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Part 2: The final 4 of the 7 deadly marketing sins that’ll cost you money and slow growth

A couple of weeks ago, you learnt about the first three marketing sins that will:

  • Slow your growth
  • Cause inefficiencies, because you’re getting enquiries from the wrong type of people
  • Increase the amount of money you must spend on marketing, reducing your profit margins.

If you missed the first three sins, click here to learn what they are.

Now, though, it’s time for the next four.

How many are you committing?

4. Trial and error marketing

The problem:

Most financial advisers and planners (at least when they first come to us) don’t have a marketing strategy. Instead, many invest heavily in individual tactics, trying this, trying that, and generally getting distracted by shiny new things.

The consequence:

Most financial planners would probably agree that clients who have a financial plan are more likely to achieve their objectives and fulfil their ambitions.

The same is true with your marketing.

To put it another way: financial advisers and planners who don’t have a marketing strategy are less likely to achieve their growth objectives.

Along the way, they’ll also spend more time and money than they need to on marketing, while working less efficiently.

The solution:

Build a marketing strategy (who’d have thought it, eh?) which includes these five things:

  • A deep analysis of your target market – without understanding what motivates your ideal clients or what keeps them awake at night, you can’t show the empathy needed to effectively communicate with them
  • Your objective – how do you build a plan to achieve something without knowing the destination?
  • An analysis of your current marketing – using data (your enquiry spreadsheet, Google Analytics, newsletter MI, and so on) to understand which of your current marketing tactics are working, and which aren’t
  • A plan – this should show the tactics required to achieve your objective, who should do them, and when
  • Measurements of success – your KPI dashboard should show how you’re doing at every stage of the marketing funnel, from your website right down to the number of new leads created, and clients taken on.

We know that might feel like a lot of work, but the benefits are huge.

Plus, think of it like this: you build a financial plan for your clients because you know it’s the right thing to do. Why wouldn’t you do the same for your marketing?

Here’s a few freebies to help you record new enquiries and monitor your KPIs:

5. Not having a recommendation (formerly known as referrals) strategy

The problem:

Unfortunately, most financial advisers and planners don’t maximise the recommendation opportunity.

We know clients are happy because our research shows that 94.99% would recommend their adviser/planner to other people.

We also know that around a third have made a recommendation in the past year.

So far, so good. What’s the problem?

Only a small proportion of the people recommended to you will ever get in touch.

We know that because most advisers/planners have a Recommendation Rate below 10% (the best we’ve seen is 55%, the worst below 1%).

As a reminder, your Recommendation Rate is calculated as follows:

The number of recommendations you received in the past 12 months


By the number of clients you have

The consequence:

Recommendations from existing clients have the highest conversion rate of all enquiry types and the lowest cost of acquisition.

That makes them the best type of new enquiry.

However, as the figures above show, most advisers/planners don’t maximise the opportunity. That means to generate the enquiries needed to hit their targets, they’ll need to use other tactics, which cost more money and won’t convert as well.

That doesn’t sound like a great plan to me!

The solution:

To maximise the recommendation opportunity, we need to close two gaps:

  • The first is the gap between the clients who say in principle they’d recommend you to other people and those who actually do
  • The second is the gap between the recommendations made and those who get in touch.

We start to achieve both of those aims by delivering a service that turns clients into advocates.

Then, a specific recommendation strategy needs to be developed as part of your wider marketing strategy. It should include:

  • Developing structures and scripts for recommendation conversations (no, we’re not suggesting you “ask” for referrals, that’s absolutely the wrong thing to be doing)
  • Building social proof to show the value of working with you
  • Finding ways to show clients that you appreciate being recommended to others
  • Communicating regularly with clients about recommendations.

