How a clever marketing plan can drive the growth of a financial service business
The financial services industry is increasingly being subjected to the rise of digital innovators and disruptors that present a serious threat to traditional business models. There’s also the risk of losing clients to these providers as they raise client expectations.
So where in the future will business come from, and how will marketing play an important role in it? According to new research, only 15% of financial advisers expect growth in asset values to drive their business growth next year, which is down from a third (34%) over the past five years.
Growth to come simply from the demand for advice
The biggest single driver of growth is expected to be retirement planning, with six in ten advisers (58%) believing this area has the potential to increase revenues, followed by inheritance and wealth planning (51%) and pensions consolidation (45%).
However, to compensate for the shortfall, advisers are also placing increasing importance on other areas. There has been a significant shift in many advisers expecting business growth to come simply from the demand for advice, with over four in ten (44%) advisers seeing gains to be made in this area, up by seven percentage points in the past five years. Equity release is also increasingly expected to drive business growth (up six percentage points to 16%).
What is expected to drive business growth over the next year?
- Retirement planning 58%
- Inheritance and wealth planning 51%
- Pension consolidation 45%
- Simply the demand for advice 44%
- Changing regulation driving more people to seek advice 24%
- Equity release 16%
- Growth in asset values inc. equity prices 15%
- Pension transfers, specifically DB business 7%
There is clearly an increase in the demand for professional financial advice, which makes choosing the right mix to deliver the maximum marketing impact essential. An increasingly central part of advisers’ income streams making up the ‘big three’ advice areas are retirement planning, Inheritance Tax planning and pensions consolidation.
From the conversations we are having with our own clients at Goldmine Media, what’s encouraging is the way that many of them are looking to grow other revenue streams. Data shows that demand for advice is growing rapidly, so it’s important not to miss out on these new business opportunities – and having a marketing plan in place will go a long way towards achieving this.
5 steps to consider when writing a marketing plan
Essentially, a marketing plan is a return to the basics. It’s all about finding out where you stand now, analysing where you want to be, and then establishing a route to get there. It is the touchstone for all marketing activity and, ultimately, should be the long-term mission of any financial services business.
1. Know your target prospective client personas
Taking it back to basics, research is the first step to any good marketing plan. Understanding your target client persona, who they are, what they value, what motivates them, and their goals, dreams, fears and challenges will help you determine what and how to communicate with them.
Remember, what resonates with some clients requiring one area of advice is unlikely to work with those that require a different area of advice. For example, your marketing approach will need to be different if you are looking to engage with both pre and post-retirement age groups, as they will each have different requirements. Once you understand your client personas and what makes them tick, you can engage with them through tailored campaigns to help maximise results.
2. Set marketing goals based on your business goals
Your marketing goals need to align to your business goals. Are your goals based on client acquisition, market share, revenue or growth? How will you measure success? Will you measure it in new leads, revenue or enquiries? Clearly defined success metrics should be a fundamental part of your marketing plan. Below are some goals turned into well-defined marketing goals. These marketing goals are based on the overall goals of the business:
- We need 20,000 website visitors, 100 inbound leads, and 24 clients within the next 12 months from our marketing efforts in order to achieve our revenue goal of £1,200,000 from inbound marketing
- We would like to generate 12 new clients from existing client referrals using our client email marketing We would also like to add all qualified leads to our mailing list, allowing us to nurture these leads for future new business opportunities
- We want to rank number one for the search term ‘retirement planning advice’ within one hour of our office geographical location, since we estimate that it will generate 300 visitors to our website per month
3. Consistently communicate across all marketing platforms
Consider how you can tailor your message through different communication mediums – social media, email, website, advertising, seminar events – while maintaining the original message. Is your message being clearly and consistently communicated across all platforms? Are your employees and colleagues aware of and communicating your message? Consistency is key when using multiple marketing tactics, and your employees aren’t exempt from this. Your message is the voice of your company and should be communicated to help you build the ‘know, like and trust’ factor with your target audience.
Like investing, as time goes on, you benefit from compounding interest on your communications and messaging, making it even more valuable. Your evergreen messaging will also offer SEO benefits for a very long time to come as your prospective audience continue to search them out, and all of this can provide valuable relationship building and lead generation capabilities. This demonstrates authority and expertise, all while helping you reach prospective clients at different stages of the advice funnel.
4. Speak to your clients in a language they understand
Always communicate using simple, clear narratives – the type of language your prospective and existing clients use. Make sure when creating any editorial piece, you write directly to your reader. It’s all too easy to introduce ‘techie’ jargon and abbreviations when speaking with your audience, so avoid turning your prospects off and aim to use wording that is clear and to the point. To be persuasive, you absolutely have to use details that matter. There are probably lots of facts you can use to talk about in relation to pensions and investments, but if those aren’t the ones your clients care about, they won’t mean much to your bottom line. Using a conversational tone is a technique that is especially important in print or online marketing. Forget everything you were taught in school. This isn’t about using the right grammar (okay, thats still important), but it’s about having a conversation with your clients.
5. Nurture prospective clients and add more perceived value
Today’s clients are far more self-sufficient and savvier when it comes to researching potential products, whether this a pension, investments or services to purchase. With an ever-growing library of content available online, prospective clients have the tools they need to go out and find what they’re looking for rather than relying on a financial professional. This means they’re now engaging much later in the advice process simply because they are able to self-educate. In fact, many no longer initially contact a financial adviser for information and insight at the awareness stage. They enter at the consideration stage, which essentially means they obtain advice from you or a competitor.
However, don’t see this as a negative – embrace this change in behaviour by giving them what they want. By nurturing prospective clients with more valuable thought-provoking content, you can position your business as the experts in your field of advice and influence them much earlier in the advice funnel process. You then become an obvious ‘go to’ company when they want to take action.
Implementing your marketing plan may come in many forms
These steps will give you an action plan whereby everyone is aware of their responsibilities and you have an overall objective to work towards. Implementation may come in many forms – such as advertising, surveys, new service launches or simply interacting with new clients – but it must be done with the support of all relevant parts of the business.
There is one golden rule with marketing: be flexible with your plan. There will be external factors you cannot control and there will be parts that won’t work quite as well, so be prepared to change them where appropriate.
Looking to exceed your marketing goals?
Marketing is about getting your proposition and services in front of the right clients at the right time, in the right way. From creative campaigns and events to email and online marketing, there is almost nothing we don’t know about financial services marketing. For more information about how Goldmine Media can help your business, talk to a member of our Business Development Team on 0845 686 0055, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: Research data Canada Life 2019.
Henry Jasper, Digital Strategist, Goldmine Media