This is a guest post from Wendy Cook of Wendy J. Cook Communications. In this post, Wendy shares some communications tips for the new year.
Ready or not, here comes the new year, along with the new tidal wave of work … especially for those who play the dual roles of accountant and investment advisor. To help keep your marketing and communication efforts afloat in the rapids, here are a half-dozen tips for 2010, all relatively easy but powerful ways to promote and inform, without taking a lot of time out of your day.
1. Lend to your library — Donate one or a few of your favorite investing or wealth management books to your local library. Often, libraries are willing to place a "bookplate" label in the inside front cover, identifying the donor, particularly if you request it. This way, you can both help educate your local community about passive investing and associate your firm name with the subject, in case a reader wants to learn more.
2. Give to your clients/prospects — Speaking of books, if there is one that you are particularly fond of, especially if it's newly printed, offering a free book to your clients or important prospects can be a quick, low-cost way to inform and engage. Use a post card, blog, e-mail or any other way you're most comfortable communicating to let them know you're happy to send them a complimentary copy of [Your favorite title] upon request. Combine the offer with a new year's greeting as described below, or consider it as a February (Valentine's Day?) promotional outreach. You can also offer to send the book to friends or family, as an excellent way to seek referrals.
3. Send out a new year's greeting to clients, and ask for referrals — Whether in person, postal or electronically, the new year provides a natural opportunity to call, write or e-mail all or select clients, in a separate mailing from quarterly reports. Here are a few potential talking points:
- • Thank them for past business and let them know you look forward to serving them in 2010.
• Encourage them to share any new plans they have, so you can ensure they are incorporated into your efforts.
• Acknowledge the big-picture plans and goals already in place, and reiterate your commitment to assisting with them.
• Last but NOT least: Ask if there are others (friends, family, colleagues) who can benefit from a "second opinion," no-obligation review of their financial affairs.
4. Create and practice your firm's "elevator speech" – Do you have a standard response ready for whenever you tell someone about your firm? Fill in the blanks below, and you're ready to respond to every opportunity that may come your way:
- For [your target audience] who want [what you offer that they most desire], [your firm name] is a [your broad service offerings]. Nobody is/does [how you're most distinct] better/more than we do.
Here's an example of this positioning statement template, filled in:
- For left-handed podiatrists in the greater Pleasantville area who want help synchronizing their professional and personal life goals, XYZ Advisors offers sensible, understandable solutions for managing wealth throughout the stages of a medical career. Nobody focuses on ensuring that you and your staff understand how your investment plan is built more than we do.
5. Enable Others To Be Your Marketing Eyes and Ears — Following up on the above tip, here are ways you can help others help you promote your efforts:
- • Are your staff members, friends and family telling the same story that you are when talking about your firm? After you've created your elevator speech, share it with others who may be in a position to explain your firm's offerings.
• Do they know a good lead for you when they see it, and do they know how to follow up appropriately? It can help you and them if you provide coaching on particular opportunities they can be on the look-out for, and appropriate next steps if someone is interested in learning more about your firm.
6. Protect What's Yours – Is your firm name trademarked? How about the distinct names of particularly important programs, communications or service offerings you've created? Consider this cautionary tale that ran in a recent InvestmentNews on the potential downside of skipping the steps involved in protecting the corporate identity you may have spent significant time and money to develop.
About Wendy J. Cook Communications
Wendy J. Cook Communications offers writing, editing, presentation and related services expressly for the fee-only, passive/DFA, Registered Investment Advisor firm community. By focusing on this niche, Wendy effectively helps these firms communicate their distinct messaging to clients, prospects, media and the general public using traditional and leading edge communication resources ranging from print to social media/web and e-newsletter forums. To find out more, visit www.wendyjcook.com.