Financial advisers and other firms who contact us about marketing often see it primarily through the lends of lead generation. In other words: “How many clients can you get me – and how quickly?”
This is, of course, an important question. However, marketing for financial services encompasses a range of important elements beyond simply generating leads. In fact, there are at least five which financial advisers and others need to incorporate into the goals of their overall marketing strategy:
- Serve / Support
Let’s look at each of these purposes in more detail…
One of the main goals of marketing for financial services is to convince your target audience to buy from your brand. This is the purpose of marketing which is probably most aligned to “lead generation” above.
“Selling” might involve a direct sales approach (e.g. pitching to potential clients through a pensions seminar), or in support of off-line (e.g. giving clients a promotional brochure to take home with them after their free, initial financial advice consultation).
In the digital marketing sphere, there are many ways you can sell to potential clients. For instance, you might run a Facebook Ads campaign offering a free webinar about the pros and cons of pension transfers. Once people sign up and attend the webinar, you can give them the information they need as well as pitch your services to them directly.
#2 Serve / Support
This purpose of marketing for financial services is primarily concerned with efforts which add value to the client experience. The overall aim of such efforts is to increase client loyalty and to ultimately turn them into brand advocates (i.e. so they encourage others to become clients too).
Digital marketing holds huge potential for this aspect of financial marketing. For instance, providing tailored content to your clients and target audience can be a powerful way of adding value by offering answers to their questions, or solutions to their pain points.
For instance, perhaps your clients have a lot of anxieties in the run-up to the UK’s departure date from the European Union. How will this big change affect my pension and/or investments? One way you could address these concerns might be to produce a free downloadable guide on the subject for your clients.
Quite often, financial advisers tend to think of marketing as a one-way stream of communication. For instance, you produce a brochure which your client is expected to sit and read. Or, you produce a webinar which they are expected to attend and where they are expected to listen.
However, marketing for financial services needs to incorporate two-way communication in addition to this one-way approach (as important as the latter is). This is especially important in the financial sector, where strong client relationships are typically an integral part of business models. Dialogue is a vital means of fostering such relationships. However, it’s hard to build them if you are the only one talking!
One powerful way for financial advisers to achieve the “speak” aspect of financial marketing is via their financial consultations, which are used to try and onboard new potential clients. Here, you have an opportunity not only to talk but also to actively listen to the person’s needs, questions and worries. If they can go away from that meeting feeling like they were truly understood and listened to, then you are more likely to win them as a client.
The digital world opens up many other important doors for two-way communication. An online web chat on your financial website, for instance, is a great way to engage potential clients in this way. Blog comments and online forums can be another powerful communication channel as well.
This might sound like a funny one, as many financial services businesses tend to view marketing primarily as an expense. However, a well-planned marketing strategy can actually have the result of saving your company time, money and effort.
An example might help. At CreativeAdviser, we spend lots of time working with financial advisers and one particular business stands out in this instance. They specialise in providing financial planning services to a niche aspect of the healthcare sector, and they were struggling to gain new clients.
Historically, this business had worked to grow its client base by running multiple pension seminars throughout the country and hoping their target audience would attend. However, over the years the attendance was dropping and the time, commitment and money required to run these events were taking its toll. The company director, in particular, was finding that his participation at the seminars was taking too much time away from his desire to run the business.
After talking with CreativeAdviser, this business realised that a tailored digital marketing strategy would likely produce greater volumes of leads, at less time and involving fewer resources.
Marketing, in other words, need not only be viewed as an inconvenient expense by financial planners and other businesses. It can be a powerful and exciting way to make budgets more effective, and also break new ground when attempting to grow your client base.
There is some overlap here with the second purpose of marketing for financial services. However, whilst that aspect is concerned with adding value to clients, this aspect is mainly about delighting them.
For instance, ask yourself how you could improve your clients’ perceptions of your brand. It could well be that they are happy with your services, broadly speaking. However, perhaps your communication with them to date has been fairly limited (e.g. a white-labelled newsletter which is sent to them once per quarter). Moreover, perhaps the form, style and content of the communication are a bit boring.
For financial advisers in this position, digital marketing can offer a great way to take your client delight to the next level. For example, perhaps you could produce a series of explainer videos for your clients about financial topics they are interested in, rather than relying on a white-labelled newsletter which they do not really read? Or, perhaps you could experiment with infographics on your company blog rather than writing long, overly-technical articles which are difficult for your clients to digest?