Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some would rather face years in lockdown than go around saying how great they are. Not all IFAs are natural marketers. Although you might be brilliant at your job, you struggle to communicate this to potential clients.
For those advisers who don’t take to self-promotion like ducks to water, the marketing experts at Unbiased have pooled our favourite tips. Some may seem obvious – things that you’d do if you only had the time – but here we help you get a clearer idea of which ones are most likely to reward your time and effort.
#1 Know your audience
By ‘audience’ we mean customers, of course – but remember that until they hire you, they are just an audience. So first you must decide who they are, and then work how to attract their attention. Only then can you start to win them over.
One obvious question is, ‘Do I want a few very wealthy clients, or a large number on average incomes?’ This choice will determine a lot of your marketing strategy. But it needn’t be as blunt as that. Your professional specialisms are a fruitful area for appealing to a specific type of client. For instance, if you specialise in SIPPs, then much of your natural client base may be self-employed. If you specialise in niche protection products, your clientele may have unusual or dangerous jobs. If you specialise in DB pension transfers, then… invest in a heavy front door. And so on.
Try to envisage your ideal clients, perhaps in the form of four or five clearly defined personas, and then gear your marketing efforts towards appealing to those specific people.
#2 Be strategic. And be analytic
When you do any kind of marketing, focus your efforts. Your budget is limited and so is your time, so identify the activities that give you maximum return for minimum spend. But how?
First, trace the stepping-stone goals that lead to your main one (i.e. ‘more business’). For instance, these might be:
- More traffic to your website
- More site visitors contacting you
- More local awareness of your brand
- A reputation as a specialist in your field
- More revenue per client
Then consider the specific activities that can target your prioritised areas. Then, when you start an activity, monitor its performance. Use analytics to track marketing metrics such as traffic, engagement, conversion rate and user demographics. Over several months, you can see how well your approach is working, and whether to increase your focus on it, keep it the same, or try a different tactic. It takes patience, but it’s better than flying blind.
#3 Get your site right
Your website is likely to be a potential client’s first encounter with you, so it should reflect the qualities you want to project: clarity, reliability, professionalism. A half-hearted site implies half-hearted advice. Being mobile friendly is a priority, as is typo-free content (a single spelling mistake on a page can halve its conversion rate).
Pictures of advisers should be high quality and in a consistent style. Holiday snaps in Speedos are a no-no. Everything must pass the ‘Would you buy a used car…?’ test – bearing in mind that pensions are worth much more than used cars.
Work hard at your SEO (search engine optimisation). You may want to hire a specialist for this, but it’s worth it. Using the right phrases in the right places (and in the right way) can significantly boost both your search ranking and your traffic.
#4 Understand social
Everyone, in any kind of business, feels like they should use social media more. The mistake many make is not doing so strategically. The various social media platforms all have their own distinctive styles, personalities, benefits and drawbacks, so understand the quirks of each one before diving in.
Take Twitter. If all you do is market your services, you’ll wear out your fingers. But if you take time – we’re talking months if not years – engaging with discussions and building an engaging personality, and link your site from your profile, then you may raise your brand awareness that way.
Facebook, on the other hand, can be a powerful advertising platform, though this comes at a cost. Youtube can help you to build up your reputation as an expert. LinkedIn is best for connecting with fellow professionals who may be good for referrals, cross-selling or simply better word-of-mouth.
With social media, most of the benefit is simply being visible. If people already know your name, then the rest of your market efforts have a better chance of sticking.
And one more…
One of the most cost-effective IFA marketing solutions is an Unbiased plan. It addresses the issues of audience targeting, analytics, SEO, traffic and strategy all in one, and much more besides. Find out about the four available plans at UnbiasedPro.