It’s six months since we launched The Yardstick Agency. They’ve been hard work, but a lot of fun and we are working with some great people; both the team we are building, and our clients. As I sign off for a week away (the mobile and email will still be on between sandcastles and ice-cream!) I thought I’d look back on some of the financial marketing mistakes I see advisers making. And, perhaps more importantly, some possible solutions.
1. Poor images
I can’t stress enough the importance of good images. There’s one reason for that; they work.
We’ve all heard the saying: ‘A picture paints a thousand words’, but that’s not entirely true. In fact, the brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than text; a statistic that ever so slightly dampens the spirits of our copywriters!
It also means the images are the first thing we see when we land on a website. With that in mind, it’s vital you select those that your audience will connect with.
Choosing ‘any old image’ simply won’t work. If you can’t explain why you chose a particular photograph, illustration or graphic, then chances are it’s not the right one.
It goes without saying that you should also include images of your team on your website. I’d recommend adding, as a minimum, anyone who has client contact.
2. Inconsistent content
As I’m fond of repeating: “Content is King.”
The biggest financial marketing mistakes I see advisers making is inconsistency. I recognise that creating content of any kind is hard work. The effort is worth it though.
Content must be relevant, interesting, informative and preferably (because people will be more inclined to finish reading, watching or listening to it) entertaining. Work out too, how your audience likes to consume their content. Do they prefer:
- The humble written word?
- Videos or animations?
Once you’ve worked out the answer, produce and distribute it regularly. It’s here were some advisers, understandably give their workload, often fall down.
In the past few weeks, I’ve written three blogs showcasing examples of great content. You can read these here:
3. Moaning about Unbiased but then not doing anything about it
Yes, I know, “pot and kettle!”
My criticism of Unbiased, is (hopefully) seen as constructive. I know it works and I want a better product for both advisers and consumers.
Many advisers are critical too. Yet, I often find it is those who are most vociferous who rarely update their profile. Or look at what their competition is doing and make changes accordingly.
It was Einstein who said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” That’s certainly the case with Unbiased. Take it seriously, put the effort in, and you will be rewarded.
4. Lack of mobile optimisation on websites
Our research shows that 30% of visits to adviser sites are made on mobile devices. Based on our own figures, there is a 60% chance that you are reading this newsletter on your phone or tablet.
This is one of the biggest financial marketing mistakes. I see many adviser websites, and newsletters, which are hard to read on mobile or tablets. That’s going to turn off visitors and (in respect of your website) displease Google, which uses mobile compatibility as one of the factors in its search algorithm.
The importance of having a mobile-friendly website has never been greater. Click here to use a handy tool from Google to check how compatible your site is with mobile devices. If your site falls short, take steps to rectify the problem.
5. Brand inconsistency
A common definition of a brand is that it’s what people think of you, when they think of you. The key to reinforcing this is simply doing it again and again; why do you think Theresa May continuously repeats “strong and stable”?
An adviser’s branding appears in a wide range of places and formats; both on and off line. It’s important that it, and your key messages, are displayed consistently.
Basic things will help, such as:
- Ensuring the look and feel of your website match that of printed materials (including your client and fee agreements, which are often overlooked)
- Using the same tone of voice in all your written communications
- Using the same colour palette, logo and fonts
6. Being a Jack of all trades
Niches win in many things, and it’s the same for financial services.
Saying that you ‘specialise in all areas’ is an oxymoron. It makes you sound a bit like a moron, too.
Focus on what you’re good at, and spend all your energy making yourself one of the go to experts in your chosen niche. It’s fine to have more than one niche too; but don’t ever try to be all things to all men.
Your clients don’t want you to be average at all things, they want you to be great at their thing.
Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive. Hopefully you’ve learnt a thing or two from this blog post, and don’t worry, if you have made any of these financial marketing mistakes (I know I have over the years) they can be fixed.
We’ve witnessed plenty of things that don’t work, but we also know what does, so call us on 0115 815 770 or email [email protected] to fix any of your marketing faux pas that are worthy of making this list.
With that said, I’m off for some sun, sea and sand, so without further ado, this is Phil Bray, over and out.