Lots of IFAs like to talk to us about getting new clients on their books through financial marketing. And that’s great. However, there’s another side to the coin which is equally important – using financial marketing to keep those clients!
In general, here are some of the main uses of financial marketing channels, whether you are using SEO, display advertising, Google search Ads, Facebook ads or email marketing:
- Increased brand awareness amongst your target market.
- Increased brand trust, advocacy and loyalty amongst current and potential clients.
- Increased website traffic and brand engagement.
- Increased lead generation, and quality.
- Improved customer experiences following a sale.
For various financial advisers, the first 4 of the above will be important to varying degrees depending on the goals and situation of the organisation. For instance, if an IFA is happy with the number of clients they have, then they might be primarily concerned with the 2nd item. An IFA looking to grow rapidly, however, might be mostly interested in the 4th.
However, in our view every financial adviser should be concerned with the 5th – making and keeping clients happy after they sign on to your service. After all, most IFAs hope that their clients will stay with them for a long time. Indeed, an IFA’s business model is heavily built upon this.
For this to work, you need a good relationship with clients. That means engaging with them frequently, in a positive way which offers and adds continual value to them.
How Financial Marketing is Typically Used Post-Sale
In the worst cases, we’ve seen IFAs who barely engage with their clients at all after their first transaction. However, more common we’ve encountered financial advisers who are trying to engage meaningfully and positively with their clients, but often fall short.
Here are some common examples of how IFAs tend to interact with clients, post-sale:
“How would you rate our service? Please rate us on a scale of 1-10…” Is often an email IFAs will send out to their clients, after completing, say, a pension transfer or annual review.
Whilst this is important in many ways and can offer your business some valuable insights into brand reputation and client sentiment, often these surveys are unfocused and seen as self-centred and annoying by the recipients.
Yes, IFAs should use surveys in their financial marketing. Yet these need to be framed within a wide, comprehensive and positive client engagement strategy. If sending surveys is all you do, for instance, to engage with your clients once a year, then that’s probably just going to be received negatively.
Obviously you need to bill people, so invoices are important. However, they are almost always an impersonal interaction with your brand. If these are the main, or only form of regular communication between your clients and your brand, moreover, then what signal does that send to them?
Sometimes IFAs will go a bit further than the above in their financial marketing, and use a newsletter.
However, if the content is primarily geared towards sales or company news, then this can be a problem. Most people do not want to be “sold to” constantly via email. If they sign up to a newsletter, then they generally do so expecting to receive valuable, insightful content from the sender.
Up to 10% of what they receive from you can be “promotional”, but the rest should be value-driven.
Many IFAs use a newsletter, but the content is too generic, unfocused or sales-driven. A much better approach would be to produce content yourself, and build trust and relationships with your clients.
Also, be careful when providing links in your newsletter to your website. If you provide a link to a blog article, for instance, and your client clicks on it only to arrive at a promotional pop up on the page (“Sign up to our newsletter!”), then this makes it look like you don’t know what you’re doing.
At MarketingAdviser, we can help you avoid this in your newsletters by using a strategy called UTM tagging. This ensures that anyone who clicks on a link in your newsletter to your site, will not be shown the promotional pop ups – as the UTM code will suppress them.
What Can You Do To Improve The Client Experience?
Of course, we’re not telling you to stop sending surveys, invoices and newsletters to your clients! However, these do need to be framed within a broader, more positive marketing strategy.
Here are some ideas:
#1 Follow them on social media
Social media is all about building relationships, so it should immediately be of interests to financial advisers whose business is built on relationship.
Of course, there are those who dispute whether their clients use social media (“That’s just for the younger generations – our clients are older, and so don’t really use it!”). However, whilst certain people do shun such platforms, the evidence points to older, wealthy people using the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Sometimes people might not want to connect with you – on Facebook, for instance, people are often more protective of their social sphere. Certainly on Twitter and LinkedIn, however, clients can be more open and really value the fact that you want to connect.
After all, it shows that you want to be build relationship, that you’re real, and that you intend to stick around. If this wasn’t the case, why would you connect with them?
#2 Monitor “Test Client Accounts”
Sometimes, it can be really helpful to create a “fake client profile” on your database. This “person” then gets all of the documents, emails, invoices, newsletters, surveys and content at the time and manner that a normal client would.
Over time, you can monitor this account and see things from the perspective of your clients. For instance, how often do you get in touch? What’s the nature of the content you receive? Are you annoying, or offering continual value?
#3 Improve Your Content
So much of improving your customer experience ultimately comes back to this. Offering amazing, unique and valuable content which your clients want to consume and share.
It increases trust and loyalty, as well as enhancing your image as an authority and thought leader on the subjects they turn to you for help and advice.
Your clients give you money not just because your financial marketing is brilliant. They do it because they ultimately believe in the thing you give to them. Great pension advice and oversight. Valuable wealth management. Indispensable investment insight. And so on.
Reinforce that belief through the content you share with them, whether that’s on social media, a newsletter or combination of various marketing channels and platforms.