Change the Nature of Your Relationship (Nurture Your Clients)

By Amy McIIwain, President, Financial Social Media on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Advisors don’t typically have a marketing background; however, prospecting and marketing skills are essential to running a successful advisory business. In order to initiate and build lasting client relationships, you must proactively nurture your clients with valuable, targeted and frequent communications that are delivered in a variety of flavors. Having a stronger relationship with your clients will also make it easier to ask for referrals, which is the easiest way to get new business. Here are some tips for how to nurture your clients along a strong, long-term relationship:

Know your client base.

The key to an effective nurturing campaign is being able to target your client base with messaging that speaks to them. The easiest way to achieve this is through segmentation. Your client list can be segmented in a number of ways, such as by: age, occupation, lifestyle, geography, hobbies, personality, gender and profitability. If you choose to segment your base by profitability, this will help clarify where to focus most of your marketing efforts, and also help paint a picture of your “ideal” client for prospecting. If you don’t already have this type of information, it can be attained in client meetings, or by researching your clients online. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google are great sources for learning about your clients’ personal interests to help tailor your messaging, such as charities your clients are involved in, hobbies they may enjoy, or places they like to travel. The better you know your clients and segment your client base, the better you can shape an effective message to nurture existing clients and attract similar prospects (i.e. “ideal” clients). 

Utilize multiple, strategic deliverables.

Once your client base is segmented, the next step is to select a strategic set of methods to reach your targets.  Send out a quarterly newsletter, a client satisfaction survey, tweet a helpful article, create a new blog post, write an article for a local newspaper or magazine—all can be effective options, depending on the characteristics of your client base. For example, if you have a lot of younger clients, tweeting, blogging, or video-sharing might be very promising avenues to explore--but if many of your clients are approaching/entering retirement, than you may want to explore more traditional options. Mail is one traditional option which can be very effective, if you know your client base well enough. For example, I know an advisor who keeps track of her client’s hobbies and regularly sends them books and articles that match their interests or corresponds with a life event such as planning for a wedding.  I also know a number of advisors that send personalized birthday and holiday cards to their clients as well as to their spouses and children. By including the family in your nurturing programs you build a relationship with your client’s children early on and are more likely to have them as clients in the future. The bottom line is, use as many deliverables as possible, but make sure you’re delivering in avenues your clients frequent. 

Touch each client at least once per month.

A touch can be delivered via email, phone, social media, or mail. Keeping in touch shows that you care, and because you have already shaped your message to reflect their interests, your clients will be happy when you do. The happier your clients, the more likely they are to give referrals—which of course are instrumental in growing your business.  Also, if you’re not proactively reaching out to your client base, other advisors will.  Once you’ve invested in a client relationship, you've now got to protect your investment if you want to prosper in the long-run.  

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