Your marketing efforts at the halfway point

By Jeffery Hoyle

Emphasis Marketing & Communications

A recent glance at the calendar told me something I didn't expect: Half of the year has already flown by. Can you believe it? I know for me personally, change has been the name of the game in the last few months. Some change for the better, some for the much better -- as well all know, change is good.

In the last few months, the economic climate hasn't changed a great deal. Sure, there have been glimmers of a new, more prosperous day on the horizon, but how long before we reach that day? At any rate, this is the perfect time to take a look at your marketing efforts so far and gauge their success or failure.

As we all know, we came into this year swimming upstream, and the effort we put forward to promote and grow our business needed to be aggressive, yet compassionate to the concerns of our clients. Questions still abound about the financial future of our clients and their families. It is up to you, the advisor, to be the calming voice of reason when it comes to assuaging their fears.

At this point in the year, a client financial evaluation might be just the thing. Give them an honest and clear picture of how their position looks now, and give them some viable options to further preserve and protect their financial picture. It is also a great offer to make to those prospects with whom you have yet to seal the deal. It is invaluable to your business survival to let your clients know that their financial future is important to you, not just when they sign on the dotted line, but well after.

Summertime is also a great time to do a client appreciation event. From a simple picnic in a local park or recreation area to a sit-down dinner in an outdoor restaurant, your clients will enjoy knowing that even with a struggling economy, they still matter to your continued success. With minimal effort, you can throw together an event that will be memorable for your clients and cement them to you as their advisor for a long time to come.

From an inner-office standpoint, now is a great time to take a look at your own marketing efforts. With any campaign, you should have some means in place of tracking its success. If you don't, then you've been throwing money down a well. Keep track of the number of calls your mail pieces generate and your mail house should have the means to track the progress of your mailings, as well. These are important facts to have, otherwise how will you know your efforts are paying off?

I would also recommend a plan of attack for the remainder of the year. If the effort you have put forth in the first half of the year has proven to be a success for you and your business, congratulations. Keep up the good work, and stay on track with your current plan that will keep you on the path to a successful year. But if your business has been floundering, you have to ask yourself a hard question: "How much effort have I put into marketing my business?"

Tough question? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but the answers are pivotal in the survival of your business. Let's take them one at a time.

So what are your efforts in marketing your business? We've covered this many times before, but hanging out a shingle isn't going to guarantee clientele. You have to put yourself in the mind of your client and remain there. Maybe you've been a passing thought in their mind during the first half of this year. For the rest of the year, you need to be as familiar as their telephone service provider. Now I'm not talking overkill; on the contrary, I am talking about developing a marketing plan that will knock your clients for a loop. How do you accomplish this? Well, as my mom always says, there's no shame in asking for help. That's what we professionals are for!

The bottom line is this: These are fighting times. Fight for yourself, fight for your business, but, most of all, fight for your clients. They are the ones that make all this possible. So arm yourself with the tools that will make you the winner in the end.