- As many as 80-90% of financial advisors fail within 3 years of launching. Focusing on “retirees” isn’t necessarily bad. However, the narrower your scope, the better.
- Do you have any pre-RIA experience you wouldn’t mind spending 5+ hours a week creating content around? It pays to determine your general interests. This is a significant potential tie-in.
- Reach out to advisors in a niche parallel to yours. Let’s say you’re planning to serve doctors within a local hospital system: How are financial planners in another county or state serving their local doctors?
- Do you have a junior advisor in mind for a more senior role within the practice later? Help them cut their teeth while developing a niche! There’s no reason to hire someone else for business development.
Welcome to the RIA Marketing podcast! Nolan’s focus today is helping you identify your top financial advisor niches. We’ve got useful tips for starting successfully or fine-tuning your existing approach.
Find Your Best Choice
The competition may be growing slowly, but it’s advancing. As many as 80-90% of financial advisors fail within 3 years of launching. Similarly, if you’re an established RIA, complacency is self-destructive
Focusing on “retirees” isn’t necessarily bad. However, a category that generic doesn’t really count as a niche. The narrower your scope, the better.
With this in mind, let’s look at your best means of zeroing in.
5 Concrete Steps You Can Take Today:
1. Map out your service model.
Do you plan to meet your clients in person for meetings, drive to their house, meet at their offices, or meet virtually?
Your answer is a major factor. For instance, are you geographically confined to a specific location? If that’s the case, you might want to serve most clients virtually.
2. Determine your general interests.
Do you have any pre-RIA experience you’d be interested in spending 5+ hours a week creating content around?
This is a significant potential tie-in. Most people fail in establishing authority within their niche because they overlook it.
3. Find out how other advisors are serving this niche.
This is essential homework, even if you’re well established: Who else is fishing the same waters?
SEMRush is a search engine optimization tool. However, you can also use it to discover the search volume and your competitors, using keywords. Visitors are allowed 4-5 free searches daily.
4. Observe advisors in a niche parallel to yours.
Let’s say you’re planning to serve doctors within a local hospital system: How are advisors in another county or state serving their local doctors?
Reach out and ask them. In fact, offer to pay for an hour of their time. Learn what’s working for them and what isn’t.
5. Encourage a junior advisor on your team to identify a potential niche.
Next, have them start building the fundamentals for your RIA to serve it. This is a great way for them to contribute to the firm’s growth.
Top Financial Advisor Niches Are Worth Waiting For
Be patient. It can take 3 years to establish a good foothold. Regardless, as a junior planner’s advising improves and they get specialized, their value to the firm will steadily grow.
At the same time, be proactive in protecting your investment. Content created for prospecting the new niche should belong exclusively to the firm.
Especially if you have someone in mind for a more senior role within the practice later, helping them cut their teeth while developing a niche is a win-win. There’s no reason to hire someone else for business development, either.
Especially if you’re approaching capacity—and want to transition into having an extra advisor(s), consider our additional suggestions below.
- Create an RIA website that doesn’t play to a particular niche. A generalized storefront can be great for walking prospects through your process and introducing them to your team.
- Next, create a 2nd, completely separate website for your target niche. Work to become a thought leader—and plaster valuable content on podcasts, YouTube, and in articles. Later, once you’ve matured into that niche, it could become a membership site.
- Also, consider preparing that junior advisor to penetrate a radically different niche. If your current one won’t allow growth at an equal or greater rate, it just makes sense.
Nolan has more in today’s RIA Marketing podcast. Feedback, suggestions, and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org are always welcome.
Last but not least, thank you for listening!
WELCOME TO ANOTHER EPISODE OF THE RIA MARKETING PODCAST. I’M YOUR CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER AND HOST, NOLAN MARTIN.
Today, I want to talk to you about the process and marketing tools I use to help RIAs identify the top financial advisor niche to pursue.
But before we dive into this, you have to know that this isn’t a short-term solution.
This is a long-term play that requires a solid commitment—if you want to massively grow your RIA.
