26th April, 2022 - Webinar replay
21 careless marketing mistakes advisers and planners need to avoid
Phil Bray 0:03
Good morning, everybody, and welcome to April’s Yardstick webinar. What we’re talking about today: 21 careless mistakes advisers and planners need to avoid when it comes to marketing. And today is basically an excuse for me to get on my soapbox and get a few things off my chest, while hopefully giving everyone some practical hints and tips they can take away, and implement in their business to improve their marketing. But as always, I’m going to hand over to Dan, who will set the scene today.
Dan Campbell 0:40
Hello! So, I’m Dan. I’m the head of branding and design, here at Yardstick. For any new faces in the crowd – welcome to the webinar. It’s good to have you on board. And for the regulars – of which I can see plenty scrolling down the list here – welcome back. So I play the part of Phil’s glamorous assistant today. So glamorous in fact, that under Phil’s blazer, he’s wearing the exact same jumper as me! Was that planned? I’ll let you decide that. So I’ll be doing two things today. The first, is making sure everything’s running smoothly, and keeping us on track, and on time. Now we’ve got 21 key points to tackle today, which is one every three minutes or so. The second thing I’ll be doing, is fielding your questions and comments. So there are two ways for you to do that. Either ask them in the chat function below, or the little Q&A box in the corner there. I’ll be monitoring both, and then at natural breaks, I’ll be reading them out. And then time permitting, we’ll have a little period at the end where we can sweep any final ones up. I always say this – and I mean it – it’s a safe space. There are no silly questions. If you’re thinking it, so is somebody else. So please ask it. We love engagements, whether you agree or disagree. Challenge us, question us, get stuck in. It’s stuff like that, that really makes these sessions work. So yeah, don’t be shy, please. And as per usual, the recording will be sent in the follow-up email, along with any links, things, assets, resources that Phil mentions. So, don’t worry if you miss anything, you can absolutely rewatch at your leisure. I think that’s everything from me. I know we’ve got 21 careless marketing mistakes to get through. So, yeah go for it Phil. Over to you.
Phil Bray 2:23
Cheers Dan, thanks a lot. So, just to reiterate really, Dan’s point about do questions, do ask questions. Dan’s explained how to do that, and we’ll pause and answer those as we go through the webinar. Otherwise, you’ve got me talking at you for an hour, and nobody wants that, especially when I’m on my soapbox. So do ask questions, do provide comments, do provide feedback. And as Dan said, we don’t have all the answers. So, we only improve as a business when we get challenged. And when we think about things, and when we iterate stuff. So do challenge us. If you think we’re talking completely rubbish, then please do say so. But diving straight in, with mistake number one. Now, this is something we see a lot of. When financial advisers and planners ring us up, it’s often with wanting some help with a tactic. So, they might ring us up and say, “I want help with SEO,” or “I want help with social media.” Those are two favourites. And what that’s symptomatic of, is people who are leaping straight into tactics, rather than trying to develop a strategy. And our job then, is to understand what it is they want to achieve. And generally speaking, it’s one of two things generally. Most firms that we start working with, want to help generate more new enquiries from the right type of people. Some firms want help with recruitment, and we’re seeing a bigger number of those firms who want help with recruitment. Now, clearly we’re not a recruitment agency. But recruitment is marketing. So, those are the two things that often firms want some help with. And they, when they ring us up, they’ve pre-identified that actually, the tactic that they leave with on the phone – whether it’s SEO, Twitter, social media, etc, – is the thing that is going to crack their, solve their problem for them. Our job is – pretty much as you do as a financial planner – getting them to take a step back and start understanding, well what it is you want to achieve? Because we could just go with Twitter. We could just go with social media, or SEO, or whatever they diagnosed as the right prescription. But, we’re better off getting them to take a step back, and developing a marketing strategy. And that’s no mistake, that that’s the first one on this list. Because you’re going to produce… you’re going to hit your goals more effectively, at a lower cost, if you start by developing a strategy and then implementing it effectively. Because that way, you’re always heading off in the right direction. There’s no guarantee that if you start implementing a social media policy on Twitter that you are heading off in the right direction. But if you develop a strategy first, you absolutely are. And the strategy should involve five things. It starts with identifying what it is you want to achieve. What does success look like? That might be, the total number of new enquiries, it might be new clients, it might be based on AUM, or fixed fees. But what is it that you want to achieve? What do you want your strategy to deliver? Next thing, target markets. Who do you want to be working with? And we’ll talk about that in more detail in a bit. Then, a review of your existing marketing. We’ll deep dive into existing marketing – looking at what you’re doing, what you’re spending, what’s working, and what’s not. And then, fourth, developing a plan. And that plan should show everything that needs to be done, who needs to do it, and in what order. And then finally, the KPI dashboard – which again, we’ll talk about more in a bit – to monitor whether you are succeeding at achieving the goals you identified at the first stage. And when you think about it, this is exactly what financial planners do for their clients. Someone might ring up a financial planner, saying, “I need help with my pensions”, “I need help with my ISAs”, “I need help with…” and you can fill the blank in. But actually, there’s generally an underlying motive, and underlying motivations; things that they want to achieve. And your job as financial planners, is