Marketing: What the other guy is doing while you’re being too busy.

As a small to medium-sized firm you are up, day after day, against established players that have more resources, more brand, customers, references. It is the story of David versus Goliath. That is the story that makes entrepreneurship exciting.

So the question is how do you beat Goliath? And it’s not through the better product, because no one knows about your services or product at the beginning. When you start, no one knows you. No one knows your name. So, you’ve got to break through the noise, you’ve got to break through everything your competitors are doing.

How do you do that? Marketing.

People tell me regularly that they don’t have time for marketing, that’s basically like saying:

  • I don’t have time to win customers.
  • I don’t have time to build a successful business.
  • I don’t have time to really get known in the marketplace and increase my position and branding of it.

Yipes that’s a little harsh! Let’s back up for just a moment. Here is what we know about sales in the retirement plan world:

  • Sales cycles can be as long as 18 to 24 months.
  • Garnering the attention of decision makers is extremely challenging.
  • Regulatory oversight is growing and margins are shrinking.

And it is likely that if there was one little change you could make in your sales and marketing efforts that could propel your firm ahead of your competition, would you do it?

“Of course!” you say as you pound your fist on the desk. Unfortunately, many firms are opting out of a very (very) simple marketing solution: a monthly newsletter.

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Monthly newsletters and marketing

We’re all bombarded with the daily onslaught of emails, social invitation, electronic newsletters and the occasional email “blast.” And our reality tells us that the last thing we want to do is to be part of that stream of noise for our prospects and clients.

Despite the popularity and onslaught e-newsletters and emails, these avenues are still one of the best ways to nurture leads. According to the 2013 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Survey, a mighty 60% of marketers believe that email marketing produces ROI.

Around the same time, eMarketer released its “Email Marketing Benchmarks: Key Data, Trends and Metrics” in which it predicts the continued steady growth of email through 2016. “For marketers trying to reach consumers, email remains one of the best ways to find them.” For financial services, email marketing is a must-have.

Lead nurturing helps segment your sales effort

While closing the deal is top priority, keeping leads coming in the door is what allows sales to get to the point of close. That is where lead nurturing comes in – and where email newsletters come in.

Relationship building is a prime purpose of the e-newsletter. Eliminating the need to contact every lead on a monthly basis asking about their retirement plan needs. You can attend to the hot prospects and still keep your brand and expertise at the forefront, where prospects can easily access it. Even if clients or potential customers don’t read the newsletter, you create a positive and thought-leading brand experience.

Launching your first newsletter may feel like a daunting task. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Remember that you only need one main article for the body of the newsletter and two or three smaller pieces—announcements or bios.
  • Don’t worry about format. Your newsletter may simply look like a personal email (rather than a fancy HTML version). In fact, many email experts recommend this approach.
  • Create an editorial calendar like the sample provided here. By scheduling your newsletter release dates, you have visibility on upcoming important dates, holidays or deadlines.
  • Just get started. It is never the perfect time and it never will be. Marketing efforts are deliberate intentions that need to happen regularly to yield successful results.
  • Get help if you need help.
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