Claire Akin’s The Marketing Guide for Financial Advisors has something for all advisors, from those who hold their noses at the mere thought of self-promotion, to FAs eager to fine-tune their current marketing strategies.

In clear and concise prose, Akin, who runs a San Diego-based marketing firm for independent financial advisors, presents a convincing argument that to succeed, you must sell yourself using the best technology available.

That technology includes a website; Google Analytics, an upgraded SEO (search engine optimization), plus high quality email campaigns, blogs, social media presence and webinars.

Advisors will also need a customer relationship management system (CRM), to manage clients and prospects, financial planning software for report preparation and client communication, and an online appointment scheduler.

Advisors who are not tech savvy take note: the book provides easily digested, step-by-step instructions on how to use this technology.

“It’s my mission to demystify marketing for advisors and give simple and actionable advice you can trust,’’ Akin writes.

Akin offers these tantalizing statistics on what the right marketing strategy can accomplish:
“If you would like to grow your AUM by 15 percent next year, I recommend investing at least 5-7% of your revenue in your marketing budget. If your goal is to help support your referral process and double your referrals next year, putting (in) 2-3% of your revenue will likely suffice.’’

Before deciding on what technology to choose, Akin suggests getting recommendations from sources such as other advisors, a home office if applicable and LinkedIn groups.

And because technology keeps changing, advisors should be flexible.

“Don’t be afraid to make changes when better alternatives come along. If you get stuck, hire a technology consultant to help you implement and master the best technologies.’’

What are the best technologies?

For CRM, the most popular with advisors are Redtail, Salesforce, Wealthbox and Envestnet, but Akin leans toward Wealthbox (developed by entrepreneur Steven D. Lockshin and FA Michael Kitces).

For analysis of statistics and data about website traffic, the most widely used tool in the world is Google Analytics. It’s free, and “the industry-standard solution,’’ Akin writes.

For risk analysis, Riskalyze “offers a clear, quantitative way to communicate with clients about risk. It provides a framework for managing expectations and understanding your clients’ risk profiles,’’ she writes.

Riskalyze now offers the robo “Auto-Pilot,’’ which allows, for a fee, clients to automatically transfer small accounts for management by a third party in a portfolio matching their risk tolerance.

Akin recommends FMG Suite for overall client management, Advisor Websites and WordPress for website creation, and Smarsh and Erado for compliance. She urges FAs to go with the pros when establishing a site.

“Please do not employ your kids or another relative to create your site. Website developers are talented, educated professionals who employ best practices and the latest technologies.’’

Although the under-30 crowd favors instant messaging, texts and social media, Akin says “email is still the most important channel for our marketing efforts. A recent McKinsey article shows that email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in generating new clients. In my work with advisors, I see roughly 70% of leads come from email and about 30% come from social media and organic search. ’’

Choosing the right email marketing software is essential, she says: the most commonly used among advisors are Constant Contact and MailChimp. She favors MailChimp based on its ease of use, system speed, deliverability, reporting, customer support and price: MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, while Constant Contact charges begin at $20 per month plus $5 per month to host images for emails.

On using social media, Akin supplies helpful pointers, beginning with this wisdom: “Social media and its terminology can be confusing, overwhelming and downright annoying. But the fundamentals are very simple’’—LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube are essential components of a marketing campaign.

In the absence of face-to-face contact—with its 70 to 90% conversion rate among the advisors Akin works with—webinars can “quadruple your conversion rate when compared with email marketing.’’

For advisors who prefer the do-it-yourself approach, she says PowerPoint,, SoapBox from Wistia and EasyWebinar offer technologies and services for a sleek webinar presentation.

The Marketing Guide for Financial Advisors by Claire Akin. 145 pages. $19.99.

Eleanor O’Sullivan is an award-winning journalist who writes for Financial Advisor.