IFA businesses have traditionally relied on face-to-face relationships to grow: word of mouth marketing, referral partners, family and friend recommendations, and a little business networking have all contributed to new clients.
But lockdown has shown the adviser industry the importance of creating alternative ways of finding clients. It has also highlighted how important it is to offer clients the flexibility of managing their affairs remotely.
The marketplace is crowded and, as a whole, IFAs have been slow to adapt to everything online marketing offers. So, if you are just getting started with your online marketing, here is the most important thing you need to offer your potential clients online: trust.
Gaining clients’ trust through their buying journey is important for any product or service. In fact, trust is the number one factor in purchase decisions now that savvy consumers have worked out how to cut through the promotional noise.
Consumers research companies to see if they are going to be easy to deal with and give them the results they want. They seek out recommendations, they look online, and they make value judgements based on perception. In order to help customers find the information and reassurance they need, you need to make your reputation visible, more visible than just writing a nice LinkedIn bio or putting your qualifications on your website, although that’s a decent start if they don't exist already.
With the onslaught and increasing take-up of digital wealth management services, emphasising the relationship-led nature of your business by showing that you have a real location populated by people your clients can work with is increasingly important. If you work from an office, make sure you have images of it on your social channels and your website, and include a map. Include your business address too.
Even if customers can’t visit you at your office, you can still include photos of your workspace and provide information about the premises you use for meetings. Include photos of you and your colleagues too. Be wary of using free stock images to represent your team; these look fake as the photos tend to do the rounds and the models become recognisable.
Be sure to include day-to-day office and business lifestyle shots on social media too – help your audience find something in common with you. If you go for a nice walk, or see something unusual during lunch, or visit a local restaurant or shop – take a photo and share it. Show that you value your local community, and your local community will value you in turn.
Google loves reviews , so the more you can get for your business the better. A collection of reviews will support your ranking in the search engines as well as reassuring potential clients.
You can collect reviews for free on Google My Business, Facebook and as LinkedIn recommendations. You can also create a testimonials page on your website. In an ideal world, these would be video testimonials, but written is fine as a start. You may even want to consider paid review services such as Trust Pilot, as these prove to customers that the reviews have been independently verified.
You work hard to stay compliant in a heavily regulated environment, but how do your customers know that?
Be explicit about your qualifications, experience and continuing professional development. Show what it takes to be regulated and how that helps your clients. Don’t just rattle off letters after your name. Explain what you have learned, why you learnt it and the value of the knowledge.
You can use an About Us or Team Bio page on your website, or create a separate Professional Status page. You can talk about it on social media, and you can even write a blog post or press release when you gain or renew qualifications and accreditations.
Showing your customers where you are, what you look like and what you trained in is all very well, but in order to continue to build trust and show your personality and expertise, you’ll need to create expert content. This can be in the form of blog posts, video, whitepapers, columns, podcasts, and long form social media posts. Write about trending topics and your opinion on them, or offer advice and guidance on something that really matters to your audience.
Do a little of all the above and you’ll be well on the way to building more trust than your local competitors. Do a lot, and you’ll be top of the shortlist for sure.
For help with content ideas, content production and adding a professional sheen to social media, get in touch with our team. We'll be happy to help at a price you can easily justify each month.
“Show that you value your local community and your local community will value you.”
by The Team, 8 minute read