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  • Writer's pictureFinancial Marketing Pros

Pro Tip #24: 13 Marketing Lessons from 13 Years in Financial Advisor Marketing

Joe Bayliss and Roy Furr

Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. We’re rounding the corner on 40,000 hours of generating leads for independent financial advisors. So we thought it was a great time to stop and share 13 hard-fought lessons we’ve learned over the years.

We literally see these lessons pop up every day, every week, and every month. Follow these and you will prosper. Here we go…

  1. Your copy is the most important piece of the marketing puzzle. It took us thousands of campaigns to realize this. But if you’re not generating high-value leads with your current marketing spend, the likely problem is the message and/or the offer – not the medium.

  1. Track every lead. Hold every marketing dollar accountable. You should know how many leads you generated from every channel last month; how many converted into a first appointment; and if they converted into a customer – how much production did they represent? If you’re not doing this now, start doing this today. In the end, it will save you a ton of money.

  1. As a follow-up to #2… if a prospect does not convert into a customer today, what is your process to convert them next week, next month or next year? Some of your best prospects are just sitting in your database. Our highest-producing advisors will write more business in 2024 from leads generated prior to December 31st, 2023 than from leads generated in 2024. Think about that one for a minute.  

  1. Conduct short, inexpensive tests. We’ve learned something important that media sales people don’t want you to know… when you put the right message (and offer) in front of the right people it often works on day one. So there’s no need to make big financial commitments or long-term contracts until you know something is a proven winner.

  1. Diversify your calls to action (CTAs). Not everyone is going to connect with you in the same way. Not everyone is going to want to start a relationship with getting a full-blown retirement game plan. So offer different ways for your prospects to engage with you. Different fish are going to be attracted by different baits, or lures.

  1. Have a lead conversion process. We all want to generate new leads. But are you doing everything you can to convert the leads you are generating now? If not, you could be wasting a lot of time, money, and effort just chasing new leads all of the time. Create this process and track it every week. Hold your team accountable to improve lead conversion every week.

  1. There are certain topics that are important to speak to your prospects about in a face-to-face meeting. And there are certain topics that are more effective at triggering a response in marketing to new prospects. Make no mistake about it, these two things can be mutually exclusive. Knowing what triggers a response (and what doesn’t!) will save you a lot of money.

  1. Our highest-producing advisors share one common trait. They have courage. They are constantly trying new and different ways of reaching new prospects. Some of them work. Some of them don’t. Even if something doesn’t work, they get back on the horse and try again. 

  1. There’s a very high cost of “free.” FMOs offer a lot of free marketing services. And in most cases, they’re giving these same services and campaigns to 10 other advisors in the same market – so prospects can’t tell the difference between you and the advisor a mile closer to their house. The top performing advisors know there is a very high cost that comes with using these marketing efforts.

  1. Content marketing works best. There are many different forms of marketing available today. There is general advertising; cause marketing; branding; and many other choices. We love content marketing for one reason – it does the best job of delivering high value leads that turn into customers.

  1. Building and nurturing a database can be a very powerful thing. There’s earned media, which is publicity. There’s paid media (radio, TV, digital, etcetera). And then there’s owned media. This could be your website, blog post, database, email list, etcetera. If you have built a large database, it can be an extremely powerful tool to re-engage prospects. And since you “own” it – it’s very cost-efficient.

  1. Marketing is a top priority. We work with a lot of fast-growing, high-producing financial advisors. The top producers delegate a lot of tasks – but marketing isn’t one of them. The principals of the firm understand that marketing is the engine that drives the business.

  1. If your marketing is not working, change it. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve spoken to financial advisors who hold onto marketing channels or campaigns that aren’t working – and they do anything about it. And they are wasting a lot of money.


If you want to rapidly grow your business, we should talk. We have a long track record of working with top-producing advisors – and most of our clients have been with us for 5-13 years. We work with advisors with marketing budgets of $250,000+ per year. To learn if your market is available, click HERE to schedule an introductory call.

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