Advisors who have a dedicated budget for marketing achieve a higher level of client acquisitions and assets under management, according to a survey by fintech firm Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc.

The survey results showed that more than 40% of growth-focused advisors acquired 20 or more clients over the last year compared with 16% of all other advisors. They also had twice the AUM of other advisors ($297 million versus $154 million). Growth-focused advisors are those age 25 to 49, spending $5,000 or more annually on marketing and aggressively adding new clients, the research noted.

The study, “Marketing Practices of Growth-Focused Financial Advisors,” focused on the business development practices, marketing budgets and success metrics of RIA firms and independent broker-dealers across the country. A total of 406 advisors with $10 million or more in AUM were surveyed.

The data revealed that the annual amount invested in marketing correlated with client AUM: 55% of advisors with under $200 million in AUM spent less than $2,500 while 70% of growth-focused advisors with more than $200 million in AUM spent more than $10,000. One-third invested more than $20,000 in marketing to achieve their goal. Across all respondents, the average percentage of revenue spent on annual marketing was 3.3%.

Growth-focused advisors (55% versus 42%) also are more likely to track the effectiveness of their marketing strategy in terms of revenue.

To reach clients, the data showed that most of the advisors invest their marketing dollars in the same top four channels: Websites lead the way (76%), followed by in-person events (57%). Social media came in at 45%, and customer relationship management systems followed with 44%.

Advisors indicated they plan to increase their investments in digital marketing. Nineteen percent plan to spend more on social media, 14% plan to invest in webinars and 13% in digital media advertising. Twelve percent of advisors also plan to hire new in-house marketing staff, a trend particularly pronounced among advisors with over $200 million in AUM (20%), the data showed.

“The most growth-minded advisors are separating themselves from the pack in terms of new client acquisition rates—even more than we suspected,” said Kevin Darlington, vice president of advisor solutions at Broadridge, in a statement. “The most innovative, growth-focused advisors we surveyed are using digital channels to their advantage, growing a healthy inbound prospect pipeline and closing leads.

“But too many advisors still need to secure the building blocks of their digital prospecting journey before savvier advisors swoop in first,” he added. “Things like optimizing their websites to garner traffic from the right prospects and making it easy for those prospects to opt into future advisor communication have never been more important to business success.”