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Developing Your Uniquely Branded System

Once you’ve defined your ideal client, area of specialization, and slogan, it’s time to think about how to really sell your services to the people you meet. This is ultimately the “how” of your business—the expertise and day-to-day work that allows you to deliver results for your clients. It’s essential to create a list of examples to help guide conversations with potential clients, and this blog will help you determine what you need to create that confident message.

Think About Your Value Adds

Ultimately, what you’re coming up with at this stage is a value add. You want to make it clear exactly what you deliver, using both hypotheticals and concrete examples. Thinking back on specific clients, there may be one instance that truly stands out. You can begin your pitch by giving a generic presentation of how you helped this client—though obviously, keeping confidentiality in mind, you want to avoid specifically naming this person.

From there, you can explore the hypothetical needs of your future clients, and examples of how you meet these needs. I recommend dividing these needs into two distinct categories: Emotional and Technical. A combination of both of these sides of the equation will help give a well-rounded impression of the work you do.

Emotional Value Adds

The first value add you want to address is the emotional component. How do you simplify your clients’ lives? Do your services and your client experience leave them with peace of mind or a hard roadmap to follow that helps enable them to live their lives? Though this should be a briefer exploration than your technical value adds, it provides a hook and encourages future clients to think about how simple life would be once they have your support.

Technical Value Adds

Once you’ve wet your prospect’s appetite with hypothetical examples and an emotional appeal, you can hit them with the technical areas of specialization that enable you to support your clients. For financial advisors, this might include financial planning, investments, retirement options as well as a number of tax preparation services, to enable your clients to seek a secure future. Though these will vary from firm to firm, all of the items support the emotional value add that you laid out in step one.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up

In order to fully drive your value adds home, ask your prospect for their contact information. You’ll then be able to send supporting documents that drive home both the emotional and technical value adds. Often the technical value adds will be listed specifically, while the emotional will be conveyed with imagery, color choice, and your slogan. You should also speak to both of these points on your website and social media marketing, enabling you to persuade prospects across multiple lines of communication.

By rehearsing your value adds ahead of time—both emotional and technical—you’ll be prepared to meet prospects wherever they appear. This last step of your branding should be supported by marketing materials and information on your website to drive home the points you make in conversation.

How to Create an Impactful Slogan

As your prospects browse through your industry to find the best fit, they’ll want a quick summary of exactly what to expect from your business. An impactful slogan is an easy way to convey your services, set expectations, and make a great first impression. Here are some tips to creating an impactful slogan:

Speak to Your Target Market

The first thing you should keep in mind is who you are looking to attract, as this will help you tailor your slogan from the start. Are you working with specific industries or life stages? What is the average age of your clients? For older clients, you should aim to sound established and trustworthy to build up that initial relationship, whereas the younger generations may respond to a more catchy and fun slogan. Regardless of which direction you go, sit down with your team and some trusted clients to get their input at the start of your process.

Focus on Solutions

It’s important to remember that both the problem and solution should be at the heart of your messaging. In order for clients to quickly understand what you bring to the table, you need to communicate the problems you solve right from the get-go.

Focus on Your Uniqueness

Especially in big cities or competitive industries, you’ll be competing against other firms for prospects’ attention. How can you communicate your uniqueness so prospects will remember you as they continue their search?  A common mistake of financial service professionals is not having a memorable and concise marketing message. Having a slogan that is personalized for your business’s services—while still unique and memorable—is a critical piece to your overall branded system.

Make it Quick

In order to quickly communicate with prospects, a slogan should be no more than seven words. As you create your initial draft, see if you can cut down on the fluff to get to the heart of your message. Avoid filler words and ensure each verb is direct and powerful. Words like “helping” and “building” are a great start, but they’re overused and watered down. Is there a more impactful way to get across your core messaging?

Create Multiple Drafts

Given that this is such a huge part of your marketing, don’t expect to complete the task in a day. Sit with your different ideas and play with them to find a slogan you love. You may find it helpful to create a word document with about 20 different ideas, then trim it down to your favorites. Combine, refine, and rewrite over the span of a week until you find something compelling and special!

When creating an impactful slogan, it is essential to clearly communicate your specialty and unique offerings to your ideal prospects. Having a clear slogan allows you to quickly convey your services and expertise so prospects know from the get-go whether you’re an ideal fit.  Creating a quick and catchy slogan will help you optimize marketing collateral, social media communications, and your website design to be consistent and memorable.

