Marketing is something that every adviser can be involved with and digital channels offer new opportunities to promote a business or practice.
Yet, as Rachel Staggs from SRSCC writes, there seems to be so many different parts to an online strategy that knowing where to start can be confusing.
As with all business decisions, creating and following through on a plan will be the key to unlocking the potential of this expanding frontier.
Digital marketing is everywhere. Marketing messages are everywhere. Your ideal clients are everywhere. Where are you?
One of the most successful ways to attract new clients for insurance advisers is through others; your strategic alliances, referral partners, Centres of Influence. However, I know that quite a few are extremely keen to leverage digital marketing, but it all seems so confusing. Where do you start? What works and what doesn’t?
First things first, you must have a modern, up to date responsive website. If you haven’t got one, you’ll need one.
With over 1 billion websites, your next job is to make sure that the right people find yours. The good news is there are some effective ways you can do this, such as optimising your site, so it appears in relevant search results, using highly targeted digital advertising, and engaging your clients through email and social media.
Firstly, let’s clarify how search engines work. When people type something into a search engine, they’re letting it know exactly what they’re looking for. So, if your website talks about the things they are searching for, eg: income protection, personal insurance and so forth, your business will show up in their search results. Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, with over 1 billion websites online, it’s not always that easy to be found!
There are a few ways you can help your business get found in the digital world.
The first is through search engine optimisation, or SEO, which helps your business appear in the search results. SEO is about making it as easy as possible for search engines to understand your website so they can match it to relevant user queries. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is through content marketing and Google maps. If you are not uploading regular, relevant content, Google simply won’t help your business get found. Some firms may choose to pay an external party to help with their SEO – this is a case by case decision and if you do choose this option make sure you are receiving the results you expect rather than wasting your investment.
The second is with search engine marketing, or SEM, which lets you buy ad space in relevant search results. This comes with a word of warning as most major search engines use an auction system, where lots of different businesses compete to show their ads by bidding on the keywords they’d like to target.
In Financial Services, especially insurance, most of the larger corporates have deeper pockets and therefore ‘own’ most of the common keywords that your potential client is searching for. This can be beneficial to your business if that larger business then filters down the leads to you. Most of the time that doesn’t happen. What does happen is you waste your money. However, if you ‘own’ a tight niche or, you are in the geographical location away from competitors, this can be an active strategy.
Most of us rely on the Internet for everyday searches. Whether that’s for information, articles, recipes, sports scores and so on, most of us are using the Internet all the time. When you use it, you might notice the ad’s that appear on the screen while you are reading or watching something. These are called display ads and can be a good way to get your message across. Perhaps you have a seminar you are holding or, a new software tool that can make people’s lives easier? Display ads could be a possibility for your advice business because you can nominate the types of users you wish to target and even which websites you want your ad to appear on.
Social media sites, for example, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are also good platforms to help get your business noticed and, as we know, an excellent platform to engage with new clients and further cement the relationship with existing clients and business partners.
Another way to utilise digital marketing is through online newsletters. These are typically where most financial advisers will start to influence and retain existing clients and eventually over time, attract potential clients to this list too.
We see lots more videos nowadays too, and while in the past they were expensive to produce, now they can be extremely reasonable. However, don’t think that video has to be a face to the camera all the time, you can create video’s using screen capture technology – recording something that is on your screen and speaking at the same time. There is nothing quite as powerful as someone else talking about how you have helped them on camera – an excellent way to spread the word.
Content marketing is something that every financial adviser needs to seriously consider because it not only demonstrates your authority and understanding, but it’s an essential element in the success of your website.
In a world where we love to be informed [and entertained!], online tutorials can be an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise and reach more of the ideal client. Again, not an expensive exercise but when thought out correctly; it can be another great way to differentiate yourself and attract new clients. Consider doing these with a referral partner to offer more value and information.
Similar to above, our hunger for information can be solved through e-book or e-reports. An important tip to consider here is that in today’s world we like to absorb information quickly so, do you have 7 or 9 tips to protecting our assets or achieving goals or future planning? Try not to get bogged down with industry jargon and pages and pages! You might even like to think a bit broader and make it health related – be proactive, not reactive.
To use digital marketing effectively, you need to have a plan. A well thought out plan, similar to a financial plan, will set you on the right path to success. Way too many people make random decisions and waste time and money. Think, plan, implement, review and commit.
Remember the world of digital moves at extraordinary speed so don’t get overwhelmed and think it’s all too hard, instead, take your time and focus on one thing at a time. Speak to people like us who leverage digital marketing ourselves and for other financial advisers because we know what works and what doesn’t.
Used properly, digital marketing could be another successful client attraction strategy for your business.
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 SRSCC, a specialist financial services consulting firm.