The Top 3 Marketing Mistakes Advisors Make (And How To Avoid Them)

The below is an article I wrote for the ifa magazine, reproduced with permission.

The pressures we’re facing in our industry are hard to ignore and they’ve caused a wave of stress through the financial advice community. But that doesn’t mean that your business has to stop growing.

The best advice businesses I work with are viewing these challenges as opportunities to evolve their service. Their business growth remains strong because for them, growth is not negotiable.

If you want to emerge from this rough patch with a better business and strong forward momentum, you too need to make growth a priority. Sure, there’s a balance you need to strike here with the other demands in your business. But assuming you want to grow, doing something small is better than not doing anything at all and starting sooner is better than starting later.

So, where should you start?

You’re probably under the pump and have a long list of things to focus on, so I want to help you find a marketing focus that offers maximum return with minimal time and energy. The easiest and most effective place for you to achieve this is by improving what you’re currently doing.

From my nine years as a marketer in our industry, I have seen advice businesses in all sizes, specialities and styles. Despite their differences, there are some common marketing mistakes that advisers are making, which when addressed, make a dramatic difference to their growth and success.

Below I share the top three that I regularly encounter. If any of these resonate with you, I hope they provide a solid starting point for you in ‘controlling the controllables’ and growing your business in these challenging times.

Mistake #1 – They think their sales process starts when someone walks into their office

Your Google search results may be reducing your leads and hurting your conversion. People now start their adviser research and ‘buying process’ online. What they find matters and it’s either building or hurting their trust in you.

Does your website tell the story of your business and the real difference you’re able to make to people? Or does it make you look like a carbon copy of everyone else?

Google Reviews and Adviser Ratings reviews rank highly in Google’s search results. Do you have a healthy dose of happy clients vouching for the great work you do, or does your lack of online reviews make you look like a risky option? A side note – more than half of clients won’t use a business if it has less than a four-star rating while 78 per cent of clients trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

The chances are that you are having more ‘first appointments’ than you realise, they’re just happening online without you knowing.

Mistake #2 – They don’t involve their team in growing the business

You may be too busy to prioritise marketing, but does that mean the rest of your team are too?

Marketing involves a combination of designing a service offering, communicating it, selling it and delivering it. This means that it flows through everything your business does and is touched by all of your team members.

So, you’ll be surprised what ideas live inside the minds of your team when you take the time to ask them. By creating a culture where everyone contributes to marketing initiatives, the best businesses execute more by sharing the load, learn more about what does and doesn’t work, and get better outcomes as a result.

If you’re struggling to give marketing the focus and energy that it needs in your business, perhaps you need more team-wide ownership of your business’ growth.

Mistake #3 – They don’t understand what drives their client conversion

When looking to improve conversion, most businesses don’t focus enough on what happens between meetings.

Don’t get me wrong, the way you use meetings to understand your clients and articulate the value of advice is critical. But equally, making it difficult for people to follow your advice process will slow prospective clients down or stop them in their tracks. This reduces their enthusiasm along with the likelihood of them becoming a client. When it comes to selling, creating high momentum while building trust is essential.

How clear and simple are you making it for them to execute each step in your process? What key messages should they receive before and after each meeting? To what extent does your client experience reflect your firm’s level of quality? How efficiently and frequently do you follow up when a prospect goes quiet? All of these factors impact conversion by making people feel comfortable moving forward with as little friction as possible.

Reflect on where the bottlenecks in your client engagement process lie. Use your team’s natural empathy to work out what needs to be improved. Don’t let your current client experience stop you from helping more people.

Michael Back runs a coaching business, Human to Human, helping advice businesses stay relevant and grow through better relationships with prospects and clients. Michael was named as the Marketing Consultant of the Year at the 2019 ifa Excellence Awards.