IFAs, financial planners and wealth managers have long relied on referrals to grow their client base. That’s a vital channel for any serious financial marketer, but it will only get you so far.
Sooner or later, digital marketing will have to feature as a part of your marketing mix. Your potential clients are online, even the older ones. People don’t just ask their friends and family in conversation if they know a good financial adviser. They ask Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.
If your brand isn’t readily accessible and presentable, ready for those online conversations, then those clients are likely to head over to your competitors, who are increasingly bringing digital marketing into their overall strategy.
The problem is, when you’re a growing IFA business, the ever-evolving digital landscape can quickly become overwhelming. You already have loads to do, running your business and keeping clients happy. How are you supposed to be an effective financial marketer at the same time?
As a business, MarketingAdviser exists to help solve that problem – assisting IFAs with their overall marketing strategy and then doing the legwork (implementation) for them. However, there’s lots you can and should do on your own before you turn to any digital marketing agency.
Here, we’ve gather a list of 5 viable strategies which will assist your efforts as a financial marketer, and help you if/when you decide to work with one.
Digital Strategy – What Does It Look Like For IFAs?
A digital marketing strategy is a set of decisions about how you are going to leverage digital marketing channels to achieve your marketing goal.
So, for instance. If your marketing goal is to become the predominant IFA brand in Oxford, your digital marketing strategy would spell out how you would use the likes of SEO, PPC and other online channels to achieve that goal.
Depending on how big you are as a wealth manager, IFA or financial planning business, you may have many marketing goals or just a few. What ultimately matters is that your goals are SMART.
IFAs sometimes get confused, however, between a marketing strategy and a marketing campaign. The former is a set of decisions about how you will achieve you marketing goal(s). The latter, however, is a set of actions which put that strategy into motion. The former is the “how” you will do it; the latter is the “what” you will do to achieve it.
With all that said, let’s now look at the 5 ways that you, as a financial marketer, can leverage digital marketing to drive online brand engagement, and grow your client base.
#1 Establish Your Buyer Personas
Any viable marketing strategy needs to account for who you are looking to market to.
These are called your “buyer personas”, and they describe your ideal client. You establish them by researching, interviewing, surveying and analysing your target market. As much as possible, a financial marketer should avoid making assumptions about their target audience.
Instead, try and base your decisions on solid metrics, data and information. The kinds of demographic data you could consider might include:
- Profession & career
- Pension pot value
- Home ownership
In addition, financial marketers also need to establish the psychographics of their target audience. These typically cover:
- Your buyer personas’ goals.
- Their challenges & problems which they’re looking to solve.
- Their interests.
- Their values (what’s important to them).
When you identify these aspects of your target audiences, you can then build one or more buyer personas to gear your marketing towards.
#2 Build Your Financial Marketer Toolbox
When you create your marketing goals, these should always link back to your overall business goals.
For example, if your IFA business goals are to bring on 3 new clients every month over the next 12 months, your goal as a financial marketer could be to increase website-generated leads by 30%.
Regardless of your goals, you need to be able to track and measure their success over time.
A great, free tool to get started is to implement Google Analytics onto your website. This will track user behaviour on your website, including traffic volume and the sources of your website traffic (e.g. Google search, Facebook etc.).
At MarketingAdviser, we also offer tools to our clients such as our online Portal, which shows your website’s search engine rankings over time. A great way to tell how your SEO campaign is performing.
#3 Review Your Existing Channels
When evaluating your current digital marketing assets, it can be helpful to arrange them into three broad groups to help you see the wider picture, and avoid getting too overwhelmed:
- Paid media: Refers to any marketing channel where you spend money to attract, engage and/or convert your target market. This could include Google AdWords, Facebook advertising or sponsored posts.
- Owned media: These are the channels where you as a financial marketer have near-complete ownership and control. For instance, this might include your website, a blog, or social media.
- Earned media: This refers to the brand authority and exposure you have managed to build via word of mouth. You might have done this via guest posting & press mentions on other websites, or simply via impromptu client referrals.
Once you have a clear list of your media channels on a spreadsheet, you should have a great overview of your current marketing mix.
You can now look for holes in your existing marketing strategy, also deciding which channels are worth keeping and those which are good to cut.
#4 Audit Your Media Groups
One of the most important, common threads running through all of your three media groups is content. Every message you send out, whether textual, image or video based, can be brought under this umbrella term.
Your content helps build trust, credibility and brand authority in the eyes of your target audience – nurturing them towards conversion (i.e. a transaction).
To be an effective financial marketer, you need to determine what kind of content achieves your marketing goals, across all of your three media groups.
For instance, it could be that gated content (e.g. an ebook download which requires an email address) is a great way for you to bring in more leads via your website, as well as across your paid media (e.g. Facebook ads).
The point is, you need to identify what currently works within your marketing mix and what is not. This will help you position yourself more effectively for success down the line.
#5 Amalgamate Everything
If you’ve followed this far and actually gone and done it, you’re in a great position. Here’s a quick recap of what you would have achieved:
- You’ve devised a clear, focused set of buyer personas to market to.
- You’ve identified a SMART marketing goal, or set of them.
- You’ve inventoried your existing owned, earned and paid media.
At this point, it’s time to gather all of this together into a cohesive marketing strategy document. Here, you should set out the specific actions and timescales over the coming weeks and months which will put your marketing plan into motion.