One way to boost business as a financial adviser is to shake up your marketing strategy. From social media to digital marketing and outbound content, there are lots of ways to bring new customers in. We’ve put together a list of 13 of the most effective IFA marketing strategies to help you drive a steady stream of customers your way.
When compared to traditional marketing and advertising methods like leaflets, billboards and media ads, which require a big budget and/or lots of manual labour, digital marketing is invariably quicker and – when handled correctly – can be more cost-effective too.
You can use free platforms to spread the word about your brand and tap into an unlimited pool of potential customers who are curious about the topic you know best. Considering the average person spends two hours and 24 minutes on social media every day, you’ll have a ready audience if you know how to engage them. Of course, that’s the tricky part – and the only way to master that is to dive right in with trial and error and see what works best for you. If you can project a lively personality across social media, for instance, then this may be your chance to monetize that talent.
Getting stuck into marketing activities without any kind of plan is like embarking on a journey without a clear destination. The likelihood is that you won’t make meaningful progress, and if you do (by chance) then you might not be able to tell what it was you did that worked. So before you do anything, sit down and work out:
Working out where you sit in the market and how you can differentiate yourself from competitors will help you tailor your marketing efforts. For example, if you work with lots of high-net-worth clients, you can tailor your communications to issues that are likely to affect them. On the other hand, if you work with clients with modest incomes, their primary concerns are going to be very different. Again, these are the obvious examples, but you can apply the same principles when you delve into more detailed areas. If one of your specialisms is in funding long-term care, for example, then you need to think carefully about the demographic most likely to search for you – not the care recipients themselves, but their children (who may in their 40s, 50s or 60s).
Build a picture in your mind of your ‘ideal client(s)’ and start to customise all your marketing communications as if you were talking directly to that person, in their language.
If your website is hard to navigate, out of date, not optimised for mobile users and doesn’t answer key customer questions, your efforts may be in vain. One experiment found that even a single spelling mistake can reduce sales by 50%, so it’s something to take seriously.
A poor website can hamper your conversion rate (how many of your leads become paying customers), so it’s vital you improve it as soon as you can. If you’re not confident with web design investing in professional help will definitely pay off, as you’ll feel confident your website is attractive and fit for purpose.
But before you invest lots of time and potentially money into your new website, make sure you’re ready for a potential influx of new enquiries and clients.
Establishing quality links with likeminded business professionals is a proven way to boost your new prospects. It’s particularly important if you regularly work with commercial clients, as you can connect with them and strike up an informal conversation that could lead to new business.
You can also integrate yourself into the financial community, making connections with fellow IFAs across the globe, which could generate more work. Let’s say you’re operating in Edinburgh but build a strong relationship with an adviser in London. If one of their regular clients moves to your area, or another person reaches out for a local recommendation, you may be top of their list.
For all its faults, Facebook can be an extremely powerful marketing tool. Used carefully, it and other social media sites can help you reach out to a raft of new leads. Different sites are favoured by different age groups, so it’s worth doing your research to find out the best way to appeal to your target audience.
No matter which one you use, make sure you post content consistently to make sure your brand is regularly appearing on followers’ feeds. Always strive for quality over quantity, posting something of value that will either inform, inspire, entertain or persuade. Just being visible is 90% of the battle – you may not even have to talk about your work very much. One tip though: avoid the temptation to pitch into heated debates, as the chances of alienating at least half the population are rising all the time.
Not sure what search engine optimisation (SEO) is? It’s a way of making sure your online presence finds its way to the maximum amount of potential new customers. Here’s an example of how it works.
Let’s say you’re a financial adviser based in Bristol. Chances are, potential clients are typing ‘financial advisers in Bristol’ into their search bar. Finding a natural way to incorporate this phrase into your website, along with other popular key words, will help to boost your ‘ranking’ (how high up the search engine results page you are), making it easier for new leads to find your business.
SEO is a huge and ever-evolving area, and can be as much an art as a science. A good strategy is to target the niche phrases that not many sites have covered, as there the competition will be lower and you have a higher chance of ranking. This is a good opportunity to let your specialist expertise shine.
Many marketing techniques are about actively telling your audience to engage with your brand. Adverts, cold calls and emails all clearly show people you’re selling something. A covert way of engaging your audience, while also genuinely giving them something for their time, however, is through inbound marketing.
Publishing informative content on topics you know plenty about, such as planning for retirement or investing for beginners, will encourage new people to visit your website. They’ll learn something interesting and you’ll potentially find a new client by giving out just a little of your expertise for free.
It’s highly ineffective to be pouring hours of hard work into your marketing if you’re not tracking your results. Before implementing a new marketing strategy, look at key marketing metrics like engagement, website traffic and your conversion rate. Once you take your marketing efforts up a notch, you can track these figures to see if they’re improving, showing you’re doing the right thing, or staying stagnant, indicating this may not be the best way to win new clients.
We’ve written a dedicated article all about the most important marketing metrics to track, so take a look here for lots more information.
Struggling to find leads on your own? Signing up to a lead generation platform (such as Unbiased) will help encourage new clients to come knocking on your door. You’ll be placed in front of people in your local area who need your services, ensuring you’ve got a regular stream of work.
What’s more, the positive reputation of your chosen lead generation site will boost your reputation by association. If customers feel confident that the platform only accepts reputable, experienced professionals, they’re more likely to trust you than if they stumbled upon your site by simply browsing.
One of the softest marketing strategies, this one – and yet one that can have huge long-term benefits. Take the time to nurture existing client relationships, and you’ll encourage not just repeat business but also word-of-mouth publicity as they tell their friends about you. There are lots of ways to do this, including:
The key to getting client outreach right is to avoid making every email sales focused. It’s tempting to pop a call-to-action at the end of every message to try and generate more business, but it will come across as inauthentic and pushy. Take the time to check in without seeming like you’ve got another agenda; simply seeing your name may remind your clients it’s time to make another appointment.
Another great way to raise your profile is becoming part of a directory (such as Unbiased). Some clients prefer to browse and choose their adviser using their own judgement, so having this option as well as a lead generation service can potentially double your enquiries. Furthermore, a well-established directory with strong SEO can help you appear more often in local searches.
As an IFA, your specialist area is by definition personal finance. If marketing doesn’t come naturally, then you’re in the majority. As you would say to your own clients, consulting an expert is usually the best way forward. You can enlist the services of a freelance marketing consultant or, if you’ve got a larger budget, a marketing agency, which will help you work out what you’re currently doing well and which areas need a bit of TLC. This should enable you to put together a professional-standard marketing strategy.
Becoming part of the Unbiased Pro network is another great way to take your marketing to the next level. You’ll join an ever-expanding network of professional advisers who use our service to connect with their next client.