Lots of financial advisers think they have a marketing plan for their business. Occasionally when we look at these plans, some of them are coherent. Others, however, are not.
It’s easy to think you are writing a solid marketing plan when actually you are producing a “shopping list”. You can write out a set “things you would like to do” with your marketing, but they need to be clearly prioritised, focused on a clear objective and arranged so that they compliment each other.
Example “Financial Marketing Shopping List”
Here is an example of a common enquiry which we get through our website:
“Dear sir/madam, we are a financial planning business based in [X location]. We would like to talk to you about starting a client newsletter, social media, Google Ads and content creation. Please, can you let us know whether you can assist?”
It is a pleasure to receive these enquiries and certainly, we are able to help. Did you notice, however, that the writer listed a set of marketing activities they wanted – almost off-hand?
Quite often financial advisers write lists like these because they are not really doing any active marketing, and they feel that they should be doing something – ANYTHING. Other times, IFAs see their competitor running a Facebook Ads campaign and therefore feel that they should be doing the same.
These are not bad reasons to think about your financial marketing, but you certainly need a much clearer picture in your head than this when thinking about what you want to achieve.
Shopping List vs. A Plan
Let’s take the idea of a “shopping list” a bit further in order to see how this differs from a plan.
Have you ever been in a situation where your partner or spouse sends you out on a shopping mission? Perhaps your home is hosting a big family lunch on Sunday, and your partner/spouse has spent the past month planning out how the day will go, what the purpose of it is for and what the meal will be.
They might have thought about people’s dietary requirements when deciding on the food and drink, as well as the spirit of the occasion (e.g. Christmas!). They will have thought about the progression of the day and what people might want at various points. For instance, in the late morning, people might want coffee whilst in the mid-afternoon, they might want some port.
Your partner/spouse, in other words, is thinking about the whole experience and how everything links together. You, on the other hand, have not been involved with this at all. You simply know that the occasion will be happening on Sunday, that your partner can be counted on to think about everything, and that on Saturday morning you have been asked to get a bunch of stuff you are told is needed!
A lot of financial advisers find themselves in the latter position when it comes to their marketing. They know that a plan is needed, but perhaps do not have the time, energy, capacity or skill-set to get beyond “buying what’s on the shopping list”.
They heard that SEO and Google Ads work and that other IFAs are using it. Apparently, it works, so we’d better put that on the list!
Email marketing? I heard that’s good. Let’s make sure we include that too.
And on it goes. There’s nothing wrong with SEO, Google Ads or email marketing. In fact, when used correctly within an appropriate marketing strategy, they can be very powerful marketing channels for financial advisers.
It’s when the strategy is missing that performance suffers, results are not forthcoming, expectations are skewed and marketing investment is lost.
How to Create a Marketing Plan
Of course, in one big sense financial advisers with a “shopping list” of marketing activities can hardly be blamed for this. They need help coming up with a plan – that’s why so many come and talk to us!
With that said, it helps your financial marketing agency immensely if you have the beginnings of a coherent marketing plan in place before you talk to them.
Simply having a wish list with no clear set of goals will limit your progress at the beginning. Financial advisers know this in their own industry. You get off to the best possible start in financial planning when your client has a good idea what their goals are, from the very beginning. Trying to help a client figure that out is sometimes necessary, but you can only take them so far.
Fortunately, putting a marketing plan together does not need to be all that difficult. Think about the scenario above once more. Yes, there was a shopping list in that story. But really, the whole scenario had an end goal: A fantastic day of food, fun and fellowship with the family.
What is the end goal of your financial marketing? Are you a startup IFA looking to get ten new clients on board before the end of the year? Or, are you a more established financial planner with a strong existing client base, but want to increase their loyalty, longevity and referrals?
Once you have your goal think about your means. How much time, money and resource can you reasonably put towards achieving this goal? That’s your marketing budget.
From there, what kind of overall plan do you think will get you there? Are you going to take a high-volume, scatter-gun approach in order to get more leads in – perhaps by buying lots of email lists off the shelf and bombarding them with offers? Or, will you take a smaller-scale, more targeted and “inbound” marketing approach – attracting people to your brand who are already interested in what you have to say, and nurturing them towards a profitable relationship?
From there, you can start to think about your financial marketing “shopping list” – the distinct set of activities, tools and channels which might get your plan off the ground towards your goal.
If you are interested in developing your marketing plan with us, then please get in touch to arrange a free, no-commitment marketing consultation with a member of our team.