For many financial advisors, marketing themselves is often a challenge because the primary service they offer – providing clients with advice – and how they offer it are invisible and intangible. Which means that prospective clients can’t always make a fair evaluation when they are limited to assessing only the look and feel of the advisor’s business, but not the services the advisor actually provides. And when prospective clients can’t ‘see’ how advisors give advice, they often don’t understand the value that the advisor has to offer.
To overcome this issue, advisors have traditionally turned to one of the “three B’s” of marketing – Boldness (using pronounced marketing messages or media others aren’t willing to use), Blanketing (spending money to spread their message across a wide audience), and Building (leveraging relationships to generate referrals and word-of-mouth business) – to compete with the competition. But conquering just one of the three B’s can be both time- and money-intensive for an advisory firm targeting a broad pool of prospective clients (e.g., retirees and pre-retirees). Instead, advisory firms of any size can easily conquer all three B’s by carving out a niche that no one else serves.
Working with a niche narrows the potential competition, making it more likely that the advisor’s efforts to be Bold will be more likely to be noticed. In addition, serving a niche makes it easier for an advisor to Blanket their message because the population they need to reach is much smaller than targeting a broader pool of prospects. Finally, having a niche makes it easier to Build relationships by generating referrals because the niche gives other professionals a way to differentiate the advisor from their competitors, and opens new referral opportunities from Centers Of Influence (COIs) who work with individuals in the niche!
When brainstorming potential niches, it can be helpful for advisors to consider areas that reflect their passion (which generate energy and excitement that can spread to prospective clients), aptitude (which comes from the advisor’s natural talents, as well as their professional and broader life experiences), and profitability (which ensures that clients in the niche will be able to pay the fees needed to make the business profitable). Once the advisor has potential niches in mind, they can then research these areas to find the niche that is the best fit for them. Interviewing clients and contacts who fall into the niche, as well as COIs with extensive experience in the niche area, can help the advisor decide whether that given niche is potentially viable. Some criteria that can be used to help determine whether a niche market has potential include: whether individuals in that niche have pain points regarding their problem that the advisor can address, whether the niche is easy to find for marketing purposes, whether the niche market is growing, and whether it is possible to dominate the space due to a lack of competition.
Ultimately, the key point is that while marketing can be a challenge for advisors, those who focus their efforts on a suitable niche will find it easier to be Bold so that they are noticed, to Blanket prospective clients with their value proposition, and to Build relationships that generate referrals. By targeting a specific type of client and reducing the amount of competition, the advisor’s business can thrive as ideal clients enthusiastic about working with them pour in!