The vast majority of financial planners and advice firms operate on a local scale.
Even in an era where firms increasingly market themselves online, face-to-face contact between advisers and clients remains an indispensable part of delivering an advice proposition.
Most of your clients and therefore prospects are likely to live within an accessible distance from your firm. So it makes sense that most of your marketing should be targeted locally.
Even the best marketing strategy, targeted too widely, won’t get the yield that a more accurately targeted approach would.
The best adviser marketing strategies build a firm’s reputation within a local community. However, aligning this local presence with a digital strategy is no mean feat. So here are a few things you can do to make sure that your marketing doesn’t miss the mark:
Register on Google My Business
Google My Business is a free tool that is essential to master if you want to maximise your chances of getting found by local internet users. It’s important you provide the correct information so your clients and prospects know where you are, when you’re open and so they can gain some idea of what to expect just by searching for your firm on Google.
They’ll know all this without having to leave the main search results page. In an era where reducing the amount of effort your prospects need to make is key to success, a completed Google My Business page goes a long way.
What’s more, it means clients can easily leave Google reviews. Nowadays, prospects prefer an independent opinion on an adviser before they sign up, so Google reviews are a great weapon in your marketing arsenal.
Creating a Google My Business listing is very simple. You can be up, running and optimised in three easy steps:
1. Create your listing Log into the Google account you want associated with your business. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to create a Google account. Then, go to google.com/business and select “Start now” in the top right-hand corner. Enter your business name and address, and then select your business category. Now you need to add your business phone number and website.
2. Verify your business At this point you’ll be asked to verify your business. You can do this in several ways. By postcard (Google send you a card with a code you need to enter when it arrives), by phone or by email.
3. Optimise your listing Once your business is verified it’s time to start fleshing out your profile. Try to add as much information as possible. Remember to add your hours and a profile picture. If you like, you can also add videos.
Implement local SEO tactics
Another great way of improving your local search engine optimisation (SEO) is to write some relevant content for your website. While writing about general financial topics will attract a wide crowd, consider linking your content to the local area to align your message to a more relevant group.
For instance, if you’re a firm based in Leeds, you could write a blog about ‘What the 2018 budget means for Yorkshire’. This could attract a more relevant audience to your website than a blog post about the 2018 budget in general. A page like this also starts to send signs to Google that your domain is associated with the keyword ‘Yorkshire’.
Reach out to local magazines
Despite the decline of print publications, local magazines remain incredibly well read in Britain. Contact them and try to get some coverage or a featured article. For instance, why not get your firm’s charity fundraiser in the local paper?
Marketing yourself as local
You could even try to market yourself as local, using your connection to an area and its people as your unique selling point. Showing you’re rooted to an area carries connotations of trustworthiness and responsibility that your audience will want from their adviser.
If this sounds like something that would be appropriate for your business, think about getting some high quality images of recognisable local landmarks on your website and make sure your commitment to an area comes across in your website’s copy.
Sponsor local events
What better way to demonstrate your commitment to your local area than sponsoring a local event? Best of all, it’s a great way to get across your firm’s non-corporate side.
Sponsoring a well run, entertaining event - be it a sports event, a local awards or a charity dinner - will massively enhance your local audience’s perception of your firm and give you added visibility.
Be locally social
Consider the benefits of focusing your social media efforts on local conversations and engagement.
Identify the key people of influence in the local community and build online relationships that enable you to leverage your message and brand. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can all provide valuable reach and support client acquisition strategies.
Overall, to succeed on a local scale you need to make sure your marketing efforts are condensed where it matters. If you’re based in Wimbledon, you want people from Wimbledon to be clicking on your webpage - not people from Wimborne.
Take the opportunity to build a local brand. We all know that for most firms there is plenty of opportunity within a small radius of the office; it’s for this reason that local marketing makes perfect sense.