So far today, you’ve probably already been exposed to hundreds of messages, including emails, texts and social media posts. Factor in the average adult’s attention span of eight seconds, and you’ll see why differentiating yourself in a sea of content is no easy task.
Branding is one of the most powerful things a financial adviser or insurance agent can do for their business today. Your brand is your personality and how you communicate who you are. Developing your brand’s voice is key to implementing consistent content marketing strategies, setting yourself apart and developing relationships with your clients both on- and offline.
With everything else on your marketing plate, you may be wondering why your brand’s voice deserves your time. Simply put, it’s the foundation of all of your future content and marketing strategies. Without understanding your business’ personality, it’s hard to attract your ideal clients and conduct business with others like you. Establishing who you are as a brand is a necessary prerequisite to serving those who respond to your unique strengths.
Here are three simple actions you can take to start developing your brand’s voice today:
1) Describe your brand in three words. This exercise will help you establish how you see your business, how others see your business and where those two perspectives intersect. Every company has a different voice; your job is to find one that suits you.
Are you more casual, or strictly business? Do you joke around in your content, or stick to the facts? Do you focus on education, or do your clients prefer to not be involved in the process? Describing your brand in three words will force you to prioritize your strengths.
2) Define each word. Once you have your three words, define them a little further and note any attributes, behaviors or content ideas associated with each word.
For example, Atkinson Zornes Financial Planning Group in Bellevue, Washington serves a very specific group of clients because of its location: Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft. But this brand wasn’t developed overnight.
If the principals of this firm tried this exercise, they might describe themselves as knowledgeable, passionate and tech-savvy. Fleshed out, these words might look something like this:
- Knowledgeable: advisers know about industry retirement plans, Boeing VIP and VIP+, and qualified retirement plans
- Passionate: younger advisers serve different client age groups, are helpful and friendly, and are constantly learning new things in their positions
- Tech-savvy: firm leverages current financial technology, subscribes to a marketing automation platform and keeps website up to current design trends
3) Revise when necessary. If there’s one constant, it’s change. Your business is always evolving, your offerings are always changing and even you are a different person than you were last year—which makes it important to revise and revisit your brand’s voice regularly and make changes as you grow.
Reevaluate your brand and content either every six months, or any time you change your business values, want to attract a new market or notice your website marketing efforts seem outdated.
Once you solidify your brand’s voice, stay consistent and use it throughout all your marketing materials. Ideally, your blogs, emails, whitepapers, advertisements and other marketing assets all sound like they were produced by the same person—even if they weren’t. With consistent messaging, you’ll find it easier to stand out from the competition and gain more of your ideal clients.
Craig Faulkner is chief executive of FMG Suite, which offers a complete inbound marketing solution for financial professionals.