to work that out. Then put in place a financial plan, which you then implement. So, you’re asking your potential, your prospects, to just rowback often from the tactic that they’ve identified, and you’ll produce a financial plan for them. We ask our clients to do exactly the same thing. Go back from the tactic that you’ve agreed, or that you’ve identified that is right for you, and start thinking about what it is you want to achieve, and thinking more strategically. So first thing, don’t do any marketing, until you’ve developed a marketing strategy. The second mistake. I said that when we’re developing marketing strategies for clients, the second thing we do, is starting to define their target audience or their niche. Two things are slightly different in our view. And it is counterintuitive. And we often hear advisers and planners say, “Well, if I limit my audience, I’m going to have fewer people to market to.” And I completely get that it is counterintuitive. But just take it from us, as a business that specialises in one niche, where there’s about 5-6 thousand firms in the UK, it is possible – and in fact, it’s absolutely desirable – to select a niche, because you will grow more quickly and more effectively by working in a niche. And part of that reason, is people want experts. People want an expert that is used to dealing with their problems, is used to solving their problems. They don’t want generalists. So if I’m at retirement, and I’ve got a bunch of pensions that I need help with, I want someone who’s used to doing that, I don’t want someone practising on me. if I’m a teacher, and I’m in a teacher’s pension scheme, I don’t particularly want to work with somebody who has never worked with teachers before, and is learning on the job, and it’s my case that they’re they’re learning on. So people want experts. And I completely get that it is counterintuitive. But, if you can define who your target audience is, or who your niche is – and I would suggest niche goes deeper than a target audience – you’ll start to be able to communicate with them more effectively. And once you understand what gets them out of bed in the morning, what keeps them awake at night, their objections to paying for financial advice, what it is they want to achieve, what they’re worried about? All those sorts of things. Once you really understand who it is that you’re working with, you can then start to communicate to them more effectively. Everything gets easier. And as long as your audience is big enough for you to achieve what it is you want to achieve, when it comes to setting the targets for the business, that’s fine. If anybody’s not already seen it, look up a video on YouTube by Seth Godin, where he talks about minimum viable audience. And that should give you some confidence here as well. But in the meantime, just take it from me, that it’s so important as part of developing your strategy, that you spend time identifying your target audience. And potentially a niche – and a niche is your target audience, but you’re going deeper – and spend time, as I say, looking at what gets them out of bed in the morning, what their objectives are and really getting to know them. And from there, everything else gets easier, and your growth becomes becomes so much easier. So, second mistake – not defining or understanding your niche, or target audience. Mistake number three – using marketing tactics, before maximising the recommendation opportunity. So anybody who’s been on our recommendation workshop will know our view: that recommendations from existing clients are always the best type of new enquiry. And that’s because they’re pre-sold on working with you, and genuinely have an immediate need. Otherwise, why are they asking to be introduced to a financial adviser or planner? And that means, that the person who has been recommended to you, has – or recommendations in general, I should say – have got the lowest cost of acquisition, and the highest conversion rate. Lowest cost of acquisition, and highest conversion rate. But most advisers we work with, don’t put a recommendation strategy in place, and leap over recommendations – ignoring the need to put a strategy in place, to identify and use other tactics. So I know firms, where they’re getting a tiny, tiny number of recommendations from existing clients. But they’re actually spending a hell of a lot of time on social media, talking to people they don’t know. And that’s fine, because sometimes other tactics are required. There is often a gap between what a firm wants to achieve, and what can be achieved from recommendations. So you do need to use other marketing tactics often, but only when you’ve maximised the recommendation opportunity. And as I say, most firms, when we start working with them, they don’t have a recommendation strategy in place. And that’s because they already get a few recommendations. So they feel as though that job is ticked – there’s a tick in that box. Where as in reality, there’s a lot more they could do to maximise the recommendation opportunity. And it is possible to create a benchmark here as well. I would say, if you’re not getting… if you don’t have a recommendation rate of 30%, then you’ve got more work to do here. Now the recommendation rate – you calculate it by dividing the total number of recommendations you received during the year, by the total number of clients that you’ve got. Number of recommendations received during the year, divided by the total number of clients you’ve got. And if you don’t come… if you come below 30%, and I see firms at 2-3% Really good firms, getting very few recommendations. Because they don’t have that strategy in place to do it, they just take what comes their way. So if your recommendation rate is below 30%, there are things you can do to improve it. And the payoff is immense. You’ll spend less on marketing, you’ll be more profitable, you’ll work more efficient. So as I say – recommendations, the best type of new enquiry. But the big mistake is, firms leap to using other tactics, which are more expensive, and convert less well. When they should be looking at recommendations, and maximising the opportunity. Dan, any questions?
Dan Campbell 13:16
No, nothing in yet. It’s either an excellent message that we’re got no questions, because it means everything’s going in, or it means that audio isn’t working.
