By Terrie S. Wheeler, MBC
My last post examined ways to measure marketing return on investment under the second pillar of marketing– Attracting New Clients and Developing New Business. This post will explore measuring marketing ROI under the third pillar, Increasing Name Recognition and Awareness. This is an area of marketing where it is very easy to spend lots of money (buying advertising, hiring public relations firms, or attending tradeshows), so carefully measuring your return is particularly important. Below are listed Pillar III marketing strategies and their corresponding ROI measurement techniques.
Advertising (Print and Web-based)
Considering the generally high costs associated with advertising, it is important to make sure that your advertising dollars are truly well spent. While you may like to think that your advertising helped you to land that new client, you can’t be sure unless you ask. Check in with new clients and ask why they hired your practice. If they cite specific advertising as one of the reasons they hired the practice, your advertising has resulted in measurable ROI!
Another simple way to determine whether your advertising works is to include a call to action in your ad (such as registering for a seminar). You can also determine if your advertising works by seeing if there is higher name recognition of your practice in the marketplace based on independent market research. Finally, if you are using web-based advertising, monitor your search engine rankings to see if they improve.
Branding and Identity
Developing professional, cohesive identity and branding materials for your practice is a smart investment. Your materials should include a logo, letterhead, brochures, and website that, when viewed together, are consistent and have the same strong visual identity. Done correctly, your materials will result in a higher level of professionalism conveyed through your practice’s brand and resulting identity materials that will generate compliments from clients, contacts and referral sources. You will know your branding and consistency has paid off when your practice “becomes known” in the marketplace for some element of its branding or identity.
We all know that, generally speaking, publicity for your practice is a good thing. But how can you measure the ROI of such an intangible marketing function? If you have an article written about you or your practice in a local or national publication, or if you appear on the radio or television, check the media outlet’s advertising rates. Multiply the cost of placing an ad of similar length by 3 or 4 to arrive at the approximate dollar value that the public relations “advertising” has been worth to your practice. Next, count the number of media impressions your practice made – how many people had the opportunity to see the article or hear the interview.
In a more general way, you can measure your public relations ROI by looking at how often your practice gets substantive content placed in publications which are read by A-level clients. Look at the number of news releases the practice proactively distributes each month and the number of bylined articles published per year by you or other professionals in your practice.
You can also measure your public relations ROI by examining the relationship between your practice and reporters. How many times in the last year have practice professionals been quoted in the press? How many reporters does each professional know and have a relationship with?
To learn more about effective public relations, see Tip #10 in my blog post, Marketing Your Advisory Practice in a Tight Economy—Part III.
Participating in key trade shows in your area of expertise and within your community can be a great way to reach a focused group of potential clients. However, with your limited time and resources, it is important to only commit to those trade shows that generate the most ROI.
To measure the ROI of a participation in a trade show, look at the number of new client or referral source leads generated as a direct result of the practice’s participation in a trade show. Also, count the visitors who leave their card or ask for additional information and the number of your own practice professionals who participate in the event. If you or someone from your practice is a speaker at a trade show, it is likely that you were able to reach more potential clients. Finally, look honestly at your level of proactive follow up after the event. Are you truly reaching out to and connecting with the trade show participants?
Volunteering in your community is the right thing to do. It can also be an opportunity to build your skills and your network. Is your practice taking advantage of this great professional and marketing opportunity?
To measure how well your advisory practice is doing in its community involvement efforts, look at the number of professionals in your firm serving on non-profit boards and delivering pro bono work (hours per year).
Does your practice create an environment and culture where volunteerism is encouraged and rewarded? If your practice encourages its professionals to volunteer for organizations they are committed to and passionate about, your practice can become a community leader with a reputation for excellent and ethical work. While not every volunteer or board position will directly lead to new clients, it is important to stay consistently involved. Positive results may take time but community involvement is always rewarding!
To learn more about the importance of community involvement in your marketing efforts, read my blog post Giving Back: Why Advisors Need to Spend More Time Volunteering.
Considering how recently online networking has developed, it’s astounding how pervasive it has become in such a short time. And it’s only growing! As you consider ways to market yourself and your practice, keep in mind that social networking allows you to communicate your key messages and make connections with people that you would likely never find using traditional methods.
Although social networking can seem amorphous, social networking can and does lead to the development of new relationship and clients. To maximize your social networking activities, participate actively in groups on several social networking sites. Be willing to share expertise and NOT use social networking to directly sell. Finally, spend time on each site at least once a week to update your profile or status, to contribute to conversation, or to post an informative article.
To learn more about the social networking for financial advisors, see my blog post An Advisor’s Guide to Social Networking.
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