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10 common marketing mistakes which will cost you time and money

We regularly see many financial advisers and planners make basic mistakes with their marketing, which cost both time and money.

One of the reasons we started The Yardstick Agency was to help advisers and planners market their business more effectively. So, here’s a list of the ten most common mistakes we see alongside some recommended solutions.

How many are you making?

Mistake #1: Not asking for social proof because they don’t want to “bother” clients

Showing a potential client the benefit of working with you is better than telling them.

That’s means you need to develop social proof, including:

  • Client surveys
  • Online reviews
  • Client videos.

However, we know many advisers and planners aren’t building social proof because they believe asking for help would annoy, or “bother” their clients.

Nothing could be further from the truth. If you ask the right clients in the right way they will happily help.

The solution: Stop projecting your opinions onto your clients. Instead, allow them to talk about the great work you do. If you take that leap of faith you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many are happy to help. After all, they’re invested in you and your business as well as investing with you.

Mistake #2: Sending newsletters too infrequently

Newsletters demonstrate your knowledge, add value, and position you as a go-to expert among clients, prospects and professional connections.

However, we have to accept that not everyone who receives your newsletter will open it and read the articles. Indeed, if your database has more prospects than clients, most people won’t open every edition they receive.

Does that mean you should stop sending your newsletter or reduce the number of times you send it? No. Absolutely not.

Doing so would mean:

  • You’re depriving the people who are already engaged the opportunity to read more of your content
  • People are getting less exposure to your brand
  • You’re not building up a pattern of consistency that breeds confidence in recipients.

We’ve seen clients reduce the frequency of their newsletters, only to backtrack when clients start asking them where they are!

The solution: Focus on the positives. Your newsletter is adding value to the people who do engage with it. At the same time do what you can to improve every element of the newsletter so more people engage with it.

Mistake #3: Linking to directories from your website

The three main directories, VouchedFor, Unbiased and Adviserbook, can be a useful source of new enquiries.

However, they should be used to send traffic to your website and enquiries to your door. That’s a one-way street, which is why we get frustrated when we see some adviser/planner websites link back to the directories.

This is madness. Why would you work hard to increase your website visitor numbers only to send them to a directory with thousands of competitors on it?

The solution: If you have links on your website to a directory of other advisers/planners, remove them.

When it comes to VouchedFor, display the dynamic ratings and review widget on your website. This means visitors get to see your reviews in a pop-up rather than being sent to the directory itself.

Mistake #4: Placing links to your social media prominently on your website

Social media should be used to send traffic to your website, not the other way around.

However, too many advice firms add prominent links to their social media accounts where key calls to action should be.

Again, that’s madness.

If the website visitor clicks the link and heads to the Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn page there’s a fair chance they’ll get distracted by notifications and messages and won’t return to your website. This problem is compounded when the link opens in the same window as your website.

The solution: Look at where your website developers have added social media links. Avoid positioning them areas of your website which should be reserved for key calls to action.

If you are going to include social media links on your website place them in the footer of your website and make sure links open in a separate window.

Remember that Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and his friends don’t need your help driving traffic to their websites!

Mistake #5: Not collecting new enquiry data

A couple of weeks ago we revealed the 12 data points which should be recorded for every new enquiry. Last week we explained where firms should record that data (you have three main options).

Despite our efforts, we still regularly see firms not consistently collecting the right data. That means they can’t:

  • Make evidence-led decisions about their marketing
  • Calculate their return on marketing investment
  • Understand whether they are on track to achieve their goals.

The solution: Make it a priority to collect and analyse data. Motivate your team to get involved by explaining why it’s so important, and then build processes and checks to ensure it happens. Then, spend time analysing the data you collect to improve your marketing.

Mistake #6: Using the FCA logo

The FCA doesn’t allow its logo to be used.

Despite that, we still see some firms using the logo on their website, in email footers and in other marketing material.

The solution: It’s really very simple. If you’re using the FCA logo remove it today. We wouldn’t want you getting into trouble!

Mistake #7: Failing to empathise with visitors to your website

Visitors to your website (who aren’t already clients) are there because something triggered them to visit. That trigger is usually a financial problem, challenge or aspiration and they want to know if you can help.

That means you need to empathise with them, show that you understand their trigger and that you help people like them.

Too often though, financial planners’ websites dive straight into explaining how they “help their clients live their best life” or “life isn’t a rehearsal”. Both statements might be true. But they aren’t (usually) why someone has visited your website.

The solution: Empathy first. What you do second.

Put yourself in the shoes of a visitor to your website. Start by looking at the hero statements and other messaging. Are you empathising with their problems or talking about what you do? Next, look through the rest of your website; are you showing who you help and providing evidence to show you can help address your visitors’ triggers?

If you’re not then it’s time to make a change.

To demonstrate the importance of empathy, we’ll leave you with the words of a potential client who contacted a financial planner we work with: “I chose you because your website shows you deal with clients who are exactly like me and what I need.”

Mistake #8: Not registering on all directories

We all know the three main directories. However, there are a bunch of other directories which we’re told by advisers and planners are becoming increasingly important.

In our experience, the smaller directories are often overlooked, despite their growing relevance and the fact that most of them are free!

The solution: Understand which of the additional directories are relevant to your business by clicking here to read more about each. Next, register your firms on the relevant directories where you don’t currently appear.

Mistake #9: Using paid adverts to promote webinars

Social distancing rules mean that many firms have embraced webinars to promote their business and develop enquiries.

There are 10 key steps to take if you want to organise a successful webinar. The most important is how you promote the webinar; get it right and you will have a large audience, get it wrong and you will be chatting to one man and his dog!

Against our advice, we’ve seen some firms promote their webinars with paid adverts, usually on social media and Google. They’ve always been disappointed with the results, often paying large amounts of money for only a handful of attendees.

The problem is simple; they’re asking people to do too much too soon. The potential delegates have no relationship with the firm and need warming up before being invited to a webinar.

In our view, promoting webinars via paid adverts is a waste of money and should be avoided.

The solution: Firms that run webinars successfully have previously invested time and money in building databases (ironically, usually by running lead magnet campaigns on social media).

Then, they’re warming the consumer up by walking them up the value ladder with further valuable content. Only then will they hit them with the webinar invite.

Mistake #10: Striving for perfection

It’s impossible to write the perfect blog, produce the perfect newsletter or develop the perfect website.

That doesn’t stop some advisers and planners from trying, though!

The quest for perfection will hold your marketing back. It means you will communicate less frequently with clients, prospects, and professional connections and stops you from getting your message out to a wider audience.

The solution: Change your mindset; good and done is better than perfect.

It’s not an easy change to make and I have huge sympathy with the “tweakers” of this world. But, if you’re ever going to achieve a high degree of consistency in your output you’ve got to accept that good and done is better than perfect.

We know that’s a leap for some people but if you take it you won’t look back.

Are you making any of these mistakes?

No one is perfect, and they shouldn’t try to be.

However, cutting out these simple mistakes will save you time and money, while improving your marketing.

If we’ve missed any mistakes out, or you’ve got feedback on this weeks’ blog, we’d love to hear from you.

Likewise, if now’s the time to engage with your marketing, we’re here to help. Email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.

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