Phil Bray 13:23
One of the two. Good excuse me to have a slurp of tea. So number four – confusing operational reach with marketing reach. So when we’re writing marketing strategies for clients, we always start with a discovery meeting. It’s a fact find meeting. And, it’s very much like the fact find meeting that a financial adviser or planner has with their clients. So I’m sat there asking questions, shutting up, and letting the adviser, or planner, or whoever’s at the meeting, talk. And we start, we often.. early on in that meeting, we start talking about their target audience, and who they want to be working with? And one of the questions I’ll often ask, geographically, where do these people live? What radius from your office – or offices – do these people live within? Quite often we get back, “Well over the past two years, we can deal with anybody now, because I’m on Zoom. So, we want to market ourselves to the entirety of the UK. 70 odd million people.” And, that’s a massive mistake. And it’s because people are confusing operational reach with marketing reach. So operational reach means, you absolutely can deal with anybody now, because of the beauty of Zoom or Teams. You absolutely can deal with anybody, in, anywhere in the UK. So you’re based in Norwich, you can have a client in Newcastle, Carlisle, Cardiff or Penzance that you deal with, and deal with them very effectively via Zoom or Teams. So that’s operational reach. Just because you can reach those people, and deal with them, doesn’t mean you should try and market to them. And, one of the problems with it, is that you’re giving… if you try and market yourself nationally, you’re giving up your local edge. And that’s the thing that makes you different to national firms. And we can all name national firms who have got massive reach, and big, big marketing budgets. But if you start to try and market yourself nationally, it becomes more expensive, it becomes less effective, and you’re giving up one of the key things that differentiates you from the Nationals. And that’s your locality. People want to deal with financial advisers and planners, locally to them. And it’s no mistake, that when you go on to some directories: Unbiased, VouchedFor, Yll, any of these directories. One of the key things, the key search criteria that consumers can use, is a postcode or location, because they know these directories know that consumers want people – advisers, planners – who are based locally to them. So as soon as you try and start to market yourself nationally, you lose an edge, you start spending more money, and your marketing is less effective. So flipside of that is market locally. It becomes easier, it’s cheaper, and it’s more effective. And, providing this comes back to the niche point, providing there are enough people locally, that are within your target audience, or your niche, you’re absolutely fine. It comes back to that minimum viable audience. So step number four: confusing operational with marketing reach. Market locally, and don’t confuse it with operational reach. Number five – and we talk about this a lot, and we’re going to talk about the repetition in a bit actually. But not recording every new enquiry that you or your business receives. It’s so important, every single enquiry that your business receives, is recorded somewhere. And there’s two reasons for that. First, is nurturing. Now, most firms that we work with, most financial adviser and planning firms to be fair, let’s widen it, they’ve got a conversion rate of somewhere between 25 and 30-35%, something like that. When I’m talking about conversion rate there, I’m talking about all new enquiries, and the proportion that are converted into clients. So, every single new enquiry that comes in, the good and the bad, and the total number of clients that come out the other end. So 25-30-35%, the highest I’ve ever seen, where I actually believed the numbers, was 48%. So even then, it’s only one in two. So that means for every, four enquiries that are received, there will be two or three, which don’t immediately convert. The majority. You’ve got a couple of choices with those. First choice is, you just ignore them and focus on generating more leads. I’d suggest that’s not the right way, because you’re spending money when you don’t need to. Second way, is to nurture those people, who don’t immediately become clients. Nurture those prospects who don’t immediately become clients, so that when the time is right for them to engage, it’s you that they come back to. It’s you that they come back to, not going to Google, or Unbiased, or VouchedFor someone else like that. And it’s only logical this, because you’ve spent money creating that enquiry in the first place. Why wouldn’t you nurture them? Why wouldn’t you nurture them to try and position you as the go-back-to adviser or planner? And you nurture them by adding value, demonstrating knowledge, and as I say, positioning yourself as the go-back-to adviser or planner. Now you can’t nurture these people, unless you record their details. Unless you’ve got their name and email address, at a really basic level, you can’t nurture these people. So nurturing reduces your marketing costs, increases conversion rates, and helps you work more efficiently. You can’t do it unless you do that really basic thing of recording all new enquiries. And very, very few firms do this, and do it well. So that’s the first reason for doing it. The second reason is, if you don’t record all enquiries – and I mean, every single enquiry, even that one that you spend a minute with on the phone, that doesn’t go anywhere – if you don’t record all new enquiries, you can’t make evidence based decisions about what’s working with your marketing, and what isn’t. I’ll give you a little story, to illustrate that point. A client came to us a couple of years ago. And we asked him, how many new enquiries he’d had over the past 12 months? He’d had 30. Okay. Next question was, how many of those have become clients? The answer was one. So at that point, I’m starting to think one out of 30. 3% – give or take – really poor conversion rate. There’s a problem with pricing, proposition, sales, something like that. My next question was, okay, of those 29, how many did you actually want to become clients? His answer was one. So he actually converted one out of the two, that were potentially good quality clients. 28, he didn’t actually want to engage with. So I’ve now flipped that. And I now know, the problem is that his marketing is generating enquiries from the wrong type of people. Now, if you’ve only recorded the details of the two, you know the potentially good clients, I would have misdiagnosed the problem. I would have thought there was not enough leads coming up. In reality, there’s enough leads, but they’re not the right quality. So using that story as an example, if you record all new enquiries, you can make high quality, evidence based decisions, about your marketing. Really important that every enquiry is recorded. And we can talk separately about where they would be recorded, but really important, everything is recorded. Number six – not monitoring results with a marketing KPI dashboard. So marketing strategy, fifth stage, is to develop… is to monitor the results from your marketing. Monitoring the output from the effort, and the plan, you’ve built in stage four. Again, very few firms do this. Now 80% of your marketing KPI dashboard, will probably be similar from firm to firm. Dashboards we build, start at the top of the marketing funnel. And we start with things like website traffic, quality of visitor – often people focus too many on the numbers rather than the quality, engagement on newsletters, social media engagement. If you’re running Facebook or LinkedIn campaigns, you’d be looking at the number of leads that’s generating, average cost of the lead. The same would apply on Google ads. Monitoring the number of Google and VouchedFor reviews you receive. Again, one of the things we’ve always put on our dashboard, each month with clients, are the number of Google reviews and VouchedFor reviews. So we can spot when reviews plateau, the number of reviews plateau, and therefore we can do something about it. We can check whether the process is working. We were on the phone yesterday with a client, who hadn’t had a Google review for five months. When we found that out, we looked at the last month on the KPI dashboard, we made a few changes, they had two more during March. Doesn’t sound many, but actually Google reviews are quite difficult to get. And so monitoring the number of reviews, helps you identify if there’s a problem with processes. But then of course, your dashboard should ultimately – towards the bottom of the funnel – starting to be looking at return on investment. So that would be number of leads against target, number of new clients taken on against target, and potentially AUM and fixed fees. So again, really important that your dashboard has all those things on it, including your measures of success clients, AUM, fixed fees, or whatever it is, and you can also overlay your