3rd March, 2021 - Webinar replay

How to promote being included in VouchedFor’s 2021 top-rated guide

Phil Bray 0:00
Good morning, everybody. It’s 10 o’clock on Wednesday, and welcome to our latest webinar, “How to promote being included in VouchedFor’s 2021 top-rated guide.” Hopefully everybody can hear me. Stick a few notes in the chat, if you would, just to say that you can hear us, and that we’re coming across loud and clear. So, a couple of introductions, if that’s okay to start with? Those of you who have been on our webinars before will know Dan – Dan Campbell – who’s head of branding at The Yardstick Agency. And, Dan’s gonna keep us on the straight and narrow, aren’t you Dan?

Dan Campbell 0:41
Yeah, so I’m gonna be playing the not so glamorous assistant today. So, any questions that get asked, I’ll be fielding to Phil and Caroline. And, ultimately, I’ll be just keeping us as on-time, and as on-track as possible. But I’m sure we’re happy to stick around for a few minutes and answer any questions that arise at the end. What I will do (before we all start) is, they’re often the same questions that get asked during the webinars. So let me just quickly answer those before we all start. The first – we’ll be sending out a recording of the webinar afterwards. So, if you have to dash off during, you’ll get a video link to a YouTube upload, that you’ll be able to watch at your own pace. And also, one thing that we got asked last time was, whether people’s microphones and cameras were on? You can be assured that they aren’t. So if you’re homeschooling, or the dog gets excited – don’t worry – you’re not going to interrupt us. So, crack on as you are.

Phil Bray 1:40
Thank you, Dan. And just to reiterate, we’ll take questions as we go through. So as Dan says, put them in the Q&A. But we’ll stick around for as long as necessary to answer any questions, at the end. I’m delighted today to be joined by Caroline, from VouchedFor. Caroline’s the Product and Operations Director. Caroline, do you want to explain what that means day-to-day?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 2:03
Of course, morning, everyone. Great to be here. So, yeah, as Phil said I look after all things Product and Operations. What that means in reality, is basically all of our websites, the accounts that you guys log-in to, all the tools you can access, I look after all of that, as well as our Customer Success team, helping advisers make the most of all of the tools available to them, on the membership. So yeah, very pleased to be here and to be talking about how to make the most of the top-rated guide.

Phil Bray 2:34
Thank you, Caroline. So without further ado, let’s look at what we’re going to cover today. So, we’re gonna look at a bit about the background of the top-rated guide. Caroline is then going to walk us through a summary of the top-rated assets, the things that VouchedFor provide for financial advisers and planners, to help them show off being included in the guide. We’ll then work through our top 15 tips, things that you could be doing to leverage your inclusion. And then, we’ve added this at the end, because we often get asked by advisers and planners: It’s great for qualifying this year – but how do they qualify for next year? How do they keep their reviews up to date? So we’ve got some top tips there. Hopefully there’ll be useful for you. And questions at the end. But please do, absolutely question us. If there’s things that you want to know, this is now your opportunity. So, put them in the Q&A. We’ll pause at various points, and Dan can fire questions out to myself and Caroline. But do comment as well. If you disagree with something that we’ve said, please do challenge it, and feedback. Because I’m VouchedFor are a tremendously open company, I’d like think Yardstick are too. And we only learn, if we get challenged. That’s how views get formed, and get changed, and get improved. So if you say something, or if you hear something today that you disagree with, think I’m talking complete rubbish, then please do say so – because that’s the only way we improve. And remember, we don’t have all the answers. So if there’s something that we can’t answer today, I’m sure Caroline and I will go back and find the answers out for you. So, if everybody’s happy with those ground rules, we shall press on. So the guide will be published – I believe, Caroline – on Saturday, the 10th of April, and it’s distributed in The Times.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 4:28
Yes, it is.

Phil Bray 4:30
Excellent, big morning at The Times. And, to qualify advisers, and firms – because advisers and firms can qualify, can’t they Caroline?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 4:41
They can indeed, yeah. So we have all our top-rated advisers, and then we have top-rated firms as well, who have a slightly different set of criteria to advisers.

Phil Bray 4:50
How many have qualified?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 4:52
So we have just over 2,000 advisers qualified this year, which is phenomenal, and I think a real testament to how advisers have kind of been helping their clients through the craziness of the last year, and all the uncertainty. And I believe 20, top-rated firms.

Phil Bray 5:09
Excellent, and I should just congratulate a couple of The Yardstick firms who have gotten in on that 20 as well. So congratulations to them. And there’s various key criteria. And I’m assuming everybody on this call is qualified, because that’s why you’re here. So that’s the background to it. And the guide’s been running for a few years now, hasn’t it, Caroline?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 5:30
Yes, it has. So we’ve been running it for a number of years, it’s kind of evolved over the years, we’ve added on lots of different tools, and things over the years. And of course, it’s just really sort of grown and grown and grown, which is fantastic to see.

Phil Bray 5:44
That’s the perfect segue into the tools and assets that you’ve created, for advisers to use. And, the 15 things that we’re going to go through on this webinar, are absolutely based on these top-rated assets, these top-rated tools. So, I thought we’d start here – start by going through these, it makes sense to understand what they are. So the first thing that advisers and planners can get, is a trophy. Caroline, tell us more about that.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 6:12
Yes, so we have a number of tools that are included within your membership. And then we have a couple of additional things you can also get, which have an additional cost, but you can order them through VouchedFor. So the first is a trophy, which is engraved with your name, top-rated adviser, and the year. We also have (just while I’m talking about the sort of additional tools we have available), we also have printed versions of that guide. So both, in print form, but also in nice glossy copies that you can keep for years to come, and kind of have in the office or even give out to clients as well. Hopefully, we’re more back to face to face. Then, in terms of all the other tools that we have available that are included within your membership, we’ve got a top-rated badge. And that comes in lots of different guises. So, there’s a nice big clear badge on your profiles, which many of you will have noticed already. So any consumers who come on to your profile can straightaway see that you are top-rated. That also comes as an email signature. You can see the versions that we’re showing here, these are actual top-rated firms, but they look very similar for top-rated advisers as well. So you’ve got a choice of email signatures. You can actually use those images in other ways as well, if you want to put them on your website, share them on social media, etc. And I’m sure we’ll talk a lot more about that in the top tip section. We’ve also got your top-rated certificate, which is a PDF download. So, lots of great ways you can use that – sharing it with clients, attaching it to emails, posting it on LinkedIn, etc. And then lastly, another kind of key tool we’ve got is your top-rated report. So you might have noticed in the past, we have a sort of PDF portfolio of your reviews. That effectively gets kind of supercharged with your top-rated status. So it’s actually labelled as your top-rated report. And it’s all the background to your inclusion in the guide. So it highlights the checks we’ve done on you, qualifications you’ve added to your profile, all of your lovely reviews, as well as obviously the fact that you are top-rated. So again, a really nice tool to use with prospects and with clients.

