Are you talkin’ to me?

One of the biggest marketing challenges facing financial advisers today is standing out amidst all the noise coming from blogs, social media posts and other digital activities. It’s not easy at all to connect your content with your contacts. Instead it takes a lot of effort for you to achieve your target audience recognising that you’re talking specifically to them, when they read or watch some of your content. So what can you do to increase your chances of achieving this higher level of engagement?


Know who you want to talk to

The first step is to know who your target market actually is. While you might be happy to actually do business with most people, it’s nigh on impossible to target everyone unless you have an insanely large marketing budget. Instead you need to be crystal clear about who your ideal client is – this may be business owners, people of a certain age, people of a certain occupation or maybe people of a certain level of wealth.

It’s then useful to work out the general characteristics of these people – we call this their persona. This will help you to really understand them as a segment of the population. This persona might include;


  • The demographics of the group
  • Their typical personality and what’s important to them
  • What their goals and challenges are
  • Where the opportunities might be for you to connect with them
  • What are the barriers that you might need to overcome
  • Where they get their information and where they buy
  • What sort of tone is likely to engage them best

Now you know who you want to reach…


Speak to your target market

This is a really critical step. Now that you know who you want to reach and the sort of messages that might land with them, write or record with these people specifically in mind. Make sure that they clearly see from the outset that you’re writing with them at the forefront of your thinking, that you are really tuned into their world. To help you do this, use suitable imagery too. If you want your images to really pack a punch, stay away as often as you can from stock images. If you can possibly use your own bespoke imagery of real people, this is hugely powerful.

Rather than setting out all that you do, speak to your target market about themselves. Write about their challenges, their specific financial issues and how they can make money work for them, as opposed to writing about what you do. You want them to read or hear your content and be able to quickly relate it to their own situation. As you are the person who is “joining the dots” for them, you will likely be the first port of call as they seek out more information.


Become the “go-to guy/gal”

The final step is to try and cement your position as the expert in the minds of your target market. In building on both of the earlier steps, this one requires another attribute – commitment. Nobody becomes a recognised expert overnight or as the result of a single brilliant piece of content. It takes tenacity and resilience, pushing content regularly out in front of your audience and demonstrating your value on an ongoing basis.

Very few people will see or hear all of your content, they are more likely to pick up snippets over time. So you need lots of snippets… all carefully crafted with your target audience in mind. These are the hard yards, but if carried out well on an ongoing basis, they may be the most valuable marketing steps that you take. If you’re not going to be able to produce the level of content required, get help from someone who can.


Know who you want to reach, focus your attention on them and go after them relentlessly. These are the ways of standing out from the crowd and unlocking your access to your ideal clients.

Are we coming to the end of remote meetings?

One thing that is certain over the coming months is that financial advisers will have plenty of clients to meet. Most people have been impacted financially in some way by the pandemic, many people in a significant way as a result of the restrictions and lockdowns over the last year or so. Your clients need to meet you. The question that many advisers are asking themselves is about these meetings and whether there is an ongoing role for remote meetings into the future.

My quick take on this is that remote meetings will definitely continue to play an important role into the future for financial advisers and planners.


What clients want and the hierarchy of engagements

The first step to take before you make any decisions in this regard is to find out what your clients want themselves. There is definitely a growing belief that a surprising number of clients may prefer remote meetings going forwards. They don’t want to incur the travel time (and nor do you), finding parking, getting to your office etc. If you’re in a city centre office and the client lives in the suburbs, a one hour meeting can mean the guts of a half-day written off by one of you. Other clients on the other hand will definitely want to meet you face-to-face (F2F) again.

You also need to consider what works best, both for you and also for the client. If there is a hierarchy of engagements, F2F meetings have to sit at the top of the pile. Nothing beats that human interaction of meeting in person. If you have an upcoming meeting that requires deep engagement, such as getting the client to open up about their lifestyle / financial objectives or to guide them towards better investment behaviours, it may make sense for you to insist on meeting face to face – for the benefit of the client.

However if it’s a somewhat routine review session, a remote meeting may make more sense for all.

Virtual meetings definitely win out over phone calls as we’ve all found the unique and sometimes funny moments they can produce – the dog starts barking, the small child interrupting mum or dad or some mayhem in the background. They give you a better view into someone’s life and again, are just that bit more human.


Make remote meetings part of your proposition

Quite a number of advisers are now building remote meetings in as a stated element of their client propositions. They are being included for lower value clients where the level of ongoing income simply doesn’t justify a F2F meeting. Remote meetings are also being built in as part of an enhanced offering for high value clients, as an addition to F2F meetings – maybe an extra half-yearly or quarterly remote catch-up.

Some advisers are now using remote meetings as an initial screening call for new prospects, particularly where there are geographical distances involved. Advisers will rightly no longer travel great distances chasing some questionable lead.


Make remote meetings interesting

Remote meetings can be a bit awkward, when both parties are just staring into their cameras for any length of time. Look to break up this experience a bit by screen sharing during the meeting. Some items to share and run through together might include,

  • An agenda: Always useful, this will put structure around your meeting.
  • A presentation: A thoughtful and informative presentation is a nice break from staring at each other through cameras.
  • Complex data: If you have any complex data to discuss such as investment reports and graphs, providing these visually will significantly enhance the experience and your client’s understanding.
  • Future cashflow plans: Talking through forecasted cashflows and examining “What If” scenarios is extremely powerful in remote meetings.
  • Brainstorming / collaboration tools: Mind mapping tools or virtual whiteboards are a very powerful and engaging way to make your remote meetings more interesting and to stop attention wandering.


Have the right set-up for good quality remote meetings

If you agree that remote meetings are here to stay, you need to ensure that you’re not being let down by the technology. This doesn’t mean that you need to buy lots of expensive equipment, however there are a few basic requisites,

  • Good broadband: Without this, remote meetings are a very flawed experience and may do more harm than good. There is nothing more frustrating than someone coming in and out or appearing pixelated as a result of poor broadband.
  • Camera & audio: These don’t have to be expensive additions, many desktops have very good cameras built in. However some laptops don’t… Check the quality of your device camera and if it’s not good enough, buy a decent webcam.
  • Know the features: Whether it’s Zoom or MS Teams that you use, know how to use them. There really isn’t a lot to them, so know and use the features. Use the waiting room functionality and password features as a default, and then understand and check all of the settings are as you want them.
  • Create the best environment: You don’t want to be interrupted during calls, so make sure this won’t happen. Also choose your backdrop carefully – try and avoid too much / too little light and have a tidy background. Some people like to feature bookcases behind themselves, others prefer a tidy, clean background. You can choose backgrounds within Zoom and MS Teams, but beware that these can create strange effects as you move around.


Remote meetings are most likely here to stay. Choose how you use them wisely and then put your best foot forward.