spend on there. So you can start calculating the cost of acquisition – the cost of acquiring a client. And you can then even look at applying your annual ongoing adviser fee to start calculating return on investment. And of course, the return on investment for most advisers and planners is huge, because we’ve got the new business fees, and the annual, the ongoing adviser fee each year. And who knows, potentially a sale value as well. The KPI dashboard will give you the confidence that things are working, or help you monitor return on investment, and will show you where things maybe need some attention. For example, in that case that I mentioned earlier – Google reviews. Mistake number six: not keeping a KPI dashboard. Number seven – this goes back to one of the ones we talked about a minute ago, failing to nurture prospects, who don’t immediately become clients. We see this all too often. As I said, most firms are converting 25-30-35% of enquiries. Yet the majority, there’s still good stuff on the table there. There are still people in that 60-65-75% of prospects who don’t immediately become clients, that the adviser or planner will want to work with, but they don’t nurture them. They don’t position themselves as a go-to expert, they don’t add value, they don’t demonstrate knowledge. They simply move on to the next, and it’s a massive oversight – and it costs you money. You spent money generating that enquiry. So we need to do everything we can, to nurture the clients and position yourself as the go-back-to expert. It’s a disaster if the prospect has reached out to you, has that initial conversation, it doesn’t go anywhere. And then a year, or two or three years time, that prospect has to Google or Unbiased to find a planner. It should be you, that they automatically come back to. And there’s all sorts of ways of nurturing prospects. Newsletters is the obvious one. They always should be monthly – not quarterly – minimum frequency, monthly. And we’ll explain more about that in a bit. Social media. Go and connect with prospective clients on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter – wherever they hang out. Go and look them up, connect with them, because then they’ll see your post as just another way of nudging them. Pixel advertising on Facebook. So if they’ve been on your website, using pixel advertising to make sure they see adverts for your business in the future, inviting them to events, inviting them to webinars. There is a bunch of people on this call, who are clients of Yardstick. There’s a bunch of people on this webinar, who are not clients of Yardstick. But hopefully by us being here, giving our knowledge, hopefully giving you a few things you can take away in your business, we are – hopefully – adding value, demonstrating knowledge and positioning ourselves as that go-to expert. So when you do need help, hopefully, it’s you that you think of, sorry, us that you think of, rather than somebody else. So do make sure, that you’re nurturing all prospects as effectively as possible. Number eight – believing that your website is just a business card, and there’s no need to invest in it. So this is a really interesting one. And when someone says this on a call to me, that my website is just a business card, I can feel my blood pressure rising a little bit. Because your website is so much more than a business card. It’s your shop window. What’s a business card got on it? Dan designed some beautiful business cards, but there’s only so much room to fit key messaging on a business card. And your website is so much more than that. It’s part of your online presence. And we talk a lot about new clients or prospects. They meet their new adviser – first of all – on a Google search, then start to get to know them on the website. And we are all selfish generally, as consumers. And if I’m on financial adviser or planners website, I’m there because I’ve got a problem that I need help with, or a challenge I need help with to achieve. It might be about being able to retire, understanding what pensions I’ve got. Whatever it is, I’ve got a problem or challenge. And that’s why I’m there. And I want to be convinced, when I’m on that website, that this is the firm, this is the adviser or planner, who can help me. Therefore I want you to empathise with me, I want you to show me that you’re an expert in solving my problem, or helping me achieve my goal or aspiration. And I want to know that you’ve done it before. I want to know that I’m not the first time that you’ve worked with somebody in my situation. That doesn’t sound like a business card to me, it really doesn’t. And I think the problem with this, is that if people just see their website as a business card, there are two issues. The first is, they don’t put the things on there that consumers want. And we’ve done some research – about two or three years old now – that shows the top 10 pages consumers visit, on financial planners websites. We’re just reworking it actually. And, if you just see your website as a business card, you’re not going to put those top 10 things on there. There’s things you’re going to miss out. And also, if you only see it as a business card, a business card is a piece of paper that is – or a piece of card – that’s what – three inches by two, Dan? Something like that. It’s not a big piece of collateral.
Dan Campbell 29:09
Yeah, it’s 55 mil high, and 85 mil wide.
Phil Bray 29:14
Thank you Dan. So, there’s only so much you can get on there. There’s so much more that you need to put on your website to make your case, because, you don’t have a right to reply. So somebody is on your website – they’re making conclusions, and drawing conclusions about whether you’re the right adviser or planner for them, and you have no right of reply. So you’ve got to get it right, and you’ve got to invest in it. And, if you just see it as a business card – as much as I love Dans’ business cards – if you just see it as a business card, you’re only going to spend that amount of time on it, and that amount of money on it. Whereas actually, it’s what representing your business online; it is your shop window. And that means you’re going to under-invest in it, if you see it just as a business card. So that’s mistake number eight. Mistake number nine – still with websites. We see this a bit – less so these days, but we do see it a bit. And it’s often when a client comes to us, they’ve, you know – shock horror, they’ve had a website developed elsewhere. And they come to us. Website has been live for six, 12, 18 months. And they’ll say something along the lines of, “We’ve had this new website, but it’s generating no new enquiries.” And that’s because, people genuinely misunderstand often, the fact that you’ve got this new website, but actually, you’ve then got to go and promote it. So mistake number nine: launching a new website, then sitting back and waiting for enquiries to flood in. Because, if all you ever do is launch a website, you’re not going to get any enquiries from it. You have to promote it. And we’re writing a blog about this for Friday. But if we think about it, your website in isolation, will never produce an enquiry on its own. It is always linked to something else. So, for example. The best type of enquiry is a recommendation or referral, we’ve already established that. Somebody who is recommended to you, is probably going to Google you, and hit your website, either because they just want some basic information; telephone number, email address, etc. Or they’re comparing you with another firm. So in that case, your website is working in conjunction with the recommendation from the existing client. Same with a recommendation from a professional connection. An accountant might recommend…. Sorry, yeah, an accountant might recommend three financial advisers. A solicitor might recommend three financial advisers. The consumer again, hits Google, hits the website. So there, we’ve got the website, working in partnership with the professional connection. Someone drives past your office; we’ve got a fair few clients with high street premises, and someone drives past your office. Again, they see the sign, they Google, and they hit the website. So there, we’ve got the office, Google and website, working in partnership. Someone receives your newsletter. Therefore you’ve got newsletter and website, working in partnership. So your website, well, it has to be promoted. And for it to work, it’s working in conjunction with other tactics. It’s not a standalone tactic. The analogy I often use: if you put the Mona Lisa – the most famous painting in the world – in an art gallery in Bolton, and you don’t tell anybody it’s there? Nobody’s going to visit it. And that’s the important thing with a website. When you build a new website, when you launch a new website, you’ve got to tell people it’s there. And you’ve got to keep promoting it. And you’ve got to understand that it’s part of a wider strategy, and used in conjunction with other things. Hopefully, that makes sense. Dan, I’m gonna take a pause for a second. Any questions? Mainly, because I want a cup of tea.
