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Secrets to Scale with Lisa Graham


In this week’s episode of “Secrets to Scale,” Alli speaks with Lisa Graham, Co-Founder, and CEO, Graham Media Partners. GMP is a full-service agency that executes strategic marketing initiatives to accelerate awareness, revenue, and growth.

Click here to view Lisa’s episode of the podcast or read some highlights from Alli and Lisa’s conversation below.

THE STORY BEHIND GMP

LibertyFi has been working with GMP for several years, and one of the reasons that our team has seen success is their deep understanding of the financial services industry.

Graham Media Partners was started by Lisa, and her husband Steve, about 7 years ago. Initially, they thought their business would primarily be working with small mom & pop stores, such as local restaurants and yoga studios. However, that evolved almost immediately to B2B, and then specifically to financial services since that’s where Lisa’s background is. 

 Similar to what Jay alluded to in his episode, Lisa and Steve were driven by the desire to start something new and create a business of their own. The ever-changing financial services industry and constantly evolving marketing techniques gave them an opportunity to create a nimble team that can try new things.

GETTING STARTED WITH A DIGITAL PRESENCE

If you’re an advisor who hasn’t had a digital presence in the past, or you aren’t sure where to begin, Lisa offers advice and recommendations on how to get started. 

The first thing you should look at is your company messaging, taking note of key differentiators, and refining any language. It’s essential to think about what sets you apart. Many times, advisors will express, for example, that they deliver personalized client service. But all advisors say that; what takes it to the next level? Take some time and really understand what sets your firm apart. 

Next, it’s important to have a proper understanding of your target audience. Who are you speaking to? For example, are you looking for millennial clients, baby boomers, or high profile executives? Not only should you change how you talk to each group, but each of these demographics are also interacting in different places. For example, while all of them will care about LinkedIn, millennials might also care about Instagram and want to watch videos. Baby boomers may be more inclined to be on Facebook and want to have tangible, printed checklists. 

Once you have a solid understanding of your own messaging and target audience, you can grow your online presence and activity and expect to see results.

LINKEDIN IS THE PLACE TO BE 

You may be missing out on a big piece of the puzzle if you’re not on LinkedIn. Over the past year, as people are working from home and online, the growth of LinkedIn has expanded exponentially. Lisa offered some recent statistics: 

  • Over the past year, while everyone is online, conversations on LinkedIn among connections nearly doubled
  • The amount of content shared on LinkedIn went up 60%
  • LinkedIn Lives increased almost 500% 

It benefits you to be a part of digital conversations authentically. The GMP team has seen speaking opportunities originate from social media posts, and many advisors can track leads and new clients back to social media. Another point that Lisa makes is that, in addition to connecting, LinkedIn can help to drive traffic to your website. GMP has seen their clients’ web traffic increase by nearly 10,000% percent in one year just by ramping up their web content and their social media presence. 

THE RIGHT MARKETING CHANNELS

There is a constant stream of marketing channels to choose from. The trick is to pair the right one for you and your clients. Going back to Lisa’s earlier point, understand your audience. What works for one may not work for another. 

For example, if one of your targets is affluent Gen Xers, people in their mid-30s to late-40s, you’ll want a LinkedIn presence, and then consider either Facebook or Instagram. This is especially relevant if one of your goals is to showcase your company culture, which can also be helpful for recruiting purposes.

Once you’ve decided on the right channels, determine what type of content to share. Some initial ideas are blog posts or partner content that can help amplify them – and in turn, they might return the favor by sharing your content. Another resource should be industry articles, particularly if you add a comment with a short synopsis of your perspective. Adding your own comment is important because not everyone will click through, so it’s important to have something original to say in your post. It’s another way to define your brand. 

One aspect of a brand that is often overlooked but is equally important is your graphics. A simple stock photo is OK, but you’re more likely to see better results if you can personalize it with a company logo or a call-to-action button on top of the image. Better yet, experiment with video — which performs higher than static content. As you try different things, keep track of what’s working and not working. As you get more involved in the process, you can feel confident in what you’re sharing and adjust what you’re sharing since you’ll have that data from tracking your social media activity.

LISA’S #1 TIP FOR ADVISORS LOOKING TO ACHIEVE SCALE IN MARKETING

While there are many marketing tips to choose from, Lisa shifted gears a bit away from digital marketing. Her #1 tip for achieving scale is to create a robust client appreciation program. 

Sometimes this can be an afterthought or not even thought of as marketing. Still, at GMP, Lisa and her team have implemented client appreciation and retention programs with many advisors, and simply – they work! It can be acknowledging a client’s birthday or remembering that they just welcomed a new grandchild or purchased a vacation home. When it comes to connecting with your clients, Lisa recommends following or friending them on Facebook or Instagram to help you gather the information you need. Something as simple as a text message lets them know you are thinking of them and you’re celebrating a milestone with them. 

Suppose you want to take it one step further. In that case, you can create a larger scale client appreciation program where you break your clients down into several categories and do different events or activities at different times for each client. It can be as detailed as serving them a cappuccino with a cinnamon monogram on the foam or sending them a holiday gift basket; the choice is up to you. The important thing is that you are thinking of and implementing some type of formalized program, even if it’s really simple.