Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Does PR Work For Financial Advisors?

Will PR Work For Financial Advisors?

Mark Satterfield
Gentle Rain Marketing Inc.

In most professions, getting the word out about what you do is a relatively straightforward proposal.

Unfortunately that’s not the case for financial advisors.

As compliance continues to remain a challenge, advisors find themselves relying on networking, referrals and word-of-mouth for most of their new business. While these methods undoubtedly do work, they also have significant limitations.

The problem with relying on word-of-mouth and referrals is that you give up control over the business development process. One never knows when (or why) a stream of new referrals will call, or alternatively dry up like a Georgia creek bed in August.

While networking with the right associations and groups can pay dividends, as anyone knows who’s done it for a while, it can be an extremely labor-intensive process. Not only do you have to budget personal time for the meetings, but even at the most productive events it’s unlikely that you’ll come back with more than just a couple of prospects who are seriously worth following up with.

So what’s an alternative? Is there a method by which financial advisors can get prospects to consistently seek them out? Although it may seem a bit like the holy grail of business development, the answer is “Yes”.

As an increasing number of financial advisors are realizing, PR can play a significant role in positioning you as a leading expert among those who can either do business with you, or refer you to others.

However, one or two mentions in the press are usually not enough. As with any other marketing strategy, a sustained and consistent effort is crucial if you are serious about becoming one of the recognized financial experts in your field.

What constitutes an effective PR campaign? We believe that it’s three things.

1) Creativity. Can you position your services or products in a way that make people curious and interested? In our own situation, when we first promoted Gentle Rain Marketing we used a survey as a lever for getting publicity. If we had simply announced that a new marketing firm had opened, no one would have cared. Using the survey as a hook got us a lot of press, which ultimately led to a large number of brand new client relationships. Naturally, surveys are just one of the methods we use to creatively attract the attention of the media for our clients.

2) Distribution: An effective PR campaign reaches both wide and deep. Simply just sending the release to a handful of names gleaned from a few publications is not an effective distribution strategy. In our database we have contact information and detailed profiles on over 460,000 writers and journalists. From this comprehensive universe we are able to develop highly focused micro-targeted lists. Effective PR is about developing relationships with the media contacts that can make you famous with their readers, listeners and viewers.

3) Consistency. While a single press release can occasionally be highly effective, a far more effective approach is to be communicating with your key media contacts regularly and consistently. In order to do this you need lots of creative ideas for how to position what you offer in ways that make you stand out. The Gentle Rain methodology of consistent messages of relevance and interest is a crucial component for an effective PR strategy.

If you are struggling for effective methods to differentiate yourself from the competition and would like to become a highly recognized financial advisor in your market, a targeted PR campaign can pay enormous benefits. More information about PR and other ideas for building your brand can be found in our latest free report, How To Become The Recognized Expert In Your Field which is available here

Mark Satterfield
Gentle Rain Marketing Inc.

Breaking Barriers, Building Business with Peter and Katherine Vessennes (Episode 001 )

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