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Give Your Marketing a Tech Boost

A new tool can ease the pain of attracting new clients.

Joel P. Bruckenstein, 03/12/2009

It's only the beginning of March, but I've already had the pleasure of attending and presenting at some outstanding Conferences in 2009. Considering the state of the markets and the economy, the mood was rather upbeat, and the overall educational content at each was excellent.

While there was, understandably a great deal of talk surrounding the business challenges that advisors face during these difficult times, there was also a surprising amount of discussion about the unique opportunities that good advisors have to attract new business at the moment. One thing that all the experts and the rank and file advisors agree on is that a record amount of assets is shifting from one financial institution to another, and this will continue over the next several years.

Presumably, you and your firm would like to see some of those assets shift away from other and to you, and there is no shortage of experts and vendors who claim they can attract the clients you desire. Since I primarily cover technology solutions, I tend to pay a bit more attention to technology-related marketing solutions. Over the years, I've sat through many presentations and viewed many technology products that purport to help advisors attract and retain clients, but it was only recently that I can across a product with a really promising approach to leveraging the web to attract prospects and convert them to clients. The product, the Advisor-Branded Marketing Platform from a firm called Boulevard R, is geared toward helping independent financial advisors automate their marketing efforts and grow their businesses. AMP is specifically designed to help advisors identify and attract their "ideal clients" because it is not enough to attract prospects. In order to get the most out of your marketing budget, you need to optimize your efforts by converting qualified prospects to clients while minimizing the time you spend dealing with "prospects" who are not a good fit for you and your firm.

If the name Boulevard R sounds familiar to you, it may be because David Drucker discussed the firm in his column a few months back. Usually I would not revisit a company so soon after Dave discussed it, but I'm making an exception here for two reasons. First, I think that in this case I bring a slightly different perspective to the conversation than Dave does. Second, the firm has evolved in a few short months and AMP is a new product offering.

From what I can gather, the original Boulevard R idea was to market directly to consumers. About three months ago, the folks there decided to change course and develop marketing tools for advisors. The advisor would in turn use Boulevard R products to attract prospects and communicate with clients. AMP is the initial result of this strategy change.

Broadly speaking, AMP is designed to do three things. First, it is designed to help attract exactly the type of prospects the advisor is looking for. Second, it is designed to help ensure a high close rate--to ensure that the advisor converts desirable prospects to clients. Third, AMP is designed to help advisors nurture a relationship with prospects who are not qualified today, but who are likely to be qualified in the future. So, for example, if a prospect is just starting out, has little net worth, but has a high income that is likely to grow over time, AMP can provide a facility to give such a person some support and keep the person in touch so they can be converted to a client when they qualify a few years down the road.

For most prospects, initial contact with an advisor will come through the advisor page that Boulevard R creates as part of the service. Boulevard R expects most prospects to find the advisor through one of three channels: a referral from another prospect, a prospect initiated search through Google or some other Web-based link/online ad, or a direct contact (phone or e-mail message) to the advisor's office that results in the prospect being referred to the advisor's Web profile.

Once the prospect lands on the Web site, the self-directed prospecting/prequalifying process starts in earnest. The prospect can see immediately who the advisor is and what their specialties are. In addition, there is a summary of the advisor's experience, education, articles written, and press quotes. Each of these sections contains hyperlinks, so the prospect can drill down and get more detailed information on any subject. In addition, the site can include a map of your office location and driving directions.

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