Dan Campbell 32:58
Yes, sure thing. We’ve got a couple of questions in. As an aside, I think I’d be more keen to travel to Bolton to see the Mona Lisa than Paris,to be fair! So I’d go, if I was the only one. So we’ve got a question in from Alison, who asks, “”Do you have a particular platform, that you use for your KPI dashboard?”
Phil Bray 33:21
Currently, right now we use just Excel spreadsheets. Because, it’s really easy to edit the data points that we record for every single new…. for every client that we work with. And even Yardsticks business and marketing KPI dashboard – the one we keep for ourselves – is in Excel, it just works for us. We are – for Yardstick clients, during the course of 2022 – moving that into our own online portal, where we’ll be able to… and that’s because we can edit the information that we display relatively easy because it’s under our control. But Alison, for most of our clients, we just use an Excel spreadsheet. And if anybody wants a copy of that Excel spreadsheet, I’m really happy to send it over.
Dan Campbell 34:10
Brilliant. Thank you. So the next question is from Olivia, who asks, “What would you say is the average cost for acquiring a new lead?”
Phil Bray 34:19
Olivia, hope you’re well. It really depends on the type of new enquiry that you want to you want to create. Because the… and the volume as well that you want to create. I would suggest that you should be looking at somewhere in the ballpark of £100 – £200, for a new enquiry. And if you’re converting, say, one in three, that means the cost of a landed client is somewhere between £300 – £600. When you then look at the three ways that will generate income: new business fees, ongoing adviser fee, and you know, a potential sale in the future, the return on investment there is absolutely massive. Especially when we consider that clients stay with their financial adviser or planner for a long time, don’t they? But I would suggest depending on the source of the tactics you’re using, somewhere between £100 – £200. And obviously, it also depends on the type of client that you want to generate.
Dan Campbell 35:24
Fantastic. So we’ve had a few people say that they also want the KPI Excel dashboard. So, if you do want that, just pop your email address in the chat to the hosts and panellists. And we’ll just collect those and get those sent out. So Tina, yep absolutely, we’ve got your name down here. So final question, before we move on. This is from Lisa, who says, “Is there an issue of connecting with someone on LinkedIn? Do you have to have asked permission in the initial call – or the fact that they don’t have to accept removes this issue?”
Phil Bray 35:57
Dan Campbell 36:49
Fantastic, yeah, let’s carry on.
Phil Bray 36:51
We’ll carry on. So mistake number 10. Believing that VouchedFor is the same as Unbiased – it is not. VouchedFor started off as a similar thing to Unbiased, but it’s now morphed into something completely different. So, Unbiased is 100% lead generation. That’s all it does. And for me, I would be really, really pragmatic with Unbiased. If it’s producing the return on investment that you wanted to do, then keep it. If it’s not – ditch it, turn it off. For VouchedFor, it’s different. VouchedFor is 90%, Tripadvisor for financial planners and 10% lead gen. Those numbers might change a little bit, but it’s not going to change massively. So, they might have started off as the same thing, but they are completely different now. And for us, VouchedFor is always one of two platforms, for UK based advisers, that we recommend they use, to build their online ratings and reviews. The first is VouchedFor, and the second is – fairly obviously – Google. So let’s try and put that one to bed, once and for all. VouchedFor is not the same as Unbiased. Unbiased is lead gen. VouchedFor is temps and lead gen, 90% Tripadvisor for financial planners. And if they took that 10% away from lead gen, I’d still be recommending VouchedFor, because we really like it as a rating and review platform. Number 11 – prioritising Twitter, over LinkedIn. So this is really quite interesting. We often get advisers coming to saying, “We want to build our Twitter profile; we want to build our presence on Twitter.” They don’t actually think about whether their target audience hangs out on Twitter, or not. And there’s all sorts of reasons, and you could probably do a full webinar about Twitter versus LinkedIn. But there’s all sorts of reasons they do this. And one is a perception, that their target audience hangs out on Twitter. Another is, that they might feel more comfortable there themselves. Third, they might dislike LinkedIn, I would argue that’s because of who they’re connected to, rather than the platform itself. And there are something like 16 or 17 million Twitter users in the UK, there’s 33 million LinkedIn users in the UK. So whilst Twitter has its uses, particularly for engaging with your peers, and learning off your peers – and also, if PR is important to you Twitter’s really useful for making connections with and building relationships with journalists – it isn’t actually going to generate you that much in terms of new enquiries. Whereas LinkedIn – if you use it well – can absolutely generate new enquiries. And can also – if you need this help – really help with recruitment. I was chatting to an adviser yesterday, who’s just recruited two members of his support team via LinkedIn, and it’s really, really useful. I was chatting to another adviser yesterday – I don’t know if they’re on this call – but he was going to put some some job vacancies on their website, which is absolutely fine, but it really should start with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an incredibly useful place. And for most financial advisers and planners, they’re going to get more value for the hours they spend on LinkedIn, compared to the hours they would spend on Twitter. Misstake number 11 – prioritising Twitter over LinkedIn. Next one, this is absolutely something that we could do a whole webinar on, and we may well do. But getting the balance between production and promotion wrong. Content production, and promotion I’m talking about here. So, we see some advisers who spend quite a lot of time, and maybe money, writing and producing content. That might be blogs, it might be brochures, it might be guides, it might be videos, even the website. They spend a lot of time producing content, but don’t spend anywhere near enough time promoting it, though. And I guess we’re guilty of this as well. We try not to be, but I guess we’re guilty of this as well. But we need that balance to be right. You almost need to be spending more time promoting content, than you do producing it. You produce it once, you should be promoting it constantly. Whether that’s via a newsletter on your website, via social media, by paid for channels, and lots of other stuff as well. And, too many advisers and planners, write content – lets take blogs – they write content, they push it out in a newsletter, a couple of social post and forget about it. That’s not a great return on the investment, of time and money of writing the blog. I even know one firm who produces blogs, puts them on their website, then they don’t post them on social media, and don’t push them out in newsletters. So you need to get the balance between content production and content promotion, right. For me, I will be spending at least as much time promoting it – if not more – than it takes to produce it. There’s definitely another webinar in that. But go back, have a look at your blogs, have