Advisers See Word of Mouth Marketing as Most Effective

Many financial advisers are not using the most efficient marketing tactics, according to a survey from ByAllAccounts, Inc., an account aggregation service firm. 

More than 42% of advisers rely on word of mouth and referrals for new business, while only 12% of respondents have a dedicated marketing team or staff member.

“It’s not surprising to see so many advisers relying on referrals,” said Cynthia Stephens, ByAllAccounts vice president of marketing. “The real question is whether they are proactive around that strategy or simply waiting for it to happen. Overall, most advisers rated the effectiveness of their marketing efforts as low.”

More than 62% of the 200 advisers surveyed utilize their Web sites for marketing. Other commonly used marketing techniques are:

  • seminars/events (56.1%)
  • email (51.4%)
  • newsletters (47.4%)
  • direct mail (30.1%).

In terms of effectiveness, however, referrals ranked #1, followed by seminars/events, and Web sites as #2 and #3 respectively. In fact, when rating Web sites for effectiveness in new client acquisition, more than 73% rated it either neutral, somewhat ineffective, or not effective at all – and 11.2% of respondents do not even have a site.

The survey also addressed the use of marketing metrics and technology. Fifty-four percent do not track visitors to their Web sites and 47% have not gone through a search engine optimization (SEO) process. Only 7.4% of respondents are currently using marketing automation technology, but those who do utilize it rated the effectiveness of their marketing much higher than those not using marketing automation (75% versus 48%), despite having a slightly smaller marketing budget.

Based on the results of the survey, Stephens offers the following suggestions to advisers who are looking for ways to improve the effectiveness of their marketing efforts:

  • Take advantage of free tools like Google analytics to track Web site traffic, improve site performance and better understand your prospects.
  • Decide if you want help from an outsourcer. If you are going to do it yourself create a marketing plan.
  • If you plan to do marketing in house investigate marketing automation solutions and other technologies to see what's right for your firm.

"While there are no magic bullets," added Stephens, "a systematic approach can make an enormous difference."