Financial services companies often tell me that the biggest challenge they have is marketing their services in order to find new clients.
In this post I've pulled together 43 financial adviser marketing ideas for advisers who want to grow their businesses.
Some of these marketing strategies are ones that have been around for a while and which I used when I had my own IFA firm. Others make use of marketing channels, such as social media, which have come on the scene more recently.
To make this list of marketing tips easier to use I've split it up into sections covering:
Marketing Basics for Financial Advisers
Before you begin any marketing campaigns there are certain things you need to get sorted out. If you overlook these then you're not going to get the best return on investment from whatever marketing you do.
1. Create a marketing plan
You know what they say: proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance.
And this applies just as much to marketing as it does to anything else. Unless you have a clear idea of what your marketing goals are, plus a way to accurately measure the success of your campaigns, your marketing efforts are doomed to fail.
Pick a few marketing ideas from this list (not so many that you risk getting overwhelmed) and decide how and when you will implement them, what sort of marketing budget you need for each one, and what results you expect to get.
At the very least you should set targets for your results in terms of the number of new clients generated and the cost per acquisition - i.e. how much it costs to get each new client on board.
Review your progress regularly against the plan and your objectives and don't be afraid to ditch a particular marketing strategy if you reach the point where it clearly isn't working.
2. Identify your target audience
As a financial adviser it's very easy to say that everyone could benefit from your services and that therefore everyone should be part of your target audience when it comes to marketing your business.
There are all sorts of people who you should not be trying to get as clients. Those who don't have enough money to pay your fees would be just one example.
You will get much better results from your marketing and build a much more stable and enjoyable business if you get clarity on what your ideal customer looks like.
If you haven't done that exercise yet, I suggest you read my in-depth article on customer personas before you go much further.
3. Find your niche
This goes hand-in-hand with knowing who your ideal customer is.
There are many benefits that come from niching your financial advice business to focus on particular types of clients or specific areas of financial planning.
For more information, have a read of this article about niching. It's aimed at mortgage brokers, but the advice is equally relevant to IFAs and other financial advisers.
4. Develop your value proposition
One of the challenges faced by financial advisers is that you're all selling the same products from the same providers. And if you're not an IFA or a whole-of-market adviser then you're actually going to be offering less products than many of your competitors.
So, trying to differentiate your business based on the products you offer is likely to be a non-starter.
Instead, you need to find other ways to separate yourself from the competition and give potential clients a reason to choose you over any other financial adviser.
The best way to do this to develop a strong value proposition and then make sure you use it on your website and all your other marketing materials.
5. Identify your prospects' pain points
Whatever kind of business you're in, there are only really two reasons why people buy your products or services: either to experience pleasure or to avoid pain. Here's an example.
Suppose I go to see the dentist and he tells me about an amazing new toothpaste that will make my teeth whiter, my gums healthier, and will even make all my food taste better.
Sounds great. Who wouldn't want all those things?
And then the dentist tells me that this toothpaste costs £20 per tube.
Suddenly, no matter how great it sounds and however much pleasure I might get from having whiter teeth and better tasting food, I'm not so keen on buying this fancy new toothpaste.
Now imagine I've gone to that same dentist for an emergency appointment because I've had terrible toothache for the past 48 hours and have barely been able to sleep due to the pain.
The dentist tells me that I need to have the tooth removed and it will cost £500. I pay him without a second thought.
Generally speaking, people are more likely to buy your services to avoid a pain than they are to enjoy a gain.
So why do people need financial advisers? And what motivates them to seek out the services of an adviser right now rather than at some unspecified time in the future?
You're more likely to find the answer if you focus on the pain(s) you solve for people.
For example, suppose you're trying to sell me a pension.
You could try telling me about the wonderful retirement I might end up enjoying many years from now. Or you could tell me that paying into a pension will mean I get to reduce this year's tax bill.
Which do think is most likely to grab my attention?
6. Understand the theory of know, like and trust
I'm sure you've heard it said before that people buy people.
In other words, it's often how we feel about the person who's trying to sell us a product or service which determines whether we buy it or not.
