Written by Richard Phillips, Network Development Director, ValidPath
Financial advisers must ensure they are constantly developing and growing their practice to stay ahead of the curve in a highly competitive and ever-evolving industry.
However, with tighter rules and regulations, clients becoming more demanding and technological advancements continuing to disrupt the sector, where do advisers begin, and how can they ensure they are positioned for long-term success?
Finding your niche
Developing a niche is a great way for financial advisers to grow their business. Finding a niche in an industry with a lack of differentiation, with many advisers offering similar services, can enable you to stand out “from the crowd”.
In focusing on a specific market segment, you can tailor your services to meet the unique needs of a group of clients. Becoming more specialised will not only aid your professional development, but in providing a unique service, you’ll also be able to justify higher fees.
To establish a niche, you first need to identify an underserved market segment or a group with specific needs that is not being met by other advisers. This can be done through surveys, networking events or online research. Once you have identified your niche, you can define it by identifying that market’s unique characteristics and needs, before developing a buyer’s profile that describes your ideal client.
Establish a marketing strategy
To reach your target audience, a marketing strategy should be created that highlights your knowledge and expertise in meeting your client’s needs. You may also need to adjust your existing processes or allocate additional resources to serve your niche market effectively. Finally, as should be the case when implementing any new strategy, you should monitor your progress and be open to making changes based on feedback and changes in the market.
Creating valuable content
Creating valuable content is key to growing a business. Once your target audience has been identified, you must understand their needs, interests and challenges. Once these have been established, there are various content formats to choose from, such as blogs, newsletters, podcasts, videos, infographics and social media posts. Select a format that best suits your audience, your skills and interests. Once created, promote this content using your mailing list, paid advertising, or relevant industry websites and publications. Use analytic tools to track website traffic, social media engagement, and other metrics to see which content types appeal to your audience. This information can then be used to refine your content strategy over time.
The importance of networking
Advisers can grow their businesses by utilising their network and working with introducers (such as accountants, solicitors, and other professionals) who work in related fields and serve the same target audience. Before referring clients, the terms of the referral agreement should be finalised, including the referral process, commercials, providing feedback, and client ownership. Clear and regular communication is critical to ensuring that clients receive a professional service and that both parties benefit. Measuring the results by recording the number of referrals, the type of referral and the revenue received will help to refine the process and to make changes to the referral agreement or services as required.
Building your brand
Advisers need a strong online presence to reach a wider audience, improve engagement, and build credibility and trust. Start by looking at your professional website – is it visually appealing and mobile-friendly? Is it easy to navigate, and does it provide clear, digestible information about your firm and services? If not, then your website likely needs an upgrade.
To optimise your website for search engines, identify relevant keywords and build “backlinks” from reputable sources. Use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to engage with clients and promote the brand with content tailored to each platform’s audience. Email marketing is also a great way to stay in touch with clients and promote the brand. Google Ads can be useful for targeting specific audiences and keywords, but advisers should carefully consider their budgets and goals before proceeding.
Investing in technology
Investing in technology can significantly benefit advisers and clients, saving them both time and creating a more compelling experience. It enables a dynamic approach, increases efficiency, and improves the overall client experience, ultimately making them more likely to want to work with you again. Clients appreciate the convenience, and advisers can be more organised, reducing the time and effort required for administrative tasks and focusing on providing high-quality services.
Communication with clients is essential. Advisers should choose easy-to-use platforms with features that meet their video conferencing and scheduling needs.
Proper training should then be provided to staff, with security measures put in place to protect client information. Finally, advisers should be sensitive to their client’s preferences, offering alternative options if needed.
If you’re a smaller IFA business already working hard to keep up with the ever-changing regulatory requirements, keeping up with the latest technological developments might be challenging. If this is the case, consider joining a network with its own technology development capability.
Remember your existing clients!
When building your business, you’ll find that retaining existing clients is just as important as attracting new clients – the two work hand in hand. In providing a good service to your current client network, not only will you garner loyalty, but you’ll also build a reputation in the market that organically attracts new business, without you having to go out and look for it.