Your marketing strategy: The six things you must measure

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We do love our KPIs in financial services, however there’s one area where in my experience they are underused.

Where? Marketing.

To be more specific, assessing the effectiveness of your marketing.

For most advisers, marketing is done to increase the number of new enquiries they receive. Why wouldn’t you therefore want to understand the effectiveness of your efforts?

Why bother with measuring your marketing activity?

No one wants to waste time gathering meaningless statistics which will have no impact on your business. However, measuring the effectiveness of your marketing strategy is vital, for three key reasons:

  1. It will tell you what’s working; you need to do more of these things (who says marketing needs to be complicated!?!)
  2. Equally, it will tell you what isn’t working for you; do less of these things or change them until they work
  3. So you can assess the return on investment of money and time

So, if measuring KPIs is vital, which should you monitor?

Clearly, the answer depends on your marketing strategy; however, I believe the following six are the most important.

1.       Lead source

Monitoring the source of new enquiries might sound an obvious thing to do, but I know plenty of advisers who don’t do it.

Get into the habit of asking new enquiries how they found you and keep track of the answers. If you run a multi-adviser practice, it’s essential that your advisers get into this habit too, and provide you with the information.

Of course it’s possible that a potential new client might have found you in a number of different ways, for example, they could have read one of your blogs, followed you on social media and looked at your website, before they got in touch.

Record all this information, it’s like gold dust.

Over time, you can start to overlay the source of a lead, with information about whether they became a client and the revenue generated. This will tell you which is the most cost effective source of new enquiries; hugely useful information.

2.       Website

Anyone who has read my previous blogs will know I believe every advisory practice needs a website.

But that’s only half the job; you have to monitor its effectiveness. To do this sign up to Google Analytics, a free tool available to everyone who runs a website.

One quick aside, Google Analytics only starts to monitor your website from the day you sign up. Even if you don’t intend to start monitoring your marketing activity immediately, sign up for Google Analytics straightaway. That way, when you come to look at the stats you will have more historical data.

Google Analytics is a powerful tool, providing almost limitless information about your website, but there’s a danger you could get intimidated by the wealth of statistics and the jargon being used. I’d suggest you start by monitoring these key stats:    

  • Website traffic Tracking the number of visitors to your website is important, but it only tells half the story
  • Time spent on each page The longer a visitor spends on a page the more engaged they are. This rule applies particularly to blogs you write; the time spent reading them is an indication of their quality, how well you have engaged the reader and whether the articles are reaching your target audience
  • Traffic source You need to know what is driving traffic to your website, so you can do more of what’s working and change those things which aren’t. For example, if you spend hours each day trying to drive traffic from a Twitter to your website and it isn’t working, you need to change something
  • Bounce rate Ideally you want people to ‘wander’ around your website and look at a few pages. Bounce rate measures the percentage of people who hit a page on your website and immediately ‘bounce off’ or leave your site, usually because they haven’t found what they were looking for. As a rule of thumb your bounce rate should be as low as possible
  • Most popular pages There will be key pages on your website you want people to see; maybe your latest carefully crafted blog, certainly your meet the team page and contact details. It’s vital you track what people are looking at

I could write a whole training course on Google Analytics, but for now, start with these five indicators and tweak your strategy accordingly.

3.       Blogs

Providing useful information and demonstrating that you are an expert in your chosen market is one of the sure fire way of creating new enquiries; writing blogs, either on your own website, or as a guest elsewhere is a great way to do this.

If you are going to commit the time to writing a blog, then you need to be pretty sure it’s going to be read by your target audience and that what you write is useful to them.

I’d therefore recommend you measure three key indicators for each blog you write:

  1. Number of views
  2. Time spent reading the blog
  3. Source of the visitor

Getting this information from your own site is easy via Google Analytics. If you write guest blogs for other websites, the administrator of that site can usually provide the information and if you’ve started blogging on Linkedin their analytics system is superb, it even shows you who has read your blog!

4.       Directories

I’ve written extensively about Unbiased and Vouchedfor in the past, which you can read by clicking here and whilst I believe they are a vital part of the mix for advisory firms looking to attract new clients, they have to pay their way.

Given the options visitors have for getting in touch with you from these sites, it should be relatively easy to track the numbers of leads you receive. Over time, as a percentage of these leads become clients; track the revenue you have received and compare it to the average cost of each lead.

Only you will know whether or not you are happy with the return on investment you receive from the directories. However, the information you get will again tell you what’s working, what isn’t and what needs to be changed.

5.       Newsletters

Newsletters are a vital way of staying in touch with both existing clients and people who have made an enquiry, but not yet become a client.

However, newsletters come at a cost, either in terms of money or time.

I’m a huge fan of electronic newsletters, less so the printed alternative, simply because it is harder to track their effectiveness, it is also far more expensive.

You initially have two goals with your electronic newsletter; to make sure it is opened and that the articles are read.

Any email system worth its salt (I’m a fan of Mail First and Mail Magic) provide you with the opportunity to monitor your campaigns, I would therefore check the following key stats:

  • Open rate Pretty self-explanatory i.e. the number of people who opened your newsletter
  • Click thru rate The number of people who clicked on a story or link, which should, in an ideal world, take them through to your website
  • Most popular stories You need to know what stories are popular, so you can run similar articles and which are less popular, so you can take appropriate action

There are many ways of tweaking a newsletter to improve these key statistics, but that’s the subject of another blog. If you can’t wait pick up the phone, I’m on 07785 284428, and I’ll share some tips with you.

6.       Social media

Unless you employ the services of a social media ‘guru’, this is the cheapest of all forms of promotion, at least in terms of cold hard cash, but it can eat up huge amounts of time unless you are very focussed.

Social media is again a great way of demonstrating your expertise whilst being helpful by providing information and answering questions.

Like any other form of promotion, it has to pay its way, having said that, it can be the hardest of all to monitor.

The platform you use will dictate what information is available. However, not withstanding a very impressive story I heard the other day from a newly formed advisory practice (I tip my hat to Rohan Sivajoti of Postcard Planning) about Facebook, I would suggest starting with Twitter and LinkedIn.

Both platforms provide basic tools to enable you to monitor the reach of your posts, how many people have clicked on your links and, in the case of LinkedIn, who has looked at your blogs and your profile.

Sounds like hard work?

Perhaps, but it doesn’t have to be.

I’d suggest you design a simple dashboard which allows you to plot the statistics which are key to your marketing strategy and then set aside half an hour each month to complete it.

You then need to spend time analysing the stats and taking appropriate action; that might be another hour or so.

That’s a maximum of two hours per month (probably less when you get into the habit) analysing your marketing strategy and making any changes necessary.

That’s time well spent, especially if it reduces the time you spend on fruitless activities, which will never result in a new enquiry.

 

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