by Tony Vidler
Newsflash: Effective marketing has changed. Because consumers behavior has changed.
Many financial services professionals however are still firmly wedded to the concepts that produced basic business results 20 years ago. To be fair, I still continually talk to financial advisers who now have a website….created 2 or 3 years ago, with essentially exactly the same content that was initially put up there – albeit with the addition of the thrice-annual client newsletter and the mandatory announcements about the latest movement in official cash rates.
Such a website is little more than as billboard on the side of the information super-highway. And like the billboard, most motorists are whizzing by at 100/kmh without giving it a sideways glance.
At the same time though the financial professionals are themselves consumers of other goods and services and have been quick to embrace new technology and the convenience it brings. I don’t know an adviser who doesn’t google every question these days – usually from their phone while you are having the conversation.
So why haven’t the lessons learned as a consumer been translated into their own marketing strategies?
The answer provides an insight into the central marketing problem for most advisers. I am continually told that the reason for not putting serious and continual effort into their website as a means of market positioning and lead generation is because they have not received any leads from their website. Now that is the proverbial chicken and egg conundrum if ever I’ve heard one…
In order to generate leads from your website you first must have a website that:
1. Is able to be found when your target market are searching (and the two big search engines are Google and Youtube – so how are you positioning content and keywords to be found by them?)
2. Clearly articulates the value you create for your ideal customers on the home page, and very quickly. You’ve got 8 seconds or less to grab their attention and entice them to read on. So what can they expect to get from dealing with you?
3. Is kept fresh with regular new content that demonstrates your expertise and ability to remove complexity from clients lives. Search engines rate websites that are frequently updated…but more importantly customers rate websites that are frequently updated with useful information.
4. Show some personality. This is the biggest tip for any professional out there….people do business with other people. Help them get to know you a little, and to be able to feel like you are someone they can like and trust….too many adviser websites contain bland bio information that tell potential customers very little about the people and their lives.
5. Use real pictures, plenty of graphcis. Images matter – they do literally convey information far more rapidly than the written word, and graphics that explain what you do and how clients benefit are incredibly powerful.
The final basic tip that should be redundant (but isn’t!) is promote the existence of the website.
Duh! sounds dumb I know, but it is a simple thing that advisers frequently forget to do. Sure the website address is grandly printed on a business card and the letterhead – without any compelling reason for anyone to visit it. Social networking and email campaigns and newsletters are fabulous tools for promoting website presence and fresh content. If you aren’t letting the target market know of its existence, and then giving them useful information that is visually pleasing when they get there then you are doing little more than saying
…and that isn’t marketing. It is simply wishful thinking.
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