Now that we’ve closed the books on 2020, we get to welcome a new beginning. To help you on your marketing journey, let’s do some business planning, so that your business is ready for success in 2021.
When you look back at 2021, we want you to feel proud of your accomplishments. That is why we are starting out by identifying your goals. Take your time and think about your ambitions for the year ahead. Do you want to grow your practice? Increase profitability? Hire a new associate? There are no wrong answers—write them below.
My top three business goals for 2021 are:
Your Goals in Action
I’m taking a wild guess, but was one of your goals business growth? If it was, great! Let’s look at a helpful tool that will help you build your business: the pipeline funnel. We want to help you specifically identify where you can enhance your pipeline management process to nurture cold leads into new retirement plan clients.
Before each pipeline activity listed below, there is an open space; if you are doing that marketing activity, place a check mark there.
AWARENESS: Top of the funnel. This stage focuses on generating buzz. What activities are you implementing to drive top of the funnel awareness?
These activities keep you top of mind with your clients and centers of influence so that when an opportunity presents itself, they can rave about you and your professional retirement plan services.
_ Sharing social media updates
_ LinkedIn ads
_ Sending emails
_ Hosting webinars
_ Recording videos
_ Digital ads
INTEREST: First level of engagement. This phase means that the prospect realizes they have a problem and are looking for an experienced retirement plan advisor with expertise to help them solve it. This is where you can demonstrate your authority.
_ Blog articles
_ Plan sponsor guides
_ Gated content
_ Case studies
_ Financial wellness programs
_ Other content marketing materials
DECISION: The iron is getting hot. Like it or not, the events of 2020 have changed our world and with that, we all need to adapt. This includes reviewing your foundational marketing materials (websites, brochures, pitch decks, handouts, etc.) and reevaluating your digital content.
Assess it like an outsider; if you need help, ask your wholesaler partners for feedback. The purpose of this exercise is to ensure that your visual presentation reflects your professional services.
_ Have a great website
_ Professional social media profile
_ Up to date pitch deck
_ Digital brochures
_ Sample reports
_ Service calendar
_ RFP responses
_ Nurture marketing campaigns
Read more commentary by Rebecca Hourihan here.
ACTION: Signing on the dotted line. At this stage, the plan sponsor is going to make a binary action: hire you or not. Ideally, they have chosen you as their new retirement plan advisor. Congratulations!
While this is a win, don’t stop there. It is important to nurture this valuable relationship because they are now back in the “awareness” portion of the funnel, not as a prospect but as a potential referral source. This is a great opportunity to evaluate your post-finalist and onboarding process. How are you reinforcing the relationship? Small touch points and gratitude go a long way.
_ Case studies
_ Client appreciation events/small gifts
_ Email campaigns
_ Social media connections
_ Educational webinars
_ Best practice guides
_ Thank you notes
Identify Soft Spots
Now that you have checked all the activities you are currently implementing, do you see any blank sections? Are you missing anything within your pipeline process? If so, circle three new activities that you would like to focus on in the new year.
Also, strive for a minimum of three activities in each layer of the pipeline. By having a pipeline management process, you can track how prospects are graduating through each section as they convert into warmer and warmer leads. This is going to help effectively and efficiently move your prospects from cold prospects into new 401(k) clients.
Fix the Leaks
2021 is your year! If you are missing any sections, no worries—you have 365 days in front of you to address them. Use this plan sponsor pipeline funnel to identify any opportunities for improvement so that you can make 2021 your best year yet!
Thanks for reading and happy marketing!
Rebecca Hourihan, AIF, PPC, is the founder and CMO of 401(k) Marketing, which she founded to assist qualified experts operate a professional business with professional marketing materials and ongoing awareness campaigns. This column originally appeared in the Winter issue of NAPA Net the Magazine.