Only a third of advisors have a marketing plan and only a third of that group actively implements it, according to Quantuvis, a Redlands, Calif.-based practice-management consulting firm owned by Genworth.

Advisors tend to fall into one of two categories, according to Natalie Doss, research manager at Quantuvis: The majority does too little; a proactive minority does too much. In fact, half of advisors say they’re solely—and passively— reliant on their firms referring business, while a further 25% say they’re highly dependent.

At the other end of the spectrum, some advisors bite off more than they can chew, engaging so actively in marketing efforts that they can’t keep up.

However, best-practice advisors take a measured approach to marketing, and it’s paying off—top quintile producers bring in $1.63 of new revenue for every dollar they spend on outreach in the first year of a campaign. Less productive advisors break even, if they bother with marketing outreach at all.

Doss says the secret to success, first and foremost, it to bolster a passive referral stream with an active one—employee seminars and training sessions are cheap if not free, and help keep investments top of mind for staff facing sales pressure from other areas of their firms. These efforts can be supported with direct mail campaigns to prospects and existing clients, which are in turn supported by brief newsletters, either monthly or quarterly.

A free community outreach effort might involve offering to speak to a group as a subject expert. Webinars for prospects are also cheap to set up and don’t involve much effort beyond the presentation itself, Doss says.

The most important thing is to implement a marketing plan consistently, Doss says. “Each plan depends on an advisors goals, but if you’re looking to drive growth without yo-yo marketing, you need to implement consistency,” she says. “Keep yourself top of mind and people will come to you.”