Richard Smith – IFA Marketing Expert

With the news that Google is going to release a‘white paper this week outlining the need for Financial Adviser firms to start taking the internet seriously I wanted to give some further guidance and to advise of some further findings based on research I have done in recent months.

As a background our firm provides marketing and sales process advice to IFA’s and one of our main services is providing advice to ‘Make Websites Work. Of course the problem most IFA’s have is the opposite of that.

The problems seem to fall into several camps and I will outline these in some detail.

IFA’s Websites do not inform.

We live in an information age, and your potential clients are looking to the internet to find out information and to select possible firms to work with. This applies if you are a Financial Adviser or a Plumber.

Your Website must inform.

Starting a relationship. If we think of a client relationship, it starts out a bit like speed dating (first impressions count), often the first encounter you will have with your potential customer is via your website or blog, and of course nearly all firms do not have in place accurate methods of recording the number of the visitors or what they done when they arrived at your site, or of course provide anything meaningful. Does your website explain that you are qualified, regulated and professional? Great that makes you the same as 95% of the IFA websites out there.

The object of your website should be to take an initial encounter – Speed dating or first date, turn them into friends, then lovers, or husbands and wives, manage the relationship and of course avoid separation or divorce. Sounds simple.

Your Website must allow you to build and maintain relationships, the real value within an IFA practice is your existing clients. How many times have you heard this? What have you done about it?

I have subscribed to countless IFA  ‘Newsletter’ services and never had any follow up whatsoever. Not good for credibility I can tell you. Two firms have been excellent, and of course both of these firms are at the very top of their game. No mistakes here, they have a well executed strategy in relation to marketing and follow it to the letter.

Your Website must be littered with ‘Search Engine food’.

All of the search engines are simple creatures on the face of it, all provide you with a range of free tools to be able to check and optimise your Web offering. It’s just a shame that too few take advantage.

Search engines just want to provide relevant information to those searching, your job is to provide that information.

Simple Things To Transform Your Web Presence

  1. Make sure your site is full of relevant content.
  2. Make sure your chosen keywords and phrases tie up with the above point
  3. Use Email Marketing along with SMS Services to get your customers coming back to your site for more and more information
  4. Monitor all activity to really understand who is coming to your site, from where and looking at what. Then act on the information.
  5. Stop doing what is not working.
  6. Do more of what is working.

As an IFA and a ‘Techie’ this kind of thing does come easy to me, however the world has changed in the past few years and your business models could be blown away by the changes that are coming, by using the internet for marketing, sales, advice and outsourcing mundane work your business could be and should be looking to increase turnover and spend more time on the golf course.

I continue to find it amazing that that most IFA firms are happy to pay £50 – £100 for leads (most of which are sourced using the Internet) but will not spend the cost of 3 leads on some expert telemarketing or the price of 10 leads for a makeover of there web marketing.

Google are right, there are over 50,000 searches a month done on specific financial services, take into account related searches and you will find that this increases to over 200,000. That’s 200,000 people looking  for advice on what you do.

Now you can choose to ignore this, or be left in control of the lead generators who get this internet stuff and are happy to sell you enquiries that are too complicated for them to deal with and keep the simple stuff for themselves.

Change is coming whether you want it not, there are clear demand for your services, getting in front of the people that are looking for your help is not as difficult as it once was. The key is, are you going to embrace the change and take some action. We are already finding for those firms that do there is ‘gold in them there hills’.

Richard Smith is an IFA and IFA Marketing Expert at The Richard Smith 0845 226 9106