Phil Bray 8:27
Thank you, Caroline. And at the end of today’s webinar later on today, we’ll send a recording of this webinar out to everybody who registered. And we’ll include links to the pages where these can be ordered. And I think there’s only a few trophies or relatively few trophies left, isn’t there, Caroline?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 8:47
Yes, I believe we are slightly limited on stock. I think if you go on to the link we’ll provide, we’ve got a little timer there, and a little countdown that sort of tells you how long you’ve got left, and how much more stock we’ve got! So…

Phil Bray 8:58
I think there was about 70 left, when I looked on yesterday.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 9:02
That sounds about right. So yeah, we’ve had a few orders in already but yeah, we’ll do our best to make sure you can get one!

Phil Bray 9:08
No worries. As I say, later on today, we’ll send a recording of this webinar out, when obviously people can see the slides. And we’ll put links in there as well. So those are the top-rated assets that are available. They can be accessed via the dashboard. And they are the foundations on which these top 15 tips are built. Dan, I’ve seen a couple of questions come in. Shall we just take those before we go through to the top 15 tips?

Dan Campbell 9:40
Yeah, sure thing. So, the first question we’ve got from Philip, “Just 2,000 advisers qualified for the top adviser listing… How many advisers are there in total, on VouchedFor?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 9:52
Great question. So we have, just over 3,000 verified members on VouchedFor. We of course have further advisers as well, who might be just starting to build up their reviews on one of our kind of free plans. But yeah, it is not all advisers on VouchedFor. And it is, I think, our biggest year ever in terms of those who’ve qualified, but still a fantastic achievement when you look across the broader spectrum.

Dan Campbell 10:24
Brilliant. So, we’ve got another question from a mysterious anonymous attendee, who asks, “Can you still take advantage of this year’s top-rating, if – as an adviser – you change firm?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 10:36
Yeah, also a great question. So, the reviews you receive on VouchedFor are for you as an adviser. So if you do change firm, you continue keeping those reviews, your profile stays as it is. What we’ll do is change your firm details over for you, so we can run all our checks. Make sure you’re connected to that firm, all of that stuff. But you do get to keep any tools that you’ve got and any reviews that you’ve got.

Dan Campbell 11:01
Perfect. So, one final question before we move on then. So this is a question from Dan, who asks, “I went to add the top-rated box to my email signature recently, and compared to the usual VouchedFor email signature that shows your reviews, etc. it’s huge – too big to fit on my signature, so I couldn’t use it.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 11:20
Interesting. That was a great bit of feedback, Dan. Let me pick that up with our tech team after this call, and I’ll make sure that’s updated.

Dan Campbell 11:28
Perfect. That’s all the questions for the time being. So yeah, let’s press on.

Phil Bray 11:33
Thank you Yardstick Dan. So, tip number one. And, we just need to be aware of certain guidelines when we’re promoting, (or you’re promoting your own) inclusion in the guide. And, the first thing I think we need to be aware of, Caroline, is that advisers and firms need to talk about the fact that the guide is distributed in The Times.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 11:59
Yes, exactly. Yeah. So it’s important to say it’s distributed in The Times, but it’s compiled by VouchedFor so it’s not actually produced by The Times, but it’s distributed in The Times.

Phil Bray 12:09
Yeah, so really important that we remember that when we’re talking about the guide. And the other thing, there was some social media messages last year, when the odd adviser was talking about the fact that they were in the top 250 list, Caroline?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 12:23
Yes, the top 250. I remember those days, the last time we ran the top 250 I believe was 2016. So five years ago. The guide, as I mentioned, has obviously grown a fair bit since then. So we refer to it as the top-rated guide, the 2021, now, instead of the top X number.

Phil Bray 12:43
Thank you. And obviously advisers need to stay fully verified, to allow you to continue to do the checks, so that they continue to use the top-rated badges and accolades, etc.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 12:59
Yes, exactly. Yeah. So an important part of achieving top-rated status is obviously passing all of the checks that we conduct on VouchedFor. A big part of that is the reviews, that you have to get to qualify. But the other part of that is making sure we can run all the checks, we look at in terms of your FCA status, your independent restricted status, all of that good stuff. And to do that, you have to remain on one of our verified memberships. It’s very important that advisers do that.

Phil Bray 13:27
So, as I say, the first step, just making sure that we stay within the guidelines, and that we don’t claim for it to be supported or endorsed by The Times, distributed in The Times, etc. So that leads us on to tip number two. It’s about a year ago, we were all heading home, wasn’t it? And getting used to remote working, Zoom meetings, and all those sorts of things. That seems a long while ago, but I shudder to think the number of Zoom meetings I’ve done over that time, and I’m sure that most people on this call are exactly the same. But it does provide us with an ideal opportunity to promote (or advisers and planners to promote) their top-rated status. And two ways of doing that. Creating a virtual background, that includes your top-rated logo, and your rating. That will provide a talking point in meetings. Or we’ve all seen those politicians, with their bookshelves stacked with things that make them look intelligent (or intended to) and in my background, we’ve got a nice Yardstick banner. But there’s no reason why, if you don’t use a virtual background, then you could display the asset behind you, to act as talking points. So maybe your VouchedFor certificate, the trophy, all that sort of good stuff, sat in the background. You might point out join meetings, and people might ask you about it, during meetings as well. So make use of the assets on those video calls, either as a virtual background, or as just a physical background, sat on bookshelves behind you, etc. Dan’s got a plant behind him now, how good would it be to put a VouchedFor trophy behind it. So there’s all sorts of good stuff that we can do there. But, as we head into 2021, there is going to be the opportunity, hopefully, for clients to come back for physical meetings. It’s clear that some meetings, many meetings may stay online, but other meetings may come back into a physical face to face environment. So, various things we can do there as well. We’d encourage the advisers and planners who have got the trophy, to display it prominently in their office, so visitors can’t fail to see it. A lot of firms we work with who enter and win awards have got nice bookshelves, or shelves on the wall with their with their awards on it. And the VouchedFor trophy would look great there as well. For me, if you’ve got multiple advisers or planners, I’d be buying a trophy for each. It demonstrates consistency of performance across the business. That’s massively important. I’d also been buying glossy copies of the guide, marking it where you’ve been included, and leave it in your reception. I think there’s a certain confidence that it portrays, by putting that guide in reception, showing where you are, and just showing the fact that there’s lots of other advisers have qualified as well, but you’re in there? I think there’s a certain confidence that comes from doing that, and the glossy guides work really nicely for that. And then just think about, literally the physical journey somebody takes in your office, from carpark to door, door to reception, reception to meeting rooms, etc. And just walk that and display the top-rated certificate along that journey, maybe in reception room meeting… sorry, receptions, meeting rooms, etc, etc. So a lot of these assets should be distributed around your office. Dan, questions?

Dan Campbell 17:16
Yeah, we’ve been quite busy in the Q&A box. So let’s pick a few to answer. Okay, so let’s start with two questions both from an anonymous attendee, and along the same line, so I’ll ask them both, because the answer will be fairly similar. So the first one, “Given the two thirds of the advisers are top-rated, it seems like it’s diluted and not really as good as it maybe sounds.” And then the second question is, “If there are 3,000 advisers on VouchedFor, and 2,000 qualify, shouldn’t the bar be raised?”

