It’s 1993 and a man called Steve is running around a supermarket in a pastel blue jumper. He’s wielding an ironing board for some reason, and he’s got the devil in his eyes.
Susan just stole his inflatable carrot and has also managed to get her hands on a bunch of bananas and what I think is a small tin of treacle.
“Off goes Steve, SPRINTING into the frozen veg!” the commentator shouts. Steve now has some bananas of his own.
It’s a fight to the death. Their referee? Dale Winton, of course.
Jump forward three decades, and we at The Yardstick Agency have a supermarket of our very own. We have a wide selection of products ready to be grabbed. And depending on how long we’ve left Phil Bray out in the sun, we also have a tanned man giving out prizes.
The Yardstick online shop was launched in 2021 to provide high quality branded material for advisers and planners to use with their clients. At the time of writing this, we have 43 individual products, ranging from end of tax year guides to animations about the value of financial advice.
But how exactly can our supermarket sweep your clients off their feet?
Well, hold onto this trolley, lace up your giant 90s Dad-shoes and follow me. We’re about to go blazing into the Yardstick online shop as there are prizes in store, and much, much more!
Grab a guide from the canned goods aisle!
Right, the first item we need to track down is a well-designed guide on how to manage the harmful effects of inflation on your wealth. You know that your clients are starting to worry about the headlines they see, and how it may impact their finances now and in the future.
So, take a left at the bread aisle and see what “sweet souper savers” we can get our hands on.
We have 33 guides to choose from, sitting neatly in a big row like nourishing cans of soup. The topics range from the broad how to reach your retirement goals all the way to more specific topics like pension consolidation. There are also the ever-popular lifestyle guides such as decluttering your home and life that tangentially link to the world of financial advice. These resonate with your clients when your conversations go beyond just the “money” side of things.
THERE IT IS!
You spot the inflation guide high up on the shelf next to a giant inflatable pencil so go on, stick one in the trolley. Great work.
While we rush to the fruit and veg aisle for our next item, let’s think about how you can use guides to give value to your clients. Phil wrote a brilliant piece a few weeks back with eight practical ways to promote your guides, so head over there for the full story.
But as we sprint down the breakfast cereal aisle, here is a quick tip to tide you over:
Use guides as part of your onboarding process. If you know a client has X, Y or Z pain points, send them a valuable guide on those topics in between meetings. It will cement their belief that they’re in safe hands and make them feel truly understood.
Seize an e-zine from the fruit and veg section!
Woops! We plough into some precariously stacked cantaloupes. With a bit of luck this will slow Steve and Susan down.
As they roll past your feet, your eyes dart around. We need an e-zine – specifically the essential homeowners guide to mortgages and the property market. You know that rising interest rates have started to creep into your clients’ thoughts, and they need some reassurance.
We currently have seven e-zines to choose from. They sit in the fruit and veg section as they’re jam-packed with nutrients and are bursting with fresh flavours and bright colours. These are different from the guides and take a more magazine-like editorial approach.
Where the guides focus on one specific topic in detail, our e-zines have a central theme running through them, but the content takes the form of many articles covering various topics across that theme. They’re a longer-form read, and have quizzes, infographics, and other additional visual treats.
You spot the e-zine you need, so you rummage around to get the juiciest looking one and gently place it in the trolley.
One more section to go! While you swing the trolley round past the cantaloupe trap you’ve set, here’s another quick tip on how to use e-zines effectively:
Pull an animation out of the freezer!
Our time is nearly up. Suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and an icy chill goes through you.
Don’t panic, somebody has just left the freezer door open. Probably Susan.
We need an animation, and luckily, they’re stacked up neatly like ready meals. A choice of two flavours presents itself:
You know financial planning changes lives. Your clients know it does too. However prospective clients might need more convincing. Let’s go for the first option then. By putting this animation onto your website, it will give an extra dimension to what you’re saying.
As Sarah wrote a while ago, animations are powerful. In her words “if a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what animation can do”.
We currently have two animations (with the Chartered Financial Planner animation having a “Chartered firm” and “Chartered individual” version), and there are more in development. It’s an effective way to include an important message on your website, and your audience will retain 95% of the information they see in video format compared with 10% when they read it as text.
How the sausages are made
Now that our trolley is full, we need to rush back to the tills.
Here’s an idea – the meat counter is on the way. Let’s peer behind the scenes as we sail by and learn what process are in place in the Yardstick Shop.
But we don’t have long, the clock is ticking after all, so let’s have a quick-fire Q&A round:
Q. Who writes the content for the guides and e-zines?
A. They’re written in-house by our talented copywriters. It’s usually Charlotte that writes them, but there are a handful in there from the wider team.
Q. Who designs the guides and e-zines?
A. Rachel, one of the brilliant designers in my team. The wider branding team rebrand the versions when an order is placed, but she’s very much the brain behind the beautiful layouts.
Q. Why is it called an “e-zine”?
A. Because it’s intended to be read digitally. Some of our clients have printed them in the past and the results are fantastic – contact us for more information about the additional costs involved with a printed version.
Q. What happens if my compliance department requests an amend?
A. Reasonable amends from compliance departments are included within the price.
Q. Do you add it to my website?
A. Yes! And if you take Yardstick Membership from us, we’ll also include it in your next newsletter.
You’ve reached the checkout!
As we fly past the shampoo aisle, we see Steve and Susan on the horizon. Steve is clutching a big metal dustbin that was apparently a thing you found in a 1990s supermarket. Susan’s trolley is filled with tins of mushy peas and she has a big inflatable juke box with “£25” sellotaped onto the front.
All three of you reach the tills as the buzzer goes, and the crowd cheers. Nobody will quite be the same after what they’ve seen in the supermarket. Especially Susan after the cantaloupe trap got her.
But we made it out alive. And your prize? Some well-designed items that will add true value to your client interactions and increase the presence and power of your brand.
And if you fancy a slightly less intense version of the above, simply visit our online shop. We’re always adding new products, and we have plenty of exciting plans for the future.
And if you need something that isn’t on our supermarket shelves, talk to us. We write and design bespoke guides, brochures and useful documents, and would love to chat about your next project. Email us at email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300.
And remember – the next time you’re at the checkout and you hear the beep, think of the fun you could be having on (all together now) “Supermarket Sweep!”.