Brendan Llewellyn on the merits of direct marketing in the advice space
So far this year, I have received a plethora of flyers, leaflets and over-50s life assurance offers. I've also been bombarded with 1,500 emails selling everything from Viagra to hair restoration (who told them?). I am regaled from all corners.
Well, nearly all. I am entirely un-regaled by any offers of financial advice. I happen to know I am not alone in this.
I used to live in a village called Dollar. Suggestive enough, I suppose, so maybe money was always on the mind of its inhabitants. The resident financial adviser circulated leaflets offering seminars on financial planning at his home (his was the biggest in the village). A glass of wine was also on offer. It all worked very well for him, so why not for others?
Don't you not want my business?
Why does so little marketing activity emanate from the financial advisory community? Here are some reasons why not.• Tried once and failed
The way marketing works in all sectors and circumstances is as a learning and development slope. The fact that something did not work only tells you not to do exactly the same thing again.• It is too difficult without the use of expensive agencies
This requires a bit of self-knowledge. Some people can create effective content themselves, others can not. If you can't, you need outside help. Then it is a matter of estimating the value of new clients and sourcing a good value marketing solution – no need to break the bank.• It is too crude for the professional world
This was the view a very long time ago but now, almost all types of professional services are marketed widely. There is no shame in asking for business.• There is enough to do with existing clients without reaching out for new ones
This, to be fair, is a very fine reason not to seek new clients. Point taken. My only counter would be to ask whether there might be scope to take on more advisers and or paraplanners and whether a bit more scale might make your business stronger.• All really effective marketing is done within client and professional circles
The best sources of new business should be your existing clients, and their referrals. If this gives you all you need then all is well. But it is not always enough.
But wait, what is this gracing my door mat? It appears to be a direct marketing pack from a financial adviser of some sort. It is asking me to attend a seminar and it's at the best, walkable, hotel for me. It is clear, simple and looks professional enough.
It's from a company offering estate solutions and while not exactly financial advice, it's pretty close to being an exception to prove my rule.
I don't think the company knows me, but they have my name and address and know that the street contains houses with suitable inhabitants, and crucially it is close by at a good venue.
Then for this firm, as for any others, it is a question of doing the projections – assume acceptances, dropout rate and then assume a number of individual post-event meets, and perhaps most importantly, commit to suitable follow-up. Content and tone, given the context, must lean towards education and well away from strong sell.
I'd be interested to hear how it goes and it would be good to see a world where offers of financial advice out number offers of Viagra.
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