Phil Bray 17:50
Caroline, do you want to start with that? And then I’ll come back with a couple of thoughts?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 17:53
Yeah, sure, absolutely. So I guess the first thing I’d say is that that is, of course, only advisers on VouchedFor, so there are, of course, way more advisers across the UK. And you know, I think this is a fantastic thing to showcase that you’re willing to ask all your clients for feedback, showcase that feedback. It is something that really makes you stand out. So that’s the first thing I’d say. The second thing is, I think, you know, part of the reason that the guide has grown to the size it has is because, particularly over the last year, reviews have become increasingly valuable. And that’s a trend across (I think) every industry really, but we’ve really seen it accelerate – particularly with COVID and remote working – clients doing their online research and seeing the value in those reviews. So I think that’s, you know, really what’s led to that growth. And I think you know that that’s a fantastic thing to see. And I think it is something that is really valuable to consumers, at the end of the day. So I think that’s kind of the important thing. But of course, we are continually looking at the guide every year, and looking at ways to improve it. So I think it’s a fair point to raise and something we will think about.

Phil Bray 18:59
I think you’re right, Caroline. For me, it’s about context. 2,000 out of 3,000, or 2,000 out of about 28,000 financial advisers and planners, something like that. And that 2,000 includes mortgage advisers, as well Caroline? Or are mortgage advisers separate?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 19:15
It does include mortgage advisers.

Phil Bray 19:17
Right, OK. So, 2,000 out of 28,000 or so financial advisers and planners, plus however many mortgage advisers there are as well. So, we’ve got to choose our context. The second thing I’d say, is that the guide is really important. And it’s distributed in The Times, I’m staying on brand, it’s distributed in The Times. But that is going to happen over a weekend, and maybe there’s some heat to generate out of the fact it was in The Times for a week or so afterwards. But after that, we’ve got the rest of the year to be using these assets. And it will come out of the context of 2,000 and it will simply be the fact that I’m a top-rated adviser, or I’m a top-rated firm. And that drive for social proof – you’re right, Caroline – has become increasingly important during the year. And, for us, social proof – the holy trinity of social proof. Client surveys, online ratings and reviews by Google and VouchedFor, and client stories. This is really important to demonstrate the quality of your advice and client satisfaction. And we’ve also got to remember, that these are based on real client reviews. And one of the reasons I really like VouchedFor, is the authenticity of the reviews, and the rigorous process you guys go through, Caroline, to make sure reviews are genuine, and that advisers pass certain checks as well. And I think the fact we’ve only got 20 firms qualified, is also indicative of actually, the qualification criteria for firms is pretty tough.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 20:58
It is, yes.

Phil Bray 21:00
The two firms we work with, we’ve had to work really hard to get qualified. And they’ve done a fantastic job. Anyway, I’m going to shut up now. That was a long winded answer to a short question. Dan, do you want to carry on?

Dan Campbell 21:10
Yeah, sure thing. So next question is from Jenny, who asks, “Will The Times guide be available online only, or also distributed in hardcopy, with a printed version?”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 21:21
Great question. So in terms of The Times, it is distributed in the print version only. But of course, all the assets we’ve mentioned, are online throughout the rest of the year. So for example, anyone who Google’s your name will still continue to see all of those top-rated things online.

Dan Campbell 21:39
That’s brilliant. So next question from Derek, and I imagine I might be able to answer this, is, “How do you create the top-rated virtual background?” So, I suppose a question for you first, Caroline, is, is there a tool that you guys have got that makes that happen?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 21:57
We don’t have a tool for it yet. Although I am told that our marketing team have been looking at creating a virtual background, which we will make available, if we can get that to look nice and clear and work across lots of different platforms. So fingers crossed, we will have something you can just go to download from our site. But it is also fairly (I think – I’m told!) fairly straightforward to make a virtual background?

Dan Campbell 22:25
Yes, absolutely. So, for those that have simple image editors on their devices, all you need to do is create an image that’s 1920 pixels wide by 1080 pixels high. And imagine that you’re in the middle, because it will be behind you. And then just put it wherever you think it fits around, where you’re usually moving around. If you talk with your hands or your arms, perhaps keep it out of that. But yeah, just test it. You know, you can go into the settings on Zoom, or teams, and preview it before you actually join a call. So yeah, it’s not a hard thing to put together. And of course, we can help, if you do get stuck along the way. Okay, so next question. A few people have asked this actually, “How do I register with VouchedFor?”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 23:12
Ah, that is a very good question.

Phil Bray 23:14
Pretty straightforward, isn’t it!

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 23:16
It is, yes! You log on to our homepage, vouchedfor.co.uk, you’ll see an Apply button in the top right. And on that page, you’ll have a sign-up form where you can read a bit more about how it all works, and enter your details there.

Dan Campbell 23:33
Brilliant. So what we’ll do, we’ll go with one more question. And then, I feel a few more may be better suited a little bit later on. So, a question from Phillip, “There are three advisers in my firm, and all of us are top-rated. Why is our firm not top-rated? What more could we do? I have been asking for a while, and can’t seem to get an answer.”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 23:58
First of all, apologies for that, Philip, that we haven’t been able to give you an answer. So the answer is, that we have a different qualification process for top-rated firms. And the reason for that is, with top-rated firms, we… I believe this should have been emailed out a few months back, we first started announcing qualification for the guide. So we asked those who are interested in top-rated firm status to register their interest with us, and then go through a series of checks with us. Crucially, they have to invite every client of the firm, for every adviser, to leave a review, which is ultimately about demonstrating commitment to great client outcomes, by inviting 100% clients. But yeah, we do ask firms to notify us of your interest. And we follow up with you, to make sure that all clients have been invited, and that sort of thing. So, it’s a slightly different set of criteria to the individual adviser criteria.

Dan Campbell 25:02
Brilliant. So, like I say a few more of the questions I imagine will be better placed later on. So, let’s proceed, and ask me again in a little bit if I have any more questions.

Phil Bray 25:12
Yeah, no problem. Thank you, Dan. So, tip number four, create a meeting confirmation pack – or at least amend your existing confirmation pack. So we see quite a few firms use these, maybe with a PDF, email, we’ve seen a few firms use systems called Better Proposals. If anybody’s ever had a proposal from Yhe Yardstick Agency, it’s in that system of Better Proposals, and it creates some lovely online documents. And these meeting packs might include practical information. You know, directions to the office in times gone by, links to Zoom meetings, parking details, explanation of documents they should bring, that sort of stuff. But, we also think they should be elevated, just from the practical. And, especially for prospects, prospective clients, people are coming for that first meeting, they should include validation that they’ve made the right choice, in coming to see you, and client videos are fantastic for doing that. So we’ve been talking to a couple of firms recently about using Better Proposals, which is the online system. Getting 90% of the pre-meeting pack built, by having a video page. And in there, using one of your client story videos if you’ve created them, to include somebody like the prospect. So for example, if you’ve got someone coming to you, because they’ve got a bunch of pensions, and they want to see if they can afford to retire, then why not include a video there, that shows how you’ve helped somebody like them retire. And, client videos for me, have got a massive place to play in life in general, but they’re important for meeting confirmation packs, but also include your top-rated certificate, your top-rated report, explanation about that your top-rated links to the VouchedFor widget, all that sort of good stuff. So I think there’s a load of assets that we can use, to, as I say, validate the prospects decision to come and see you, rather than somebody else down the road. Caroline, anything to add there?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 27:24
I guess just one thought really, which is, I’ve spoken to a lot of advisers who sometimes aren’t quite sure how to sort of phrase it or position it when they’re presenting the, you know, top-rated certificate, top-rated report. I think one really nice way to do it is, as part of asking that prospect for feedback. Because that sort of gives you a nice sort of lead in, to showcasing all your other great feedback. So that’s the only thing I’d add.

