Three golden rules of client marketing

Jane Cuthbertson

One of the biggest challenges for advisers today is finding better quality clients. There is a growing recognition that working with any and every client, irrespective of their circumstances or revenue potential, is no longer viable.

We have written about finding the ideal client in previous articles but, for many adviser firms, marketing is now a much bigger priority.

So many businesses only “do” marketing when they need to increase their flow of new enquiries. As such, firms end up doing it in fits and starts, which results in peaks and troughs in sales flow too. In reality, such sporadic forays into marketing are unlikely to be effective: activity has to be consistent and sustained to really work.

Developing compelling copy is important, whether it is for a brochure, website, email, mail shot or for social media. There are three simple rules to follow, which Anthony Putman describes as the critical steps of marketing communications in his book, Marketing Your Services.

Rule 1: Get me to recognise you are talking to me

Unless your headline or first paragraph helps me to picture my situation it will just be filtered out. During these days of information overload, your copy has to get through what Putman describes as the “wall of indifference”.

How do you do that? By asking a question to which I will answer “yes” or by describing my worries and frustrations so accurately I immediately think you are talking about me.

Rule 2: Tell me how I will benefit from your services

Few marketing communications set out the benefits clearly enough for prospects to visualise it for themselves. Help them to see what outcomes they can expect, how you go about making a tangible difference to their lives and why engaging your services is the best decision they could make. Testimonials and case studies have a role to play here in bringing what you do to life.

Rule 3: Get me to respond

This is where you have to get me to do or say something that tells you I am interested in your services. Make me an offer related to your services and make it easy for me to take advantage of it. Something like a free guide (for example, “top 10 tips for getting financially organised” downloadable from your website in return for my email address) is all you need.

By responding, I have immediately moved from being a target prospect to a qualified prospect and have, even in just a small way, accepted your invitation to start a relationship with you. The offer does not have to cost you much but it does have to build your credibility with me. If you can do that I am likely to be more receptive when I receive your next communication.

What is more I am likely to need to hear from you at least six times on average before I consider becoming a client. You need to ensure your target clients know exactly who you are, what you can do for them and where to find you through repeated and consistent marketing activity. You need to be front of mind when they need you. To achieve this you need to be everywhere they look, constantly reminding them you are there, until they are ready to take up your services.

Marketing little and often can have a profound effect on building a constant stream of clients. Follow these three rules and you will not go far wrong. But, remember: if you cannot sustain your marketing, you are probably best not starting in the first place. It may be just money down the drain.

Jane Cuthbertson is an associate consultant with Steve Billingham Consulting