is why it is important to build a library of branded content featuring case studies, white papers, one-sheets and more to further engage prospects.
Finally, ask the prospect for a meeting. Once you have insight to the items they are interacting with, you should be able to start a conversation that will offer something beneficial to keep it going. Something as simple as offering a 10-minute assessment could identify the most concerning areas and leave them with a process of solving that problem.
By focusing on each of these different marketing goals, you will be able to move the needle when it comes to getting in front of the right audience. Taking the time to evaluate your marketing strategy will really make a difference to ensure that you have the time you need to do planning work for your clients and earn the title of their most trusted advisor.