All financial plans are built on some basic foundations; ensuring the right protection is in place, making a will, keeping an easily accessible emergency fund and so on. Once these are in place a more forward-looking plan can be built.
The same principle applies to marketing. However, we’ve noticed that many financial advice/planning firms still aren’t getting the marketing basics right.
That means other marketing initiatives designed to drive growth will be much less effective, reducing ROI and creating inefficiencies.
So, this week, discover the five marketing basics all firms need to get right. Firstly though, let’s pause for a minute to ask why firms aren’t putting the basics in place.
Reasons and excuses
The basics aren’t sexy: Our research shows that clients prefer talking about their longer-term financial plans than they do short-term needs, such as wills and estate planning. The same is true with marketing. Shiny new things will always be more interesting than the basics. Of course, it doesn’t make the basics any less important!
Impatience: Putting the basics in place takes time and money. Some advisers/planners are too impatient and want to move straight onto activities they believe will generate new enquiries. Remember, it’s the tortoise that beat the hare. Putting the basics in place might feel like they are slowing you down. In the long run, though, your marketing will be more effective.
Trying to save money: We also find that some advisers/planners don’t want to spend money on the basics. This is false economy; their lead generation activities will be less effective without the basics being completed first.
They’ve chosen the wrong partner: We know that many agencies, particularly those without sector-specific knowledge, simply implement what the adviser/planner wants rather than explaining the need to put the basics in place.
Of course, many advisers and planners might simply be unaware of the basic things they need to get right. So, to deal with that issue, here are five which every firm should tick off.
1. Identify and understand your target audience
Advice/planning businesses that target a specific audience, or even better a niche, grow faster and spend less money on marketing.
However, the thought of reducing their audience size brings some advisers and planners out in a cold sweat. They develop a bad case of FOMO and consequently swiftly lose the benefits of working in a niche.
Instead, identify the key target audiences or niches for your business and start to understand them more deeply by developing client personas for each and answering key questions which include:
- What are their 3 am moments? What keeps them awake at night?
- What gets them out of bed in the morning?
- What stops them from working with an adviser or planner?
If you don’t do this, every other marketing tactic you deploy will be less effective.
2. Be visible online
Google sits between someone becoming aware of you or your business and them taking action by getting in touch.
A potential client could become aware of you in several different ways. They might have:
- Been recommended by an existing client
- Introduced by a professional connection
- Received your newsletter or seen a social media post
- Driven past your office.
Irrespective of how they’ve become aware of you, before getting in touch they will almost certainly search for you online. Since it’s by far the most popular search engine, accounting for nine out of 10 searches in the UK, that means your prospective clients will probably Google you.
Some will be looking for basic information, such as your contact details. Others will be comparing you with other advisers/planners and undertaking deeper due diligence. That means you need to be visible online.
To put it another way; when prospects Google you or your business, they need to find you!
However, too many firms are invisible online. If a prospective client can’t find you, it’s harder for them to find the information they need and impossible for you to tick the next basics box.
3. Be impressive online
Prospective clients will make decisions about whether you’re the right adviser/planner for them based on what they see online.
That means you need to impress.
As we’ve seen, most prospective clients will first meet you on a Google search results page. It’s here you need to start impressing clients. Initially, that means using Google and VouchedFor reviews to impress prospects who search for you or your business.
It also means developing client videos and running surveys, which can be showcased when you…
4. Have a compelling website
If you’re visible online, prospective clients should easily be able to find your website. It’s here that they start to get to know you and where they will decide whether you can help them.
So, make it easy for them by creating a compelling website:
- Empathise with the reason they’re there
- Show how you help people like them
- Introduce your team and the people they might be working with.
Your website is your shop window. It has to be impressive. So, all firms should accept the need to invest heavily into their website (yes, we’re biased, we sell websites, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true!) but too few invest enough.
5. Collect data
In our experience, only a tiny minority of firms collect data effectively for every new enquiry. Some do it for only the best enquiries. Others do it from time to time. Many collect no data at all.
Not consistently collecting the 12 data points we’ve previously identified causes two key issues.
Firstly, there’s no way to make evidence-led marketing decisions. Without enquiry data, you don’t know what’s working and what’s not. You don’t know what to stop doing and what to put more money behind.
Secondly, you can’t nurture prospects who don’t immediately become a client.
Most firms convert between 20% and 40% of all new enquiries. That means most prospects don’t immediately become a client. If you don’t have their data (even if it’s just their name and email address) how can you stay in touch with them, adding value and demonstrating knowledge, so that you’re the go-to expert when they’re ready to engage?
The answer is simple. You can’t.
Look at it another way; if you convert 30% of all new enquiries and don’t stay in touch with the others, you’re wasting 70% of your marketing budget.
Practise what you preach
You will, no doubt, ensure all your clients have the basics in place. The same should be true when it comes to your marketing.
So, if you’ve missed any, now’s the time to put it right.
Naturally, we’re here to help. If you would like to know more email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.