Crafting an Impactful Mission Statement

As your company sets out to create a comprehensive marketing strategy, it’s essential to consider how prospects will view your operation from the get-go. The first impression that they get from your website and social media will color your interactions moving forward, so take the time to tailor a coherent message to weave throughout your site. One of the key focus points of this process is to create an impactful mission statement that summarizes the goals, aspirations, and viewpoints of your business. Here are some key tips to help you get started!

Define Your “Why”

Before you start writing your mission statement, take the time to consider the ultimate goals of your business. The concepts of “making money” and “delivering excellent customer service” are great starting points, but a well-crafted mission statement should go even deeper than these. Ultimately, the mission statement must come from your personal experience, but here are some questions to ask yourself as you brainstorm. Have you always wanted to get into this line of business? Is there a childhood experience or a life event that inspired you? How are you making the world a better place? Weaving these motivations throughout your narrative will help prospects understand your personality, your brand, your commitment to them and what specifically drives you to serve your clients.

Stay Humble (and Human!)

One of the most challenging lines to walk in the business world is the thin one between touting your achievements and bragging. While it’s generally a great idea to highlight your results, it can easily come across with the wrong tone. An easy way to avoid this is to thank the people who made it possible—your employees, dedicated clients and your family. Another way to soften the tone of your piece is to integrate parts of your personality into the writing. If you have a great sense of humor, include tasteful jokes so you come off as approachable. Conveying the right tone can be challenging, but it’s an effective “evergreen” piece of marketing when you get it right, so it’s worth the effort!

Be Specific and Succinct

If you look at the mission statements of other companies, you may notice that they include a lot of industry jargon and buzzwords that take up a lot of space without really saying anything. To stand apart from the crowd, cut the fluff and drill right to the heart of your mission.

Ask for A Second Opinion

As with any piece of marketing, ask for a second opinion from your coworkers, strategic partners and friends. Too often, we get caught up in our own emotions surrounding our creative work, and it’s easy to lose sight of what strangers will think. Getting outside opinions will ensure you’re hitting the right notes, and that everything comes across as genuine and welcoming.

An impactful mission statement is hard to write, but the payoff is one of the greatest in your marketing plan. Take the time to craft a short yet meaningful statement, and you can use it throughout your marketing pieces for years to come. As always, reach out to me if you’d like assistance developing your brand!

How to Convey Your Brand’s Integrity

Today’s consumers are highly motivated to find companies that align with their personal values and ethics, creating a wonderful opportunity for businesses to attract like-minded clients. However, it’s essential to remain humble and sincere while showcasing your brand’s integrity. Here are some strategies to conveying your brand’s integrity without bragging or seeming too preachy.

Crafting a Sincere Brand

When prospects are deliberating whether to use your service, they’ll usually scour your website to craft a first impression. Communicating a clear and concise brand that includes your target market and your area of specialization is an important first step in the articulation of your brand.  From there, you will want to include your brand message to give prospects a clear sense not only of who you are, who you serve and also what you are committed to for them overall.  To make these future clients get a clear sense of your values, it is essential to express why you are focused on this group, why you are an excellent fit to serve this clientele and how your background, education and experience sets you up to be a natural fit for this focus. This complete message sets you apart from the competition and helps your clients to determine whether you’re the best fit for their ongoing needs. You want to stand out from the crowd and setting the groundwork to support clients at specific life stages will support your brand messaging. This is a great time to incorporate your “why” and explain what motivates you to work hard for your clients every day. How did you first get into your field? What most excites you about your work? What are your plans for the future? Answer these questions in a compelling narrative to create an immediate connection with your prospects.

Show, Don’t Tell

The easiest way to convey your brand’s integrity is to ensure it seeps into every interaction you have with the public. If you’re constantly highlighting your excellent customer service, ensure that prospects aren’t spending a lot of time on hold when they dial in. Remind your team to maintain a friendly and welcoming tone throughout their interactions with the public, even if it’s just someone who only stopped in for directions. You may even want to enlist the help of friends and family to pose as new clients and report their first impressions when interacting with anyone in your office. Conducting these quality checks will help you catch any potential issues early and ensure you’re putting your best foot forward!

Highlight Your Volunteer Work

One of the best ways to grow your presence in the community is to volunteer for causes you support. Having a company presence at major charity events that are in alignment with your brand allows you to network while giving back to the community.  To create the greatest impact for your marketing, choose an organization that speaks to your values and your clients’ priorities, allowing you to integrate your knowledge and passion to create a better world. For example, I am at the Financial Planning Association Day On The Hill event in Washington DC, which allows me to meet likeminded people while supporting legislation that will improve the lives of families across the United States. To maximize your influence, you should post pictures of these events on your website and social media pages. Becoming a donor for charity events that you are aligned with is another way to put your marketing budget to good use, as you will often get a company logo in the event fliers and social media posts.