More importantly, you will need to continuously deliver value in this niche. That’s how you’ll see massive growth years from now.
As I said in the first episode, I’m absolutely biased when it comes to financial advisors serving a specific niche.
This isn't a ploy to get you to do business with us either: it's because I've seen it work, firsthand. At the time, I was a paraplanner and junior marketing specialist under the extremely talented brother-and-sister duo, Micah and Jamie Shilanski.
That gave me a behind-the-scenes look at Plan Your Federal Retirement.com and the opportunities that are created if you decide to niche. Micah continues to grow his practice, year after year and has a steady stream of prospects wanting an initial appointment. Not to mention, these prospects are also willing to pay nearly $500 for an hour-long initial engagement.
But, if you ask Micah, his success in the federal retirement niche didn’t come overnight. He spent years learning the nuances of the federal government retirement system. He also created content to build up tens of thousands of email list subscribers.
Micah continues to show up for his followers, week after week. He’s always finding new ways to reach them, whether through YouTube, articles, or their podcast.
So, I’m absolutely convinced that anyone can have similar success. You just have to be willing to put in the work and becoming an absolute expert in a particular niche.
Next, you have to create content around your expertise. Some things can be delegated, but you’ll still want to, at a minimum, outline content and provide your oversight in the creation of content.
Finally, start building trust with the avatar that is your ideal client. This will help you generate more leads, convert them into prospects, and eventually, into clients.
I know: I got a little vague summarizing these steps, but don’t worry. From here on, I’m going to dive deeper into each of these topics.
My calling is to help other RIAs market themselves. So, when I’m meeting with one of my financial advisor clients, this is how we help them determine a suitable niche for their RIA.
5 Steps to Choosing The Top Financial Advisor Niche For Your RIA
- Map out your service model.
How do you plan to serve your clients? What I mean is, “Do you plan to meet your clients in person for meetings, drive to their house, meet at their offices, or meet virtually?”
Your answer to this question will play a major factor in deciding your financial advisor niche. For instance, are you geographically confined to a specific location?
Personally, I live just outside of the DC metro area. I believe if I continued with my original path of starting an RIA, I'd want to serve most of my clients virtually.
However, I like the idea of being located in close proximity to the majority of my clients, in case I decided to open an office with additional advisors. So, I'd probably choose a niche that’s local to me.
2. Determine your general interests.
Do you have any prior experience that you’d be interested in spending five or so hours a week creating content around?
Don’t underestimate the importance of this. It’s where most people fail in establishing authority within their niche and I too have fallen into this trap with other websites I previously built but have long since lost interest in.
3. Find out how other advisors are serving this niche.
Generally, if it’s being served well, you can find an advisor on the first or second pages of a Google search for retirement information or financial planning advice around the major topics within that niche.
The one caveat here is if it is a very localized niche. The advisor may be able to serve the niche through in-person seminars, meetings, or may have an already established “in” with their company. That can make it a little difficult to penetrate and is something to investigate before going “all-in.”
But, if this is a slightly larger market, then the lack of a strong Google—or content—presence is what we are looking for.
A tool I prefer to use is called SEMRush, which is a search engine optimization tool. Basically, It helps me get a better understanding of how well a niche is being served, the opportunities with specific keywords within that niche, and the competition that may already exist.
Visitors are allowed 5 or so free searches daily, unless you upgrade to the paid tool.
Now, I don’t necessarily recommend that you upgrade to the paid version. It’s handy if you need to start digging deep into keyword opportunities and creating content—but it isn’t cheap. If you found your niche and are ready to start developing a content strategy, then I highly recommend you upgrade to the paid version.
In the show notes or below in the YouTube Description, depending on how you are listening or watching this video, I’ll have an affiliate link to SEMRush. By using our link, SEMRush will occasionally provide you with discounts on your plan, it helps out the podcast and will cost you nothing extra--so I appreciate it in advance.
Any tools or resources we mention in the show will be located in the show notes and on our website. Since this is episode 3, you can find it at graylinemedia.com/3.
