2019 is going to be the year that marketing really matters for advice firms. However, it may not be new clients you need to focus on most.
It's your existing ones, and I'd like to help make it simple for you.
I'm going to break this down into two parts; the why and the how and, if you decide once you've read both elements you'd like help, I'd like to make you an offer.
First, let me share where this all came from.
Seth & How Everything Changed
Before Christmas. I was recommended the book This Is Marketing Seth Godin, the latest in a long line of fantastically insightful publications from Seth about what marketing means in the digital age
If you don't know the name Seth Godin, it may be time to get to know him. Just type in Seth in Google. He's that well known.
Seth has many great ideas, but at the core of most is a philosophy around modern marketing that has huge parallels with the mechanics of how tech in disrupting industries en masse.
Instead of the traditional product centric approach to marketing, Seth talks about how the internet has flipped things around and lead to a situation where consumers of information no longer have to sit in front of the TV and have marketing messages broadcast at us without much choice in the matter.
Instead, all of us have at our fingertips access to the largest body of information ever created, and it's changed everything.
Consumers no longer have the take an interest in what they're told they need. They can search out what they want.
Put simply, people have more choice than ever before. In many ways, this is a good thing, but in many ways, it's absolutely not. Sometimes what you want isn't what's best for you.
It's also made it harder for many advisers to market what they do.
Let's be honest, marketing has never been a financial services strong suit. Much of the work I do with businesses in the marketing space - usually smart people who are also great advisers - is focused on trying to deprogram them as experts, and help them understand that what they think prospects need or the information they want to educate them on is not a marketing exercise.
You see people don't go to Google because they want to be educated. They go there to get answers to their questions, not ours.
Herein lies the issue with the way that the firms who don't get this market. They're often too busy telling people what to want instead of learning what they want first.
How does this impact you in 2019?
There are two really big changes coming which make this important.
Change #1 - We have to expect that the impact of the media coverage of our industry over these past months will have the impact of a) fewer non-clients seeking out advice naturally, and b) a number of current clients asking themselves questions.
Change #2 - A 12-month opt-in means that no-one can rely on passive client communication or doing things when it's needed as a viable retention strategy. If clients don't know what their adviser does why it matters and can't remember the last time their adviser added value to them, trouble may well be brewing.
These are marketing problems and marketing problems which are not just about your new clients. It's also about retaining existing ones
Within the program, we have a module called This Is Marketing Advice, inspired by Seth. I refer to it as The Primer.
It covers everything from what you actually do next after you've identified your target market, how to have a drill deep into what really matters, and which marketing activities belong in which place.
That last element is key.
For every adviser who's invested money in social media, I'd guess that in at least 50 to 60% of cases there was never any chance of getting ROI, because they were employing the wrong strategies at the wrong stage in their funnel, often completely missing steps in the process.
And if you're missing steps in your funnel, you can burn money very, very easily.
Any marketing funnels has 4 stages, and as you're going to see, this is just as relevant to existing clients and the new client journey.
Stage One is making them aware of you.
We can ignore this for your existing clients. If your clients aren't aware of you, you've got a legacy transition project to do (i.e. pricing and re-engagement), not a marketing piece. I can still help you to make a success of it, but it doesn't start with marketing.
Stage 2 is about helping clients understand what you do.
This is where it starts to get murky.
Some firms assume that clients understand what they do for them. The data frequently says otherwise.
Do they think you're an investment specialist? Do they think your value lies in doing "stuff"? Do they actually know what they pay you? Do they truly understand why they're paying an ongoing fee, or when that 12-month renewal comes up, are they going to ask, "Do I really need to keep paying this?"
Stage 3 is when they start to believe you can help.
It's the moment they go from consuming information to. "Wow. I think this can really help me. I think this may be the answer"
This is the extension of stage 2, but the distinction is important.
Maybe clients understand what you do, but I'd imagine we also want them to believe that they need to retain those services, right?
Because if don't believe they need it, the next question is whether they believe they should continue to pay a fee year after year.
Stage 4 is the point at which you invite them to engage.
In the prospect world, this just means they reach out and you have a conversation. They go from being a marketing target to being a sales target.
In the ongoing world, you might think this isn't entirely relevant. After all, they've already engaged, right?
Well, not always. A lot of firms out there have found themselves working harder than they'd like to get clients to engage, or finding themselves not receiving prompt response to emails or requests for information.
It's a dangerous thing, as it's the first indication that what you do ranks pretty lowly on their scale of importance.
Enough about the problem. What's the best way to fix it?
That'll be the focus of Part 2, so stay tuned.
Of course, if you'd like to go faster, feel free to book a Strategy Call, share with me specifically the issues you'd like to make go away in your firm, and I'll share how working with me in the context of the program can help.
Alternatively, feel free to check our online programs if coaching isn't your thing.