There’s a reason you’ve likely heard about something called inbound or content marketing (and not just because you’re on this particular site).
This methodology revolves around creating high-quality, high-value content like blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, ebooks, and so on, and then publishing and distributing that content to a particular audience.
The goal of inbound and content marketing is to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. If you do that, you’ll likely attract, engage, and nurture that person from passerby to prospect and give yourself the opportunity to eventually convert them into a paying client for your financial planning practice.
But why bother with this process? Why not stick to the marketing and advertising methods you’re likely more familiar with, like paying for ads or sending out direct mail or even cold calling (and cold emailing)?
Because using content as part of an inbound marketing strategy gives you a way to market your firm for free.
Outbound Marketing Costs You, Every Time
Traditional, old-school marketing tactics are known as “outbound” marketing. They include some of the activities mentioned above: cold calling or messaging, direct mail, paid advertisements and publicity, trade shows or seminars, etc.
There’s a cost associated with each of these marketing activities, and therefore, a limit to how widely you can spread your message. There are only so many stamps you can buy so you can send out your direct mail, or so many Facebook ads you can pay to run, because your budget is only so big.
Inbound marketing is different. While outbound tactics create a tangible, direct cost to acquiring a lead or client and use a system that’s dependent on budget, inbound marketing earns someone’s attention, rather than paying for it.
There’s a low monetary cost of acquiring clients — and it often doesn’t cost money at all.
If you focus on creating content that you can publish online, you get free supplies and free distribution channels to use for your marketing. This makes your reach with inbound marketing strategies technically limitless.
With no cost, there’s no limit from a budget perspective (like there is with outbound marketing and advertising).
This is a big reason why inbound marketing is such a hot topic. It’s not just trendy — and it’s definitely not just for millennials.
Any smart business should consider this as a way to market because it provides more bang for the buck. There’s unlimited upside because you’re dealing with digital space and materials, rather than physical ones that can only be produced at a tangible cost.
Here’s How to Market Your Financial Planning Firm for Free
So how can you get started and market your firm for free? Here are 7 tactics that you should consider:
- Content Creation/SEO (Read More: Do You Have to Blog to Market Your Business? and Want to Stop Blogging to an Audience of None? Create Content People Want to Read)
- Social Media (Read More: 5 Quick Tips Financial Advisors Can Use for Social Media Success)
- Email Marketing
- Public Relations (Read More: PR for Financial Advisors: How to Handle Your Own Public Relations)
- Events and Community Involvement
- Public Speaking
- Word of Mouth
I’ll break down each of these tactics for you below. But first, I want to be clear on what I mean by “free.”
What It Means to Do Free Marketing
When I say you can use these tactics to market your firm for free, I mean you can do any of the activities listed without spending a single dime.
It doesn’t cost a thing to build a following on social media. It’s completely free to sit down and write a blog post. Reaching out to reporters who can include you in their story and help you earn some PR juice isn’t something you have to pay for before you do it. Speaking doesn’t cost you anything — and in fact, someone may pay you to do it!
Nothing on this list has to cost you money in order to do it and to do it successfully.
That doesn’t mean these things can’t cost money. They can.
You can run ads on social media. You can buy email lists. You can pay to sponsor a community event.
The point I want you to focus on is that you don’t have to pay to play here. You might want to put some money into a marketing budget at some point, but I always recommend starting with organic content efforts.
A Few Ideas for Implementing These Tactics
This is what I’d suggest if you want to do some marketing for free and leverage the list of suggested tactics above:
Write a blog. Publish consistently. Write a new blog post and publish it on your site every week or every other week.
Optimize your post for SEO, which means choosing a relevant long-tail keyword (like “running out of money,” for example) and making sure that keyword appears in the title of your post, the first 100 words, and at least one subheading.
Include a way for your site visitors to subscribe to your blog, or create something you can offer for them to download in exchange for sharing their email address with you.
Then create an automated email campaign that sends them 2 to 3 emails every 3 to 5 days after they first sign up for your list — and continue to send your subscribers valuable, helpful communications on a regular basis.
Get on the social media platform where your ideal clients are most active. Social media is not something scary or complicated; it’s literally what you do every day, just in a different medium. It’s being social. It’s communicating and engaging with others.
All you need to do to “be good” at social media is to ask questions, leave comments, share relevant information, provide tips and education or advice — everything you’d do in a real-life scenario to be a useful, helpful, and friendly person others want to be around.
Do some public relations — and start on your favorite social networks. Social media is a great place to start connecting and forming relationships with reporters and writers. PR is all about just that: relationships.
The more journalists you know and offer to help without asking for anything in return, the more likely they’ll be to think of you when they want to quote a financial planner or expert for their next article.
Get involved in community organizations and events, and offer to volunteer or help in some way (better yet, start your own community or event and be the star of the show). You can do this online or off. When I moved to Boston, I started a Facebook group for fellow entrepreneurial women in the city who were also transplants.
I organized a monthly event where we’d all congregate at a different bar after work, which didn’t cost me anything: we just showed up, hung out, and networked. The group grew to 300 people before I had to hand it off to someone else because I no longer had time to manage it!
Apply to speak at every relevant event you can find in your local area. If you don’t love public speaking, practice. Join Toastmasters or another personal development group or organization that will help you work on and improve your skills.
If you need more advice or just want more how-tos on how to actually execute these suggestions, I highly recommend browsing this blog. There’s a wealth of information for financial advisors who want to get serious about content marketing — but don’t want to shell out serious cash to get started.
Or, just send over an email. I’m happy to point you in the right direction or help you find the resource you need to get started.