There is so much cost-effective support readily available these days to help you market your practice, as Roger Edwards explains.

    How much time do you spend marketing your business? It’s a question I ask when talking to advisers face to face or at seminars. I usually hear one out of three answers:

    “Not enough”, is the most common response.

    “I’m an adviser not a marketer. And I can’t afford to hire someone to do it for me”, is the second favourite. And the third is usually a comment about the cost of promoting a business being too high.

    While I can agree with the sentiment of the second answer in the context of marketing strategy, I think that everyone is a tactical marketer in the digital world.

    The art of storytelling

    Marketing today is as much about education as it is about promotion. It’s as much about telling stories as it is about generating sales. Financial advice is about painting pictures for clients about the future and what might happen financially. The stories you tell about retirement and the importance of saving resonate with clients and motivate them to take action. That’s marketing. Instead of an advert with a clear call to action, the retirement story is education with a specific call to action to sort out a pension.

    The means of publishing these stories in written form on a website, or as video or audio content is a few clicks away on the internet. And it’s cost effective and easy. Ten years ago the cost to an adviser of producing online content would have been exorbitant.

    "Marketing today is as much about education as it is about promotion."

    Here’s an example. Over ten years ago, the company I worked for, Bright Grey, put together a DVD mailshot about a client who claimed on a critical illness product. The payout saved his family and business finances.

    The DVD became one of the most popular marketing items Bright Grey ever produced. It’s only ten years ago but we made the DVD before the advent of modern digital technology and social media platforms.

    It cost £75,000 to produce the DVD, package it up and mail it to every financial adviser on the list.

    Harness the digital world

    Today I’d have done it differently. I would have invited Howard into my office, recorded his story on a £100 digital camera (or iPhone), uploaded the video to YouTube, created a page on the website to showcase the video and then used Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ to promote the video. You might think you would get much better quality by hiring a film crew for £50,000. However the quality of video we can produce on a ‘cheap camera’ and smart phone these days is HD broadcast quality.

    Howard’s story could have cost less than £1,000 to put together and broadcast today.

    Compelling marketing content

    How many Howards do you have in your client bank? How many people would be willing to tell their retirement planning story? Or how they selected their mortgage with your help? Their stories can become your marketing content.

    Some advisers are already making use of digital technology to market their business.

    There are tools out there to help you turn your stories into marketing content. You can use:

    • Wordpress to create a blog (effectively a series of articles)
    • Audacity to record podcasts (effectively downloadable radio programmes)
    • YouTube, of course, to host video.
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