Should 401k Marketing Costs Come Out of My Pocket?

Currency may be time and effort, or dollars and cents

It's back to basics to answer some fundamental questions.It's back to basics to answer some fundamental questions.

At some point, you had the bold idea to step out on your own as a 401k plan advisor: to forge your own destiny. All of the opportunities, highlights, and rewards were all within your grasp; the world was your oyster.  

You blazed forward to achieve your American Dream. Yet, no one warned you that as an independent 401k financial advisor, you would soon would be responsible for a list of small business administrative tasks.

It could include setting up phones, linking computers, purchasing a copying machine, structuring office rent, and the list goes on and on. In addition to all these ‘busy’ tasks, you were also responsible for business growth, industry updates, client acquisition, retention, and revenue – or simply, keeping the lights on.

Do you remember those first days?

In your office, staring at the phone, it staring back at you. I remember hearing stories of advisors that would tape 100 pennies onto their phones and with each dial they would remove one penny. Throughout the day, with each smile and dial, they got a reward with a shiny new penny. I’m sure you have war stories of your own from the early days (and if you’re comfortable, share them below. We would love to hear what you did to find your success).

Everything comes at a cost, the currency may be time and effort, or dollars and cents. Promoting your business via sales and marketing is no different, the smiles and dials came out of your ‘time’ pocket.

New marketing techniques such as blog articles, website maintenance, call to action emails, infographics, and digital content, could come out of your ‘time’ pocket. Or, rather, they could come out of your actually pocket.  It’s the old age question of time vs. value.

Yes, you could sit down and learn WordPress (or another popular website creation platform). You could research and write a blog article. You could design an infographic. I think you get the point. You could do any and all of this. The question is, do you have the time?

Time vs. Value 

It’s funny to think of it like this: one of the primary reasons plan sponsors hire a 401k plan advisor is to save them time. You invest thousands of dollars per year on investment screening software, benchmarking analysis reports, service provider due diligence, document vault subscriptions, and more. Then the plan sponsor pays you for your expertise, experience, resources, and tools. There is a huge value to the plan sponsor when you help them organize, formalize, implement, and monitor their plan.[1]

Investing in Your Marketing

The same is true with your practice. The question is, do you see the value that content marketing could bring to your business? Just like a plan sponsor, you have the same ability to either insource or outsource. It depends where you place time, cost, and value.

Let me get to the point. To get your name into the digital economy, it takes effort. Just like those 100 pennies taped to the phone, each dial was an effort. In today’s hyper changing technology world, you almost want to hire a digital content marketer. A person whose role it is to create, maintain, and upkeep your firms professional digital image.  Their role would consistent of website review and updates, blog articles, active social media posting, newsletters, email marketing, retargeting, email automation, website analytics, video, infographics, webinar presentations, public relations, and more.  In essence, you now have a dedicated internal marketing associate; something to think about.

What Should I Invest?

We’ll ask a few last conversation questions:

  • How much do you really invest in your company’s marketing? Go ahead, ballpark it.
  • Now, on average, how much revenue does your firm produce per client?
  • What is your close ratio?
  • How many leads per month do you receive?

Now click here and see how much you should be investing per month into your marketing efforts.

What If It Doesn’t Work?

Let’s ask a counter question. What if your Google results included a great website, thought-leadership published articles, quotes, social media influence, events, public speaking, and more? Do you think that would help or hurt your business?

Another way to think about is, if you were introduced to a person that has pages upon pages of high-quality Google results, what would you think? Would you think higher of this person? Well, your plan sponsors prospects are going to do the exact same thing. They are going to look for you on Google and the better your digital reputation, the more likely they will sit down with you and feel comfortable engaging you as their retirement plan advisor.

All marketing works. And 401k marketing is an amplifier, the more you do, the more people recognize you. Spoiler alert, there is no such thing as an ‘overnight’ success.  Instead, it’s countless nights of consistent marketing until they hit the tipping point and then boom, it just feels like ‘overnight that company is everywhere’. However, if you look, they were there the whole time, slowly, consistently, in front of you, and planting seeds that grew into overnight blossoms.

401k marketing is a journey and yours starts today.

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

[1] fi360. Advisor Practices.

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