a look at your content. And just ask yourself: are you doing everything you can to promote it – at the time it’s written, but also in the future as well? When did you last go back and promote the content that you wrote last year? So get that balance right, probably spend more time promoting it, than you do producing it. Next one, still on content. Writing about features, rather than benefits. So, if you go onto our website after this webinar, and we’ll put it in the follow up, there’s a brilliant piece that Nick Parkhouse, our Head of Content wrote – I think was early on this week maybe last – about writing for features, not benefits. So, example – you might see some firm on their website, say: we’re chartered. Well, so what? Yeah? We need to explain to consumers, the benefit of that. So: we’re chartered, which means that this benefits you because… so we need to be talking less about features more about benefits. Another example: we are award winning. Okay, that’s nice, but so what? How does it benefit me? We talked earlier about the fact that consumers are, really quite selfish. They’re on your website, because they want to know whether you can help them or not. So, let’s give them the features, but let’s talk about benefits. Benefits are far more important. And you can see when firms are talking about benefits, because they will use words like, “that means”, “this helps you because”, those sorts of linking phrases between the feature and the benefit. So again, go back and look at your content, and just have a think about – are we talking about features? Or are we talking about benefits? And then, still on content. Another one we could do a whole webinar on, writing poor unengaging headlines and subject lines. So the headline would be the headline of a blog, or a guide or piece of content, maybe a video. But also the subject lines, in the emails that you send, so your newsletters, for example. Even the subject lines that you might send, inviting people to a webinar, such as this. And what we tend to find is that, people who produce their own content, spend the vast, vast majority of the time, writing the words on the page, writing the body content of the article or the blog. They spent very little time on the headline though; the headline is almost an afterthought. And absolutely, you should write the headline after you’ve written the article, but there is no way it should be an afterthought. And it is so important, there’s the David Ogilvy quote, which basically says you’ve spent most of your marketing budget already, so you got to get that headline right. But for me, when you’re writing your headline, you should be writing 10, 15, 20 times. Write it as list, continually iterating and improving every single time. And what you’ll find is the number one – the first headline – and and 15th, 20th will be very different. And it represents an improvement every time you rewrite it, it represents an improvement. And I’ve seen some advisers and planners, write one word headlines. And they think they’ve been clever, but they’re not? Because it doesn’t engage the potential reader. And if your headline doesn’t engage the potential reader, or your subject line doesn’t, it’s kind of pointless writing the article in the first place, or producing the content in the first place. So really focus on your headlines. Write 10, 15, 20 different headlines. And then when you’ve got it as good as you think it can be, use a bit of AI, to help you improve even further. We use something called Headline Studio, from CoSchedule. Go look it up, Headline Studio from CoSchedule. And that, you put your headline in, and it scores it for you, and then it’ll suggest improvements. And it scores it out of 100. And typically, we won’t run with a headline, unless it scores at least 80. But allows you to keep iterating your headline until it gets as good as it possibly can do. And the other thing, of course you can do, if you’re running newsletters or webinars, are split test headlines – so you know what works and what doesn’t. And that information, again, is incredibly useful. But mistake number 14 – writing poor unengaging headlines, and subject lines. Really important that we avoid that. Number 15 – and Dan, I’ll get to the end, and then we’ll do some questions if that’s okay? So, number 15, the wrong mindset, when you ask clients for support. So, there are times when you’re going to be asking your clients, to help you out. And examples might include, leaving you an online review; Google and VouchedFor. Recording a video. Client surveys, although I’d argue client surveys benefit the client, because it’ll improve the service you deliver to them. But there are times when you’re gonna be asking your clients for support. Quite often, we speak to firms where the adviser is less than happy, or worried, about going to ask the clients for their support, “My clients won’t do this.” We had one a while ago, where I said to the adviser, talking about videos, three person firm, and one of the advisers said, “my clients won’t do it, won’t appear on video, I’m not going to go and ask any of them.” And we need to change that mindset. Because first of all, the adviser is making the decision for the client, that they won’t do it. And we know that’s the wrong thing to do, because we know clients will do this stuff. And the second is, that clients are often really, really happy to do it. It’s their way of saying thank you to their adviser or their planner for all their help over the years. I sat in a financial planners office just before Christmas in Sutton Coldfield, chatting to the client just before we interviewed him to appear on video, passing the time of day with a small amount of chit-chat, and asked him where he’d come from. And he’d come from North Wales. In December, in the cold, the rain, probably a four hour round trip. I said to him, “it’s very good of you to do it.” His response was, “it’s my way of saying thank you to Nick, for all the help he’s given me over the years.” So mistake number 15 – the wrong mindset when you ask your clients for support. If you ask the right clients, in the right way, they will help you. Don’t make the decision for them. Number 16 – so we’ve talked about this, but not repeating messages. So, quite often, we’ll have firms who say, “we can’t do newsletters monthly, because we can’t think of what to write about.” Or we’ll get some firms saying, “well, we wrote about that last year, why are we doing it again?” Or we’ll get some firms say, “our client video goes on every page on the website, it’s repetitive.” And you know what? There’s a reason for that. It’s because we need to keep repeating messages. So the mistake is, not repeating messages. There’s all sorts of research to show the number of times that you need to repeat messages, and different research gives you different results. But the one thing that all the research has in common, is that you need to keep repeating messages. A couple of reasons for that. The first – really practical, the first time you talked about something, whatever it is, the first time you talked about something, a bunch of people won’t have seen it. So that’s the first reason need to repeat it, because people didn’t see it the first time. The second reason you need to keep repeating, is because repetition – it puts into people’s heads. I remember Brian Hill once – don’t know if he’s on the webinar, hi Brian, if you’re here – that I remember Brian Hill once saying to me, that Yardstick and me, bang on about social proof a lot. I love that, because it meant the message