As we head into the new financial year, it may be time to review your firm’s marketing strategy. Marketing trends change quicker than the weather and if you want to succeed it’s important to have your finger on the buzzer. But in a sea of clickbait listicles it’s hard to make sense of what’s going to work for you. Lucky then that you have us in your corner. Here’s our pick of the latest marketing trends, singled out because of their relevance to the fields of financial advice and accounting, and their likelihood to yield results.
Client experience to increase word of mouth
The first trend is hardly new at all. It’s a tale as old as time that word of mouth increases brand awareness and engagement. And this comes down to trust. People simply have more confidence in what their friends or family recommend than they do the internet or a stranger delivering a Yelp review. With this in mind you need to think about what is going to get your clients talking. And it won’t always be the size of their portfolio which may take time to build. Think instead about the little things you can do when they come in for a consult that will really get them talking. This is something we like to call experiential marketing.
Things to consider:
- Is the space welcoming, clean and stylish?
- Do you have adequate take-home resources (help sheets, branded content etc)
- Are you going out of your way to make them feel at home (simply offering your client a cup of tea or coffee when they come in can make a huge difference – if it works for hairdressers it can work for you!)
- Are your staff kind, personable and professional? And are you matching the right staff with the right demographic to help rapport-building?
It’s very simple. If you can make the clients experience five stars from the moment they walk in the building then they’re going to tell their friends about you.
Marketers as educators
One of the big buzzwords online at the moment is Mindshare. It’s really about embracing the connectivity of the modern world and seeing each moment of client engagement not simply as an add, but as a moment to educate and thereby position yourself as a thought-leader. Someone who is willing and ready to share their expertise. Lure clients in with a titbit of information then dazzle them with your expertise once they’re in the office.
Frequency is key
For years we have dealt with financial advisers who think it’s appropriate to send out a lengthy word document quarterly to meet their client engagement needs. The truth is these days it just doesn’t cut it. The reasons are manifold: people’s attention spans are shorter, we interact with content in a more visual way, and we have greater trust in certain formats. The answer is simple: less dense content, much more often. Best practice entails engaging with clients once a month. But the truth is our top performers are doing it even more regularly. The reason they can do this: they mix it up.
Mix. It. Up.
So, the best way to stay top of minds with clients is to engage more often in myriad ways. Let’s look at a hypothetical adviser. Her name’s Sam, she runs a growing firm in the suburbs with a mixed client base of empty nesters, a few high net worth clients as well as families looking to build their wealth.
At the beginning of each month, she sends out a monthly newsletter to all her clients, but she does so in a targeted way, using mailchimp lists to break up her client-base, choosing articles as relevant to the audience of each list.
Mid-month she follows up with a single issue topical snapshot piece which she sends out to all her clients to position her as on the buzzer and responsive to economic trends.
Further, she uses Facebook regularly to update her clients—as well as friends of the firm (a vital source of word of mouth referrals)—of the goings on in the office, mixing in touchy-feely stuff with infographic posts which distil complex issues into neat graphs. Finally, she has established herself as a thought leader on Linked-in, co-ordinating a few groups and sharing articles of interest there as well.
One area she wants to move into is video, knowing an image that moves is dynamic, attention-grabbing, and another way she can touch base without feeling like her means of communication is repetitive.
Sam’s approach is working for her because it is targeted, frequent and multifaceted. Even better, with Advant Plus white labelled content at her disposal and fluid integration across platforms, it takes her less than an hour a month to co-ordinate.
More visual/More motion
There is no denying it: right now, video is king. The problem is videos can be expensive to produce and hard to get right in terms of compliance etc. The trick here is to simplify. Videos do not have to be all that and a bag of chips. Even just a beautifully designed moving informational post can grab people’s attention. There are many online apps available to help you create little animated videos that could mix up your content. Moreover, Advant will soon be trialling monthly economic videos that give viewers a neat one-minute update on the movements of the market.
Honesty and transparency
In a world of fake news, honesty and integrity have (ironically or antidotally) become two of the biggest marketing trends of 2018. This of course starts by running your firm with integrity which we know most advisors are—we speak with you all on a daily basis and we know the vast majority of you got into this industry with a desire to help people and their prospects. The thing is, people will never know you practice with integrity if you don’t communicate it. But how do you do this? Here are some pointers:
- Does your company have a mission statement? Do all your firm’s members know your values, what they mean in practice and how to communicate them? Is this mission statement clearly visible both on your website and in your physical locations?
- Are you responsive to complaints?
- Are you honest about what your clients real results are?
- Do you manage expectations in initial consults so you can overdeliver rather than let clients down?
- Are you aware of your firm’s strengths and weaknesses? Perhaps it’s time for a client survey. Take it a step further by using the results to boast about your strengths and then publicly address your weaknesses and outline ways in which you are going to improve.
- Are you a firm that listens? One that understands success is a journey? In a complicated world you’re never going to get it 100% right. Clients know that. What they want from you is transparency and integrity.
The most important thing is that you give full disclosure, operate compliantly and really listen to your clients needs, making sure to publicly stay on the front foot in all scenarios, addressing mistakes immediately and celebrating each success.
Set goals and check in on them often.
As financial advisers and accountants I’m sure you’re aware of the power of goal-setting. It’s one of the tools of your trade. Therefore, if you want to see results in your marketing effort, it may be time to practice what you preach. It doesn’t take much to set achievable goals and then regroup fortnightly to ensure they are met. The thing is, there are so many solutions out there that make marketing far quicker than it used to be. You just need to make sure you’re doing it. And if it’s done regularly, it is far less of a burden than trying to deal with it all at once. Set achievable goals and watch your referrals fly.
We’re here to help
At Advant, we are niche specialists in the world of marketing and communications for financial advisers and accountants. And most of you reading this blog are already our clients. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to use us as a resource. The platform is set up to help you meet your marketing goals and we are improving it all the time. Don’t be afraid to give us a call for some advice or feedback. We love hearing from you. And it’s what sets us apart. A friendly voice on the line helping you get where you want to go.