Be Consistent

As consumers go out of their way to support ethical companies, they will also do preliminary research to ensure their brand statement isn’t just lip service. I recently stumbled across a company that touted their commitment to diversity throughout the site but had a C-Suite team comprised completely of white males. Take the time to think through your company’s day to day conduct and ensure you’re committed to those core values.

As consumers become more socially-conscious, it’s more important than ever to highlight your brand’s integrity. Taking the time to craft a brand statement, portray a friendly demeanor at all times, and highlight your commitment to the community will help you attract like-minded prospects.

What is a Branded System?

Are you confident that prospective clients understand the full benefit and outcome of working with you as their financial services professional? One way to encourage idealprospects to convert into ideal clients is by using what I call a “Branded System.”

A Branded System is your structured process that ultimately delivers the outcome you’re committed to for your ideal clients. Your Branded System does not include your sales process, although it does support and enhance it.

The #1 benefit of a Branded System is that it helps you clearly describe and articulate your services to your ideal clients. Once you have gone through my process to create your own, you will be more personally grounded in the way you describe your services, which will make them easier for prospects to understand. A strong Branded System will encourage your prospects to become your clients!

How to Create a Branded System:

I invite you to begin by thinking about the ultimate outcome your clients experience with regards to your services. This could be consolidating their assets into as few accounts as possible, analyzing all of their investments, or thinking through their financial concerns and helping them determine solutions in alignment with their goals. This exercise will help you create your Branded System.

To get started, “zoom out” as much as possible on the overall experience your clients have working with you. Think as broadly as possible, and write down what you come up with.

Once you have an idea of the overall client experience, think about the absolute first step in your client process. An example might be meeting with your client and having a conversation about what they are currently facing and what they want to achieve. Record this as well.

Continue the process and continue making notes of what you come up with in a detailed way. What is the next step? This could be gathering all of the client’s financial data. Continue repeating this process until you have outlined, in detail, all of the steps in your client experience until you reach the original ultimate outcome that your clients have working with you.

By the time you are done, you should have a very clear outline of your process. For marketing purposes, your Branded System will have a certain number of steps. The key is to keep the number relatively small (between 7-9 steps). If you have many more than that, look at them and consider where you can group them together into fewer steps.

How might you use your Branded System?

1. During your prospect meeting. It serves as a marketing tool both for your prospects to see your process, and for you as a visual aid to help you keep the conversation focused.

2. During client meetings. It is a great way to educate your clients about the full range of services you provide. On many occasions, I have heard clients share their frustration of their clients having gone elsewhere for services or to buy products that they didn’t know their own financial services professional also provided, like life insurance, long term care insurance, or 401k rollovers.

3. In your marketing materials

4. On your website

If you would like assistance creating or refining your own Branded System, email me today: susan@susandanzig.com

Branding Your Business Series: Creating Your Tagline

As you already know, effective branding makes attracting new ideal clients easier. Along with your business name, your slogan and tagline are important pieces of branding that should quickly and efficiently convey information to a potential ideal client.

A well-crafted tagline is an opportunity to convey additional information about your client experience that is not typically included in the business name. Though many people get the concept of taglines and slogans confused, a tagline is very different from a slogan. While a slogan succinctly describes what you do and for whom, a tagline should describe a feeling or potential benefit your clients get from engaging in your services. (If you need a refresher, click here for my previous post on creating a slogan.)

Take this American Express tagline: “Don’t leave home without it.” This implies that American Express will be there for you, that you can count on them. Allstate’s tagline “You’re in good hands,” and Capital One’s “What’s in your wallet?” impart similar connotations and feelings related to the desired client experience.

When you create your tagline keep in mind your ideal client experience that you’d like to relay to your clients and prospects. I invite you to try this exercise:

Step 1:

Define the desired client experience. From a company perspective, what are you committed to providing, achieving, or producing for your clients? What are you most inspired about that you deliver for your clients? What are your clients biggest needs?

An example: your client experience might be helping business owners with the structure to achieve financial success and helping them best manage their money while investing for the future.

