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Three marketing lessons from outside financial services

So, you’ve got all the qualifications and you know you’re great at what you do… now you’ve got to put yourself out there to win new customers. We asked Bryony Thomas, the best-selling author of Watertight Marketing, to give us three examples from outside financial services to to inspire and motivate adviser firms’ marketing

Marketing yourself as an independent financial adviser is a tough gig. It’s not something all the studying you’ve done has prepared you for, when you’re busy with clients it’s tough to find the time for it, and even when you do – the compliance burden can make it feel like you’re barely able to say anything of interest. And, like any small business, resources are tight.

Here are three ways in which other small business owners have managed to out-think, rather than out-spend their competition.

Identify people with power of veto

RTS Group works with automotive manufacturers and dealerships across the globe, looking at processes, people and skills, and creating ways to improve performance. By providing learning and development for frontline people, they create world-class automotive dealerships.

The huge size of some of their prospective clients meant they needed to create content that had the potential to reach and convince the numerous internal third parties. Malcolm Miller, CEO, explains, “Our clients are huge global motoring brands. We recognised that we needed a means to reach the people we needed to influence within those organisations. As a result, we have invested in our website content, with new downloadable case studies that can be shared, and a regular blog. The case studies all demonstrate the solutions we implemented for clients — and the results.”

How could an IFA implement something similar? Whilst your clients may not be massive enterprises, there are often third parties in the picture. You may have a great meeting with a potential client, only to find that their spouse puts them off the idea later. Creating a tool to help you firstly identify, and then answer the concerns, of the person with power of veto can be really powerful. For example, creating a Family Finance Planning Guidethat has helpful prompts for a couple to talk through their finances might help you to plug this potential marketing leak.

Reduce information overload

Monkey Puzzle is a leading provider of People Consultancy, Leadership Development and NLP Training that supports leaders, entrepreneurs, speakers and business people to develop their skills and talents in a way that fits with their own style and personality. They worked with Watertight Marketing over 24 months, doubling their turnover in that time. In going through the Touchpoint Leak™ Assessment with Watertight Marketing, Monkey Puzzle realised they were doing what many businesses do. Not only were they giving away all their best materials too quickly, it may have come across as ‘information overload’ and risk not being read.

Karen Meager, co-founder, developed a new approach to Monkey Puzzle’s sales information. This is now based entirely on what’s relevant for where the customer is in the buying process, as Karen explains… “We’ve re-organised our information process and trained our consultants around the 6 stages of the customer journey (from Awareness to Loyalty) and made sure we have content in place that addresses that. We can now work out at which stage of the customer journey someone is and we can give them something we are much more confident is relevant.”

How could an IFA implement something similar? Financial planning can be overwhelming for many. Often, as experts, we’re so close to our own topics that we may not realise that when we’re trying to be helpful and make sure people have all the information, our prospects may simply be unable to take it all in. Taking the time to create some short introductory pieces – with stories and metaphors that make it accessible can really help. It also makes sense to map your materials to the decision-making process, and only reach for the next leave of detail when you know someone is open to hearing it.

Add some personality

Audenza is an online boutique for quirky homewares. This three-person business worked through the Watertight Marketing programme over 12 months, doubling both turnover and profit – then repeating the process in the following year to triple it. Co-founder, Hollie Brooks explains, it was by turning what they thought was a negative into a huge positive. “The Touchpoint Leak Assessment helped us realise that being small was a major plus point. We should be shouting about it and putting our pictures on the website and it would actually help create more customer loyalty — and it has. Even little tweaks, adding more personal touches have really helped build that emotional connection.”

Customers are really buying into this, as Hollie explains. “We’re getting comments from customers we’ve never spoken to before saying how much they love the fact we are a family business. Our marketing has created the connection to make them want to leave this kind of comment.” She adds, “it’s really subtle things too — we use a thank you flyer with a picture of us and a thank you stamp ‘sent with love’. Our customers seem to remember that — and they even share pictures of our material on social media. We’ve shown that we’re not a nameless, faceless online business.

How could an IFA implement something similar? Talking about money is pretty personal. There are things people tell their financial adviser that not even their best friends know. This makes you the confidante. Spending some money on high quality photography that shows your true personality, and doing simple things – like popping a handwritten thank you card in the post, can make a massive difference.

What these three very different businesses show is that small tweaks to your marketing leaks can add up to a massive uplift in your profits. How could you take inspiration from what people are doing outside the industry to set yourself apart?

These three entrepreneurs will be speaking at the Marketing Confidence & Clarity Conference hosted by Watertight Marketing on 14-15 September 2018. Find out more:


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