Marketing Tools You Should Look for in a Broker Dealer
If you're looking to make a broker-dealer change or are new to the financial planning industry, you're likely doing a lot of research to find the right fit.
One of the things that you should consider looking at as you evaluate different B/Ds is what they offer you as far as marketing tools. As we continue to move more and more into digital interaction, your online marketing will become a crucial component to growing your business. How a broker-dealer handles your marketing process could be a time suck or a time saver.
Here are some things to think about and possibly ask before you make a commitment:
What is the broker-dealer's process for getting marketing material through compliance?
You would think this wouldn't be that big of a deal, but it really is. If a B/D doesn't have a smooth process for compliance approval of blogs, videos, newsletters, events, or any other marketing tools you might use, this could cost you A LOT of time and many headaches.
In my experience, some B/Ds use antiquated systems of emailing back and forth to get compliance approval and the process never seems to be consistent. This is EXTREMELY frustrating. Others, however, use compliance management software and tools that allow you to upload your material and receive notification when something has been approved or if it needs to be changed. This tends to go a lot smoother.
Are you able to create your own marketing videos?
This might not be on your radar now, but knowing your options is important. Video marketing is becoming more and more important and some B/Ds make it very difficult to use this tool.
Are you allowed to create marketing videos?
What are the rules/parameters?
Most importantly, where can you publish these videos? Some broker-dealers will not allow you to use YouTube, which makes things difficult. Even if the videos are unlisted, using YouTube is important in order to get the shareable link so you can put your video on your website, in a newsletter, and on social media.
What email marketing tools are available?
Again - very important. Email marketing is your strongest client conversion tool, so you want to make sure you have something that functions really well. You want something that has better functionality than just sending whitepaper market updates and outside articles to your email list.
Ideally, you want the capability to create custom emails to send out to your audience. In a dream world, you want the ability to set up drip email campaigns that allow you to "set it and forget it." Platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp will allow you to do that and are your best bet. Website platform FMG Suite has the ability to create custom emails, but not the drip email function. Again, just be clear about what's available to you.
What marketing tools does the broker-dealer provide?
I was on a call with FMG Suite and looking at a new client's dashboard for their website and I was stunned. The additional material that her broker-dealer had provided for marketing was unbelievable!
"This B/D really wants to become a major player," the FMG source told me. "So, they're putting a lot of effort into marketing tools for their advisors."
Up until that point, I had only experienced B/Ds that had turned functionality OFF - not added to it. Knowing this B/D recognized the importance of marketing and how that would help grow their advisors' businesses got them a lot of respect from me.
So, look for that. Ask what they provide above and beyond what others do. That could save you a LOT of time and effort if it's already done.
Again, marketing might not be the first thing you think about when you're initially looking for a broker-dealer, but I can promise you that after you've gotten yourself set up and running and start thinking about ways to grow your practice...it's going to be a major consideration. I can't tell you how many advisors I've talked to who are so frustrated they can't do what others in the industry are doing all because of compliance restraints.
One of the main things you want to see is evidence that the broker-dealer is doing what they can to keep up with marketing trends. Yes, these things change and it's not all that easy for large companies to pivot with them, but it's important to see that they're paying attention.