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As financial professionals, we spend a lot of time explaining and reinforcing to our clients the importance of following a financial plan. However, only a small percentage of advisors take advice when it comes to our marketing plans. Many take on a haphazard approach that consists of an occasional seminar or mailing piece.

To create a marketing plan that consistently connects you with prospective clients, you first need to identify your ideal prospect and discover the best way to reach them.

After you have decided on the type of people you want to focus your business on, here are some guidelines to consider when developing your formal marketing plan:

Visualize your direction.

You need to cultivate a clear vision of where you want to go with your college funding practice. Without a clear roadmap, you may find yourself focusing on the obstacles rather than your ultimate goal.

Identify your goals.

Your marketing plan should include short-term goals that take about 12 months to complete and long-term goals in a 24-month period.

Do your research.

Discover the opportunities, financial challenges, and problems that are unique to your particular target market. Identify concentrations of people who fit your ideal prospect list and determine the most compelling message to approach them.

Develop your strategy.

How can you deliver your message to your designated audience and exactly what will it take to get them interested in working with you? Remember the three common motivating factors, greed, love, and fear. Have a clear answer to “What’s in it for them?”  Everybody wants to increase income, reduce taxes, and reduce expenses. Everybody has a hot button. What is your ideal client’s hot button? Work that into your marketing messages.

Position yourself.

Make yourself appealing to your target prospects by being the go-to expert for college funding advice in their community. By being a Certified College Funding Specialist (CCFS®), you are already off to a good start.

Step outside the box.

View your practice with the critical eye of a prospect or client. Start at the front door and go to your office as if you had an appointment. How are you greeted? How does your reception area appear? How are the phones answered? How are follow-up meetings handled? Try to be as objective as possible in your assessment, keeping in mind that your clients should have a pleasant experience every time they enter your office. If this is not the case, systems and procedures need to be designed and implemented to allow you and your staff to create a positive client experience.

Improve your communications with prospects and clients.

Are your ideal prospects and clients signing up for your newsletter? Are they reading your blog posts? Are you interacting with them on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter? Getting prospects and clients to connect with you is a must in today’s market. It starts with content.  Are you creating weekly content to keep in touch with your prospects and clients?

Capitalize on media exposure.

The media is a great way to further your reputation as the local college funding expert. Ask to be a contributor to local newspapers, television, and radio stations. Reach out to their editors and producers.

Be consistent.

Don’t try to be a one-hit wonder. Many advisors get into college,  go to the plate, take one swing, and assume they are going to hit it out of the park. Marketing doesn’t work like that. One Facebook ad campaign will get you started but won’t produce a response that will allow you to retire. They say your message must get in front of a potential client at least eight times before he or she will remember it. Analyze, test and tweak and don’t stop. Be consistent.


Posted by Josh Miner

Involved in the financial services industry for over twenty years, Josh is a nationally known sales and marketing coach for financial advisors and Managing Partner of Spike Sales, LLC, located in Dana Point, California.

Spike Sales provides comprehensive sales and marketing solutions for financial professionals. Josh has been a speaker and content provider for the ACCFS and is our Executive Director. The ACCFS partners with Spike Sales to handle the management of the day to day business functions. Spike Sales handles member support, web technology management, business development and many other valuable functions needed in today's ever-changing marketplace.