As a financial planner, it’s never been easier to take your message public – with innumerable places to say what you want to say, getting out there is easy. Getting noticed is a different matter. With practical tips on how you can do just that, Laura Janes of Uniquity digs down into the detail
Being present isn’t the same as being heard, so to make the most of your firm’s marketing budget you need a plan that’s thought through, repeatable and measurable. Get the basics right and the rest will follow. When it comes to the basics, a great place to start is to assess what you do and how you do it in the light of the following considerations:
1. Know who you are, what you do and why
Having a clear and inspiring vision is essential. You need to know what your business is all about. Understanding the who and the why of your business may seem obvious, until you turn your attention outward. It’s not just about knowing – it’s about being able to articulate what you stand for, to your staff and your clients, otherwise it’s not much use.
A good way to do this is to come up with a one-liner that sets up a character (your client), their problem, your solution and what it allows them to achieve. Whittle it down to a couple of sentences and when you’re happy with it, put it everywhere. Make it your mantra.
2. Vision, mission, values – Discuss
They’re all words you’ll hear in marketing and you probably have them all… somewhere. Knowing which is which matters, so you can get straight in your own head exactly what you’re trying to communicate.
Your vision sets out the world you want to inhabit. It’s a broad statement of aspirations – for Disney, it’s ‘To make people happy’. Your mission statement is concerned with what you’ll do to get there, so for Google that’s ‘To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’.
Your values are more about a moral direction – a guide to how you should behave to help your clients get where they need to be. You don’t have to use the words ‘vision’, ‘mission’ or ‘values’ if you’d rather call them something else, but you do need to know what you’re in business to achieve, how you’ll get there and what you stand for.
3. It’s about the client
Speaking of your clients, you should be speaking of your clients. It’s important to strike the right balance between telling people what you’ve achieved and explaining what that means for their situation.
People will generally come to you with two things – a problem and a goal. If you don’t establish how you can alleviate the first and help them reach the second, their attention will wane and no amount of enthusiastic copy about accomplishments will make any difference.
There’s nothing wrong with pointing out your experience and knowhow, but it needs to be in the context of the client’s needs. As filmmakers say, ‘show, don’t tell’.
4. Be you
In a world of short attention spans and little disposable time, establishing yourself as a recognisable voice is crucial. Familiarity is a building block of trust and part of that lies in positioning yourself as a ‘voice’ that the reader comes to know and relate to, rather than a disembodied source of data among thousands of others.
What we want as marketers is to establish lasting relationships with clients – associations in which the client keeps coming back because they like the service they received and they take note when they hear our ‘voice’ in the crowd.
Your tone of voice is a big part of this – it should be clear, consistent and accurate. Beyond those pillars, it’s up to you how formal or irreverent you are. The key is to make sure you know the image you’re trying to project – thinking of a well-known celebrity who embodies your values can really help.
5. Consistency matters
Consistency in your communications is an important part of establishing yourself as a brand – it helps people to know what you stand for, what to expect and where to find you. That last part is important because with so many marketing tools around, you can’t do a consistently good job of them all.
You need to know which hangouts to target by understanding where your potential clients spend their time. Once you do, you need to be posting consistently, in terms of tone, quality and regularity. What you’ll become is a dependable source of insight and a name that springs to mind when a client needs you. But it goes further – consistency of service must follow.
6. Giver people the feels
Maya Angelou said “people will never forget how you made them feel”. Great client experiences come from making people feel good. But it’s not a one-shot thing – it’s something that continues throughout our working relationship.
How people experience a brand is ongoing and it’s not enough to draw people in then freewheel it from there. Client communications, at every stage, must be tuned in to what clients are experiencing, their pain points and what they need from us.
It’s important to say the right things in the right way, but also to remember context, because different stages of the client journey require different approaches. In a conversation we’d take cues from the other participant – we’d think about what they’re seeing, thinking and doing, to inform how we should respond. Content needs to be flexible and intelligent enough to stay compelling at every stage.
7. Measure and plan
Peter Drucker said, “what gets measured gets managed”. Just remember that what you’re measuring above anything else is impact – yes, look at what previous campaigns cost, how were they deployed, what the traffic looked like. But the real information to look for is what impact they had on your audience. It’s here that you’ll learn what to do more of.
While measuring lets you learn from the past and interpret the present, at the other end, planning assures the future. You should have different types of plan to help you make sure that, once you embark on a strategy, you’re able to stick to it.
From a one-page plan with your top lines through to actionable 90-day plans and weekly spot checks, there’s no single document that does it all. Think of planning as a toolkit that allows you to make adjustments, big or small.
8. Build a Community
Finally, remember that it’s not just about us and the clients. We’ve looked at being active in the right social domains and that’s a big part of building a community. But we’re not only trying to reach clients – because it’s not only us that they listen to.
We’re also trying to land well with influencers – the people whose opinions matter to our clients, whether it’s family, friends, personal acquaintances or well-known personalities.
Word of mouth remains a very powerful tool and it’s one of the easiest and most effective routes to growth. We need to understand where these influencers come into the journey and ensure that when people say things about our products or services, they’re the right things.
If you’d like to take a fresh look at your marketing strategy, understand where you are now and build a brand for the business you really want, we’d love to help. Uniquity delivers breakthrough marketing for financial businesses – turning potential into performance. As an IFA Magazine reader, you are welcome to book your free discovery call today.
About Laura Janes
Following a career immersed in financial services marketing at Lloyds, AXA and the Bath Executive MBA scheme – Laura has built specialist expertise and a formidable reputation for her consultative work in the financial sector. Supporting business in strategy, marketing and branding. Laura founded Uniquity in 2016 to provide maximum marketing support at a manageable cost. Working on a project or retained basis, Uniquity is on a mission to build better financial services brands that reach the customers that matter. In turn, we empower financial services professionals and their clients to achieve the success they deserve. A proven performer at engaging high-net-worth clients and building online propositions, today she leads a cross-purpose team in offering a complete marketing solution for your businesses.
Laura Janes – Founder