Advisor Marketing, Part 1: Don’t forget clients were cavemen


The way people interact with businesses has changed. There’s been a fundamental shift in how we receive, absorb and react to marketing. Marketing strategies that used to be effective are no longer relevant. The unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of advisors haven’t caught on to this shift yet.

Sure, there are resources out there suggesting how advisors can ‘improve’ their marketing. Articles like ‘5 ways to use LinkedIn for prospecting’ are fine, but they don’t get to the root of the issue. Most of the advice out there fails to address the fundamental reason your marketing doesn’t work the way you want it to. There is an answer, though, and it’s a surprisingly simple one.


“Me cold. Me need shelter.”

To open this fundamental discussion about marketing, I first urge you to consider what exactly drives people to take action. After all, the purpose of marketing is to encourage people to DO something.

Put simply, humans take action to improve their current state. When we feel pain, stress or discomfort, we want a solution. Hungry? Want food. Cold? Want shelter. When we don’t feel discomfort, there is little incentive to act. This seemingly random reminder that your clients are still like cavemen is actually meant to be good news. Because regardless of technology advancements, the state of the economy, fad marketing techniques, etc., our natural human drives remain. The trick is to remember our natural problem/solution drive and apply it to all of your marketing.

“I understand you’re cold. Here’s a jacket that fits you perfectly.”

Most advisors market their business by listing out the services they provide and describing them to prospects. Fundamentally ineffective. People don’t instinctively react to facts about your service – it’s just information. Remember, people take action when they see a solution to the problems they feel. So, when a prospective client hears that you solve their problems, they’ll want to become a client. Your marketing must be solely about addressing these problems in a meaningful way.

The best marketing is not about selling your services, it’s about solving a problem that your prospective customers care about.

This is your new golden rule. Great marketing doesn’t talk about your business, it talks about clients’ problems and how you will solve them. Repeat it every time you go to market your business. When someone feels like you understand their struggles, know how to solve them, and do it better than other advisors, they will act. It’s in our nature.

Get started – 3 Simple Steps

Making the switch to focus your marketing on solving their problems is easy. Here are 3 simple steps to apply it in your business:

1.) Build out a detailed profile of your ideal client. Specificity is key. A good way to approach this is by thinking about who among your current clients is most enjoyable to work with and why. You may want to attract more clients that are similar in a specific way.

2.) Understand the unique challenges your ideal client is faced with. Take your time on this. The more deeply and accurately you understand their problems, the easier it will be to talk about it in your marketing and the more effective your marketing will be.

3.) Equip yourself with the tools you need to solve their problems. A key should be making your ability to solver their problems concrete and demonstrable. It can’t be all talk and no action. Set yourself up with client-facing technology that brings clarity to the work you do with them.

As you shift your marketing mindset to focus on solving specific clients’ problems, you’ll begin to get better marketing results. You’ll attract better clients, more of them, do it in less time, and begin the relationship with a deeper understanding of their needs. Read more about problem-focused marketing in our Free Guide: “How To Attract New Clients and Stand Out From The Crowd.”

Next: In ‘Advisor Marketing Part 2‘, we’ll go through HOW you can begin to apply this marketing strategy in your client communications, and lay out some practical examples.

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Carolyn is Blueleaf’s in-house marketing guru. She writes on The Blueleaf Blog to make advisors’ lives easier, offering practice management and client engagement tips where and when they’re useful. Outside of the Blueleaf offices, she can be found running a 10k or cooking her famous chili. Chat LIVE with Carolyn on Twitter @BlueleafAdvisor!
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