Phil Bray 27:49
Okay, cool. So, number five – tell you existing clients, this is really basic stuff. But your existing clients, will be interested in the fact that you’re qualified. And there’s a whole bunch of reasons why they might be interested. But typically, we find that the clients of financial advisers and planners, are actually more interested in what’s going on in their advisers business, than the adviser gives them credit for. And that’s because, they’re invested with you, as well as investing with you, if that makes sense. So your clients will be keen to hear, that it’s good news – they like good news stories. If we’re doing a newsletter on behalf of clients, and we do 180-200 of these now, you write a story about the financial planning practice, the advice practice, things that’s going on, they’re always really well read. So it’s the perfect opportunity to remind the clients that you’re top-rated, and also start to talk about recommendations. So, one of my big themes this year is to stop talking about referrals, and start talking about recommendations. Because I don’t think clients understand what referrals mean. And it’s a fairly negative word. I went to the dentist the other day, and I was referred on to have a wisdom tooth out on Monday. And that referral wasn’t particularly pleasant, I can tell you. So, I’m trying to talk about recommendations, rather than referrals. And, telling your clients that you’re included in the guide, is the perfect opportunity to deliver the good news, but also to talk about the fact you welcome recommendations. So I would include in there, a thank you. I’d start with a thank you. Because it’s your client reviews, actually it’s your great service, followed up by client reviews, which has got you in the guide. So, starting with a thank you. It’s also a good opportunity, to remind those clients, bit of a nudge in the ribs, that if they haven’t given you a review already, would they mind popping over and leaving you a review on VouchedFor, and also maybe backing that up with a Google review link as well, because both of them are important. And then it’s the perfect opportunity to remind clients, that you do welcome recommendations from other people. And as the slide says, that as a top-rated adviser, their friends, family, work colleagues, etc, will be in really safe hands. So I would be sending out, getting that out, really quickly, after the after the 10th of April. In fact, I’d probably get it out on the morning of the 10th of April, itself. And the other way of doing this, is using VouchedFor’s referral generator tool, to tell clients that you’ve been included in the guide. Caroline, do you want to talk through the referral generator tool?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 30:54
Yeah, absolutely. So this is basically something we’ve built to try and make exactly what Phil’s just talked about, a bit easier for you, a bit more automated. So the way it works is, within your account, you’ve got access to something on the left hand side called Referral Generator, although perhaps we should rename it Recommendation Generator, I think Phil!

Phil Bray 31:15
That’s a really good point!

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 31:18
The way it works, you basically select who you’d like to send it to. So for example, you can just select to send it to all your reviewers. Or you can filter the list ff their are certain people you know, it isn’t quite right to ask etc. And it just, you can say, basically, “Thank you for helping me qualify as a top-rated adviser.” for example. “If you know anyone else who might benefit from my advice, feel free to share my profile with them.” So it kind of just automates that process. And we’ve seen some really encouraging engagement with that email. So, around 63% of people will open it, but 34% will also share it with one or more friends. So yeah, really nice way to make it easier for you to thank clients for helping you qualify, and yeah, sort of ask for that recommendation.

Phil Bray 32:09
And we all know, recommendations are the best type of new enquiry. They’ve got the highest conversion rate, the lowest cost of acquisition, they’re pre-sold on working with you. And, it always amazes me that firms want SEO, online strategy, social media, but actually don’t have a recommendation strategy in place. And if they do crunch the numbers, and look at the proportion of their clients who recommend them on each year, it’s very low. And client surveys we run, show that clients are overwhelmingly happy with the service they receive from their planner, with well over 95% happy to recommend them on to other people. But then when you compare that number to the actual number of recommendations they receive, it’s relatively small. So therefore, the more we can do to generate recommendations from existing clients, the better and I think that the referral generator tool is a great way of doing that, and communicating that you are a top-rated adviser. Dan, should we pause for some questions?

Dan Campbell 33:11
Yeah, sure thing. So, I suppose the first question is from Peter, because we may not have made it clear, at the start, “What’s the relevance of the 10th of April?”

Phil Bray 33:22
That’s the date that the guide is published in The Times.

Dan Campbell 33:28
Yeah, brilliant. So, next question, actually was a few people asking this one. So, “Can we have social media links in our profiles? Social media is massive at the moment, and nearly all my leads come from Facebook, and it would be good if anyone sees my profile in VouchedFor, so they can access my content on Facebook?”

Phil Bray 33:47
We’ll get to that in a bit, mate. There is, Dan, some stuff about social media on tips 12 or 13, or something like that. So we’ll get to that shortly.

Dan Campbell 33:56
Yeah, let’s park that one then. Another question that more than one person’s asked, “What testimonials do we have from already registered financial advisers, to evidence that joining VouchedFor improve their client acquisition strategies?”

Phil Bray 34:13
Caroline, do you want to start, and I’ll chip in?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 34:14
Yeah, definitely. So, I guess lots of key things really. I think, one of the key points here is that your reviews on VouchedFor, can help in a number of different ways. So, for example, if we just look at recommendations, we know that 79% of clients are more likely to refer you, when they’ve seen your reviews. Because it gives them that added confidence that you can actually help with a range of areas not just, for example, a specific thing you’ve helped them with. So we ask every client who leaves a review on VouchedFor that question. And so, that that’s one of the key, I guess, insights that we have into how reviews help on that front. And then the other point is, once they do go on to refer you or someone’s found you through any other source, that person is likely to be doing lots of online research on you. And we give… when you log into your VouchedFor account, we actually give you some indications as to just how many people are researching you online. So typing your name into Google, clicking a link to read your reviews. And I think that’s again, a really interesting, I guess, insight or measure of success, that you can be looking at to evaluate how your reviews are helping you in a broader sense. We do have lots of kind of good stories from from individual advisers. Phil, you might you may have some, from the clients you’ve worked with.

Phil Bray 35:37
Yeah, I agree completely with what you said, I’d go a bit further in fact. So, whilst VouchedFor’s primary function is not as a directory, it clearly does serve as a directory, if that makes sense. And the planners that we talked to, do get a number of leads during the course of a year from VouchedFor. But they shouldn’t be using it as a primary source of leads, but it does produce and generate leads because of its directory functionality. But, for me, the real value with VouchedFor is displaying the value that you deliver to your clients. And this is why, for online reviews, we recommend using both Google and VouchedFor. Google, because your Google My business listing appears, when someone runs a brand search for your business name, but isn’t going to appear when someone runs a brand search for your own individual name. And that’s where the VouchedFor ratings and reviews come into play. And, we speak to a lot of consumers, through the clients stories videos that we produce. And almost invariably, that journey from awareness of a planner, to taking action, Google sits in the middle of it. And the clients, or the prospects as you’d say, a running brand searches on Google, and what they see will dictate their next step. So that’s some of the value that I think is massively important from that. Dan, I’m going to plough on with a few more tips if that’s okay.