was getting home. It really meant the message was getting home. And it’s just so important that you keep repeating messages. Yes, you might find different ways of saying the same thing, to keep people engaged. Really important that you keep repeating messages; your key things that you want to get across, you keep repeating. And the mistake that too many advisers and planners make, is to say something once, assume everybody’s heard it, assume everybody’s understood it and assume that it’s, you know, sunk into everybody’s grey matter – because it won’t. We need to keep repeating messages. And just finishing off on that, the point you get bored of saying it, is the point where people start to hear it. There’s a podcast between Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell – it launched a few weeks ago – a couple of weeks ago, Rory Stewart was talking about political campaigning. And he said exactly the same thing. Just as you get bored saying it – the electorate in his case – their audience are starting to hear it. And the same applies with everybody on this call. The point where you get bored, is the point where your audience start receiving the message. Number 17. This is one you can absolutely take back into your business and start using today and tomorrow. Missing opportunities to ask for Google reviews. So, Google reviews are important – but are quite hard to get. And there’s various reasons for that, no need to go into them right now. And, we always suggest running a kickoff project, to ask all your clients for Google and VouchedFor reviews in one go, and then changing processes. But there are two occasions, when you can actually ask for Google reviews. And you could get quite a few of them. The first is, when you do some pro bono work for a client, someone might come to you, not the right fit client. But, because you’re a good person, you want to help them out. So you help them out by making some suggestions. And ask them to pay you, by way of a Google review. So we’re not going to charge you for this. Happy to spend some time talking to you. But afterwards, would you mind paying us by leaving us a Google review? You know what? Most people will do it. So that’s a really easy way, of just bumping up the number of Google reviews you’ve got. The second – when you get a bit of unsolicited feedback, you, or someone in your team, your admin team, your paraplanning team, or advisers and planners, get some unsolicited feedback from a client, just send them a little line saying, “thank you, would you mind cutting and pasting that into a Google review? Here’s the link.” Most people will do it. And those are two really useful opportunities, that advisers and planners overlook to boosting the number of Google reviews that you get. Pro bono work and the line, “Thank you for that. Would you mind cutting and pasting this into a Google review ?” We’ve used a lot, and it really does work. Number 18 – worrying about “bombarding clients”. So this relies… this talks about how frequently you send content out. Our view is that content should be sent minimum, monthly. And by content, we generally blogs in the form of a newsletter. We’ve got some clients that do it weekly, and it works really well. But quarterly is not often enough. And there’s various reasons for that happy to go into that in more detail. But, there is a feeling among some advisers and planners, that sending newsletters monthly is bombarding clients. I guarantee you it’s not, and we have data to prove it. So, the open rate on monthly newsletters in our experience, the click through rate, and the unsubscribe rate, on monthly compared to quarterly newsletters are exactly the same on average. Therefore, that shows you, that we can send clients useful information – it needs to be useful, it needs to be relevant, it needs to be interesting. If it puts a smile on their face, that’s a good thing as well. But, because the data shows the open rate, click through rate and the unsubscribe rate, are the same on monthly as quarterly, then we’re not bombarding people. You’re not bombarding people by sending good quality content on a monthly basis. So why wouldn’t you add value 12 times a year, rather than four? It’s because some advisers feel that they would be bombarding their clients. Bombarding is a really negative term. And frankly, if you’re using it, then probably your content isn’t right in the first place. So again, change of mindset, have a more open mindset, and realise that you’re adding value with your newsletter content. Number 19, drawing to a close – aiming for perfection and not getting things done. So, this particularly applies when it comes to producing content, especially newsletters. If you try and get every single article as perfect as it possibly can be, that is the enemy of getting things done. You are less likely… you’re going to miss deadlines, yeah? Your April newsletter will get pushed into May, your May newsletter will get pushed into June, you won’t do July, because you’re on holiday, or whatever it is. But you’ve just got to accept, that good is good enough, and get it out there. So, I can think of a few clients and a few financial planners that spent so long trying to get every little grammatical point 100% correct. Really worrying about the content that’s in there; rewriting constantly. Good is good enough. Because if you’re aiming for perfection, it just won’t get out and won’t get done. So if you struggle with that – and we all do it from time to time. But if you struggle with that, it’s something really to work on. Number 20 – buying leads. So this is, again, we could do a whole webinar on this – I’d be spending a lot of time on my soapbox – but two real reasons why buying leads, we believe, is a mistake. First, you’re not in control. So things change when you buy leads in. And the price can change, the quality can change. There are so many variables that are outside of your control when it comes to buying in leads. And if the source dries up, where do you go for your next leads? So you’re not in control when it comes to buying your leads, of the quality, the quantity, the price you pay, there’s so much that can change. And if you don’t have that backup of a marketing strategy, and your lead tap gets turned off, or the price rises, then you’ve got a problem. Second, is if you’re buying in leads, you need to understand from a compliance perspective, every part of that journey. So if you’re buying in leads, generally speaking, there is a Google ad or some sort of ad online through to a landing page, that gets then passed on to you and you buy it at that point. And you really need to understand what’s said in the advert, what’s said on the landing page, and what’s said in the journey from when the lead is sold to you? And you also need to understand when the adverts changed – are you happy with how it’s changed? And we’ve seen especially New Model Adviser, Laura Purkess is doing some great stuff on this over the years. But we’ve seen firms get into real trouble, when what has been said by the lead generation companies, isn’t compliant. So, buying leads – two great issues – compliance and control. If you can avoid doing it, do avoid doing it, and build your own marketing strategy. And then finally, getting too many people involved in a project. Just because somebody wants to get involved – Dan’s nodding his head – just because somebody wants to be involved in a marketing project in a business, doesn’t mean they should be. And there are – what was the phrase Dan? Design… something designed by committees?
