Finding more, better quality clients is a challenge that many advisers tell me they are looking for help with currently. The recognition that working with absolutely any client, irrespective of circumstances or revenue potential, is no longer viable means that advisers are reviewing the way they go about identifying and attracting clients to their business. Possibly for the first time, for many firms, “marketing” is becoming a much bigger priority.
It’s slightly perverse that often firms only “do marketing” when they need to increase their flow of new enquiries. In reality such sporadic forays into marketing are unlikely to be effective. Marketing activity has to be consistent and sustained to really work. And when it comes to developing compelling marketing communications copy, (whether that’s your brochure, website, email marketing campaign, direct mail letter) there are a few simple rules to follow.
In his brilliant book “Marketing your services”, Anthony Putman describes them as the Critical Steps of Marketing communications.
Rule 1: Get your target prospect to recognise that you’re talking to them.
Marketing copywriters call this “getting their attention”. Unless your headline or first paragraph helps me to see myself, or my situation, in the words, it will just become “noise”. In these days of information overwhelm, your prospects have become highly skilled at filtering what they read. Your headline has to get through what Putman describes as the “wall of indifference”. How do you do that? By asking a question to which I’ll answer… “Yes!” or by describing my “pain” (challenges, worries, frustrations) so accurately that I immediately think “that’s me you’re talking about”. As David Scarlett suggests in “Marketing Manifesto”, if you can describe my situation better than I can describe it myself, I’ll immediately assume that you understand my problem and that you also have the solution.
Rule 2: Tell me how I’ll benefit from your services
Sounds simple but in reality few marketing communication pieces (in any sector) set out the benefits clearly and precisely so that prospects can visualise it for themselves. Help them to see what the benefit is and what outcomes they can expect, how you go about making a tangible difference and why engaging your services is the best decision they could make to address their “pain”. Testimonials and case studies have a role to play here.
Rule 3: Get me to respond!
This where you have to get me to do or say something that tells you I’m interested in your services. And I’m not suggesting you offer a free iPod. By responding to such an offer I’m simply telling you that I’m interested in winning and iPod, not that I’m interested in your services. So make me an offer related to your services and make it easy for me to take advantage of it. Something like a free guide to “Top 10 tips for getting financially organised” downloadable from your website in return for my email address is all you need. By responding I have immediately moved from being a target prospect to a qualified prospect and I have, even in just a small way, accepted your invitation to start a relationship with you. The offer doesn’t have to cost you much, but it does have to build your credibility with me. If you can do that I’m likely to be more receptive when I receive your next communication (and I’m likely to need to hear from you at least 6 times on average, before I consider becoming a client).
Follow these 3 rules and you won’t go far wrong. But remember, consistent and sustained effort is required. If you can’t sustain it, you’re probably best not starting in the first place.