Let’s start with the basics. What is a brand? It is the feelings and sensations that your 401k clients, prospects, and centers of influence experience when they work with you.
Every touchpoint from your website, handshake, voicemail, email signature, brochures, social media posts, blog articles, business cards, and more either elevates or hurts the feelings and sensations of partnering with you.
So, why not create a wow-worthy 401k brand? This way, each and every interaction works to advance the conversation, build your trusted reputation, and increase your retirement plan expert brand.
Three ways to increase your authority:
- Knowledge economy
Attend at least one 401k industry event. Did you know that 23 percent of plan sponsors are seeking a new advisor? The No. 1 most cited reason is that they want a more knowledgeable advisor. By taking the time to attend an event, you will learn what is happening in the industry and gain relevant information to share with your clients, prospects, and centers of influence.
The information you learn at events gives you foresight so you can better prepare and educate your clients. It takes a tiny bit of work; yet, the rewards will be tenfold. Your out-of-office message could say something like this, “Hi, thanks for the email! I’m currently at the ______ (conference name) learning great information about new retirement plan trends. When I get back to the office on ______ (date), I’ll be excited and eager to share that new knowledge and information with you to better service your company’s retirement plan. For immediate support, please contact ______ (team member). Thank and look forward to speaking with you soon!”.
You can also post to social media about the events, thereby telling clients that you are keeping up with new trends, learning from industry experts, and taking that knowledge back with you to build your own reputation as your community’s retirement plan expert. You can add this to your client meeting minutes.
In short, events help you stay informed and be the expert so you can keep your clients more aware. It’s a win-win situation. Sure, there will be client calls and out-of-office email replies, but there will also be a focus on you and your brand.
- First (last?) impression
When you meet a person for the first time, what do you physically hand them? Most likely, it’s your business card.
Think of the last time you were handed a business card and it looked messy. Did you feel that the person was less of a professional? As that person continued speaking, were you less interested in listening? Maybe you even wanted to immediately exit the conversation. It’s the first impression test and hey failed. That little card established your feelings and sensations of working with them – and you didn’t like it.
By contrast, if the card was sharp looking, nice cardstock and well-designed, it’s an immediate thumps-up’ I bet you were willing to continue the conversation and learn more. They passed the first test giving you the impression of the kind of experience it would be like working together.
- Personal approach
Smile. Yup, it’s that simple. Look at your LinkedIn profile; are you smiling? If not, take a new picture. The more friendly and approachable you look, the more people will want to do business with you.
These three semi-simple tips will enhance your brand impression as friendly and approachable, while you continue to garner valuable industry knowledge. Own the conversation by being aware of marketing trends, educating your plan sponsor community, and developing your company as the go-to retirement plan expert.
About 401(k) Marketing
We believe the retirement plan industry can do better. Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors and TPAs in the business. They care deeply about saving America’s retirement future. We are proud to share their voice through industry writings, professionally-designed marketing materials (including websites), and expert content collateral. We support in promoting their businesses through on-going awareness campaigns. 401(k) Marketing is based in San Diego, CA.
Check us out at www.401k-marketing.com.
 “Plan Sponsor Attitudes. Survey Results: 7th Edition.” Fidelity. 2016. https://institutional.fidelity.com/app/item/RD_13569_26306/plan-sponsor-attitudes.html