Dan Campbell 37:17
Yeah, perfect.

Phil Bray 37:17
Yeah? But keep the questions coming, because they’re really useful. So updating your website. As we’ve talked about already, sat between awareness and action, is Google. And clients, or prospective clients, will first meet you on a Google search results page. They will get to know you on your website. And that’s why impressing them is so important. Demonstrating the value you offer through client survey results, through client videos. The age of testimonials pages are dead. Fewer than, kind of, one or two in 100 people will visit a testimonials page. So we’ve got to scatter social proof around the website, which we’ll talk about more in a second. But I would be adding the rating and review widget, which is kind of standard there, for VouchedFor, there’s the code in the backend. So I’ll be adding the widget to your website. So when someone clicks it, it brings a pop up of reviews, but somebody’s still in your domain. They’re not pushed out to the VouchedFor domain. And put it on the popular pages of your website. Google Analytics will show you which are the most popular pages on your website and display social proof on those pages, including the VouchedFor ratings and review widget, and the top-rated logos. Pages to put it on: Homepage, certainly your Why Us page, Team page, individual team pages and your Contact page, all really popular, generally speaking. But go into Google Analytics, have a look at which the most popular pages are. And then that’s where you should be displaying your ratings and review widget, and your top-rated logo. Wherever you display the top-rated logo, link it through to the blog that you will have created, or the content you’ve created, which we’ll come to a minute, that explains more about what being top-rated means. And a couple more points on it. Don’t hide these assets away. It drives me insane. You see a website footer. It’s got the regulatory statement in there, the link to FOS, and the Companies House, and there’s someone’s VouchedFor rating. It should be at the top of the website, not at the bottom. These sorts of things are really important social proof, so they really shouldn’t be hidden away on a website. They should be absolutely prominent, socking the visitor between the eyes with your social proof. And scatter it around the site as well. Yes, focus on key pages, but scatter it around the site. If only all you’ve got is a Testimonials page, and only one in 100 people are visiting it, that’s a tiny, tiny proportion of people hearing about the value that you add. So scatter social proof around those key pages. Number eight – produce content. Write a blog, or record a video. And this should explain your inclusion in the guide, why it’s a good thing, why it sets you apart. For blogs, pretty easy to write, but a video is pretty easy to record. We’ve all got a camera in our pockets. Loom is a fantastic little tool. And Loom allows you to put calls to action, on the end of your video as well. So Click Here, maybe take you through to a Calendly invite, something like that. And this doesn’t need to be long, if it’s a blog, maybe 500 words, if it’s a video minute and a half, something like that. A brief explanation of what VouchedFor is. Confirmation that your ratings and reviews are based on, you know, real feedback from authenticated clients. And explain a bit about the criteria for inclusion, your rating itself. Some snippets from the reviews, you know, your best bits, and then some links out to the certificate, the report, and the guide. But blogs and videos, producing some content is a really important thing to do. And if you’re putting the top-rated badges on your website in places, then you can link through to this content. Number nine – social media. So we had a question about social media earlier, didn’t we. And for me, one of the first things to do is update banners and bios. So all social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, you’ve got that banner at the top. And it’s really important online real estate. Everybody sees it, who visits your profile, and some aren’t completed. Some have just got a picture there. But what they really should have, is key information about the business. So for me, I will be including your brand, a hero statement – which explains what you do, you do it for, why someone should use you – in about 20 words. You can get into 20 words, it’s not easy, but you can do it. And then of course, some social proof. And clearly, your top-rated badge is valuable social proof that you could put in your social media banners. So first thing, add it to your social media banners. Rework your banners, and then update your bio. So if you’re Twitter, it’s a really short bio, isn’t it? LinkedIn, far bigger bio. But update your bio to talk about the things that we’ve put there as well. Maybe add some links. You’ve got the Featured section on LinkedIn, that’s really useful. On Twitter, you can pin stuff to the top of your timeline. There’s all sorts of things you can do, to start showing off, on social, and it starts with making sure that your profile is up to date. Dan, any questions coming in? We’ve got five more tips to go. So do you wanna do some questions now?

Dan Campbell 43:28
Yeah, let’s do one question. And then we’ll move on to the next. Great question in from Haaj, “Where would you suggest best to post a blog or video? I currently only using LinkedIn, but not really being used properly, and only really attracts industry people, not clients. It can be time consuming if you want to target all the social media accounts. So it will be good to know, which you think work best with attracting new clients or promoting our VouchedFor certificate?”

Phil Bray 43:52
Okay, thanks Haaj. So first place is your website. Get the blog or the video on your website, really important. In terms of social media, it’s then probably a wider question. Hang out on the social media channels where your target audience hangs out. Hang out on the social media channels where your target audience hangs out. So, LinkedIn, for example, there are 27 million UK users of LinkedIn. I guarantee you, that some of your target audience will be in there. Unless you’re dealing with octogenarian widows, and you’re talking about equity release to them – they’re probably not going to be on LinkedIn. But you need to be hanging out where your target audience is, and build an audience on that social platform. And that might be Facebook, it might be LinkedIn. Those are the two primary social media channels that I think advisers and planners can get value from. Instagram, potentially if you’re in the mortgage market. Twitter, less so I’m not seeing advisers and planners get much traction on Twitter. So, so hopefully that helps Haaj. What else have we got, Dan?

Dan Campbell 45:06
Okay, let’s have one more then. So question in from David, “How many leads does VouchedFor receive each year? Can that number be broken down by geographical area, and provided to an adviser business?”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 45:19
Great question. So, I guess I’d start by just saying, I think Phil mentioned earlier, but our focus is not really on, what we’d call leads, I guess, in the traditional sense of the term. So, we get about 2 million visitors to the VouchedFor site every year, but that’s people who are looking for an adviser, or potentially checking their existing adviser. So it’s a bit of a mix. What I’d say in terms of the important things to look at, at your individual profile level, is the numbers we give you on your dashboard when we log in. And in particular, three of those, I think, give you a really good indication of, just how many people are finding your profile. And that might be a mixture of people who’ve never heard of you before, who’ve come on to VouchedFor, done a search, and found you. Or it might be someone who’s been recommended by a friend, who’s Googled you and come through. But we give you three key numbers, we actually give five, but I’m gonna focus on three of them. The first is your Googlers, how many people have typed your name into Google and clicked on to your VouchedFor profile. The second is what we call your clickers. That is people who’ve clicked a direct link to your profile. So for example, from an email signature, or one of the badges, banners, that Phil’s been talking about. And then the third one is what we call your potential enquiries. And these are people who’ve come on to VouchedFor, done search, based on their local area perhaps, based on a particular service. They’ve come across your profile, they’ve spent at least two minutes on your profile, and then left VouchedFor. And whar we see is, those people are quite often looking at a number of different sources, so they’re looking at your own website, your VouchedFor profile, your LinkedIn, and then potentially getting in touch a slightly different way. But looking at those three numbers, kind of gives you a bit of sense of, for you, how many people are finding your profile and reading your reviews. So hopefully, that’s helpful.

