First of all, this is not a review of AIDA, the opera by Verdi! Instead it’s a few thoughts on how an often-used marketing acronym that is usually used in relation to advertising to describe a buying cycle, can be applied to the services offered by a financial planner or broker.
AIDA in this context stands for
Each of these steps is part of the mental journey that a client will embark upon, before he or she decides to use the services of a financial planner. It is important for you to remain alert that you are delivering on each of the steps, or else you are likely to end up with a sales funnel with a hole in it.
So what are the marketing and sales activities that you might deliver, in order to ensure that you can build up a steady flow of new clients?
This stage is all about building your presence in general and is about simply getting on to the radar of potential clients. Any mass marketing activities that you carry out will be done with the goal of building awareness. These will include advertisements that you place in national or local newspapers, radio ads and of course any online advertising that you carry out. Writing editorial that subsequently gets published will also help you to build awareness as will any local sponsorship activities that you carry out.
Another activity that will help to build awareness, but that is a lot closer to home is referrals. When an existing client of yours suggests to a potential client that he / she might seek your services out, this is awareness building, but of course is much stronger and more personal than the mass marketing activities mentioned above.
Now you’re on your potential client’s radar! Your goal now is to pique their interest and to demonstrate that your financial planning business is the one for them. When the prospect looks to find out more about your business, you want to ensure that the information they get heightens their interest.
Your website plays a really important role here, as does your LinkedIn profile. Both of these are very important. Do they press the buttons that will get people thinking “this is the business for me” or will they end up feeling that your business is no different to any other financial advice business out there? Are your services clearly explained? Are there good testimonials that demonstrate real live stories of how you can change people’s lives? Are there case studies that show your excellent problem solving capabilities?
And then you need to have strong “Calls to Action” to move prospective clients to the next step, to ensure they don’t then simply lose touch with your business. You need to make it easy for prospects to sign up for your newsletter or better still, to contact your business.
Building the desire to act is hard for financial planners. This is typically built by retail businesses through short-term price promotions etc. Personally I don’t believe that price promotions / “free” consultations are effective for financial planners.
Instead seek to build desire through demonstrating your value. Use your client newsletter and your social media activities to demonstrate your expertise, and to firmly position yourself as the provider of excellent and professional advice and services, and the financial planning firm of choice.
Of course you can also invite prospective clients to seminars or other client events too, these will help to further build their interest in your business and their desire to “get on-board”.
The key goal for you here is that when the prospective client is ready to act, that it is your firm that is contacted.
And then the prospect contacts you! You’re now faced with the final hurdle of actually getting the prospect to sign up with you as a client. At this stage you need an excellent first meeting process, which should include a really sharp presentation that clearly sets out your proposition and the value that you bring to your clients. Then you have a chance of getting the prospect to move forwards with you!
Of course the “buying cycle” of a financial planner’s client will be different to that of a high street retailer’s customer. However everyone goes through a buying cycle, so hopefully these points will help you to keep prospects moving through your sales funnel.