This is especially true when it comes to important things like our health or our wealth. Or, as Google calls them, the YMYL subjects (your money or your life).
This means that a successful digital marketing strategy for a financial adviser needs to be designed to take prospects through a three-stage process whereby
- they firstly come to know of you,
- then they get to like you,
- and finally come to trust you.
Only after someone has completed all three phases of that marketing journey are you likely to land them as a new client.
Offline Marketing for IFAs and Other Financial Advisers
Despite the fact we live in a permanently connected digital world, that doesn't mean that traditional marketing methods are dead. There is still plenty of scope for marketing your business in the real (offline) world in order to get new leads and clients. Here are a few ideas:
7. Use a lead generation company
There are still a number of companies out there who will do your lead generation for you. Some will work exclusively on your behalf and others will generate leads using their own websites and then sell them on to IFAs.
This list of mortgage lead generation companies is a good place to start, as a number of them also supply leads for pensions, investments, and protection products.
8. Put a proper referral strategy in place
You probably get referrals from existing clients already. But are you actively encouraging every client to refer new business to you?
If you put a proper referral strategy in place, you can move from getting referrals on an ad-hoc basis to getting them on a regular basis.
You should make a point of asking every client if they have any friends, family, or colleagues that they think would be happy to talk to you about a review of their finances.
Perhaps offer your existing clients some kind of gift, such as a case of wine or an Amazon voucher, for each successful referral that they give you. You could either offer this upfront to incentivise them to introduce you to people, or you could make it a surprise reward which is likely to encourage them to try to find more referrals for you in the future.
If you really want to go to town on getting referrals you could even consider doing what Brad Sugars suggests in his book Instant Referrals and make it a rule that you only do business with people who have been referred to you and who are willing to give you referrals themselves if they become your client.
9. Form strategic partnerships
As well as looking for referrals from existing clients, you should think about other professionals who work with the type of people you'd like as clients and who you could team up with to get more leads.
For example, is there a local mortgage broker who could refer his clients to you if they need advice on their pensions?
Could you come to an arrangement with a solicitor whereby he refers clients to you if they need advice on inheritance tax planning and you refer clients to him if they need a will written or a power of attorney put in place?
10. Go to networking events
Networking can be a great way to find new clients, as well as being an opportunity to develop the type of strategic partnerships mentioned above.
Networking events come in all shapes and sizes - from the very informal and ad-hoc ones, through to the very regular and structured ones run by organisations such as BNI.
Try out a few different events and see what style suits you best.
If you're good at public speaking and keeping an audience engaged, then you could run a free seminar where people can come along and learn about a particular aspect of financial planning.
12. Run a financial surgery in a large company
A lot of large corporates are keen to find ways to provide additional benefits to their staff. And one way you can help them do this is to offer to run a financial surgery at their office for a day.
The company will promote the event to its employees so as they can pre-book a time to see you. Then, on the day itself, you turn one of their meeting rooms into your surgery and people come along at their booked time for a financial review.
This is a great way to get yourself in front of a number of potential clients in a single day and without lots of travelling between appointments.
13. Direct mail
Contrary to what you might think, direct mail is not dead.
In fact, because people get far less things through the post these days, a well-executed mail campaign can actually get far more attention than an email.
The key here is to make sure your direct mail doesn't look like direct mail. So instead of sending printed letters or flyers, send handwritten letters in handwritten envelopes with a stamp on.
Traditional PR still has a role to play in marketing your financial advice services and building your personal profile.
Sending press releases to local newspapers and radio stations in response to upcoming changes to financial products or tax legislation can be a good way to get yourself mentioned in the papers or interviewed on local radio.
Does your local newspaper run a money advice column? If not, perhaps you could suggest they start one and you could provide a short piece for it each week and/or answer readers' financial questions.
Digital Marketing for Financial Advisers
There are numerous ways that IFAs can market themselves online or improve their existing digital marketing. Here are some examples:
15. Make sure you have a website you can easily update
Your website should be the hub of your digital marketing strategy. It's where all your other online marketing activity (social media marketing, email marketing, etc) is ultimately going to send people to.
