Today, in our third and final part of the series, we’re going to explain how to turn your Secret Suspects and Curious Consumers into prospects and, ultimately, clients.
Let’s start with a reminder about who your Secret Suspects and Curious Consumers are:
These people know you, but you don’t know them. Yet!
They’re in the shadows, slowly getting to know you by visiting your website, reading your blogs and social posts, or listening to your podcasts.
People in the Curious Consumer group are aware they have an immediate or future need. They might have started to search for solutions, but so far, you aren’t on their radar.
So how should your marketing strategy change for each group?
Objective: Your aim is to get Secret Suspects to take a call to action, which either means they book an initial meeting or they become a Linked Listener.
Your marketing options are limited because you’re not connected to Secret Suspects on social media, and you don’t have their email address.
That means you need to engage the superpower all great marketers have: consistency.
By maintaining the frequency and quality of your marketing, Secret Suspects will get to know, like and trust your business before they need you. So when they move “in-market” it’s you they come to first, not someone else.
Firstly, you need to get the foundations right, by:
- Building an impressive collection of Google reviews (a prospect will see these when they search for your business) and VouchedFor reviews (they’ll see these when they search for your name)
- Developing client videos so a prospect can hear directly from people like them, who’ve been working with you for some time
- Investing in a compelling website, which is your shop window and where prospects ultimately decide whether you’re the right option for them.
Then, make sure a Secret Suspect engages with you, and not someone else, when the time is right for them, by trying these things.
Everyone who visits your website will be at a different stage on their “in-market” journey, some will be ready to engage, and others will be doing early-stage research. That means you need to offer a range of calls to action.
For people who are already “in-market” and ready to engage:
- A contact form, email address and telephone number, so they can contact you in a way which suits them
- Adding a pop-up on your website, which triggers after someone has spent more than, for example, 30 seconds on the site, which offers your key calls to action
- You might also consider adding a link to your diary (Calendly seems to be the go-to option here) so people can easily book a meeting.
For people who aren’t yet “in-market”, but want to get to know you better, a newsletter sign-up form is worth adding, and you should also consider building a scorecard.
Finally, some advisers/planners like to add gated content to their websites. This means a visitor leaves their name and contact details in return for accessing an asset, such as a guide, video or white paper. We understand the logical lure of doing this, but we’re not keen. We’d much rather have, for example, 10 people read a guide without giving their contact details than one person read it who does.
Your social media
Successful investors don’t try to time the market and successful marketers don’t try to time the customer, which means you need to be consistent with your social media activity by posting regularly.
Follow our 8:1:1 formula so you add value, share your success stories and help people get to know you.
In addition to posting, you should also react and comment on other people’s content. And when people do the same with your posts, invite them to connect, and then when that’s accepted, start a conversation.
It’s also worth considering remarketing (displaying adverts on social media to people who’ve visited your website) to maintain your brand’s profile and nudge them back to your door.
If you have an office which people pass regularly, either on foot or while driving, you should take advantage of its position by:
- Having signage that explains what you do and who you do it for
- Regularly change the signage or window displays to catch people’s attention
- Make it clear you welcome people popping into your office to arrange a meeting.
We’ve long believed that if you’re paying for an office, you need to make it work for you.
Despite the popularity of remote meetings by Zoom or Teams, many consumers, perhaps even most, still prefer to deal with a local adviser/planner. That means local advertising can be a very effective way to attract new prospects.
- Research local publications where you could advertise
- Speak to the publications to see what’s available; how much does advertising cost? What do you get in return? Are they open to editorial content as well as an advert?
- Then consistently run adverts, changing them regularly (have a set of three you rotate every quarter) and repurpose blogs on your website into editorial content.
To understand your return on investment from this type of advertising, remember to make sure your team ask prospects how they first discovered your business.
At the same time, spend time on local Facebook groups. You’ll raise your profile as a local person, and be ready to respond if someone asks a financial question.
Objective: Your aim here is to put your business on the radar of Curious Consumers, so when they move “in-market”, they become a Linked Listener, Secret Suspect or even a prospect.
Remember, Curious Consumers don’t know you and you don’t know them, which presents some unique marketing challenges!
It means you’re trying to build brand awareness with a group of people who don’t know you. So you might need to break a few eggs and move out of your comfort zone, but there’s only one place to start…
Referrals and recommendations
We all know that the best type of enquiry is a referral or recommendation from an existing client. They have an immediate need and are pre-sold on working with you, which means they have the lowest cost of acquisition and the highest conversion rate.
So far, so good.
Unfortunately, most advisers/planners have no defined strategy for maximising the referral opportunity, which means their Recommendation Rate (the proportion of their clients referring them on each year) is well below where it should be.
An effective strategy should be based on three pillars:
- Client education
- Client appreciation
- Client communication.
All you need to do is answer 18 simple questions in around five minutes, then you’ll get your personalised results sent to you immediately.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Driving traffic to your website from search engines might have a part to play, but be careful.
Too many people think SEO and website development are the same thing. They aren’t.
Building a website is a once-every-few-years job, SEO requires a daily commitment to producing exclusive long-form content, link building and a range of other tactics which require a significant investment of time and money.
Unfortunately, that time, money (and indeed patience) often run out before we see positive results. And of course, your SEO efforts need to be combined with a great website which includes the calls to action we mentioned earlier.
TLDR: SEO can work, especially when it comes to local searches, but be very careful.
Play the local card
As we said earlier in this blog, many consumers want to work with a local adviser/planner. To tap into this desire you need to:
- Build a portfolio of positive Google reviews (they’re a massive trust indicator and help you rank more highly for local searches)
- Build VouchedFor reviews so you rank more highly when potential clients search their for an adviser/planner
- Put your office to work and consider local advertising – we explained how to do both of these things earlier in this blog.
Social media has a huge part to play when it comes to putting yourself on the radar of Curious Consumers.
Hang out on the right channels, post interesting, informative and value-adding content, and you’ll build an audience. Turbocharge the pace you build your audience on LinkedIn by sending speculative connection requests, up to 150 per week.
You could also consider advertising on social media, using carefully targeted campaigns to either raise your brand profile or capture contact details of Curious Consumers, moving them into becoming Linked Listeners.
All these tactics rely on the Curious Consumer finding you, but would it speed things up if you proactively searched for them?
You’re damn right it might. And that’s where audience building comes in. Indeed, if you get this right, people will leap from never having heard about you straight into being a Linked Listener.
To build an audience you could consider:
- Buying data
- Running lead magnet campaigns
- Using tools such as LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator
- Sending connection requests on LinkedIn (assuming your target audiences use the platform).
Finally, consider piggybacking other people’s audiences. For example, you could offer to provide content for an accountants/solicitors’ newsletter or engage with special interest groups and offer to provide them with content they can distribute.
Of course, building an audience is only part of it, you’ve then got to engage with them so it’s you they come to when they’re “in-market”.
Thanks for sticking with us
That’s the end of this trilogy.
Over the past three weeks you have learnt:
- Why only a small number of people are ever “in-market” and the implications for your marketing
- More about Linked Listeners, Secret Suspects and Curious Consumers, and how to communicate with them
- How to turn people in each of the three groups into prospects.
We hope the series has been useful.
If it’s given you pause for thought, and you’d like to discuss how all of this impacts you, we’d love to hear from you, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.