It’s probably fair to say that most advisers have a story to tell about trying a new route to market and, through painful experience, discovering that maybe there was a reason why they hadn’t tried it before! Many of us, though, no matter what the industry, are likely to be in the market for new clients, so how do you get over that conundrum? How can you leverage new routes to market, without the pain of experimentation?
The goal with this post then is simple: here are three ‘new’ (the inverted commas are just in case you’ve tried one or more of these already!) route to market suggestions, based on our experience of working with advisers. Alongside each, I’ve also included what we think their advantages and disadvantages are and what type of firm we think they suit. Are any of these new routes to market for you? Hopefully it’s now a little easier to decide!
Social media advertising
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are free to use for us as consumers because by using them, we give each service our data… which they turn round and ‘sell’ to advertisers. What this means for us as businesses, however, is that we can very easily (and fairly cheaply) put our adverts in front of our ideal market. Does your ideal client live in Chelsea, drive a Mercedes or BMW, play golf, holiday in the Caribbean and have any one of hundreds of different behaviours and likes, similar to those just covered? Social media advertising could be your route to them.
Advantages: affordable (the minimum spend is very low). Easy to define your ideal audience. Many auxiliary benefits (your social media following often also grows as a result).
Disadvantages: returns can be increased greatly by implementing a full lead nurturing strategy behind your ads, but this takes more time and resource. Some design work and ‘getting to grips’ with the advertising platforms is required.
Suitable for: it’s tempting to say ‘everyone’, because the entry point is so low and audience so customisable, but the lead nurturing system which sits behind your ad is really key to heightened success levels, so we’d say this is mainly for firms with a marketing budget greater than £1,000 per month.
Client events… with a twist
We’ve seen, or been a part of, many client events over the last few years and those which have had the most success have featured either a non-finance activity or a non-finance speaker; a twist, if you will. Those that have featured either/or of these have often been huge successes and your options for either one of these are myriad. Professional speakers, from ex-sportspeople to ex-politicians, typically have affordable rates. Finding an ideal local activity for your client-base just needs some research and imagination; anything from a tea party, to go-karting, to clay pigeon shooting can work depending on your target market. Other tips for your event with a twist; don’t forget to tell clients they can bring a plus one (this is your ‘route to market’) and see if you can leverage a partnership with a local accountant or solicitor. The latter of these potentially gives you access to a whole new client bank and means you can split the cost!
Advantages: when it works, it works really well. Two birds with one stone; increase client engagement and open up a new market. Helps the branding and perception of your firm.
Disadvantages: an event which ‘misses’ can create a big cost black hole. Organisation and preparation can be a time drain.
Suitable for: firms with a clearly defined current client-base. Firms with existing close professional partnerships. Firms who have not run a client event for some time (relaunch with a ‘bang’!).
Second opinion service: formalising and encouraging referrals
Ask most advisers about their main source of clients and they will say, ‘referrals’. This is great and can be influenced through sound marketing tactics I’ve discussed previously elsewhere, but what about taking it one step further? Introducing a formal ‘second opinion service’, offering to review the finances of your clients’ friends and family, can encourage clients to put you in front of referrals on a more consistent basis. A simple flyer, given to clients at an annual meeting, or a website landing page can give a sound base to launch from.
Advantages: further nurture an already successful route to market. Leverage existing good client relationships. Low setup cost.
Disadvantages: no control over people who are referred. ‘Passive’ marketing (reliant on your clients remembering to pass the card on).
Suitable for: firms who have the capacity to handle some non-ideal referrals and/or have some level of mass market advice offering. Firms who already have sound client communication strategies in place, which this service can piggyback onto.