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Build A Marketing Plan Guaranteed
To Increase Your Business

To have an annual marketing plan and annual marketing calendar. This is to go along with your written business plan for success.

Objective: There is nothing better in marketing than surpassing your targets and growing your business as you planned. On the flip side, there is nothing worse than finishing a slow month and starting a new month with few prospects and little potential business than a desk full of cold calls to make. We all have financial goals and targets. Now we need a blueprint to start making those goals a reality. As an advisor I know that the ups and downs happen. But I also know that with a consistent marketing guerrilla attack program, you will smooth out your production and be more consistent in your approach.

Strategy: How do you sit down and write a marketing plan? Budget at least half to one full day. Grab a pad of paper and a pen and start writing. Sounds simple, well it is, so make it simple. Unless you’re running the marketing of Proctor and Gamble, why do you need an exhaustive written plan. Try these simple steps:

First write down all of the marketing that you are doing now , the frequency and their annual and monthly cost. You can use the attached worksheet to help you.

Second, write down all of the marketing ideas that you were thinking of pursuing in the next year. Write or collect a list of ideas. Don’t discard anything until you have examined it further. At this point write it down. If you are looking for ideas check out our websites listed at the back of the book. Ask you manager or marketing wholesalers for ideas. Use this book as a guide to some of the best ideas. Just write them down.

Third, write down what your competition is doing for marketing. At the same time write down who your competition is.

Fourth, write down what your peer group or top advisors you aspire to be like are doing in terms of marketing and their costs.

Fifth, create an annual and monthly budget. Exclude the cost of personnel and assistants, the marketing budget should be between 10-20% of your gross income. Remember marketing is an investment in your business, not an expense. The second part of budgeting is time. Either your time or a staff person’s time, or both needs to be allocated. How much time will you devote to developing your marketing. How much time during the day do you spend on marketing? Now how much time should you spend on marketing during the day? I always schedule a half day per month to work on my marketing and client communication strategies. This scheduled time is very productive time scheduled in my practice. If you don’t have time now, how will you have time in the future to grow your business?

Sixth, we will identify your ideal client profile in a later chapter, but for now write your ideal client profile down.

Seventh, decide what marketing mix will work for you. What will work and what won’t work depends on your commitment to them. This is where you make decisions based on projections of growth that you want to achieve. For example, if you want to increase revenue from $100,000 to $150,000 per year and your marketing budget is $2000 and you have no major plans for marketing, then how are you going to achieve that growth?

Although some advisors say that their business grows by referrals only, what do they do to generate those referrals? Do they provide exceptional service, which costs money and may be defined as an excellent communication program. Well, guess what, their dynamic communication program is part of their marketing strategy. We will discus internal (existing clients) and external (new client) marketing in a later chapter. What is your ideal marketing mix?

Eighth, once you have decided on what you are going to do in the next year, break it down into a monthly marketing calendar. Decide which months you are going to do what.

Ninth, decide on costs and put annual and monthly costs down on paper. At this point make sure that you can afford your program. If you cannot, consider the consequences of borrowing to invest into your business. That is solely your decision. I remember once when I first started in the business, I borrowed money on a credit card to attend a conference. I couldn’t afford to go, however after I returned I realized I couldn’t afford not to. I learned that I was investing in myself and not just spending money on my business.

Finally, Put the plan into a working document. Share it with your peer group or manager and your staff. Then commit to completing it, revisiting it on a monthly basis and measuring the results.

Grant’s Tip: The simpler your marketing plan, the easier it will be to complete successfully. The marketing plan should be simple to execute once you have put enough thought and effort into it. The most challenging part of your marketing plan may be time and timing. For example, I know several advisors who start doing marketing only to stop after a few months because they are too busy. The plan depends on a constant time commitment to complete. If you plan your seminars a year in advance and book the rooms, speakers and invitations, then you are committed. Instead, advisors have a speaker coming to town and spend a lot of time hoping one event will pay off big for them. Don’t put your marketing eggs into one basket. Have multiple marketing ideas working for you.

Each quarter I take one day to review the success of the marketing plan, look at future ideas that I may implement into my plan and set a course for the quarter. Each quarter I write a mini-marketing plan for the quarter. That way I can review it with my team and plan the next quarters marketing events and ideas in advance.

Another key element of your marketing plan is to look back and look forward. First, look back to what marketing worked for you and what didn’t work. Then project a vision of how you want to position yourself in your marketing messages. For instance, I manage retirement assets, so my title is not Financial Planner, it is 'Retirement Planning Specialist’. Positioning means determine exactly what niche you’re intending to fill. I live in a retirement community, so it is natural to work in that niche.

Finally, If you’re happy with and expect average service then that is what you are probably giving. But if you expect world class service, then bring that element to your practice. The Ritz Carlton motto is ' we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen'. Look to first class organizations with a high degree of service and attention to detail and implement that type of philosophy into your business. This will help your marketing efforts when thinking of attracting new clients.

Copyright 2003 By: Jay Conrad Levinson and Grant W. Hicks, C.I.M - Co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing For Financial Advisors ", Trafford Publishing 2003.

You may use these articles in your marketing, newsletters and web sites as long as you retain the copyright information at the bottom, including the link to our web site and inform us where it is being used as well as sending us a copy of the publication.

Always check with your compliance office and or branch manager before implementing any marketing idea. The information does not constitute a recommendation for the sale or purchase of any securities or insurance.

'I could use a hundred people who don’t know there is such a word as impossible'. Henry Ford