How marketing works (better title here?)

I know nothing about marketing

I am a university drop-out. When I left Cardiff Institute after failing the second year of my electronics design degree, I began working full time in management for McDonalds, for whom I had been a part-time, baseball cap-wearing skivvy for four years. Then, thanks to a friend in the business, I joined the Co-operative Insurance Society – my gateway into this wonderful profession of ours.

At no point in this far-from-illustrious career path did anyone teach me a thing about marketing.

Marketing is no doubt both an art and a science, and I’m sure that a degree in marketing would markedly increase the returns I see on my efforts. And yet, I seem to be doing OK, and I imagine you are too.

Most advisers’ primary source of new clients is referrals from existing clients. That’s certainly true for me and I reckon that’s a sign of a healthy business. We instinctively know that if we look after the clients we have, they will look after us in turn by referring their friends and family to us in the right circumstances. This is a simple quid pro quo: we have provided value to them, and they want to give something back (even though they have already paid us for that value).

This process is magnified significantly through providing value online. The internet enables us to scale up the benefits of one-to-one conversations, so that we can provide value to many more people at once. If the people consuming our online content get enough value from it, they will share it with their social circle. This is the new currency: social capital. If we pay enough of this capital into the virtual bank account of the internet, in time it will pay us back.

It took me two years to get a single client from my online efforts, but I made many mistakes that I would not make if I were starting again today. Then after another few more months I began receiving a steady stream of enquiries from the contact form on my website.

Since I started my weekly audio podcast, I have been receiving more enquiries than ever, and have signed up four new clients, with between them over a million pounds in liquid assets in the last six weeks. It has taken time to build up a head of steam, but now I have, I’m reaping the benefits.

It turns out that these days marketing, at least the online variety, is pretty simple. Give value, lots of it, and the internet will pay you back. I’m not sure I needed a degree to figure that out.

Any marketing geniuses on Adviser Lounge, I’d love to know what you think. Is there more to online marketing than just providing value and waiting for the rewards. Is online marketing the only kind that counts in 2013 and beyond? Let me know in the comments…

(By the way, it IS possible to find the time to spend productively online, and still be able to see clients. I do it, and I can show you how to do it too)

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9 thoughts on “How marketing works (better title here?)

  • Couldn’t agree more with a lot of this Pete.

    Marketing, particularly for advisers, is all about authenticity and building trust and there’s no way of creating this if you’re not really involved in the process yourself. But then… as someone who works in marketing, you probably won’t be too surprised to learn that I think there’s still worth in consulting external expertise as well!

    I think there’s many elements where time can still be saved, expertise gained and presentation improved by external help, technology or other input. Website creation, design work (websites or otherwise), the technology behind newsletters, research into new forms of social media – all things that we and other firms do to help and enable advisers to get across their message and build trust; helping them connect with their audience, to look authentic and professional.

    Reply
  • I think one of the reasons people become advisers is a desire to help (there are several other names for this, such as nosiness, poking around in other people’s business, and think one knows best all the time – but I think desire to help sounds best!).

    As such, we are often people that know quite a bit about quite a lot. I once asked a client why she asked to see me, and she said “I’ve seen you on Twitter, and you seem to know stuff.” I took that as a compliment!

    Posting content is the best way to show that you know stuff. And when people see enough of it, they might ask you a question about something unrelated, just because you seem the type that would know the answer.

    And, while we’re at it, no-one shows they know stuff better than you, Pete.

    Reply
  • I am in my 44th year working in financial services. I meet lots of really bright people all around the world. The most successful, and happiest, share what they know. Well written Pete.

    Reply
  • And no guesses to my agreement with both the article and comments made. I think it’s important to understand that the while the broad principle is accurate (provide value to people), the different ways that you can put this principle into practice can differ wildly.

    To give you an idea, are you going to share written content, audio, video, images, webinars, a combination of all. Which networks are you going to share your content on. How regularly are you going to share your content, are you going to curate other peoples content.

    Who are you going to connect with? Do you know exactly who you want to reach. And no ‘everyone’ doesn’t work so well.

    As Jon says, what about the look and feel of your online content, website, profiles?

    How are you choosing to create calls to actions? How are you capturing prospects details? What are you doing to follow up? How much of this is automated? Do you know how to technically link your website to your lead capture to your email?

    How much time do you want to be doing this yourself v’s outsourcing so that your focus is on keeping the main thing the main thing? In this context if you’re an adviser or planning, then seeing clients is surely the main thing?

    The level of help and assistance you outsource (if any) is down to you of course. But like most things in life, when you dig a little deeper you see there’s more involved than first meets the eye.

    It doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, it just means it might be worth asking someone with experience to help so you get more results in less time while still focusing on your role as an adviser.

    Reply
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  • I think one of the reasons people become advisers is a desire to help (there are several other names for this, such as nosiness, poking around in other people’s business, and think one knows best all the time – but I think desire to help sounds best!).

    As such, we are often people that know quite a bit about quite a lot. I once asked a client why she asked to see me, and she said “I’ve seen you on Twitter, and you seem to know stuff.” I took that as a compliment!

    Posting content is the best way to show that you know stuff. And when people see enough of it, they might ask you a question about something unrelated, just because you seem the type that would know the answer.

    And, while we’re at it, no-one shows they know stuff better than you, Pete.

    Reply
  • And no guesses to my agreement with both the article and comments made. I think it’s important to understand that the while the broad principle is accurate (provide value to people), the different ways that you can put this principle into practice can differ wildly.

    To give you an idea, are you going to share written content, audio, video, images, webinars, a combination of all. Which networks are you going to share your content on. How regularly are you going to share your content, are you going to curate other peoples content.

    Who are you going to connect with? Do you know exactly who you want to reach. And no ‘everyone’ doesn’t work so well.

    As Jon says, what about the look and feel of your online content, website, profiles?

    How are you choosing to create calls to actions? How are you capturing prospects details? What are you doing to follow up? How much of this is automated? Do you know how to technically link your website to your lead capture to your email?

    How much time do you want to be doing this yourself v’s outsourcing so that your focus is on keeping the main thing the main thing? In this context if you’re an adviser or planning, then seeing clients is surely the main thing?

    The level of help and assistance you outsource (if any) is down to you of course. But like most things in life, when you dig a little deeper you see there’s more involved than first meets the eye.

    It doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, it just means it might be worth asking someone with experience to help so you get more results in less time while still focusing on your role as an adviser.

    Reply
  • Couldn’t agree more with a lot of this Pete.

    Marketing, particularly for advisers, is all about authenticity and building trust and there’s no way of creating this if you’re not really involved in the process yourself. But then… as someone who works in marketing, you probably won’t be too surprised to learn that I think there’s still worth in consulting external expertise as well!

    I think there’s many elements where time can still be saved, expertise gained and presentation improved by external help, technology or other input. Website creation, design work (websites or otherwise), the technology behind newsletters, research into new forms of social media – all things that we and other firms do to help and enable advisers to get across their message and build trust; helping them connect with their audience, to look authentic and professional.

    Reply
  • I am in my 44th year working in financial services. I meet lots of really bright people all around the world. The most successful, and happiest, share what they know. Well written Pete.

    Reply

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