Skip to main content

You are here


Modern 401(k) Advisor Prospecting

Marketing is the lifeblood of a business. It’s the voice that promotes you, your company, and your offering.

Yes, marketing is the key to your success, but the marketing that worked yesterday might not work today, much less tomorrow. Thus, it is crucial that you are informed, up to date, and aware of modern marketing techniques so you can win new business.

What is Prospecting?

This word prospecting means a lot of different things. You might immediately jump up and say, “Cold calling!” True, this is a form of prospecting. However, today, we are going to focus on modern prospecting techniques. After all, when was the last time you bought something from a cold caller? (Not that it can’t happen; consider that in 2015, 4% of plan sponsors selected a new advisor based on an unsolicited call.[1. Plan Sponsor Attitudes 2015, Sixth Edition. Fidelity Investments.]

What is Modern Prospecting?

Glad you asked! Modern prospecting is when a plan sponsor has a curiosity and you have a solution. We use the word “curiosity” and not the word “need” because a plan sponsor might not know they have a need; however, they do have a question. So, if are ready to help with that question, it is the beginning of a digital relationship. (Did you know that 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying?[2. Morrison, Kimberlee. “81% of Shoppers Conduct Online Research Before Buying,” Social Times, Nov. 28, 2014.])

Examples of modern and searchable marketing include:

  • Original blog articles. In order to be found, your content needs to be different. Copying and pasting templated, generic content doesn’t differentiate you with a search engine. Keep in mind that your website is being evaluated by an algorithm; if your words are the same as everyone else’s, how can that computer tell you apart? Only original content will be separated (and rewarded) by the algorithm through search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Advisor directories. With the new conflict-of-interest rules and recent highly publicized class action lawsuits, plan sponsors are going to be evaluating their advisor relationships. Plan sponsors are going to need an efficient platform to find, qualify and select new advisor candidates. If your firm specializes in the 401(k) industry and you want to be found by curious plan sponsors, maybe you should consider joining the 401(k) industry advisor directories. Your ideal prospects are already visiting these pages now, and you can leverage your experience, quality of advice and marketing content to inbound leads.

  • Social media. There are two schools of thought on social connections: either have a known network of connections, or be connected with everyone. Everyone will have a different opinion on which is best. Ask yourself: What am I trying to accomplish with social media? This will help guide your personal response to relationship building. Then, once you decide, start being social! Update your LinkedIn profile with a compelling, “Why Me?” message. What sets you apart from the competition? Hint: Why do you love working with plans? Write it down as your new headliner. Then share a healthy mix of curated and created content. Just remember, don’t send a robot to a cocktail party.

Click here to read more commentary from Rebecca Hourihan.

In summary, marketing is a journey and content marketing takes time – lots of time. It’s the consistency of marketing, promoting, sharing and educating your prospects that converts them into clients. According to Google, modern consumers will go through 57% of the traditional sales process before they even contact you.[3. “B2B’s Digital Evolution,” Think with Google, February 2013.] So this means the plan sponsor most likely has been to your website, seen your blog, viewed your newsletters, and experienced your digital business. If your site and content marketing impacted and impressed that plan sponsor, guess what: You’ve got a new email lead in your inbox – and one that is already 57% of the way to becoming a new client!

Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the Founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing