Is it possible to market your IFA business without spending any money? There are still some areas where IFAs can promote their business without any investment, but they are limited in number and power. Phil Teale, financial marketer at MarketingAdviser, presents some ideas for IFAs below:
1. Facebook marketing
First of all, cards on the table. It is very hard to get marketing traction on Facebook without putting money into your campaign. It is now, necessarily, a “pay to play” platform for any serious financial marketer.
However, there is still some potential in Facebook for IFAs who do not want to spend any money on a campaign. The trick is to use your personal profile, rather than your company page.
If your target market is primarily local pensioners for instance, is there a Facebook group you could join where they cluster online?
Or, could you create one?
For instance, could you create a local pensions advice group on Facebook and invite some of your existing clients to it? Of course, they need to be comfortable being asked and they also need to be active on Facebook. However, from there they could refer their friends to your group. You could also promote your group to prospective clients through networking in other Facebook groups.
These are some ideas for the financial marketer. However, it takes significant time, effort and bravery on the part of IFAs to make cold approaches to prospects on Facebook. Your best bet is to create a tailored campaign targeted at your niche market, and put some money into it.
2. LinkedIn groups
LinkedIn is an important platform for many IFAs, particularly those who are looking to grow their client-base amongst business owners and professionals.
It is possible for the financial marketer to do well on LinkedIn without an advertising budget. The key (like with Facebook) is to use your LinkedIn profile strategically.
First of all, this means actively connecting with key people on the platform and growing your network.
Second, get involved in LinkedIn groups. Start discussions inside the groups, and participate with others’ contributions. All members of the group will get a notification on their newsfeed, for instance, if you post your latest blog in the group.
Just make sure the group rules allow you to do so.
3. LinkedIn long posts
LinkedIn is much like Facebook in the sense that you can post an update online, which your connections can then view and engage with. However, with LinkedIn you can also publish articles called “Long Posts.”
If you have a large network, this can be a powerful tool for the financial marketer. This is particularly true if you write on a timely or controversial topic pertinent to your industry and audience.
The more people engage with the post, the further it will travel throughout the platform. This exposes more potential clients to your brand, which is great news for you.
However, this form of LinkedIn marketing will not reach many of the key demographics IFAs are after. Be careful, therefore, not to pin all your hopes on this approach. It should be just one string on your bow as a financial marketer.
Some key success factors here will be:
-Choosing an original, engaging topic;
-Having a large network;
-Publishing at the right time;
-Having the right “hook” for your title.
4. Guest blogging
Do your target market read a particular blog, magazine or frequent specific websites? If so, why not approach the editor or owner of these publications and offer to write an article for them?
These groups are hungry for content, and you are hungry for brand exposure. So there’s a good mutual interest there.
However, the good ones will not just accept any old content. They’ll want to be sure that you are a credible, capable financial marketer and author with compelling, original things to say.
That’s why having a strong brand and content marketing strategy will be immensely helpful when you make these introductions. So make sure you are actively blogging on your own site beforehand.
Also, make sure the publisher includes a link back to your website in the article you wrote. This will help drive website traffic, and increase your SEO.
Monitor your website analytics to see which of your guest posts drove the most engagement following publication. This will give you a better idea of which publications to focus your guest-blogging efforts on.
5. Twitter hunting
Which platform allows you to directly send a message to Wayne Rooney, Donald Trump or the head of a major corporation? Twitter is the main contender for this title, by a long shot.
Twitter is also free, making it a major consideration for the financial marketer. If you know who your clients are, then you can “Follow” them on Twitter and hope that they “Follow” you back.
You can also tweet prospective clients directly, or private message them.
First of all, you’ll need a credible financial brand showing on your Twitter profile. This means lots of activity, content and engagement which prospects can see and appreciate.
However, the big trick will be finding profiles which fit your target market. Unfortunately, there’s no quick, easy way to do this.
With MarketingAdviser, it’s a bit easier because we are a pure B2B agency. In other words, we can search Twitter via keywords in their search bar. From there, we can find and connect with companies which fit our target market and strike up a conversation from there.
With IFAs, because many of their clients are B2C the task is trickier – albeit possible and very time-consuming.
6. Business breakfasts
Much of a financial marketer’s work is now done online. However, there is still much to be said for traditional meet-ups with prospective clients in your local area.
For instance, I lived in Sheffield a short while ago. Working as an in-house marketer for a B2B business, I would frequent free business breakfasts hosted by the nearby university.
I often met financial advisers there who were looking to network with professionals, and expand their client base. It’s still a good idea and one worth trying. However, it is a big chunk out of your day and it is difficult to measure the conversion rate on this form of marketing. You are also limited in these meetings because people are usually not “shopping around” for your service, but looking to sell their own product to you!
At the end of the day, to get significant traction with your marketing, it does require investment.
This doesn’t mean you have to empty your pockets. But you do need to be prepared to pay for the privilege to appear in front of qualified, potential clients.
Yet if a financial marketer could show how a paid marketing strategy could double or triple the initial marketing investment, surely it would be a worthwhile consideration?