Step 2:

Clarify the results your clients experience. This might include support staying on track for a college savings plan, retirement savings, financial milestones like buying a vacation home, or having a legacy plan in place to take care of their family and organizations they are committed to.

Step 3:

What are your clients most grateful for with regards to your services? This an important step because it will help you get to the more emotional perspective of this process.

Here are a few questions to consider: What do you hear from your clients about your services? What do they thank you for, and when? Is it after you’ve reviewed your comprehensive financial plan and they have clarity about their financial future? Is it after you’ve had an annual review with them, and you’ve gone over reports and answered all their questions about where they are in relation to their goals and any potential changes they should make?

Step 4:

Put the pieces together from the previous three steps in a way that flows and speaks to the full experience of what you’re committed to delivering as your overall client experience.

For example: if you have a financial services company focused on supporting women entrepreneurs with financial planning and investment management, a potential tagline could be: Helping women achieve their dreams.

By getting to the emotional heart of your client experience, potential ideal clients will more easily understand the benefits of what you offer and feel more compelled to hire you. On the other hand, a weak or lackluster tagline is a missed opportunity to attract more ideal clients and revenue to your financial services business.

While I have broken down the process of creating your own tagline into a simple one, it can be hard to come up with something impactful and powerful on your own. If you would like help crafting or redesigning a tagline for your financial services business, I invite you to reach out to me today. I would love to talk with you. Email me at susan@susandanzig.com.

Branding Your Business Series: The Value of Creating an Impactful Slogan

Once you have gone through the steps of defining who your ideal client is, along with clarifying your own areas of expertise, a next critical step is coming up with a powerful slogan for your business. Here are three important aspects essential for creating a slogan that will raise visibility, increase credibility and consistently attract your ideal clients:

  1. Make sure your brand’s slogan has a focused marketing message that speaks directly to the needs of your target market.
  2. That the problem and solution are also at the heart of your focused message. It is critical that you communicate this effectively in order for your client to understand your value.
  3. Next, I invite you to take your target market and your area of expertise and create a slogan. The formula for a slogan is what you do + for whom.  A slogan is ideally no more than seven words (For example: Financial Planning for Independent Women or Retirement Planning for Executives).

How can you define and sell your business in a way that is unique and stands out in a potential client’s mind?  Make sure your slogan expresses exactly what you do and for whom.  A common mistake of financial service professionals is not having a memorable and concise marketing message. Having a slogan that is personalized for your business’s services is a critical piece to your overall branded system.

When you create a slogan for your business, it is essential that you have a tagline that clearly communicates your message to your ideal prospects. Having a clear slogan is valuable when educating your clients, prospects and center of influence about whom you serve and the services you specialize in providing. Whether meeting new clients in person, or with the aid of your marketing collateral, through your social media communications or other determined marketing channels, your businesses message needs to be consistent as well as solve the problems of your ideal client.

 

Branding Your Business Series: Communicating Your Area of Expertise

When branding your business it is essential to have clarity about your target market and your area of specialization. You want to maintain this focus as you go about creating your plan so that you are limiting your activity to where you will have the most opportunity to create results within your target market. Branding includes several elements that all require a clear message to those you most want to work with, about who you are and how you can best help them.

One client I worked with specialized in providing financial planning for women. After his father passed away, his mother had worked with a financial advisor and the result was a significant loss. Because of the impact of his mother’s financial loss on his own life, he is now focused on serving women and helping them make conservative decisions with regard to their overall financial picture. His expertise was well defined and communicated to the niche market of women he wanted to serve. I have other clients who specialize in serving women simply because they have good rapport and simply like working with women. I have had a client who specialized in being a financial advisor for attorneys. Because his father was an attorney, he grew up around the legal conversation and had a comfort level as well as an appreciation for attorneys as professionals.

Going through these simple steps listed below can assist you with strengthening your marketing focus and ultimately your brand:

  • Write down your target market and your area of expertise
  • Now look at what you enjoy doing/providing and make a list:

(For example, helping people to see how they can retire comfortably on their desired retirement date, helping them to create income from their investments, creating financial plans, monitoring portfolios, working with pension plans, whatever it is).

  • Next, make a list of those areas where you most enjoy serving your clients.
  • Now write a list of the problems that they want solved.

Take some time answering each of these questions thoroughly. You may surprise yourself!

If you want to create a powerful branded system for your business, you will need to have a focused target market, with a focused area of specialization. This requires alignment between you and the group that you serve. Given who you are, your experience, your personality and your values, the more aligned you are with your target market the more natural the attraction they will have for working with you.

 

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