Phil Bray 47:11
Thank you, Caroline. Much appreciated. Right. We’re going to carry on with the tips. And then, we’ll do the rest of the questions at the end, if that’s okay. So keep the questions coming to Dan. And as I said, myself, and Caroline will stay on for as long as necessary to answer them. So, number 10. Pretty straightforward, this one, but update your stationary, it gets over… straightforward, but it gets overlooked, often. And if you have qualified, year after year, and I know there’s some people on this call who have. So why not use those badges, year after year, to show consistency of performance, put them side by side. And that applies to your website as well, it applies to your social media banners. If you’ve qualified in 19, 20, 21, put them all on. Put them side by side, to show that consistency of performance. In terms of stationery though, business cards, letterhead, your compliance and regulatory documents often get overlooked, put them on there. It’s pretty straightforward to do, and more and more firms are using electronic versions of these now. So adding the badge is relatively straightforward, and doesn’t mean you got to go and spend some money on printing costs. Next thing that often gets overlooked, even though it’s seen by dozens of people each day is the email signature. And we touched on this earlier. But adding one of the top-rated badges (preferably with a link attached to it, so you can link it through to the blog, or video, you created in tip eight), really, really important. One of the things I would say with email signatures, they drive our digital team potty. Because everyone thinks they’re nice and easy to do. But they’re really difficult. A simple email signature will have probably 150 lines of code in it. And it’s got to look good on desktop, laptop, mobile phone of all different shapes and sizes. So what I would say is, on email signatures, absolutely put your top-rated badge in there, but keep it simple. Simplicity is king when it comes to email signatures. And anybody who works in IT, or development will attest to that. Next thing I’d do, is update your newsletter template. So the template that you use to send your newsletters in, whether we do it for you, or do it yourself. Then I will be adding the top-rated badge into those templates as well – always with a link. Because, it’s only… people don’t necessarily know what it means. It’s a bit like the Chartered logo. Wherever we display the Chartered logo when we’re building a website. We’ll always link it to either blog, webpage to explain what Chartered means, an animation that we’ve created, whatever it is. You need to provide some explanation. So I would say the same here. Wherever you put the logo, link it through. I’d put the logo in your newsletter template. And if you’re qualified in previous years, I would be putting them side by side. And we’ve certainly got the badges for previous years, and I’m assuming Caroline, you will have as well, somewhere.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 50:23
Yes, indeed.

Phil Bray 50:27
Number 13 – professional connections. So, accountants and solicitors are often a really valuable source of new enquiries, for advisers and planners. And the guide provides us an opportunity to A) demonstrate the value you add to clients, to professional connections, and maybe open some doors with other professional connections as well. So the first thing I would be doing, if I was a planner, would be to send… I’d be buying some copies of the glossy guide. And I’d be sending some of these copies to my professional connections. So that when they’re back in the office and meeting start taking place again, they can be in the accountant or solicitors reception area. It’s got a post-it note through to you, or bookmark or something like that to highlight your inclusion. And you can get some of the review packs, that’s available as well, printed professionally and sent out. So there’s lots you can do to give those to professional connections. And these are really simple ideas, that we’re going through today. But, I would suggest only a small proportion of the 2,000 who have qualified, are actually going to do these things. So, not only do you set yourself apart by being included in the guide, you set yourself apart if you actually leverage them and take action. And that’s a really simple thing to do. The other thing I’d be doing is if you’ve got a professional connection due-diligence pack (which I know some firms do) update that as well. Put your badge in there, your certificate in there, your report, and then start using that as well. And just take any opportunity you can, to explain to professional connections, writing another blog, for example, explaining things we had on the other side, but slanted towards the needs of accountants and solicitors. Often overlooked, a lot of this stuff, and professional connections are really important. So I’d be leveraging all the assets as much as I can to communicate it to solicitors and accountants. Back to social. So, in one of the tips earlier, we talked about how you need to update banners and bios. Now, we need to start promoting it on social. So once you’ve decided which account you’re going to be using, or which channels, because that’s obviously an important decision. Write different messages for each channel. It looks lazy, posting the same message on multiple channels. Write different messages, and posts multiple times as well. Repetition is important. A Facebook feed or LinkedIn feed moves really quickly. So, post multiple occasions. And for me, I’d be adding posts on key days as well. Morning of the 10th of April. Why not add a post of you, popping into newsagent or the supermarket, and picking up a copy of The Times? A short video if you opening The Times, leafing through, finding yourself? A short video explaining how happy you are, thanking clients, that sort of stuff, but on the day itself? So, creating a bit of contemporary content from that date, I think is really important. A video of when the trophy arrives in your office, and you opening it up. Some people might think it is bit cheesy and it probably is. But – people like about cheese from time to time. And people like a good news story, especially at the moment. So, think about those key dates, and think about how you can leverage those, and videos are a great way of doing it. Especially on the day the guide is published, and the day your trophy arrives as well. And as this slide says, video mixes things up, from written text. So, think about social, videos work really well, different messages, and repeat them. Because there’s no guarantee someone sees the first one. And then the final of the 15 tips, before we get onto reasons for keeping reviews up to date. Buy copies of the report. Pretty simple, really. Buy copies. There are – Caroline – glossy versions and newspaper print versions…

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 54:49
There are, yeah.

Phil Bray 54:52
… that can be bought. So think about how you’re going to use them, whether to buy the glossy or the newspaper print versions. Leave a copy in your reception area for visitors to read, leaving a copy in your reception area for your clients to read. Solicitors and accountants – give them glossy copies to put in their reception area. And just think about how you can get those copies out to lots of different people. And personally, I really like the confidence that a planner has. I’m in this guide, there’s 2,000 others, but I’m giving you the guide. Yeah, I’m that confident in my abilities, I’m happy to give you the details of 2,000 other people. Yeah, I think there’s a certain confidence in that as well. So the 15 tips, they’re all pretty simple. But simple ideas are often the best ideas. And you will only leverage your inclusion well, and differentiate yourself from other advisers and planners who are in there, if you take action. So, sit down, work through the slides. The other thing we’ll be sending, along with the recording of this webinar, is a checklist, that you can check these things off, there’s a bit more information there, there’s some useful links. And you can check these things off, and decide which you’re going to implement in the business. So that’s a bunch of work for everyone to do. Next, though, it’s important to keep your reviews up to date. To start with, the key reason, is that VouchedFor’s algorithm, the recency of reviews is important, isn’t it? Caroline? For the for the VouchedFor algorithm.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 56:35
It is, yeah. And the simple reason for that, is that we know from consumers, that recency of reviews is something they specifically look for. So obviously, you know having lots and lots and lots of reviews is fantastic. But consumers often tell us that they look for making sure their adviser has recent reviews too. So that’s that’s why our algorithm reflects that. And that’s why it’s really important.

