Amongst the avalanche of pension articles published recently, one in this week’s edition of New Model Adviser by Michelle Abrego caught my eye.
Michelle’s piece looked at how pension providers plan to refer retirees to advice. Two things stood out; the close ties many pension providers have to advice firms (another blog, for another day) and the number which plan to refer to www.unbiased.co.uk
The following providers said they will be referring retirees to Unbiased:
- Legal & General
- Royal London
- Scottish Widows
- Standard Life
Only LV=, who will refer to Money Advice Service and Friends Life, who plan to build partnerships or their ‘advice team’, do not intend to refer to Unbiased.
If the providers are true to their word, Unbiased could become a lucrative way for retirement planners to attract new clients.
If you are a retirement planner looking for new clients, the results of the New Model Adviser survey should be the nudge you need get on there or review your existing profile.
We’ve put together 10 quick tips to help you create the perfect profile.
Tip #1: Consider an enhanced profile
The cost of an enhanced profile is £39 plus VAT per month, in my view that’s great value for money, providing you take the time to build an effective profile. Simply handing over the cash and waiting for the leads to flood in will inevitably lead to disappointment!
The enhanced profile gives extra functionality, for example:
- Consumers can email you directly or request a call back
- Your company logo and adviser profiles can be included
- As can links to your website and social media profiles
- Company description is featured in the search results
- The ability to include a more in-depth company profile
- Promotional offers for new clients: attract clients with your latest offers
Most importantly though, the enhanced profiles appear more frequently and are also included in Google search results; doubling the chances of your profile being found.
Advisers with enhanced profiles can also sign up to the Bluebook; a media directory which can really help to raise your profile. If you’re listed, then journalists can contact you for comments, case studies and insights for articles, giving you opportunities for coverage in both national and regional print as well as broadcast media.
The following tips assume you have an enhanced profile.
Tip #2: Check how you stand out on the results page
Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes for a second and carry out a search based on your postcode, how does your listing look?
Take a look at this search for NG1, which advert stands out?
Now is the time to admit a vested interest; my previous role was as Marketing Manager for Investment Sense, so you would expect their profile to look good!
The point is a serious one though. This is the page your potential new clients will see following their search. If they are to get in touch, your profile has to stand out, this means:
- Adding your logo, or indeed a picture of your team; personalisation is vital
- Add your 20 word description, nothing looks worse than a partially completed profile
- Make the initial description irresistible; it doesn’t matter how great the rest of your profile is if the visitor never sees it because your profile on the results page is poor
- Add special offers, this makes your advert larger and shows you are prepared to invest in the financial well-being of your clients
Tip #3: Fully complete your profile
Make sure the company and adviser profiles are fully completed. Nothing looks worse, or reflects as badly on your business as a partially completed profile.
It’s also an easy way to differentiate yourself; you will be amazed at how many of your competitors haven’t fully completed their company or adviser profiles.
Tip #4: Make sure links work
Many visitors to your profile will want to find out more by visiting your website so make sure the link works!
This sounds like a basic error and it is, but you would be surprised at how many times it is made.
Tip #5: Personalise your page
The old adage that people deal with people is still true, so pictures of your team, advisers and support staff, go a long way to breaking down barriers and encouraging potential clients to make contact.
The same rules apply for pictures on your listing as they do on your website, they should be consistent, relaxed, yet professional and preferably with a smile; no passport pictures please and at all costs avoid stock images.
Tip #6: Emphasise your specialisms
Avoid the temptation to be too general, being specific about your specialisms has been proved to attract more enquiries.
Developing a niche you’re knowledgeable, qualified and active in, where you can be seen as the expert, is one of the most effective strategies to attract new clients; of course this applies to your Unbaised listing as much as it does to other forms of marketing.
Tip #7: Words are precious, use them wisely
Avoid corporate speak and jargon, visitors might not know what ‘passive investing’, ‘cashflow modelling’ or ‘decumulation’ means, speak in plain English and let the personality of your advisers and your business leap off the screen.
Using safe ‘corporate speak’ and ‘stock phrases’ mean you risk looking like every other adviser. Write in a friendly tone, but be accurate, poor punctuation and grammar will turn off potential clients.
The initial description, which appears on the search results page, as well as your main profile, have a maximum number of words.
Use your allocation wisely! Many of the less effective profiles make the same mistakes, writing long ‘about us’ descriptions or going into large amounts of detail about the location; unnecessary as the search results are based on the postcode input by the visitor.
Tip #8: Solve problems
All visitors to Unbiased have one thing in common; they have a problem which needs to be solved and are looking for the right person to help them.
Building a profile which empathises with people and shows clearly you are the ‘go to person’ to solve a particular problem will result in more enquiries.
Tip #9: The power of testimonials
Few things are as powerful as testimonials, especially where they show visitors you have solved problems similar to those they are currently experiencing.
Likewise, if you’ve won awards or are regularly quoted in the press mention that too, it emphasises your expertise and helps to confirm you are the person they’ve been looking for to solve their problem.
Tip #10: Don’t be lazy, update your profile regularly
Building a great profile is only half the job; it needs to be reviewed on a regular basis.
I’d recommend spending some time each month working on your profile. Start by entering your postcode and search as a potential client would, then take a look at what your competitors are doing, both on the results page and their profiles.
Spend time updating your profile reflecting latest developments in your specialist area (which shouldn’t be hard at the moment if you are a retirement planner!), many potential clients will carry out a number of searches before they make contact, a regularly updated profile will increase the chances of the consumer contacting you rather than a competitor.
Take time to test what works, for example run one initial description for a month, tweak it and see what that does to the enquiry levels.
An essential component of your marketing mix
With pension providers referring consumers to Unbiased, building an effective profile has never been more important.
If you’re a retirement planner seeking new clients, I’d suggest it’s a vital part of your marketing mix, but like all advertising, it needs more than just parting with some cash, take time to build an effective profile, update regularly, monitor the competition but above all monitor the ROI.