Regardless of whether you are a startup IFA or a larger, more established financial services business, it pays dividends to know how to devise an appropriate marketing strategy and budget.
Marketing is a hugely important business function, especially when it comes to your forecasting. How are you going to promote your brand and its services? Moreover, how much is it all going to cost?
If your business is going to turn a profit and scale, you need a well-planned marketing strategy and appropriate budget to support it. So, in this short guide, we’re going to share how financial advisers and firms can put a basic, yet effective marketing plan and budget together.
#1 Establish Your Goals For Your Financial Marketing
What you hope to achieve is ultimately the crucial factor which determines your budget.
It’s important to divide your goals into “business goals” and “marketing goals”. The latter should support the former, and should encompass both short and long-term goals.
For instance, one of your business goals might be to “grow to a team of 5 within the first 12 months.” Your marketing goal to support this, therefore, might be to “attract at least 50 applicants to our job adverts within the next 12 months, and convert 5 of those into staff.”
Notice that these goals are SMART – i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Your business and marketing goals should also adopt this form, to make sure they are as focused and accountable as possible.
Try and really drill down on some metrics for your financial marketing strategy. For instance, perhaps one goal for your financial marketing is to gain 30 newsletter sign ups per month. If you know that 20% of those subscribers are likely to become new clients, then you can use this as a metric to measure the return on your marketing investment.
#2 Set up Your Budget
Quite a lot of IFAs answer the “how much” marketing budget question with “not a lot,” or “there isn’t one!” But that really isn’t good enough. Your business deserves better than that.
Ultimately, this line of thinking will either lead you to spend too much for too little gain, or spend too little and also have little to show for it. You need a budget to prioritise your spending, set limits on it (minimum and maximum), and discern what your most important marketing channels are.
Here are a few ballpark overall marketing budgets, to use as a guideline:
- Under £1000 per month. This is likely where startup IFAs and financial firms will be. Gaining new clients will be the top priority early on. A lot of your own time will be spent on marketing and networking – probably around 25% of your working week.
- Between £1000-£5000 per month. This is usually more suited to financial firms that have a decent client base, and have a healthy amount of revenue coming in. This gives you a lot more flexibility to invest effectively in a range of channels for your financial marketing, such as email marketing, SEO, pay-per-click and social media advertising.
- Over $5000 per month. If you are able to commit this much to marketing, then it’s probably worth looking at investing in an in-house marketer in addition to working with external, specialist agencies in financial services marketing – to assist with the strategy and legwork.
#3 Craft Your Plan
Once you have your overall goals and marketing budget established, it’s time to choose which marketing channels are going to be most effective for you to invest in.
For instance, if one of your marketing goals is to “gain 30 newsletter subscribers each month”, which marketing channels and activities are going to help you achieve that goal?
For instance, it might be that you decide to invest in designing a helpful guide on pensions, for your target market to read. Or, you could offer a live webinar on the same subject, where people can ask you questions. From there, you could then offer that to them through a Facebook campaign. At the end of the session or document, you could then invite them to subscribe to your content.
Even with all your planning, you cannot be 100% certain about how things will play out. Unfortunately, marketing is not a hard science. So it’s impossible to fully predict what results you will get.
That’s why it’s crucially important to test your financial marketing as you go along. As each week and month passes, check each marketing channel you have invested in. Which ones are bringing in the most leads, and the most qualified ones (i.e. leads most likely to become clients, rather than waste your time).
If one or more channels are under-performing, ask yourself why. Is the ad creative putting people off? Would testing a different variation with a better call to action yield better results?
Pay close attention to spend versus revenue. For instance, if it costs you £150 a month to gain 1 client who spends £500 on your services, then you can work out the return on marketing investment (ROMI).
#5 Scale Up
After a little while of testing, you should be in a position to see what works for your financial marketing and what doesn’t. From here, it makes sense to start looking at scaling up.
After all, if X marketing channel fairly consistently brings in a 50% profit, why wouldn’t you increase it gradually to bring in more profit?
Allow your marketing budget to grow in line with your business. It makes sense or startup IFAs and financial firms to keep their marketing budget to a strict limit. Once you have a healthy revenue stream and decent client base, however, you no longer need to restrict yourself in the same way.