4. Look at what other advisors are doing in a parallel niche.
For example, let’s say you are planning to serve a regional market; maybe doctors in a local hospital system: How are other advisors serving doctors in their markets?
Reach out to other advisors and ask them for a minute of their time. If they seem a little hesitant, offer to pay for an hour of their time. The point is to see what’s working for them and what isn’t. You need to know.
5. Encourage a junior advisor on your team to identify a niche and start becoming an expert in that niche.
By potentially diversifying who you serve, there is a real opportunity for them to contribute to the firm’s growth in the future.
It takes about 3 years to build a foothold within a niche. As their advising improves and they get specialized, they’ll be in better and better positions to provide value to your firm along the way.
If I were in your shoes—and I’d found the perfect junior planner to move into a more senior role with the firm in the future—this is the path I’d want them to take.
Obviously, you need to take action to ensure that you are protecting your investment. Any content that is created should belong to the practice. Make sure that you are positioning this niche to belong to your firm; not to the junior planner, while you’re at it.
But, let’s assume all of that has been taken care of. Your junior planner is hungry, eager to learn, and ready to contribute--so this is an opportunity to target new markets and in doing so, creating a separate prospect pipeline within your RIA.
Here’s how I’d recommend doing it.
Let’s assume your RIA is a solo-advisor practice. Maybe you’re approaching capacity and want to transition into having an extra advisor or two.
Step 1: Create a firm website that doesn’t necessarily play to a particular niche.You will regularly hear me call this particular kind of website an “RIA Website.” If I was looking to grow a firm with a few advisors, this is what I’d go with.
It’s great for walking prospects through your process and introducing them to your team. Think of it as an interactive, digital business card.
Step 2: Create a completely separate website for your target niche.
Once you mature into this niche, you might want to make it into a membership site—but we can cover that another time.
Nobody likes a hard sell. It’s a much different user experience when someone can go to your website to learn without constant reminders that you’re an RIA.
If they are interested in doing business, they will click on the internal links… which will send them straight from your niche site to your RIA website.
The primary purpose of your niche website is to grow your client base. So, I’d work to become a thought leader. This means plastering valuable content into podcasts, videos, and articles.
Solo advisers who’re approaching capacity should explore bringing on a junior advisor. They can either start helping you increase your capacity or take on some of the overflow clients you can’t serve.
As soon as you can, figure out where you stand in this niche. You’re going to need to know how much more juice you can squeeze from that lemon.
If you are just getting started, I’d have your junior advisor develop additional content to help you penetrate the new niche even deeper.
Let’s say you’ve been the solo advisor responsible for penetrating this niche over the last 3 years: You will finally be able to delegate some of the content demand. It’s going to be a breath of fresh air.
Now, Step 3: Consider preparing this junior advisor to penetrate a different niche. If I believe that the current niche won’t keep the firm growing at an equal or greater rate than before, this is my go-to.
With a second niche website—and another person mimicking the steps you’ve used to be successful—you are laying a solid foundation. This prepares junior advisors to contribute to the firm’s growth for years to come.
Meanwhile, all those new prospects are being directed towards your RIA website to learn about scheduling an initial meeting. Maybe they’re emailing you to discuss how you can specifically help them in their situation, as well.
This is the best way to quickly grow and diversify your practice.
I’m so confident about it that if I were in your shoes, I’d refuse to hire anybody that seems unlikely to be able to handle developing in my niche or cultivating a new one
In other words, I’d look for a junior advisor who can create their own content (with some guidance) and who has the confidence to stand in front of a camera. They should be comfortable at a podcast mic, too.
Most of all, though, they should provide true value for leads.
I hope this gives you something to think about as you find your niche and grow your firm.
I’M NOLAN MARTIN AND THIS IS THE RIA MARKETING PODCAST.
We at Gray Line Media want to thank you for listening.
Remember: we are determined to help RIAs connect with their Superfans and Ideal Future Clients through remarkable websites and relatable content.
My only question is, will it be your RIA?