Understanding PR’s effectiveness for RIAs

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As one of the nation’s top financial PR firms, we are keenly aware of our clients’ interest in monitoring their campaigns and measuring the return on investment. It’s for this reason we work with our clients to determine the objectives of a particular project or campaign. For some goals, there are tools to measure their success in the short term. For other goals, the timeline can be much longer. Either way, the need to measure and gauge a campaign’s effectiveness should be addressed at the outset.

If we take a look at this issue from the vantage point of our RIA firm clients, we know that the public relations effort might be conceived to stimulate organic growth, help recruit new advisers, position the firm for mergers and acquisitions or perhaps institutionalize the perception of the firm. Each of these objectives are different, but might be supported by similar measurable areas such as web traffic, applications for employment, inquiries or referrals.

Advisers understand that their clients want to see the effectiveness of their financial plan. Similarly with a PR strategy, for our adviser clients in particular, it’s key to communicate how the campaign is contributing to their business. We’ve come up with a few ways advisers can assess the ROI of their campaign.

  • Find a way to measure: As an adviser, you help clients figure out a suitable strategy based on their risk tolerance and investment goals, and measure portfolio performance through risk and return. Throughout the year, clients want to see how their investments are measuring up to their goals, and they want to understand the numbers they are seeing. Likewise, the PR team determines goals for their campaign and how to measure the success of their efforts. Often, marketing is seen as the means to “score a goal” by winning new business, but PR is the “assist” that often goes unreported and unattributed. It’s important to come up with a system of measurement that provides a 360-degree view of ROI and evaluates the effectiveness of a campaign.
  • Create a benchmark: After outlining goals and objectives with clients, advisers create benchmarks for their financial life to monitor and measure financial goals. Having these in place helps you understand a client’s entire financial picture. In the same way, coming up with benchmarks is key to meeting your campaign goals. Setting benchmarks to see how the campaign measures up can help you navigate your own strategy and make the most of your PR and marketing efforts.
  • Third party credibility: Having a client vouch for your practice is one of the best ways to forge connections and gain new business. As an adviser, fostering relationships with media contacts of interest that can rely on you for industry insight not only builds credibility, but also helps leverage your brand. When done well, PR can be very effective in supporting your marketplace positioning. After all, media coverage demonstrates that someone else is vouching for your industry expertise on an implicit basis by sourcing you as the expert. When the media calls upon you or another subject matter expert at your firm for insight, that means a trusted source is validating you and your company as a reliable source.
  • Imbalance of content creation and promotion: Advisers often hold seminars to educate prospects and clients, but rarely do they promote their own expertise on the topics and issues being covered. The same amount of effort that goes into creating content should be lent to its promotion. If content like blog posts, infographics and pitches aren’t utilized, it’s a waste of valuable resources.

Measuring the fundamentals of a PR strategy doesn’t deviate far from how advisers measure the success of their clients and their overall business. Laying the groundwork to measure results will help a firm grow and is essential for both a successful business and PR strategy.