Phil Bray 56:59
Thanks. And it’s astonishing how… we’ve run a lot of projects for firms now to get VouchedFor reviews. And it’s astonishing how they do see contact levels increase, with the recency of reviews. And, I think that’s part of the actual algorithm. But I think it’s also part of the fact that consumers like to see more recent reviews. Two years old? Hmm, okay, you’re just wondering why that might be the case. So, keeping your reviews up to date, not only does it feed the algorithm, but it shows consistency of performance. And helps you qualify for next year’s guide, assuming that you guys do it, Caroline. But it helps you qualify, I would say a bit of a canter, rather than having that rush at the end of the year, to make sure that you get included.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 57:47
Absolutely, yeah. And I think the really important thing here is that you maintain that top-rated status for 2021, across the whole of the year. So as you continue building those reviews, all of the assets, and the tools that we’ve talked about, will continue to update. Your top-rated report, your email signatures, you know, they’ll keep growing and growing. So effectively, you can sort of build the power of that top-rated status, the more you keep building the reviews.

Phil Bray 58:14
Great. So some ideas for keeping your reviews up to date. Because we get asked – I get this asked quite a lot, off advisers and planners, “Right, we’re qualified for this year. How do we make sure we do it for next year as well?” So, a few top tips, and then we’ll get to some questions. So first thing I say is don’t be shy, and don’t prejudge. We occasionally talk to advisers and planners who will say, “I don’t want to ask my clients, I don’t want to bother them. They’re not going to want to leave me reviews.” And nothing could be further from the truth. Absolutely nothing could be further from the truth. If the service you are providing is truly valuable to a client, they will be very, very happy to leave you a review, could be a video, etc. If you ask the right clients in the right way, they will help. So the first thing I would say, is that planners should avoid projecting their views onto their clients, and give them the opportunity to leave these reviews. Next thing I would say is make your life easy. And use your automated feature, Caroline?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 59:20
Yes, so we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible for advisers to, keep reviews up to date. One of the ways we do that is by allowing (what we call) an automated follow-up review. So within your account, you can just switch that on – either for all your reviewers or you can selectively change who you’d like to opt in. You can even edit the date that you want that annual follow up to send as well, if there’s a particular time it’s best to send it. And it’s basically a shorter review. So it shows the client what they said last time and basically you just asked them how is your adviser helps since your last review? And we get a really good response rate, to those annual follow up reviews as well. So definitely worth doing that.

Phil Bray 59:59
Having a follow-up review is really handy. Because it means that clients don’t have to go through all the same questions again. And again, it demonstrates consistency of performance. Next thing I’d say is import reviews. If you’ve got reviews from Google, you can import those. I think it still generates an email to a client, doesn’t it, Caroline, just to confirm that they’re happy with the review being used?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:00:17
Exactly, yeah. So it brings through the content of what they said previously, and just ask them to confirm that, and a couple of other questions that we ask on VouchedFor.

Phil Bray 1:00:25
Great. Ask partners and spouses to leave a review each. Again, really important. So you can double up there. And I know one planner who uses these tips, and they’ve got 25 clients, they’ve really conscious about taking on only the right clients, and that they’re building their business. But I’ve got 25 clients, they’ve got 50, VouchedFor reviews. So they’re doing a really good job of following these tips. And the last tip I would have, is to remember those first impression reviews. It isn’t.. I don’t think it’s – Caroline – you can leave a first impression review even if you didn’t come through VouchedFor, can’t you?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:01:03
Yes, you can, yes.

Phil Bray 1:01:05
Thank you. So first impression review, someone has not yet become a client, or maybe doesn’t become a client, but you’ve helped them. You’ve given them a bit of guidance, they can “pay you”, for that guidance, by leaving you a quick review, if you’ve really helped them, signposted them to somewhere else, whatever it may be. So lots of things, you can do there, to keep your reviews topped up, and really important that you do. Some big benefits of doing that. So, aware we’ve used our hour, couple of things that I would say before we get to questions. If you want to stay in touch with us, our website address there, “theyardstickagency.co.uk”, LinkedIn, I post and comment on there on a daily basis. I’m always open to connection requests. So, send me a connection request and follow me on Twitter as well. And we try and provide as much value when it comes to marketing, as we possibly can. If anybody on the call is a client (or not a client), of The Yardstick and want some help promoting this sort of stuff, then feel free to get in touch with us. I’ll put my email in the chat. But that’s enough of the self-promotion. That’s not what we’re here for. Dan, have we got any questions?

Dan Campbell 1:02:16
Yeah, we’ve got plenty of questions. So, first question is one I can answer. So I’ll save you guys talking. Ultimately, Michael asked, “What was the name of the software I referred to, producing a digital background?” We use Adobe Photoshop or InDesign, but they’re paid for professional grade tools. If you’ve got a Mac, the Preview tool does that. If you’ve got a Windows machine, it used to be Paint, I think it’s Paint 3D. All you’re essentially doing, is putting the really neutral backgrounds and dropping a picture on so it can handle that. If you’re on an iPad, or you know, a tablet or a mobile phone. There’s, there’s so many apps that can do very, very simple photo manipulations. So I’d do that really, you don’t need that big paid-for stuff. So, now questions for you guys, because I can’t answer these ones. So, let’s start with… you spoke about a professional connections due-diligence pack, Phil, I think it was point 13? So a few people have asked, “What goes into that?”

Phil Bray 1:03:28
So, I think it’s a number of different things. And it’s some basic information about the business. I would be including things such as indemnity insurance, your authorisation, things that will just reduce any anxiety that a solicitor or accountant might have when it comes to referring you on. Solicitors and accountants are sometimes anxious about referring – or recommending, I should say – to financial advisers and planners, so anything in there that you can use to reduce that anxiety. And there’s a bunch of (what I would call) hygiene factors. So history of the business, who’s involved, an organisational chart – if your business is big enough to warrant it, details of your PI insurance, details of CPAD, complaints history, all that sort of stuff. And complaints history is a big one. It shows that someone’s really open and honest, if they’re publishing that sort of stuff, as with everything else. And then I will be including a load of social proof. I’d be putting the client survey results in there. You should be running client survey at least every two years, if not every year. Put those in there. Put your VouchedFor assets in there. Showcase your Google reviews. Put some client videos in there. So as I say for me, it’s about reducing anxiety with some hygiene factors, demonstrating transparency – you could put your charging structure in there, for example – and then a load of social proof. Make it look good. Make it easily editable, and try and personalise it if you can.

Dan Campbell 1:05:05
Perfect. So, question from Tina, who asked, “The date format on the VouchedFor site is American format? Can you change that?”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:05:16
In short, yes. Tina, we’ll drop your message after this just to confirm exactly where you’ve seen that. There’s a few different places for these dates. To my knowledge, it should be British format. But we’ll get that sorted if it’s American anyway.

Phil Bray 1:05:30
Dan, can you make a note, if you don’t mind of anybody we need to get back to on individual matters. Yeah, if that’s okay. And, assuming Tina’s happy, I’ll pass your email address, Tina, onto Caroline.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:05:43

Dan Campbell 1:05:45
So next question from James, “In the recent email from VouchedFor, asking us to confirm our listing, one of the headings in the listing was regarding Published Fees. Would you recommend adding the information? Or is fee information in isolation not very helpful?”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:06:02
So, I would definitely recommend adding fee information, even if… there’s a couple of different options, you can use our tools to actually specifically detail what your fees are. Or what I would suggest, if you’re not entirely comfortable with that, is just having some illustrative fees. So saying, you know, for example, for this type of thing I might typically charge in this region. I think it just really helps. When you combine that with your checks, with your reviews, and your qualifications, it just gives consumers an added bit of confidence really, in going ahead. So, I think it is important, but it’s kind of up to you whether you want to detail all the specifics, or just give some examples.