If you want your website to be able to turn visitors into leads, it's important that it is built on a platform such as WordPress which allows you to make changes to it easily so as it is always offering up to date information and advice.
16. Make sure your website loads quickly
Your website needs to load quickly on both desktop and mobile devices. If it doesn't, people won't stick around to look at it and also Google will penalise you in the search rankings.
17. Install Google Analytics
You can't improve what you can't measure.
So make sure you have Google Analytics (it's free!) on your site so you can gather data about all sorts of things such as who visits your site, how they find you, and whether they convert into an enquiry or join your mailing list.
18. Set up Google My Business
By creating a free Google My Business account you can have your business and its website appear in local business search results on Google, like this:
If someone selects your financial firm from one of these sets of search results, or if they search for your business by name, they will be able to see even more detail:
You can get full instructions on how to set up Google My Business in this excellent guide.
And for more information on optimising your site for local search results, check out this article on local SEO.
19. Keep your website updated with fresh content
Try to get into the habit of adding new content to your site on a regular basis.
A blog is a great way to do this and I've written a whole separate article about how to use a blog to get more leads.
20. Promote your business with video
If you're someone who prefers being in front of a camera to writing blog articles then I've got great news for you.
With YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world, video is a fantastic way to promote your business and raise your profile as a financial professional.
A good strategy is to think about the kind of questions people might ask a financial adviser - for example: how much can I pay into an ISA each year. Then record a short video of you talking to the camera to answer that question and talk a little bit about ISAs in general.
It doesn't need to be long - a two or three minute video is fine.
If you're not comfortable being on camera yourself, you could create a video that is made up of presentation slides or stock video footage. Here's one I made recently using an excellent online tool called Vidnami (click this link for a free trial):
Once you've made your video and uploaded it to your YouTube channel you can easily embed it in your own website like I've done here.
And you can use your videos in posts on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook to increase engagement.
21. Use Google Ads for instant traffic
If you want to get your website straight to the top of Google today, there's no better way to do it than Google Ads - the pay per click advertising system which delivers the adverts you'll see appearing at the top and bottom of almost every page of Google search results.
Before you rush in, it's worth taking a bit of time to learn how to use Google Ads properly.
I've got a whole section of this blog devoted to articles on Google Ads and also a post all about how financial advisers can use Google Ads to get leads.
Free Guide to Setting Up Google Ads
Want to know how to use Google Ads without losing a load of money?
Get your free copy of 7 Simple Steps for a Successful Google Ads Campaign.
22. Develop an SEO strategy
SEO is the way to get free traffic to your website from the organic search results on Google and other search engines.
It takes a while for search engine optimisation to show results, but if you do it right and have enough time and patience, it has the potential to get you at least a four times increase in visitors to your website.
23. Gather reviews
Social proof is very important in helping to build trust with potential clients. This applies to all industries but it's particularly important in financial services where your clients are going to need to trust you with large amounts of their money.
If you have testimonials from clients it's a good idea to include these on your website and there are tools such as Thrive Ovation which will help you do this.
It's even better if you can gather your reviews through services such as Trustpilot, Feefo, Facebook, or Google My Business. Because these services are totally independent, you can't be accused of having edited or embellished these reviews in the way that you could be with testimonials which you've manually added to your website.
24. Use lead magnets to fill your funnel
Not everyone who comes to your website will be ready to talk to right now. So how do you get their details and keep yourself on their radar until such time as they're ready to do something?
The answer is to use a lead magnet to get them to submit their details.
Then you can use a series of follow up emails to build trust and credibility in you and your services (before you've even spoken to the potential client) and to encourage them to book in for a financial review with you.
25. Email marketing
If done correctly, email marketing is still a very effective way for financial advisers to market themselves to potential clients (and to encourage repeat business from existing clients). According to the Direct Marketing Association, the return on investment from email marketing is £32.28 for every £1 spent.
Just make sure that, as discussed in this article about lead magnets, you are sending people something of value rather than getting them to sign up to yet another newsletter.
