Over the past year I’ve spoken to many advisers about their marketing.
There are some clear trends, for example, the aim of most advisers is to build a flow of new enquiries, whilst there’s no doubt that most are working to a tight budget.
The same questions keep cropping up too, so I thought I’d reveal the seven most common. Of course, that wouldn’t be the most helpful blog I’ve ever written, so I’ve included my answers too!
#1: “Do I really need a website?”
If you want to take on new clients the answer is absolutely, “yes”.
An effective website is essential if your marketing strategy is to deliver satisfactory results. Furthermore, in relation to new client enquiries it really only has one job: To turn a visitor into an enquirer.
A website is also vital if you are launching a new advisory business. An online presence is expected these days and it will certainly make the job of explaining to existing clients, who are perhaps a little nervous about following you, the ethos of your new business and why they should continue to retain you as their adviser.
#2: “What are the most important things I should include on my website?”
To turn a visitor into an enquirer your website needs to do two things:
- Build your credibility: Visitors need to believe they have found the expert to solve their particular financial problem
- Reduce anxiety: Visitors will be anxious to ensure that making contact isn’t going to be a costly mistake
There are a number of ways of successfully accomplish these things, the most important is to focus on two groups of people:
- Clients: Existing and potential clients should be front and centre of your website. Be specific about the types of clients you deal with (and those you aren’t right for), give examples of the problems you solve, whilst including testimonials and case studies
- You and your team: Profiles are vital to help potential clients know that you are the right choice for them. These must include evidence to demonstrate why the visitor should get in touch. Personalise these profiles too, a potential client will often want to know more about you, your likes, dislikes, hobbies, passions and pet hates. Let both your expertise and personality shine through
A word about photography.
One of my pet hates on a website is stock images (think unfeasibly young looking, grey haired couple, strolling hand in hand on a beach), closely followed by passport style adviser photos, which will frankly scare the living day lights out of some potential clients.
Good quality, professionally shot images of you and your team, both individually and a group, are crucial and will separate your website from other advisers.
#3: Should I use Vouchedfor or Unbiased?
If you are looking for new clients, categorically “yes”.
I’ve always believed these two directories should be the foundation, along with an effective website, on which an adviser’s marketing strategy is built.
Both Unbiased and Vouchedfor have developed their offering over the past year. Whilst they are both directories at heart, each have unique additional features, for example Unbiased’s Blue Book and Vouchedfor’s rating system, which make them absolutely vital in my opinion.
If I were an adviser looking for new clients, I would use both.
Firstly, I’d sign up for the paid for the Unbiased ‘Plus’ subscription. At the same time, I would sign up for the free listing on Vouchedfor and spend time gathering recommendations. Only once these had reached say 15 – 20 would I then take one of the paid subscriptions.
#4: Why aren’t Vouchedfor or Unbiased producing any / enough / the right lead?
I recently read a blog by Brett Davidson who answered this question very well: “There’s something wrong with your listing and you need to fix it.”
Of course Brett is right.
These directories work for many advisers, if they aren’t producing satisfactory results for you, there’s no two ways about it, you are doing something wrong.
The beauty of both of these directories is that when combined with an effective website, they are working for you 24/7. But that doesn’t mean you can write your profile and then forget about it.
All profiles should be carefully put together, be specific about the types of clients you work with, whilst building credibility and reducing anxiety. You should review your profile frequently, change what’s not working, try new things and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
Your effort will be rewarded.
#5: Which is better, a printed or electronic newsletter?
Regular touch points are vital, not only do newsletters help to remind your clients and introducers that you are there for them. It will also deliver important information that, if you don’t tell them, someone else will.
For potential new clients, who have not yet done business with you, a newsletter is an ideal way to regularly stay in touch whilst giving reminders of your expertise.
So, which is better, electronic or printed?
I’ve published both over the years and my personal view is that electronic wins hands down every time.
They are cheaper to produce, more flexible, can be used to push potential clients to your website, whilst you know exactly who has read them, and which articles were the most popular.
In contrast, you don’t even know that a printed newsletter has been delivered!
#6: “How often should I update my website?”
Providing you have something interesting and relevant to say I’d suggest updating your website as often as possible, ideally at least once a week.
Time pressures mean this may not always be possible, so consider supplementing your own articles with bought in content or blogs which are ghost written for you.
The time you commit to writing articles is well spent, not only can thy be used to populate your newsletter, they will also help your website ranking in search engine results and are an ideal way to demonstrate your expertise.
#7: “Are testimonials still important?”
I’ve seen it argued that we are now so cynical testimonials are effectively useless. I’ve even seen suggestions they should be banned.
Testimonials can still be hugely powerful, particularly if they are credited to a named individual and specific about the problems solved and h benefit the client has enjoyed.
I’d recommend using Vouchedfor to collect your client testimonials and then use them elsewhere on your website and other marketing literature.
Where you want to demonstrate how you solved a problem in more detail, or to show specifically the type of clients you work with, I’d suggest expanding a testimonial to a case study.
Showing the original problem, followed by a brief outline of the advice you gave and a testimonial from the client, can be very powerful.
If you have questions about your marketing strategy I’m here and happy to help.
Simply add them as a comment to this blog and I’ll add my answer.