Most successful financial advisory firms I know are always looking for opportunities to grow their businesses. Historically, the vast majority of new business generated by advisors has come from referrals, however, things have changed over the last several years. Some former referral sources, such as CPA firms, banks and other intermediaries are becoming competitors. New digital advice platforms are reaching out directly to consumers. New technologies are allowing financial advisory firms that were traditionally tied to a specific geographic area to now compete nationally. All of this means that advisors will have to work harder to acquire new clients in the years ahead.
One proven source of new business across many different businesses is inbound marketing. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, inbound marketing seeks to attract new clients through relevant and helpful content and by adding value at every stage in your client’s financial journey. The goal of inbound marketing is to attract potential clients through social media channels, blogs, search engines and other digital means. If you can create relevant content that addresses the needs of your ideal client, you can establish trust, build a reputation for credibility, and thereby attract qualified prospects.
Many inbound marketing experts will tell you that there are four phases of inbound marketing: attract, convert, close, delight. There are a number of firms serving financial advisors that can help with one or more phases of this process, but very few have been able to build and offer a single platform that can provide a total inbound marketing solution.
For instance, HubSpot, a powerful well-known inbound marketing platform, is one option for advisors, but it is not configured for the needs of advisors (much like a generic CRM software is not usable for advisors without significant customization). But according to FMG Suite CEO Scott White, “If you give a financial advisor HubSpot, they won’t know what to do with it.” So, White’s firm set out to build the “HubSpot for Advisors” and with the acquisitions of Marketing Pro, a platform founded by Peter Montoya in 2006, and Platinum Advisor Strategies, a firm founded by Thomas and Robert Fross in 2009, it appears that FMG Suite is close to realizing their goal.
DETAILS OF THE TWO ACQUISITIONS
FMG Suite, founded by Craig Faulkner in 2011, has created a loyal following by providing websites and content marketing to advisors. According to White, there are currently over 50,000 financial advisors using the platform. The firm has historically focused their sales strategies on the independent financial advisory market, but they are now focusing resources on growing their enterprise client base.
Many advisors are eager to market their services, but they often struggle with how best to deploy their marketing resources. Advisors also struggle to create good, meaningful content to keep their inbound marketing machine humming along. To help solve these issues, FMG Suite recently acquired Platinum Advisor Strategies and Marketing Pro.
Platinum has for many years provided high-touch marketing and practice management support to advisors. With the addition of Platinum, FMG clients will have access to branding and logo services, weekly email newsletters, quarterly print newsletters, checklists and invitations for over 100 different client appreciation and educational events, as well as services and content. Notably, the acquisition of Platinum will allow FMG to provide personalized consulting services to advisors. Most importantly, advisors will have access to a marketing specialist/coach who can help them brand everything and implement a strategic marketing plan.
The addition of Marketing Pro further enhances the FMG Suite Platform. Marketing Pro includes regular economic updates, weekly market commentaries, timely social posts, a full print library (greeting cards, postcards, letters, etc.), a retirement newsletter, financial articles, an annual tax guide and 4,000 + pieces of additional content. According to White, “Marketing Pro has the largest library of compliant content in the industry and they are a leading provider of highly engaging, just-in-time content and tools that advisors need to distribute it.”
By the end of the year, when all three platforms are expected to be fully integrated, FMG Suite will offer a fully integrated inbound marketing platform that includes social marketing, email marketing, print marketing, events marketing as well as web design, branding, and strategic marketing coaching. The platform currently integrates with Redtail CRM, and a number of other CRM integrations are in the works.
MORE INNOVATION IN THE WORKS
According to White, the firm will continue to innovate. To cite just one example, FMG is currently working on an Alexa integration. This will allow advisors to send voice commands such as: “Send an educational piece on Roth IRAs to the Smith household” or “Show me a report of all the people who engaged with our marketing collateral today.”
White also made it clear that FMG Suite will further expand through acquisitions as opportunities arise. With the backing of a $4 billion private equity fund, they are looking for additional growth opportunities.
It appears to me that the acquisition of Platinum Advisor Strategies and Marketing Pro are good ones strategically. If the seamless integration of these products into the FMG platform can be achieved as planned and on time, FMG will be will positioned to gain additional market share. If they can deliver on their plans to continue innovation with voice commands and other newer technologies, they are sure to further enhance their standing with advisors.