Any financial planner knows the importance of building a strong investment portfolio for their clients. Yet have you ever thought that your marketing may need to take a similar approach?
Here at MarketingAdviser, we specialise in marketing for such firms. It’s often interesting to us that many financial planners will recommend to their clients that they diversify their investments (so they do not rely on any one of them), yet do not do this for their own financial marketing.
Indeed, what we often see amongst financial planners is similar to a “one stock/fund” approach to investing. Rather than attracting prospects and leads from multiple marketing channels, instead they rely on one source to build their business. That source typically takes the form of client referrals.
Don’t get us wrong – we’re not denying that referrals are usually an important feature of a financial planner’s marketing strategy. It’s a great way to generate new business. Yet if you rely on that one channel, what we have typically seen is that the financial planner’s growth in their client base is stunted – even hitting a “brick wall” down the line.
What if, instead, you had multiple marketing channels working together – much like different asset classes within an investment portfolio? That way, some of the other channels could help maintain your trajectory towards your business goals when one or more of the others are performing weakly.
What might this “marketing portfolio” look like for a financial planner? Let’s take a look at some of the marketing “asset classes” (i.e. channels/tools) which you might consider including within your marketing mix:
Asset 1: Email Marketing
Are you running a newsletter every month – or perhaps bi-monthly or every quarter? This can be a great way not only to engage current clients through compelling thought leadership, but also attract new ones – perhaps via clever referral scheme.
For instance, one scheme we run with a financial planning client’s newsletter offers a £50 John Lewis voucher to any of their clients who refers someone to their business, and who later becomes a client. This has played an important role in bringing in some new clients to this firm, and provides a strong return on marketing investment (ROMI).
Asset 2: SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Are you getting regular enquiries and leads through your website from organic search (e.g. people who find your page after typing a relevant search phrase into Google)?
If not, this is another great marketing channel to consider adding to your portfolio. With the right strategy, appropriate resource and sufficient time, it is possible for a locally-based financial planner to potentially draw hundreds of organic search visitors to their website each month.
Suppose just 5% of those enquire – that could result in 10-20 enquiries each month. If just one of those becomes a client, then your SEO campaign has already likely paid for itself.
Asset 3: Directories (e.g. Unbiased)
Different financial planners have varying levels of success when registering with online directories such as VouchedFor and Unbiased. Much depends on your own brand, the number of other firms competing for the same space, and your local area.
Yet there is often good value in getting your name into directories such as these, as it is possible to generate at least a few leads through them. You’re unlikely to build a large bank of clients by relying solely on these channels, but they’re often helpful to incorporate within your marketing mix.
Asset 4: Pay Per Click Ads (PPC)
Online paid advertising services such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads can be useful for providing another source of website traffic, creating brand awareness and generating new leads.
You do need to be careful with how you set up these campaigns, however, and the amount of money you spend on them. It’s easy for a PPC budget to spiral out of control without careful management, with little apparent return on your marketing investment.
Here, you’ll need to think about the entire user experience and journey when using PPC ads. What will the advert look like, for instance, and who will it be targeted at? Where will the user be taken after they have clicked on it, and what action will you be calling them to perform?
This type of marketing can be useful, for instance, to promote a webinar on a particular area of financial planning to an online audience (e.g. “Investment principles in the wake of COVID-19”). At the end of the webinar, you might invite attendees to join your email list for similar, exclusive content – or, invite them to book a free consultation. Eventually, they might become a client once sufficient trust is built.
Asset 5: Print Advertising
Digital marketing is a powerful way to reach new prospects and engage current clients. Yet that doesn’t mean offline marketing is dead. There is often still a place within a financial planner’s marketing strategy and mix for a company brochure, corporate flyer or direct mail campaign.
For instance, suppose you are a financial planning specialising in the dental sector. Is there a publication which you know most UK dentists will read, which you could feature a new advert in once per quarter?
Another idea might be to design a banner/billboar ad to feature at your local gold club. This might be just the place where your ideal client might frequent, and possibly see your value proposition.
There is also often a time and place for a direct mail campaign too. For example, if you target Chinese or other Asian clients, could you send them a red envelope at the Lunar New Year with some well wishes? This could go down like a storm and would be very different to what other financial firms are doing.