Dan Campbell 58.40
Learn by committee, yeah.
Phil Bray 58:43
And find the right number of people to get involved in a project. But if you’re sending your website or your new brochure, around 15, 20 people in your business, you’re gonna get 15 or 20 different responses. So, just get the right number of people involved in a project. Because your project will move forward more effectively, more quickly. And actually, the the ultimate output will be more on point. It doesn’t improve the overall result, the more of the people, the number of people who are involved. In fact, the reverse is probably true, isn’t it Dan?
Dan Campbell 59:24
Yeah. So I’ve just put a link to a blog that I wrote the Yardstick team member blog section. And in it, it’s got a little bit of advice about choosing a committee and how to choose it wisely and the type of people that you want. And Phil’s absolutely right. There is 100% a cap on the amount of people that should attend, because it can very quickly get out of hand – even from people with the best of intentions, you know? Nobody comes into it wanting to disrupt, but yeah, it creates noise, doesn’t it Phil?
Phil Bray 59:56
It absolutely creates noise, and it doesn’t necessarily mean the project is any better. In fact, I would suggest it’s often worse. Because, you are asking people for an opinion about something they’re not an expert in. It’s a little bit like your client taking their portfolio that you’ve built lovingly for them, down to the pub, and asking for the opinion of the people in the pub. The analogy works pretty well there. Right, so those are 21 mistakes. Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas and things that you can go and improve within your business. If you want to stay in touch with us, there’s our website. There’s my LinkedIn profile and Twitter profile. So feel free to go and look me up, send me a LinkedIn connection, always happy to connect. And go follow me on on Twitter. And in the meantime, Dan – have we got any questions to finish off with?
Dan Campbell 1:00:52
We do have one to finish off with, yeah. So this one’s from Tina, who asks, “We already use VouchedFor reviews and feel it’s overkill to also ask for Google reviews. What are your thoughts on that?”
Phil Bray 1:01:05
I would go back to the mistake about mindset. It really isn’t overkill. And if you want some evidence to show that, we’ve run ratings and review projects for at least 100 firms now. And if you ask, if you… if the email says something along the lines of, “We use two platforms; Google and VouchedFor for reviews. Click here to leave us a review on VouchedFor. Click here to leave us a review on Google.” Some will do both. So will do none. So will do one. But we have never ever had any pushback, from a financial adviser or planners client, about using two platforms. And the other reason you need to use VouchedFor as well as Google; Google is really important. When someone searches for your business online and runs a brand search, they will see the Google My Business listing. If there’s a bunch of Google reviews on there, you impress them at the first interaction they ever have with you. That’s why Google is really important. But it’s hard to get a Google review. Because someone’s got to have a Gmail account. And they’re leaving their name on it. Because generally people use their name, their real name, on a Gmail account. So they’re leaving their name in public, and they’ve got to have a Gmail account to leave it. And that means it’s harder to get Google reviews. But they are really important because they impress people that first interaction. So if someone can’t leave you a Google review. And that’s the only thing you ask for, you’re sending them down a dead end, which is never a good thing to do. And that’s why VouchedFor is so important. So two takeaways there. The first is, I would just try and tweak your mindset and give it a go. All the evidence we see is that clients don’t mind being asked for Google and VouchedFor reviews. And secondly, you will get four, five, six times as many VouchedFor reviews as you will Google. But if you ask for it in the same email, clients will not get annoyed. Give it a go, report back, see what happens.
Dan Campbell 1:03:06
Fantastic. Right. So we’ve got one more question by an anonymous attendee, which is quite exciting. So it sounds quite mysterious, doesn’t it? “Is it absolutely essential to have a website for one’s marketing strategy?”
Phil Bray 1:03:21
Yes. Do you want a slightly longer answer than that? Yeah. I think it is. You need an online presence. So, if you want a business, and you can have a website, I absolutely believe it’s essential that you have that website, if you want to grow your business. You could make an argument that if you’ve got 100 clients, and you’re happy with that number of clients, and you don’t want to take any more on, then you could argue you don’t need a marketing strategy, because you’re happy with the position you’ve already got. But if you’re trying to grow your business, then yes – a website is essential as part of a marketing strategy, because it helps impress people online, and helps create visibility online. And if the underlying reason behind the question is that, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous, works for one of these national organisations, where it’s difficult for them to have a website? There are things you can do to get around that, but I would answer that, yes, I do think it’s essential.
Dan Campbell 1:04:27
Brilliant. Well, there are no more questions. We’ve got a big long list of people that want that KPI spreadsheet. So I’ve got that listed down here. But yeah, thank you very much for that, Phil. There’s no more questions from anybody.
Phil Bray 1:04:40
Fantastic. So, we’ll follow up with the usual recording later on today. And over the next few days, we’ll get that marketing KPI dashboard out to everybody who wants it. Have a lovely Easter, everybody enjoy the sunshine. It’s gonna be a lovely weekend. So enjoy the sunshine and Dan and I will be back next month. Cheers everybody.
Dan Campbell 1:04:58
Take care everyone. See you in the next one.
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