If you’re a financial adviser wondering what to do with your marketing in 2020, you are not alone. There are many different marketing tools, strategies, goals and resources to consider, and a lot rides on your decisions. After all, financial marketing is what will help ensure your clients stay with your business over the next 12 months, and will largely determine which new clients come through your doors.
Our team here at MarketingAdviser has spent many years helping UK financial advisers to develop and implement effective marketing plans. Although we cannot give you everything you might need in one blog post, we offer this short guide to help your thinking in 2020.
We hope you benefit from this content, and invite you to book a free consultation if you’d like to discuss your strategy with us.
Assess where you are
Most financial planners we speak to are business owners, and so understand the importance of a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats). When was the last time you did one to help determine the current state of your financial marketing?
Consider taking a day to reflect on where you are in the marketplace as a financial planning business. You’ll likely want to summarise the macro-environment using a system such as PESTLE; politics, economics, society/culture, technology, legal and environment. Then, bring things closer to home by surveying your micro-environment. Michael Porter’s 5 Forces is useful here:
- What kind of competitive rivalry are you facing, and how is that likely to change?
- Are there any substitutes looming in the market which could replace your service?
- How easy is it for new entrants to enter your marketplace, and will that stay the same?
- Which suppliers do you use to help deliver your service? Will these (and their power) change?
- What about customers? How many are there in your marketplace, and how much power do they have over you (e.g. to drive your price down)?
Avoid gimmicks & embrace solutions
The brutal truth is that marketing for financial advisers is not easy. It takes time to build an effective, sustainable marketing infrastructure which builds relationships with current clients, and which attracts new leads and then nurture them through your sales pipeline.
This is often why financial advisers are so disappointed with “quick-fix” marketing solutions, such as off-the-shelf lead generation services. Anecdotally, we have heard time and again from financial advisers about how many of these providers (which they have sometimes used for years) are no longer delivering the results they once did. The reason for this, broadly speaking, is that financial marketing is happening online, more and more. Consumers largely want to find out about a financial adviser for themselves via the internet, and are increasingly reluctant to be careless with handing their personal information to a lead generation provider (who might then sell it on).
In 2020, financial planners will be wise to ask the right question about their marketing. It shouldn’t be: “What will give me quick marketing wins?” It should be: “Which strategy and tactics will enable me to sustainably grow my client-base, build trust and move my company towards its long-term goals?”
Think of financial marketing like investing. Anyone in it for the short-term in vain hope of rapid riches is likely to end up poorer than they started. If you have a long-term strategy, you’ll do much better.
Bring your offline & online marketing together
Some financial planners have little time for digital marketing, believing that business growth lies in the kind of tactics which always worked in the past (e.g. word of mouth). Others are perhaps a little too quick to throw themselves into social media or other online channels, and neglect the “offline stuff.”
In our experience, most clients in 2020 want a mixture of both online and offline communication from their financial adviser. Even younger “digitally-savvy” clients, for instance, typically want to meet an adviser at least once in person (e.g. through an initial consultation) before discussing sensitive financial topics with them. Moreover, older generations are increasingly embracing digital communication via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and email using their smartphones.
In other words, be careful not to make assumptions about your clients and target audience in 2020. Also, be careful not to write off any form of marketing without considering its utility in light of your buyer personas, marketing resource and overall goals.
Empower your buyers
As mentioned above, across virtually all sectors power has now largely shifted from the seller to the buyer. In 2020, people are likely to continue to rely on positive reviews when making Amazon purchases, booking holidays and buying high-value items such as a new fridge. If people need this level of reassurance when making these kinds of buying decisions, how much more confidence are they likely to need when it comes to approaching someone about their pension or investments?