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Phil Bray: The best free marketing tool out there for advisers

Bray-PhilGoogle Analytics is crucial in measuring marketing efforts, yet nowhere near enough advisers use it

To market your business successfully, it is essential you have a deep understanding of your target audience. Only then can you analyse how effective you are at engaging with them.

Evidence-based investing is pursued passionately by a growing band of advisers and planners. However, relatively few carry these principles over to their marketing.

Take your website. Google Analytics is your friend. In fact, in relation to your marketing, I struggle to think of a more useful free tool available.

That said, our research shows only 57.8 per cent of advisers have Google Analytics installed on their website. Of those who have it, over a half use it too infrequently.

That means a huge proportion of advisers have no insight into how their website – a vital part of their overall marketing strategy – is performing. And, crucially, whether it engages with the target audiences they have previously identified.

Key metrics

Our increased propensity to check people out online means a website (and your wider online presence) is fundamental to increasing referrals and recommendations.

Understanding whether your marketing is engaging your target audience could be the difference between catching something that is not working early enough and waiting a very long time for the phone to ring.

Enter Google Analytics, giving you hugely valuable information to show how well your site is engaging visitors. There is the obvious stuff, for example:

  • Time on page: The higher the better.
  • Number of pages viewed: Again, the higher the better. The more pages someone views, the higher the level of engagement.
  • Bounce rate: This one you want to be as low as possible. There may be many reasons for a high bounce rate but it almost certainly means your visitors are not engaged.

There is also data available which might surprise you, such as:

  • Location of visitor: Our research shows that, on average, approximately 30 per cent of visits to adviser websites are from overseas. On some sites it is as high as two-thirds. These are almost certainly people who will be less engaged and who you do not want as a client.
  • Gender: Breaking down metrics such as time on page, bounce rate and page views by gender will help you understand whether your website is as appealing to both male and female visitors. This is especially important if you are targeting a particular demographic, such as divorcees, widows, widowers, or female entrepreneurs.
  • Mobile devices: Our research shows that the percentage of visitors to your website using a mobile or tablet has probably risen over the past year. Comparing the performance of your site for different devices will provide hugely valuable and, more importantly, actionable information.

That is a massively important word: action. All this only becomes truly useful if it is put into practice and action is taken.

If you feel there is something not quite right about your marketing, if it is not working as it should be or if the results just are not happening, it is probably time to go back to some first principles:

  • Define and then understand your target markets
  • Analyse whether your current marketing is engaging those people
  • Devise and implement a strategy to deliver your objectives, changing what is not working

In regard to your website, Google Analytics has a huge part to play. Do not have it? Get it. Have not used it? Log in and take a look. It does not bite, you cannot break it and you will probably find it interesting.

And that is just the start. Once you have the numbers from Analytics you can understand how your site compares with your peers by using our Adviser Website Index.

Phil Bray is director of The Yardstick Agency

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