AWARD MARKETING FOR ADVISORS: IS IT WORTH IT?
Does award marketing move the needle?
We often get questions from advisors about whether they should be applying for awards, or if they win awards, whether they should promote them. After all, it takes substantial time, energy, and money to apply for multiple industry awards—and you don’t want those efforts to go to waste.
So is award marketing truly valuable for financial advisors?
The short answer: YES.
Why Award Marketing is Beneficial for Financial Advisors
Financial advising is a referral- and relationship-centric industry. Choosing someone to manage your wealth is an incredibly important decision, so most people find their financial advisor through personal introductions (rather than blind Google searches). But online research is still part of the conversion process. Typically when someone is referred to you or you meet them somewhere and give them your card, their next step isn’t to call you or ask to meet with you—it’s going online to vet you and decide if they should.
When a prospect looks at your website and social media presence, they’re searching for information about you that helps them put check marks in a “yes” or “no” column in their mind. They’re trying to determine if they should talk to you or if they should move on.
And when they see that you’ve been named a “Best-In-State Wealth Advisor” by Forbes (or received a similar recognition)—that’s a definite check in the “yes” column.
Winning awards—just like having clients who rave about you—is further confirmation for prospects that you’re great at what you do.
So from a vetting and conversion standpoint, it can be incredibly beneficial.
Bridging the gap: Making Award Marketing Work For You
That said, winning awards isn’t enough—you have to promote them, too.
Some award companies will offer a listing in their directory as part of their award package. And while that can be beneficial for SEO purposes, most people won’t go to Forbes and search through their directory to find an advisor. (After all, this is about referral marketing, not marketing to strangers.) So it’s up to you to promote the award on your website, social media profiles, and anywhere else you can.
You have to bridge the gap and make it part of your online presence so that when someone is introduced to you and they research you, they see that you’ve won the award(s) and are suitably impressed.
“But won’t that seem like I’m… bragging?” (shudder)
Some people worry that this style of marketing will feel cheap or come across as “braggy.” In fact, we had a client years ago who was very successful and just as humble, and he didn’t like talking about his awards and accolades (even though he’d accomplished a lot in his career and received much well-deserved recognition for it). So, he asked us to remove all of his awards from his website and social media profiles.
Later, he was talking to a prospect whose business he’d been trying to earn for quite a while. That prospect had hired someone else, and when our client asked why, the prospect said something to this effect:
“Honestly, you and the person I hired were equal in pretty much every way. But as I was researching, I saw that he had won lots of awards and you hadn’t, so that tipped the scales in his favor.”
Without knowing it, our client had removed a very vital checkmark in this prospect’s “yes” column. It was an unfortunate way to learn the lesson, but after this happened, our client put all of his awards back on his website and never looked back.
The fact is, when it’s done well, people don’t view award marketing as arrogant or braggy.
And here’s why: When you promote awards, you do so in the voice of your company. (Or at least, you should.)
Even though you may be the person behind your company, there’s an important distinction between ABC Financial Group promoting an award that Joe Advisor won and Joe Advisor promoting the same award. When you put awards on your website, it’s your company promoting the award, not you. And when you publish a post from your company’s LinkedIn page congratulating Joe on the award, that’s different from Joe himself posting about it.
Plus, winning an award (especially a national, highly-sought-after award) is a big deal, and you deserve to share that news!
Does it have to be a major award?
Well-known brands like Forbes and Barron’s have a ton of power behind them, so if you think you have a chance at qualifying or winning one of their awards, you should definitely make it a priority to apply (and continue putting your name in the hat each year). Winning an award from a big name like these carries great social clout, and that’s not something you want to pass up.
But maybe you don’t have a Forbes or Barron’s recognition under your belt—that’s okay.
When it comes to lesser-known or industry-specific awards (like the NAIFA Quality Award, MDRT, etc.), there’s still value in adding these recognitions to your online presence.
Consumers may not know exactly what the awards are, and they may not consciously say to themselves, “Wow, these awards are very impressive,” but having them on your website and social media profiles still enhances your reputation. It looks impressive that you’ve won any kind of award, and that serves to add a checkmark in prospects’ “yes” columns.
Award Marketing Best Practices
So you won an award… Now what?
When you win an award, you should promote it in four key places (at minimum):
- Social media profiles
- Email signature
- Branded materials
Awards on Your Website
Major awards (Forbes, Barron’s, etc.) should be included somewhere on the homepage of your site with a blurb about the award and its accompanying logo. They should also be added to the lead advisor(s) bio, as applicable.
If your broker-dealer allows, promoting awards though press releases is also a great idea. Generally, we recommend writing a press release and then submitting it through an online distribution service like PR Web or EIN Newswire. These companies send your press release to multiple online publications, and typically a couple hundred or so will publish it (because they need filler content). These publications each generate a link back to your website, which is super powerful for SEO. From there, you identify the biggest name that published your release and share their link on your website (on a Press or Media page). Then you post about the article (with the accompanying link to your webpage) on your social media profiles.
This kind of press is just another way to add valuable credibility to your online presence.
Awards on Social Media
Not only should you add awards to your social media profiles (LinkedIn has a special section for this), but you should post about them from your company page(s) as well. You can also post about awards from your personal profiles with a “thank you to my clients” angle.
Awards in Your Email Signature
Adding award logos to your email signature is a great reinforcer. Every email you send for the next year (or however long the logo is licensed) will remind your clients, COIs, prospects, and everyone else that you’re one of the best.
Awards in Branded Materials
Finally, make sure any major awards are added to your capabilities deck, bio sheets, one-pagers, and other materials about your firm.
“Should I pay for award logos?”
Another question we’re often asked is whether it’s necessary or beneficial to pay to license award logos.
Some companies will give you the ability to use their award logos and badges once you’ve won the award—and for all the reasons stated above, you definitely should.
Other companies (like Forbes) require you to pay a fee to use their logo. And while that fee typically isn’t cheap (try ~$4,000 per year), it’s worth it—at least with powerful brands like Forbes. Because any time someone vets you, they’ll see, front and center, that a respected, iconic company has deemed you one of the best in the business. And that’s worth paying for.
Need help with award marketing?
We’re honored to work with top advisors across the country (more than 150 of whom have won Forbes awards), and we’re happy to help you with your award marketing efforts as well. If you need help capitalizing on a big win, schedule a call with us below!