Those who know me know I have a modestly successful website, YouTube channel and podcast called MeaningfulMoney. The site is intended to educate the public about financial planning matters and it seems to be succeeding, given the almost daily emails I receive from visitors.
What I never intended was that MeaningfulMoney would become a vital source of new client enquiries to the extent that now nearly all my new enquiries come from it, with one or two referrals mixed in now and then. It is a great problem to have but I now find myself needing to scale-up with staff to cope with demand.
As I say, I never intended this to be the case. I thought I would try something out as a hobby and it turned into something rather more. Now, over six years since I shot my first video, I cannot believe there are not more advisers that have done the same. I can count the number of adviser-led podcasts in the UK on one hand. This means we are leaving the bulk of the online airspace to unqualified people and – gasp – journalists.
I wonder why there are not more advisers marketing to prospective clients using modern means? Maybe the technology is an issue? Perhaps they think you need to be a techie to succeed in this area. I can tell you that while it might make things a little easier the technology we all hold in our hands is perfectly sufficient to put together a decent video for use on your website.
Maybe they do not think there is enough time to give to this kind of marketing, with everything else a busy adviser/business owner has to do. But I have written before that we make time for the things we deem important, so I do not have a lot of time for that excuse.
Maybe they do not think it is worth the effort or possibly that their target market “is not on Facebook, so why bother?” I can tell you that is not the case. It is thought 60 per cent of internet users in the UK have a Facebook account and that by the end of this year 5.4 million people over 55 will use the social network. That is probably enough clients to be going after.
Or perhaps the logic is that they are getting enough new clients from existing marketing efforts, so why add another time and energy drain into the mix? I cannot argue with this one. If what you are doing is working, then keep doing it. The old ways are not dead but I do think that they will die eventually.
There is a generation growing up who want to do everything online. They love the convenience of logging on from their iPhone and checking their accounts. This generation will not go to a seminar and may not ask their work colleagues if they can recommend an adviser. They will, however, ask their Facebook friends. They will Google local advisers and judge you by your website before picking up the phone (or rather email or Facebook message you).
I remain to be convinced robo-advisers will take over and render the client-adviser relationship unnecessary. But I do think we need to re-evaluate how we market to this emerging generation, many of whom are becoming high earners. Marketing in 2016 is a mix of the old and the new but the bias will shift in favour of modern forms in the years to come.
Pete Matthew is managing director of Jacksons Wealth Management