Two ‘big beasts’ dominate the IFA directory market; Unbiased and Vouchedfor, but how many IFAs build really effective profiles, which maximise the return on their investment?
Having spent a lot of time on both directories, I’d suggest the answer is “not many”.
I’ve previously written about Unbiased so thought I would turn my attention to Vouchedfor and give you my top 12 tips for creating a great profile.
Before I start though, for those advisers who aren’t aware of Vouchedfor, it’s worth outlining exactly what it does and how it differs from other directories:
- Vouchedfor is essentially a hybrid between a traditional IFA directory and Trip Advisor; visitors can search for an adviser, whilst existing clients can rate the service they have already received
- IFAs can join for free, but will receive enquiries if they take one of the two subscription options. You can learn more about the cost of membership by clicking here https://accounts.vouchedfor.co.uk/pricing-financial_adviser
- Vouchedfor suggest that the return on investment is approaching 10 times the amount invested. Anecdotal evidence from advisers I have spoken to backs this up, making Vouchedfor a source of new enquiries advisers really can’t ignore
In addition Vouchedfor promotes the top rated advisers, based on client reviews, in the national personal finance press and offers a wide array of additional marketing support.
So, now you know the basics, it’s time to learn how to create the perfect profile, which will get the phone ringing with new enquiries:
Tip #1: Invest in a paid for listing
Advisers who take one of the subscription options will appear at the top of the search results. It doesn’t take a marketing genius to know it is these advisers which will get the bulk of the enquiries.
The top subscription means paying per lead, and there’s no doubt you have to take the rough with the smooth. But, overall, and subject to your own abilities of course, advisers I have spoken to have reported a significant return on their investment.
Tip #2: Check out the competition
Run a search as one of your target clients might do and take a long hard look at the results, this is your competition!
- Are their photos professional?
- How many reviews do they have?
- Are they targeting specific markets?
- How approachable do they look?
- How much effort are they putting in to their profile?
Tip #3: Your three aims
Appearing on an IFA directory can be one of the simplest, yet most effective, ways of marketing your business and is ideal for smaller practices with limited budgets.
But keeping it simple is key, you only have three aims if you use Vouchedfor:
- To appear in one of the top three positions for searches run by your target clients
- To get your target client to click your profile rather your competitors
- For your target client to get in touch
Tip #4: A professional photo (and a smile) goes a long way
The search results give a list of advisers which match the criteria searched for. However, the results display only a limited amount of information about the advisers; this is especially the case if the user is using a tablet or mobile device.
So how do you differentiate yourself in the search results from your competition?
A professionally taken picture, not one taken on your phone, holding the cat, or on your latest exotic holiday. Look smart, smile and show your teeth!
Amazingly, research has shown that showing your teeth when you smile, makes you look more approachable and will result in a a greater number of enquiries.
Tip #5: Get reviewed, part one
The search results also show the number of reviews received by an adviser and the average score out of five; along with your picture, this is the main way of differentiating yourself from the competition.
The vast majority of reviews are overwhelmingly positive, this means there is little difference between the average scores received by many advisers. An average score of 4.8 versus 4.7 is unlikely to result in a significantly higher number of enquires.
However, the number of times you are reviewed is a real differentiator. A large number of reviews, along with a relatively high average score out of five, demonstrates constantly high service.
Tip #6: Get reviewed, part two
The Vouchedfor algorithm uses the volume of reviews received, when deciding which advisers will appear at the top of the results page.
Tip #7: Get reviewed, part three
Vouchedfor is unique promoting its ‘top rated advisers’ in the national personal finance press, including the Times, Telegraph, Observer and Mail.
To become a ‘top rated’ adviser you need to have a paid for subscription to Vouchedfor (unsurprisingly) and have built up around 15 reviews during the month preceding publication.
But it’s worth the effort.
The advisers I speak to tell me that appearing in a ‘top rated’ feature results in significantly more enquiries; it’s also great PR to use on your website and to get exposure in your local press.
Tip #8: Use the tools provided to get reviewed
Getting reviewed is essential if Vouchedfor is to really work for you.
There are a number of tools available for you to use, including a very simple and effective mail merge facility, to make it easy to request reviews from your clients.
How many clients should you ask to review your services? As many as possible! Vouchedfor suggest that if you ask 30 clients for a review you will receive between 10 and 15.
Tip #9: Demonstrate expertise
You’ve appeared at the top of the search results page and the Vouchedfor visitor has clicked your profile, you’re half way there, but you still need them to make contact with you.
How can you do this? Simple, demonstrate expertise.
There are a number of ways to do this, including:
- A well written ‘about me’ piece explaining who you help and the type of problems you solve for your clients
- Case studies, showing how your advice has benefited clients
- Memberships of relevant bodies
And of course reviews from your clients!
Above all though your profile should show that you are approachable, an expert in your field and be written in terms your target market will understand.
Tip #10: Review your website
A proportion of people who view your Vouchedfor listing will then seek other ways to confirm you are the adviser for them. This most likely option is a Google search for you or your firm and a visit to your website.
Your website needs to confirm the positive impression already formed after viewing your Vouchedfor profile.
Keep an eye out for future blogs on how to carry out your own website audit; in the meantime if you want more information on this feel free to get in touch with me.
Tip #11: Display your Vouchedfor adviser rating
Not everyone who visits your website will have know how many great client reviews you have on Vouchedfor.
It goes without saying that you want everyone to know the great things your clients say about you.
I’d recommend using the widget created by Vouchedfor, this allows you to display a graphic on your website showing your rating. In fact, why not go a stage further and use the reviews on your website too?
Tip #12: Give all enquirers a great experience
Not everyone who makes an enquiry from Vouchedfor will become a client, but every enquirer can submit a review.
Even if you can’t help an enquirer or they don’t fit into your target market, it’s vital you leave them with a positive impression. If you can’t help, then signpost to someone who can, suggest online articles they might like to read or websites they could look at.
Go the extra mile, leave all enquirers with a great impression and some will take time to review the interaction.
Your marketing mix
I’ve previously described Unbiased as being a vital component of an IFA’s marketing mix; I believe the same is true for Vouchedfor.
Creating an effective profile, which delivers a return on your investment of cash, and time, takes some work, but perhaps not as much as you think. In fact I’d hazard a guess that building a great profile will take less time than compiling the average suitability report!