Should you develop a new marketing niche?

Mike Lover, Senior Director, Business Development

E*TRADE Advisor Services

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According to research conducted by CEG Worldwide, seven out of 10 top financial advisors earning at least $1 million dollars per year are considered niche advisors.1

Despite the evidence that suggests taking a targeted, niche approach can help land high-value clients, many advisors instead choose to focus on a broad target market, concerned that utilizing a niche strategy might reduce the size of their prospect universe.

While there are upsides and downsides to either approach, becoming a niche advisor could enable you to run your firm more efficiently—which, in turn, could help you better manage your revenue and generate higher profits.

Determining a niche

How exactly can you identify and connect with your niche market?

Consider these four common categories advisors can target when carving out their niche:

  1. Occupations: Focusing on professionals in certain occupations gives advisors an opportunity to refine their messaging and specialize in solving complex financial situations that require a specific skillset. For example, a niche advisor may choose to focus on  physicians, dentists, attorneys, CEOs, self-employed professionals, government employees, or airline pilots—client bases that may have higher incomes than other professions, as well as specific needs from their advisors (e.g., trust and estate planning, wealth management).
  2. Demographics: Some financial advisors choose demographic niches such as female investors or former members of the military. Financial advisors can also focus their niche on causes that are important to their clients, such as socially responsible investing.
  3. Employers and industries: Another way to create a niche is to focus on employees who work in a certain industry, or for a certain (usually large) employer. For example, suppose there’s a large health care system in your community with thousands of employees: You could specialize in the employer’s health care plans, retirement packages, and other employee benefits, and market yourself as the preferred independent financial advisor for employees of that health care system. Or, for example, if your community is home to several large technology companies, you could focus on providing focused service for the tech sector.
  4. Life changes: People who are going through a significant life changes—divorce or bereavement, retirement, selling a closely held businesses, receiving an inheritance—frequently have unique financial needs. Such events usually represent major life transitions that can bring about significant financial change and upheaval. Becoming the go-to advisor with specialized knowledge and experience in helping clients navigate these major life changes could set you apart.

Connecting with your niche

Once you choose a niche, the next step is to develop a marketing strategy that lets these prospects know about your specialized expertise.

Start by acquiring or building a targeted list of prospects within your niche—then, connect. Use a range of marketing vehicles, including print and electronic newsletters, direct mail, and ads in niche publications and websites.

You can also position yourself as an expert by writing articles for publications focused on your niche. For example, if your niche is physicians, you could write an article about how young doctors can pay off large student loan balances, or how established doctors can better manage their personal cash flow. Or, if your niche is employees of a large corporation, you could write articles for the company newsletter or website about how to plan for retirement.

Also consider joining professional organizations within your niche. Almost every industry has an affiliated trade group or association, so find out the most popular one for your niche and become an active member.

Similarly, online or community groups offer a good opportunity to meet niche prospects. For example, if your niche is recently divorced or widowed women, you could join local organizations that support them. There’s a good chance they could use your guidance as they adjust to their new financial situation, whether they’re concerned about buying a home, saving for retirement, or paying for their children’s education.

As you develop your expertise, you can host niche-specific online educational seminars or workshops. Develop an informative presentation on a niche topic, such as socially responsible investing, and then advertise in your local media and develop a mailer to send to your target audience.

With niches, less equals more

The idea of becoming a niche advisor might sound counterintuitive at first. Why would you want to shrink your universe of prospects?

This is a case where less equals more. Specializing allows you to forge deeper and stronger ties with your client base. Narrowing your operational focus and marketing efforts to prospects with specific financial needs can be the key to growing your firm exponentially.

Contact us to learn more about E*TRADE Advisor Services, and follow us on Twitter (@etrade4rias) and LinkedIn for the latest advisor insights.

  1.  CEG Worldwide, Pick Your Niche: Focus on the Right Investors For You, 2017

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