The Bear Necessities: Thrive in a Tough Market with Strong Marketing
Put the claws of the bear to work for you and make slow times grow times.
Unless you’ve moved into a nuclear fall-out shelter, you’ve probably heard the words “bear” and “market” used in the same sentence a lot lately. Now, I’ll let the analysts debate the length and extent of the market’s slowdown. What’s more, I’ll leave the quality of advice and service you provide your clients completely in your hands. As a marketing professional, those important things are peripheral as far as I’m concerned.
What is important to me in uncertain times is the way you communicate with your clients and prospects. I’ve compiled this list of Bear Necessities to show you what you must do to continue to grow and maintain your business. In a bull market, you need good marketing to grow. In a bear market, you’re going to need great strong marketing to survive.
Start with Your Budget
If you would have had the foresight and wherewithal to recognize the onslaught of the bear, it would have been prudent for you to have created a marketing budget. But if you’re like most, you haven’t even considered investing in your personal identity. Now, more than ever, it is essential for you to dedicate, at the very least, a quarter of your earnings to a marketing budget.
If you haven’t created a one-year marketing plan, start today. Outline your goals and audience and decide how your money will best be spent attracting those clients. Begin with an intensive direct-mail and e-mail blasting program. Then, begin utilizing different marketing channels to get your name out there. Develop a continuous marketing feel and message and use it in all of your advertising, seminars, and communications. Start the campaign intensively and remain consistent over the course of 12 months.
Now, more than ever, personal branding is a must. Some of your prospects may be losing confidence in their existing relationships as they feel they have let them down. By marketing your personal identity first, you give your audience a face and name they can trust. When it comes to the emotional concerns of your investors, you should embody the human touch and personalized service they have been missing.
Focus your marketing campaign on a specific niche. Establish who your “dream client” is and speak directly to his or her needs with a focused marketing campaign. The more specifically you define a niche, the more effective your campaign will be at reaching its intended audience. Don’t be afraid to speak directly to your prospective clients’ concerns with these programs. Dirty words like “volatility” or the “r” word might scare prospects at this point – but lightly referencing uncertainty in weekly advertising is not a bad idea.
Use Public Relations
Good public relations are a must during a bear market. When used properly, PR can help you maintain your clients and attract prospects by establishing credibility. “Crisis Communications” is a tool you should begin to study. Use your marketing campaign and set up an e-mail blasting program so that you can get the jump on your target audience’s concerns before they call you. Whether there is a surge or drop in the market, send an e-mail or tweet out to a group of your current clients. Tell them what is happening and what you are doing about it. Using another group list, e-mail prospects semi-regularly and let them know your personal opinion on the matter.
Few items are more newsworthy for the media than the impact the market is having on their audience’s pockets. Make yourself available to television and radio stations and print journalists. Let them know that they can call on you when they need to interview. Also, send press releases to media sources explaining the steps you are taking to help your clients protect their financial futures. Unlike your marketing program, the coverage you get in the media is free. It is also a higher source of credibility.
Do or Die
It’s difficult to say what impact the bear is going to have on your industry. However, I can say for sure that properly investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. These ideas will help you in good times or bad. It is possible that a lasting downturn could be detrimental to advisors. At the same time, the bear could also be a godsend, making investors rethink their soulless Internet services. When you become the personable expert your clients hear about and turn to for advice, your business will soar.
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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.
“It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole” ~ Mark Montoya