26. Publish a Kindle book
Did you know that you can promote yourself as a financial adviser on one of the world's largest websites for free? In fact, you can even earn a few quid (well, more likely a few pennies) for doing so!
It's very easy to take a book or short guide that you've written and turn it into an eBook that can be published in Amazon's Kindle store.
Whilst this is unlikely to make you a millionaire, what it does do is expose you to a new audience and it also gives you the kudos of being able to say you're a published author!
27. Push notifications
As well as using email to keep in touch with clients and prospects and encourage them back to your website, you can also use browser push notifications to get people's attention.
There are various services that let you do this and several of them, such as OneSignal, are free until you get to a large number of subscribers.
It's pretty easy these days to start your own podcast and release weekly, fortnightly, or monthly episodes.
The beauty of podcasts is that people can listen to them while they are driving, working out at the gym, walking the dog, etc. And this opens you up to a whole new audience who might not have time to watch your videos or read your blog posts.
If you're wary about starting your own podcast, why not see if you can be a guest on someone else's?
29. Create an online quiz
People love taking quizzes online, especially ones which claim to give them some kind of insight into themselves. This is why personality tests are so popular.
As a financial adviser you can use quizzes to engage prospects, get them onto your mailing list, and also start to pre-qualify them before you even speak to them.
For example, you could have a quiz that promised to tell people how financially savvy they were once they had answered a series of simple questions. If the questions included things like:
- Do you know how much money you'll have to live on in retirement?
- How much can you save into an ISA each year?
- True or False: I don't need a will because everything will automatically go to my spouse
then the answers could be used to give people their score and also to help you identify what sort of financial advice they may need from you.
You can read lots more about the benefits of online quizzes and see examples of successful quizzes in this article.
30. Comment in forums
One way to get exposure to a wider audience of potential clients is to find forums (such as Lemon Fool) or Facebook groups where people are asking questions about personal finance.
Providing information and answers in response to these questions will help establish you as an expert in your field and allow people to get to know you in a relaxed environment.
Most forums will allow you to include links in your posts or in your signature and this can be a good way to get people to click through to your website to read more about a particular topic you've given them some help with.
31. Answer questions on Quora
In a similar vein, you could look for financial questions on Quora and provide answers to them.
If you're not familiar with Quora it is a website where people can post questions about all sorts of things and then other people can step in and provide answers.
Quora posts often appear in Google search results too, so this can be a good way to get yourself found on Google even if your own website doesn't rank very highly yet.
32. Respond to the news
As a financial adviser who's selling the same products from the same providers as thousands of other IFAs, one of the ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to become known as an industry expert or thought-leader.
To achieve this, you need to make sure you are responding to, and commenting on, things that happen in the financial world - e.g. changes to the tax regime, announcements from investment companies, changes to interest rates, etc. You can use your blog and/or LinkedIn to do this.
33. Facebook advertising
If you have a clear idea of who your target customer is, you can use Facebook Ads to get your business in front of them for a relatively low cost.
This article about Facebook Ads for mortgage brokers contains a lot of information which will also be relevant to financial advisers.
You can also use Facebook retargeting to reconnect with people who may have visited your website but not made an enquiry. And you can use lookalike audiences to find more prospects who are similar to your existing best clients.
Facebook for Financial Advisers
This free guide will show you how financial advisers and mortgage brokers can use Facebook Ads to generate leads without breaking the bank
34. Target people experiencing life events
A friend of mine who is an IFA often says that the best people to introduce him to are those who have just got married, died, or won the lottery!
These big moments in our lives, along with things like getting a new job or having a child, are often the times when our financial situation can most benefit from a professional review.
There are a number of ways you could try to market your services to new parents, newly weds, etc. But one of the most powerful methods for this is Facebook Ads.
Because Facebook knows so much about people's lives, it can give you the option to show adverts only to people who have recently got engaged, become a parent, etc.
The list of options is pretty long and, if used correctly, it can help you promote your services to those people who are most likely to be at a point in their lives where they need to speak to you.
LinkedIn is a social media channel that focusses on professional networking. It boasts over 500 million members worldwide.
There are two good reasons why financial advisers should be making use of LinkedIn.
