Regular contributor, Rachel Staggs, has a warning for advisers who fail to embrace modern day marketing, and shares tips on how to avoid being lost in the noise of today’s world…
If you have an advice business that you know adds value to your clients lives, saves them money and time, a business that you absolutely love but you don’t engage in any marketing communications activity, you are jeopardising yourself, your clients and the industry!
Marketing is fantastic! Contrary to what some others may think, marketing works. It isn’t sleazy or slimy; in fact, when executed properly in a modern way, it positively works! That said, we need to understand that today’s client is well educated and pretty savvy when it comes to marketing, so your old ways of trying to market to clients need to change. You need to dust off those old ways, step up your marketing know-how, and adopt the educational-based marketing method – that’s if you want others to know about how you can add value, save time and money in their lives too!
Meet today’s client:
- Technically savvy
- Wise to the ways of marketing
- High expectations
- Sees you as the ‘go to person’
- Wants to be informed and kept up to date
- Doesn’t want to be bored
- Shares and compares information
- Open to others
Today’s marketing requires us to be super clear on our message; to be kind, engaging, encouraging, and to deliver highly valuable and relevant information that will facilitate their (the client’s) decision making process. Why? Because we are all more informed than ever before, and because of the Internet we can access more information to help us solve our problems, ourselves! The value your marketing brings is demonstrating that you can help clients solve their problems far better than they can by showing them how you have done that and who you have helped – your track record.
the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing
If you feel resistance around any type of marketing, whether it is gaining client testimonials, conducting client surveys, writing a regular blog and so forth, you must realise something really important. In every industry sector there are businesses that can be trusted and businesses that can’t. Your job is to let people know that yours is a business that can be trusted and hiding behind your office desk isn’t going to tell people that, is it? When you plan and execute your marketing properly, you won’t even know you’re doing it, because the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, trust me!!!
Why being an expert could ruin your business
As an adviser you have to stay on top of your industry, of new trends, products and services – all things that you want to share with your clients. However, some specialists take the opinion that because they are an ‘expert’ they don’t need to market their business because people will just find them. What’s great about those people is that it allows you to become an ethical educational-based marketer with more of an opportunity to change people’s lives than those ‘experts’.
Then there are those that believe that their association with other businesses means they don’t need to market themselves, because they can rely on others to do it for them. There is no magic marketing business or person that will do all that marketing for you. In today’s world, at the very least, you need to develop a marketing plan so that you can be found and viewed on the Internet. In this age of transparency, people and businesses will be found.
What type of marketer are you?
Marketing is inevitable and can be fun, so let’s see what type of marketer you are! Are you in the basement, on the ground floor or right up on level one where everyone can see you?
You don’t know what marketing is or why you need it. You don’t believe you need to attract new clients directly yourself, and you don’t understand what ‘content marketing’ really is, or why blogging would be ideal for your business. You send out no regular communication to your clients, create no ‘community feel’ among your clients, and have no strong branding and very limited marketing collateral, if any at all. You believe that all you need is a website and even that doesn’t need updating.
Basement level marketers really do miss out. They miss out because they don’t ever get the opportunity to tell other people about what a great job they can do for them; how they can add more value to their lives, save them money and save them time. Ignorance is bliss for a basement level marketer.
You understand what marketing is, but you think it doesn’t help a business, especially your business. You’re afraid that if you try any new marketing tactic that you will make a mistake, or you secretly hope someone else will do it all for you. You may have tried something once but you never measured it so you don’t know if it worked and you’d rather rely on other businesses to get you clients.
The great thing about ground floor marketers is that you can be successful by making just a few slight changes. For example, changing your mindset and writing a marketing strategy with some tried and tested marketing tactics.
We all need to market the fantastic benefits of advice
Level one marketers get it! They have a well thought out marketing strategy that is executed on a regular basis. They get excited about modern day marketing and understand the changing times. They embrace social media because they know it’s here to stay and is a great platform to demonstrate value, credibility and trust. They have a positive healthy attitude towards marketing and realise that clients in today’s world can find them directly themselves or through another business – either way they’ll be found!
The great thing about level one marketers is that they are supporting not only the growth of their business but also the industry. But they can’t sustain that on their own – we all need to do our part. We all need to market the fantastic benefits of advice; the fact that it can be trusted, the positive feeling people will have experiencing it, and the outcomes they can receive.
How did you rate yourself? If you are on the basement or the ground floor there is hope! With the right frame of mind and the right marketing knowledge you can shift quite easily to level one and drive the message home about the benefits of advice. Marketing will become easier to you and you’ll enjoy telling the world about the positive difference you can make to their lives.
If you are level one already, a massive congratulations! You are a well-rounded businessperson with the skills, attitude and knowledge to truly grow your business. You are spreading the word everyday about the value you can add to people’s lives. You support the industry in a positive way.
How to become a modern day marketer
Here are five key disciplines you can adopt to become a modern day marketer and reach, if not out-do, level one marketers:
- Embrace marketing. Diarise at least two hours a week to participate in and improve your marketing. “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
- Write articles, blog posts or similar. Start writing and sharing information about the outcomes you achieve for your clients, and the experiences they have working with you. Then, get them (the clients) to support what you say through client testimonials.
- Connect with your ideal clients consistently. Modern day marketing requires you to be where they are – it’s easy if you niche!
- Measure what works and what doesn’t. If it didn’t work, try another angle. If it worked, make it a process and keep doing it.
- Keep up to date with modern day marketing techniques. Keep marketing, don’t stop, make it part of your business culture.
It is the responsibility of all of us to market and communicate the truly excellent benefits of people taking and paying for advice; one voice can’t communicate that message alone, but collectively we can, and collectively we can have a massive impact.
In her regular Practice Marketing column, Rachel Staggs provides insights to help advisers market their business to potential (and existing) clients.
Rachel Staggs is the founder and Managing Director of SRS Coaching & Consulting, a specialist financial services consulting firm.