It’s 66 days since we sent out the first coronavirus communication out on behalf of a financial planner.
Over the past couple of months financial advisers and planners have faced a perfect storm; transitioning to remote working, dealing with nervous clients, and dealing with the inevitable business challenges, all while worrying about their health and that of their loved ones.
Speaking as someone who ran a financial advice firm during the financial crisis of 2008 it’s been fascinating to watch how our profession has stepped up. Naturally, our focus has been on client communication and marketing more generally.
So, two months in, here are six things we’ve learnt.
1. Contacting clients was the right thing to do
We’ve said countless times that most of your clients will have needed confidence, reassurance and information over the past few weeks. The exact dose, and how it should be administered, will differ from client to client.
Picking up the phone to clients, then just listening, always felt like the right thing to do. At one extreme, you will have been able to talk clients out of making emotionally driven, knee-jerk, decisions. At the other, it’s a kindness that will be remembered in years to come.
There was never going to be a downside to talking to clients. This has been proved by planner after planner who we talk to each day.
2. The profession has come together
There have been numerous examples of our profession coming together to help each other through the crisis.
The NexGen Planners morning commute is a great way to start the day. And, those clever people at Model Office produced a terrific white paper, ‘Remote Working and FinTech: A Free Guide’, to help firms through the current crisis. You can download it by clicking here.
Then, to help advisers and planners plan for the next time this happens (and it will), Neil Bage and the Be-IQ team are offering a 30-day free trial, plus a discounted subscription on their BEAM and BEACON products.
3. Email communications have been popular
Unsurprisingly, our content team were busy in March. The Budget was closely followed by significant falls on the world’s stock markets, then a raft of government announcements, all of which necessitated swift communications.
In stark contrast to the ill-conceived 10% drop letters, emails have allowed advisers and planners to send important, useful and relevant information quickly to large groups of people. Many have moved from monthly newsletters to sending communications more frequently; often weekly. These emails have been popular too, with open rates above those achieved on regular newsletters.
4. Website traffic is all over the place
We might have expected website traffic to be down in March. After all, as a pandemic sweeps the world, looking for a new financial adviser or planner isn’t the first thing on everyone’s mind!
This has been particularly true on our pay-per-click campaigns, where search volumes have decreased significantly as people’s priorities have changed. However, interestingly, those people searching for financial advice do seem to be more engaged as we’re seeing strong click-through rates.
We’re fully expecting search volumes to recover once the lockdown eases and some normality begins to return.
We’ve seen organic traffic from search engines (in practice that means Google) fall on some websites but rise on others. Right now, it’s probably too early to see a pattern other than to say those who added unique content to their website will be rewarded by Google.
Naturally, those firms who increase the frequency of communications over the past few weeks have seen an increase in website traffic.
5. Webinars are becoming more popular
Webinars are a great way of communicating efficiently to a large group of people.
The barriers to entry are low. All you need is a good idea, PowerPoint, a Zoom account, and some promotion and you’re off to the races. They can be very popular too. We’ve seen firms get 100 delegates booked on with less than a week’s notice.
As they become more popular you will have to be more innovative and work harder to build your audience, but the rewards are still there and will be for the foreseeable future.
It isn’t just advisers and planners who are running webinars either. Again, the profession is coming together to support each other. Model Office is running a webinar to support their white paper. You can register by clicking here. While Chris Budd and Neil Bage are running a series of webinars to help financial planners implement behavioural coaching techniques. You can learn more about these by clicking here.
6. Advisers and planners are leaving their comfort zone
It’s been fantastic to see how advisers and planners have left their comfort zone to try new things.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. That’s certainly been proved over the past few weeks. We’ve seen advisers put stage fright to one side and record videos for the first time or overcome their fear of public speaking to host webinars.
Looking to the future
How we act now as business owners will correlate to the business we have in five years’ time.
Now’s the time to get on the front foot and try new things. Sure, you might make a mistake, but there’s no reward without risk.
Start by reviewing our 12 hints and tips to improve your marketing during the coronavirus lockdown then, if there’s anything we can help with, please email email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300. We’re here to help!