Firstly, it allows you to make connections with other professional who may be able to refer business to you - such as accountants, solicitors, mortgage brokers, etc.
Secondly, if you want to target potential clients who work in a particular profession (see my earlier comments about niching your business) then LinkedIn makes it easy for you to find them.
Want to advertise your services to IT consultants who live in Birmingham and are aged in their 30s? LinkedIn's advertising platform will let you do it.
How Can IFAs Generate More Enquiries and Sales?
Financial adviser marketing doesn't stop once you've got people to visit your website or pick up the phone to you. You should consider how to get more of your website visitors to convert into leads and more of your leads to convert into new clients. Here are a few ways to do that:
36. Make it easy for people to book an appointment with you
One of the effects of living in the digital age and in the era of Amazon Prime is that people now expect everything to happen instantly.
So if it's late at night and someone wants to arrange a meeting with you for later in the week, they don't necessarily want to have to send you an email or fill in a form and wait for you to get back to them the next day.
By using an online booking system such as 10to8 (which is free, by the way), you can give people the ability to see when you are available and book themselves in for a meeting or a phone conversation.
If you want to see an example of how it works, book yourself onto one of my free strategy calls and we can have a chat about this and any of the other points in this article.
Chatbots have been shown to greatly increase the number of enquiries you can generate from your website. If you're not sure what a chatbot is, click here to see a demo.
If you use a service such as ConversioBot, it is very simple to add a chatbot to your site and configure it to ask whatever questions you like.
38. Offer multiple communication channels
The more ways you can offer for people to get in touch with you, the more chance there is that they will do so.
As well as the traditional channels such as phone and email, think about offering options for people to get in touch with you by text message, WhatsApp, chatbot (see above), social media messaging, etc.
Also, make sure that you choose the right communication channel when following up on enquiries you receive.
39. Create a sense of urgency
People are notorious for putting off making decisions about their finances, especially when it comes to things like planning for a retirement which seems like it's still a very long way off.
A successful financial adviser will try to create a sense of urgency in prospective clients - both when talking to them but also through the content of their online adverts, website content, and other marketing materials.
The exact way you do this will vary depending on the products you are promoting and the time of year.
For example, in February/March you could highlight the upcoming end of the tax year as a reason for prospects to take action so as not to miss out on using this year's ISA allowance.
40. Use a CRM
To get the best conversion rates, it's important to follow up with prospects in a timely fashion and to not forget where you are up to in your conversations with them.
By putting a customer relationship management (CRM) system in place you can easily keep track of all your enquiries and set automatic reminders to make sure you get back to people when you say you will and to ensure you keep following up with prospects who haven't yet got back to you with a decision.
There are loads of cloud based CRM systems available for a low monthly subscription. My personal favourite is Pipedrive.
Getting More Repeat Business as an IFA
And finally, once you've followed all the above advice and got yourself a load of new clients, it's important to retain them and encourage them to do more business with you in the future. These final tips cover some of the ways you can do this.
41. Be proactive
Don't sit back and wait for existing clients to get back in touch with you. Give them a call once or twice a year, or send them some info by email every so often, just to see how they're getting on and to make sure they don't forget about you.
42. Send thank you letters
It may sound old-fashioned, but a simple thank you letter sent to a client after they have done business with you for the first time will go a long way towards cementing that client-adviser relationship.
Ideally the letter or, at the very least, the envelope, should be handwritten to give that extra personal touch.
43. Send birthday cards
It's almost certain that you will know the date of birth of each of your clients. So why not send them birthday cards?
As well as being a nice gesture that will help make you stand out from other companies and professionals that they deal, birthday cards are a great way of reminding your clients that you exist!
Your Financial Adviser Marketing Plan
Now that we've reached the end of this mega list of financial adviser marketing ideas, I'd love to know what you think and what you plan to do next.
Are there any marketing strategies from this list that you're already using successfully?
Which new ideas are you keen to try out next?
Have you got a great marketing tip to share with us that's not in my list?
Do leave a comment below or ask any questions you might have and I promise to reply with an answer.