Phil Bray 1:06:45
Yeah, I would… I concur with most of that. Yeah. I’m… so, in the context of VouchedFor absolutely, I’d be putting fees on there, because you’re showing fees and benefits together at the same time. You’re demonstrating value through those ratings and reviews. So I think it’s the perfect place to do it. I’m agnostic on websites, I think there’s pros and cons of putting it on websites. Darren Cook (if anybody’s on Twitter), Darren Cook put a nice thread yesterday about one of the advantages of putting fees on websites. And that’s about demonstrating transparency. All financial advisers and planners say they’re transparent. Putting fees on the website is absolutely one of the best ways of demonstrating that transparency. Back to you, Dan.

Dan Campbell 1:07:34
Perfect. So a few people have asked this actually, or, you know, worded it along the same lines, but, “Some of their clients have been leaving four star reviews out of habit. Is there any way to encourage them to make that a five star review?”

Phil Bray 1:07:51
Caroline, do you want to take that?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:07:54
I mean, the first thing I’d say is that I think four stars are still pretty good feedback from clients. We… depending on the type of review they’re leaving, so a prospect or a client one. For a client one, we asked them a couple of different questions. So we asked them about… we ask them three different star rating questions. And then we take the average of those. So I do think that, sometimes it’s reflective of what clients want to put for those three different things. I think it’s still a fantastic review, at that level. The other end of the spectrum, I would say in terms of any other reviews where there might be issues, it’s incredibly rare that we see any negative reviews on VouchedFor, or that you won’t have already known that there’s a bit of feedback, or something to resolve there. So, yeah, that’s what I’d say on that point.

Phil Bray 1:08:46
I’ve got nothing to add on that. Let’s, shall we go for another question?

Dan Campbell 1:08:49
Yeah, so question in from Ian, so “We spoke about first impression reviews earlier on, do they count in the same way as any other review?”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:08:59
So towards your guide/qualification, yes, they do, they count as a normal review. In terms of how they’re reflected on your profile, they feed into your rating, but they are weighted slightly differently – so they count for half as much when it’s about your rating. But in terms of your total number of reviews, and where we use that, it counts as much as the client review.

Dan Campbell 1:09:23
Brilliant. So, a question from Alan. So this echoes something that was mentioned earlier about the little email signature icon not working. So apparently, his issue is, when he tries to put the image into the footer on his iPhone, the link carries through, but the image doesn’t. So I think we just need a bit of a technical support help for that.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:09:48
That is a great question. I know that… I think we’ve just updated our instructions for iOS and OS X as well, because they have made a couple of changes to how emails signatures work. So, yeah, let me take that away. Or Dan or Phil, have you found any any good tricks to help? I’d love to hear as well. But we’ll make sure we update all our technical support documents, to reflect the latest changes, and any good tips we know of.

Dan Campbell 1:10:16
Okay, so the next question is another mysterious, anonymous attendee. But, it’s something I was thinking actually with our last question. So, “You mentioned that four stars is still a great review, would it be useful to give an indication of what those stars mean?” Because obviously, it’s all very subjective, isn’t it – as to what one star means? What a perfect five star means?

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:10:38
Yeah, absolutely. So when you see the reviews on your profile, we display the breakdown of the different star ratings for the three valleys I mentioned. And we do, when clients leave that review, you can actually see this, if you go on to your own review form, when they hover over the different styles, we give them an idea of what that means. We give them a couple of bullet points to help them make a more informed choice. So, we do a little bit of work to help clients with that.

Dan Campbell 1:11:08
Brilliant. And just one final question. So, if anybody’s got any more, drop them in. So this question is from Matt, and this goes back to your point at the very end, Phil, where you said that if anybody needs any assistance, you know, promoting their inclusion on the in the guide, we can help? “What can we actually do?” That’s a question from Matt.

Phil Bray 1:11:29
So, hi Matt, how you doing? There’s all sorts of things that we can do. So, we can (in no particular order), update your social media banners. Dan’s team is very adept at doing that, and we can update social media banners for any of the channels that you use. We can write blogs on your behalf. Whether you’re an existing client, or you’re new to us, we can do that. We can add intro and outro slides onto video. If you record a video using phone, Loom, whatever it may be, we can add intro and outro slides. We can update websites. Clearly that’s a big thing, isn’t it? So we can update websites for you, and give you indications of what we should be doing there? And actually do the work? What else can we do? We can send those blogs in newsletter communications, on the morning of the 10th of April for you. And I’ve probably missed a couple of bits there. But there’s a lot of stuff we can do to help. And we’ll be sending some information out about that, in the follow up to this, and also during the month of March.

Dan Campbell 1:12:42
Brilliant. So we’ve got one final question that’s just dropped in, and it’s about the mysterious VouchedFor algorithm. So question in from Dan, “What factors cause you to show higher up the listings when a potential client searches the site? Is it number of reviews, frequency, combination of the factors? As I see some varied results when seeing how high some rank, compared to others?”

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:13:05
Great question, and I will hopefully make it less mysterious. So, the first thing I’d say is that, of course, the search within the VouchedFor site is mainly intended for people who haven’t heard of you yet. So if someone, for example, is Googling your name, within the Google rankings, you’ll come up generally fairly highly, we typically see first top five results really. So that’s one way that potential clients are finding you. Outside of that, people who come on to VouchedFor without knowing who they’re looking for, and search for an area? That listing is determined, first and foremost, by location. So, how far away from the search you are. There’s also various filters around that, so, consumers can choose to reduce the distance from their location, they can include people who’ll travel etc. So it varies a little bit based on what they’re selecting, then obviously, they have to select a service you offer, as well. And then the next thing that plays a part, is the number of your reviews, and the recency of those reviews. So those two factors combined are the next thing that we look at. And then the third factor that we look at, is your overall rating. So distance, number of reviews and frequency of them, and then rating and those things all combine, to provide that listing.

Phil Bray 1:14:26
Have we got any more questions Dan, or are we through them?

Dan Campbell 1:14:28
No, that’s everyone answered now.

Phil Bray 1:14:31
Well, thank you, huge thank you to Caroline, for coming today and explaining the algorithm, other things about VouchedFor, the top-rated guide. It’s been hugely beneficial having you here, Caroline. So thanks so much for that. Thanks again to Dan, for his usual fantastic job at comparing, and sharing today. And thank you to everybody who’s turned up, and stayed with us well past time. Hopefully it’s been valuable. We’ll send a copy of the presentation out later on today, a checklist, all the links, etc etc. So that will be hitting your inbox later on today. There’ll be links in there, of course, to The Yardstick as well, so if there’s anything we can help you with? Otherwise, go and enjoy Rishi’s budget that’s starting in – what – an hour or so’s time. Cheers everybody. See you soon.

Dan Campbell 1:15:23
Thanks guys. Bye.

Caroline Clarkson-Lund 1:15:25

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