In my experience most advisers would like to increase the number of clients they work with, yet have limited marketing experience, finite budgets and are almost always time poor.
If that describes you, how can you effectively market your business?
First things first, what does ‘effective’ means? This will differ from firm to firm, but for most it will be the number of new enquiries received from the right type of potential client. Of course, work often also needs to be done to define the ideal target client, without this detailed analysis, your strategy will be less effective.
‘Effective’ defined? Tick.
Target market defined? Tick.
Now you can start to develop your strategy. Naturally, this will be constrained by budget, time and resource and also needs to be simple; this isn’t a multi-channel high budget Saatchi & Saatchi campaign!
Most advisers also need a strategy which works 24/7. It’s a great feeling to wake up in the morning, return from a client meeting, or glance at your emails over the weekend and find new enquiries in your inbox.
This means heading online and I would suggest implementing this five step strategy.
Step 1: Build an effective website
An effective website, which builds credibility and demonstrates your expertise, whilst reducing the understandable anxiety in the visitor, is the foundation of your strategy.
For people referred to you, as well as those who find your details in other ways, for example Unbiased, Vouchedfor, Google searches etc, your website should be the final piece in the jigsaw, which demonstrates you are the adviser to solve their financial problems and encourages them to get in touch. As I’ve written about before, your website has one job, to turn a visitor into a prospect.
I’d go so far as to say no IFA practice should be without an effective website.
Step 2: Referrals
Referrals and recommendations are hugely important.
There are various ways to encourage existing clients to recommend your services. Start by explaining that you are building the business and plan to take on new clients, whilst of course providing reassurance that the high levels of service given to existing clients won’t be compromised. It’s also important to ensure your clients know the types of people you would like to be introduced to and are given regular reminders, and subtle nudges, that you would welcome being recommended.
Finally, I’m often asked whether advisers should directly incentivise clients for giving referrals. To be truthful, I find that approach rather tacky, a personalised thank you and small gift bought with the client in mind, is however always appreciated.
I’ve written more about this topic, here: “7 ways to get more referrals and recommendations ”
Step 3: Sign up to Unbiased
Next, I would recommend signing up for an Unbiased subscription.
Spend time building and refining your profile so you stand out from the crowd. This includes making the niches you work in and your areas of expertise crystal clear. So many profiles are too generalist and impossible to differentiate from each other.
Step 4: Sign up to Vouchedfor
At the same time as signing up for Unbiased I would also take a free listing with Vouchedfor.
Again, the same rules apply when building your profile, work hard to set yourself apart and identify the areas in which you are an expert.
One of the key differences between the two directories is that Vouchedfor allows your clients to rate the service they received from you. As these reviews affect the order in which advisers are displayed following an online search, I would suggest taking a free listing, build the number of reviews and once they reach say 15 – 20, then turn on the paid for subscription.
Well written Unbiased and Vouchedfor profiles will produce a steady stream of new enquiries. If they don’t then change your profile, that’s where the problem will lie, not with the websites themselves.
Remember to take the rough with the smooth too, not all new will immediately result in a new client; I’d recommend reviewing the return on investment over a 6 – 12-month period.
Step 5: Consider additional options
With regular monitoring and refinement, an effective website and referral strategy, coupled with the two key directory listings may well produce sufficient new enquiries.
If not I’d consider supplementing these with the production and distribution of articles to demonstrate your experience, the targeted use of social media and the production of newsletters.
All of these will certainly elevate your marketing to another level, and don’t actually consume significant amount of budget, although they do take time.
I’m here to help
If you would like help with your marketing strategy or have a question about this article, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
I can be reached on 07785 28 44 29 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org