6. Failing to invest time and money (or cancelling marketing spending when times are tough)

The problem:

Many financial advisers/planners fail to invest enough time and money in their marketing. The reasons include:

  • Some simply don’t believe they will see a return to justify the expense
  • Others are conditioned by previous experiences – for example, the promised ROI (Return on Investment) on a previous project was less than expected
  • Some advisers/planners are happy to spend money in principle but have a limited budget (that’s fine, big budgets can be dangerous) and are paralysed by the fear of spending it in the wrong place
  • Others have a larger budget but don’t know where they should spend it (hint: always start by developing a marketing strategy – see sin #4), so do nothing.

The consequence:

Whatever the reason for failing to invest, the consequences are the same: lead volumes are lower than required (or the quality isn’t right) which means objectives go unfulfilled, leading to slow growth and even, in the worst cases, stagnation.

The solution:

It doesn’t have to be this way!

The first thing to do is understand that effective marketing takes time; yours or someone else’s.

Neither of which are free.

The next is to remove limiting beliefs and recognise that the time and money you allocate to marketing is an investment, not an expense.

This shouldn’t be hard.

The return on marketing investment for advisers/planners is huge. First, it produces initial fees, then ongoing fees (lasting the length of the relationship), and then a multiple of that recurring revenue on sale.

Finally, it’s back to the strategy.

Build it based on what needs to be done to achieve your objectives, then agree on who is best placed to complete each task; a member of your team or an outsourced partner (hint hint).

Once you’ve done that, you’ll understand the investment you need to make both in terms of money and time.

Earlier in the year, we asked several marketing experts how much they believed you should invest in your marketing.

Click here to read that now if you missed it.

7. Failing to nurture prospects

The problem:

In our experience, advisers/planners generally convert 25-40% of all new enquiries.

The lowest we’ve seen is about 6% and the highest (where I believed the data) was 48%.

If your conversion rate is in the 25-40% range, that means there will be many prospects in the remaining 60-75% who would make ideal clients. There’s two choices when it comes to these people:

  1. Ignore them and do nothing to turn them into clients
  2. Nurture them, by adding value, demonstrating knowledge and positioning you and your business as the experts to go back to when the time is right.

Can you guess which option most advisers/planners select? Sadly, it isn’t the second.

The consequence:

Failing to nurture prospects effectively will reduce your conversion rate and also means:

  • The time and money you invested in creating the new enquiry is wasted
  • You will need to spend even more money on marketing to create additional leads
  • You and your team will work less efficiently as you will need to see more prospects to take on the required number of clients.

None of which is great, right?

The solution:

It’s better to upsell an existing client than find a new one (do you want fries with that?) and it’s better to nurture an existing prospect than create a new one.

Nurturing prospects isn’t easy, it takes time and effort.

There are plenty more, but here are six ways you can effectively nurture prospects, to position you as the go-back to expert when they’re ready to engage:

  • Collect new prospect data religiously. As we said a couple of weeks ago, you can’t nurture prospects without the right data. There are 12 data points that you should collect for every new enquiry. No exceptions!
  • Nurture prospects by sending monthly newsletters (quarterly isn’t frequent enough), to add value, demonstrate knowledge, and provide a gentle touchpoint with your brand
  • Send one-off “I saw this and thought of you” messages. This is where a little spontaneity goes a long way. This type of message, whether it’s by email, WhatsApp, or direct message on social media, allows you to check in with the prospect and add value in a relaxed way
  • Find the prospect on social media and connect, so they see your posts, get value from them, and receive another touchpoint with your brand
  • Use retargeting ads on social media, so prospects get a reminder that you’re there and ready when the time is right for them
  • Invite them to events and webinars (which are easy to put on and cost a fraction of face-to-face events) to continue adding value and demonstrating your knowledge.

Time to confess?

That’s it.

Not exactly pride, lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and definitely no head in a box, but all sins that, if you’re committing them, will slow your growth and cost your business money.

(I think we’re going to need a LinkedIn poll to find out who understood that reference…)

We hope the solutions help. However, if you don’t have the time, skill or inclination to implement them, as we hinted earlier, we’re here to act as your outsourced marketing department.

Drop an email to or call 0115 8965 300, we’d love to hear your confession!

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