2017 will be about engagement, relevance, consistency, and commitment.
My last post focused on some fundamental elements that successful financial advice businesses apply and practical ways in which you can execute them. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of direct feedback I received from that article, thank you. Starting 2017 off on a positive note is a positive thing!
In this post I would like to share some practical marketing concepts that work, are simple and don’t cost a fortune – you don’t need to spend big on marketing these days – you do, however, have to focus on engagement, relevance, consistency, and commitment.
Marketing can be the quickest way to an enquiry about your business and the fastest way to someone learning that what you promise, you don’t deliver. [I’ll save that for a future article!].
Before we delve into the marketing concepts I’d like to share the biggest mistake I saw financial advice businesses make last year – no planning. I would hear advisers say, “We need to change our website, we need to get onto social media, we need to do more advertising.” These are all common marketing ideas but if no time has been spent on planning how do you know what the message is? So, first things first, work out what your value is, who will appreciate your value, where they hang out and how you can influence them. Major things to define I realise but if you haven’t done that, you could be wasting your time.
Message and how you communicate are paramount, get it wrong at your peril.
One more mistake that too many financial advice businesses make and that is they don’t understand who their client is. Too many want to help the entire population of Australia – talk about becoming a commodity – remember commodities are traded by price, not value and service. What I would suggest you do is spend some time defining what the pain is that your ideal client is feeling. What makes them happy? How do they feel about financial advice? What impact is their problem having on them, their family and their business? If you can answer that, you can create the right messages and communicate to the right people.
Your clients are people; they have feelings and emotions. Research shows that we typically make decisions based on our emotions and reason with logic later. How are your ideal clients feeling? Make them feel better.
What makes people emotionally connect with you?
As the saying goes, “People can copy what you do, but not who you are.” Your brand and the way in which it makes your ideal client feel is once again, paramount. And I’m sorry guys, but there are a lot of financial advice businesses with stale old brands out there. This can be a good thing for those looking to improve, though!
Putting energy into your brand has never been as important as it is today. There is no shortage of competition! As I said at the beginning of this article, you don’t need to spend a fortune building your brand, but it does take time, especially in a service driven environment.
Your ideal client has problems, and you’ve identified how you can solve those, now you need to communicate it. If you can articulate a person’s problem better than they can, they will instantly credit you for knowing how to solve it. The better you get to know their problems, the easier it will be for you to communicate to them with relevant, engaging content. Think of yourself as a problem solver and your messages will hit the mark.
Ever noticed how a great experience can disregard price as a key decision factor? You know what a great experience feels like, do your clients receive a great experience? Do you improve it? Would they ALL say that they are well looked after and given the type of service your brand promises?
In my quest to give you practical information, I have listed some questions you can ask yourself as a business. You’ll notice I haven’t touched on websites, social media, marketing collateral, etc. in this article. Why? Because far too many financial advice businesses need to get the message right first and THEN think about which platforms to use to reach their ideal client and execute the message. In the first quarter of 2017, if you haven’t already, make your quest to get to know your ideal client deeper so that you can articulate their problem and create the right messages.
1. What does your business do? Think emotionally not financially. For example, notice the ads you see or hear nowadays, most focus on how they make people feel – car companies do a great job with this, even toilet paper manufacturers!
2. How does your business do it? Now you know how your business helps people emotionally; you can talk about the process and end results.
3. Why does your business do it? This is where you can again differentiate your business from all the others. You might have a personal story to share or, you might not. This is a tricky area – I’ve seen some advisers get a bit too self-focused here and you end up watching their video and asking the question, “So what? How does that help me?” so be careful with this one, make sure it’s in the context of the client, not you.
My key message for 2017? Work out who your ideal clients are, pinpoint their problems and then plan to talk to them through all the various communication channels available today – but make sure it’s the ones they hang out on!
If you believe, hand on your heart, that you know your ideal client inside out and upside down and are ready to communicate to them, give me a call and we can talk about how to do that. However, if you are honest with yourself and believe you don’t know your ideal client enough that’s OK too, work on the questions above and feel free to contact me if you need some more help – it’s what I do!