I’ve sometimes heard advisers and planners moan that marketing is hard because they don’t offer something tangible. In other words, because they don’t sell something you can see – a shiny new car you can take for a test drive, a house you can view, or clothing you can try on – marketing is difficult.
Frankly, that’s a lazy excuse. Here’s why…
I believe that financial planning changes lives.
I’ve experienced it. My parents have experienced it. I’ve spoken to the clients of planners who’ve experienced it.
The latest such occasion was on the video shoot for TFP Financial Planning. All four clients had retired over the last two or three years and their lives had been transformed. They excitedly told us of their latest travels, their future plans and, in one case, being able to gift money to their sons. You can watch the videos by clicking here.
I’d place a good bet that if these people hadn’t had the benefit of financial planning they’d still be working. They wouldn’t have had the opportunity to change their lives.
This is why, if you demonstrate the benefits and outcomes of financial planning, you don’t need test drives in shiny cars (which will depreciate in value as soon as they are driven off the forecourt), tours of a show home or expensive clothing to try on.
In fact, showing how you change lives is more powerful than any of those things.
Demonstrate how you change lives
Many firms fail to demonstrate the outcomes of financial planning.
Take the average financial planner website. At best, it’ll only show the positive results of financial planning on a testimonial page. And, our research shows that only around 1 – 2% of all website visitors look at these types of pages.
Social proof, demonstrating benefits and outcomes, needs to be scattered around the site. Think of Facebook for a second. Do they provide a page of adverts you can visit if you wish? Of course, they don’t! They distribute the adverts throughout your timeline for you to see as you browse the site.
That’s the same approach you should mirror with your website. Distribute the social proof, highlighting the positive outcomes of financial planning, throughout your site.
So, what should you be aiming for?
To demonstrate outcomes, you need to tell stories. The more detailed, the better. These stories should feature genuine clients and focus on:
- The reasons why the client sought professional advice
- A broad outline of what you recommended
- The outcome after working with you. How did the client benefit? How were their lives changed?
There’s no need to talk about numbers as it really doesn’t matter whether the client had £250,000 or £2.5 million. It’s the outcomes that people are interested in; how have your clients benefited from your advice? How has their life changed because of it?
Written or filmed?
Client stories (often called case studies) can either be filmed or written.
Our preference is always for filmed. Of course, client videos require a greater investment than a written case study. However, they are undoubtedly more powerful and can easily be turned into written case studies if required.
If your budget doesn’t allow, then a written client story works well. Just make sure you cover the three points outlined above, preferably supported by a genuine image of the client.
You can see examples of written client stories on the new Black Swan Financial Planning website which we launched last week. Read them here.
Support your case studies
The client case stories should be supported by higher-level social proof. We advocate using:
- Client surveys to generate high-level data, such as Net Promoter Score, which can then be used in your marketing.
- Google reviews to show people who carry out a brand search (perhaps after being recommended to you or having found your details on a directory) that your clients are happy with the work you’ve done for them. Building a bank of positive reviews is also a useful defence against the odd (potentially fake) negative review. It might also give your search engine rankings a handy boost.
- VouchedFor to generate a rating for your advisers, planners and business. This can then be used in a variety of ways to demonstrate client satisfaction.
While this higher-level social proof is important, nothing beats well-constructed client stories.
It’s not hard to use these stories to make the intangible, tangible. After all, what you do changes people’s lives forever. So please banish any thoughts that marketing is difficult because you don’t have something new and shiny to show off. In fact, if I were an estate agent or car salesperson, I’d be envious of the opportunities advisers and planners have to market their businesses.
If you would like to understand more about how we can help you to build and distribute your social proof, please get in touch. You’ll also find some useful free resources on our website by clicking here.