fee-only financial advisors don't make assumptions

Fee-Only Financial Advisors….Don’t Make Assumptions in Your Branding!

(Part 3 of ‘The Four Agreements’ series)

In our previous post about Don Miguel Ruiz’s ‘The Four Agreements’, we continued exploring financial advisor marketing and the role financial advisor marketing companies can play in getting your message across. More importantly, using your message to reach the ideal client prospect.

The ‘Four Agreements’ are a great way to demonstrate the connection between Inbound Marketing methodology and Fee-Only Financial Advisor marketing.

Here are the four agreements with links (to date) for the posts relating to them:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take things personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

Water? What Water?

There is an old Zen koan that states ‘the last animal to discover water, would be a fish’. And the last person to discover an assumption would be the person who harbors it.

Assumptions work like software, most of the time they operate in the background – until they cause a problem, and even then, they often try to elude discovery. Something doesn’t work as we expect, or another person reacts in a way we don’t expect – we then try to find the source of the problem.

However, we frequently do not ask the question when considering our branding, “What am I assuming about this situation?”

It is a powerful question in many walks of life, no less in business. Erroneous assumptions in marketing cause us to go on doing the same thing (based on assumptions!) and expecting a different result.

On a practical level, all marketing and sales approaches are based upon assumptions. When we don’t get the result we desire it makes sense to come back to the assumptions. It all sounds rather simple. Yet this is exactly where the ‘rub’ is. Most of the time we don’t. We double down and try harder with the tactics we have chosen or switch to a different tactic based upon the same assumptions.

Ways to Be Congruent

Marketing your Fee-Only Financial Advice is no different. For instance, some of the good questions you could ask yourself about your marketing are:

  1. Are my marketing messages congruent with my company brand?
  2. Is the language of my website and marketing materials coherent with how my client prospects think?

Let’s deal with each in a little more detail:

1) Congruent: Does your site say anything like ‘we pride ourselves in putting the client first’? If someone reaches out through your site how long does it take for them to get a response? If it takes a few days, it won’t appear to the prospect that your company does put them first.

In society and especially in the online environment, immediate gratification has become a driving force.

So for instance, having an instant chat widget installed such as PureChat that is linked to your desktop and your mobile phone, is a great way to be able to instantly respond to any kind of inquiry. The tool can be flicked between any one of your team/staff. This means that even when you are not available to respond, someone can get back to the inquirer and prove that indeed ‘we put you first’.

Ways to Be Coherent

fee-only financial advisors don't make assumptions

2) Coherent: Do the language on your site, marketing materials, and advertising connect with the prospect? Without having an intimate knowledge of your prospect’s motivations, pains, dreams, – the language you use may completely miss the mark. Here is where assumptions can play such a destructive role.

After many years of faithfully serving clients, you may assume you know what it is they are trying to achieve e.g. away from poverty and towards wealth and security. All’s well – you know your client profile but do you know what language a new prospect will type into a search engine to find a solution to their problems?

George Bernard Shaw said once that “The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.” What he meant was that he enjoyed those who made few or no assumptions about him when they met him again.

Researching Who You Are Talking to

fee-only financial advisors don't make assumptions

Ensuring that you are ‘measuring the market’ and testing what specific language it uses is essential to making your language coherent to your target audience. The simplest way to do this is to collect client language through a questionnaire, assessment or survey.

You probably already do something like this as part of your onboarding process for new clients. But have you ever compared the language they use with the language you use on your site and other channels?

Another method you can use to collect target audience language is online surveys. Using tools like Survey Gizmo or Survey Monkey (with a well-designed set of questions) can be a great way to find out what words people use to describe their challenges.

Bringing this language into the text of your marketing efforts can transform your ROI on marketing dollars.

After 15+ years in online marketing, I have only encountered a handful of business people who have actually done this comparison process. Even subtle differences can make a huge difference to results.

Both of these questions…

  • Are my marketing messages congruent with my company brand?
  • Is the language of my website and marketing materials coherent with how my client prospects think?

… need to be answered confidently for your marketing to be a sound investment.

Another great way to avoid making assumptions is to have a clearly planned and researched ideal-client persona written out. You can construct one of these with the help of my ‘How To Create Buyer Personas’ ebook.

In my next post, we’ll discuss the fourth and final ‘agreement’ that demonstrate the connection between Inbound Marketing methodology and Fee-Only Financial Advisor marketing.

The next post will be ‘Always Do Your Best’ – sounds a kind of ‘no-brainer’.  However, I’m sure I’ll have a few surprises for you that are relevant to the effective marketing of your business online. To ensure you see subsequent posts subscribe at the top of this page and you will be alerted when the new post is available to read.

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