In collaboration with our sister company, Adviser-Store, ClientsFirst set about a daunting task during the Autumn. We took New Model Adviser’s Top 100 advisory firms and analysed their marketing. Yes, all 100 of them. Much tea was drunk.
The analysis involves a 49-point assessment matrix, which allows us to qualitatively assess adviser marketing. Questions range from simple checks on whether the firm is active on a particular route to market to more advanced assessment of whether a firm’s website is set up to encourage clients and prospects to get in touch. The score available for each question is weighted based on our knowledge of digital marketing. Having a Twitter account, for example, is worth only one point, whilst having twenty Google reviews with an average of four stars or more is worth six.
Here are the some of the headline findings from the collected data, which might influence your own firm’s marketing.
80% of firms blog but only 33% of firms use their blog as a strategic marketing tool
The question ‘why blog?’ is at the heart of this part of the assessment. Way back in the mists of time, we were all told that writing a blog was good for our marketing. And it is. The problem now, though, is different. We’re all blogging and that activity is attracting visitors to our websites. But… then what happens?
A blog by itself is not enough to encourage a potential new client to get in touch with you. Our data suggests that a high percentage of advisers are attracting traffic to their blog but that they a) never find out who that traffic was and b) have no further interaction with that traffic.
An audience on your blog is only a good thing if a percentage of that audience is going on to make a contribution to your bottom line and our data suggests that this is only happening in a handful of cases.
There is a direct correlation between site usage and quality of content
The above point covers what we call ‘primary content’. This is content that your audience would normally download from your site, rather than read directly on your site (we call this type of content ‘secondary content’). A blog is secondary content. A useful guide to pensions is primary content.
Across the NMA Top 100, 68% of firms had a bounce rate of over 70%. Bounce rate is an indication of how much traffic is visiting your website, but exiting after only viewing a single page. It is generally seen as a measure of how engaging your website is. Anything above 60% indicates a level of engagement problem. The fact that 68% of firms have a rate over 70% suggests there is a significant problem across many adviser sites.
Only eight firms featured in the NMA Top 100 had a bounce rate below 50%. Of these eight firms, four also showed evidence of a content strategy with both primary and secondary content.
Not only does featuring primary content on your website mean that your blog is more likely to contribute properly to your marketing, it also means that visitors are more likely to be engaged and stay on your site for longer.
No firms scored the maximum on our Google review test
There were several points available for a considered strategy when it came to online reviews. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, we know reviews make a huge difference when it comes to clients making a decision. They may completely ‘buy’ you and your approach, but before committing, clients will often seek a ‘second opinion’ of some sort. Think about when you book a hotel or a restaurant. You’ll often be wowed by a recommendation or the photos on the website, but many people will then head to TripAdviser or another online review source.
Secondly, reviews influence other areas of digital marketing. Getting a good review, for example, can in itself be great content to blog about, or share on social media. Reviews are also looked at by Google when it comes to ranking your website. Google want to send their users (all of us) to reputable businesses. How can Google tell a business is reputable? You guessed it: other users have said that’s the case.
Just 23% of the NMA Top 100 had any four star or higher reviews on Google’s own review platform, which often shows up in the search results alongside your brand. No firms reached our benchmark for a ‘good’ volume of reviews; twenty or more, with a four star average.
There’s a major opportunity there for any firm who wants to go and grab a bit of stand-out digital marketing real estate!