The period between Christmas and the New Year is a great time of reflection for business owners. When the relatives have finally left, along with the remnants of the turkey, many business owners start to take stock of the year that was and more importantly the one ahead.
The New Year heralds great promise and reinvigorates us into a fresh start. Tidying up the office desk, clearing out old e-mails and starting a new refill pad with neatly numbered goals, enthusiastically headed up Plans for 2021.
But have we been here before? Is there a graveyard of new refill pads full of neatly written best intentions? We all know the adage about doing the same activities and expecting different results but all too often history repeats itself. As mid-January approaches we have often slipped back into our old habits, we get too busy to stick with the new tasks and the vigor and enthusiasm of the New Year starts to wear off.
For most advisers, there tends to be a common theme upon which most New Year’s goals are focused; to either get NEW clients or get more business from EXISTING ones. The former is not a quick win for early January as it entails considering new target markets, advertising, budgets, messaging etc.
By comparison getting more business from existing clients is surely just a matter of communication? The clients already know the adviser, presumably like them and are most likely open to hearing about other services when the time is right. The challenge always comes back to HOW to communicate with existing clients.
Larger firms have communications strategies, a planned communication delivery method (the how) and a calendar of content, (the what), to be delivered throughout the year. This consistent messaging to clients builds the advisers brand and as it is delivered year-round, it has a higher probably of exposing clients to the ranges of services on offer at a time the client might actually need them.
But for the smaller adviser this has always been a challenge and the New Year’s resolution of building a e mail database or posting something new on the website often yields little return.
What’s your strategy?
How can the smaller adviser effectively communicate with their hundreds or even thousands of clients? Some advisers put great efforts into their website to articulate their value proposition; blogs, videos, calculators, click to chat, all of which can look very impressive but I sometimes wonder how many clients actually look at an adviser’s website? It’s certainly worth examining your google analytics to see the weekly traffic of who is actually seeing your content.
LinkedIn is the weapon of choice for other advisers with regular comments, shares and likes to get their brand out there. A useful starting exercise is to analysis your connections to see how many are actually clients compared to ex-colleagues, relations, industry contacts and often a load of other advisers. Unfortunately, the number of actual clients is often far lower than we think.
Some advisers still prefer the more traditional group email as their way of connecting with clients relying on the hope that clients will open the mails and digest its content. Whilst this can be effective it needs to be integrated into your business as your core communications strategy. Its effectiveness dwindles when there is poor quality email listing and the communication strategy is generic and infrequent.
Advisers in overseas markets such as Australia and the US put strong emphasis on the area of client communication. The move to digital communications has been strong where advisers don’t rely on hits on their website, LinkedIn likes or e mail open rates, instead they get their value proposition onto each and every clients mobile device.
Adviser branded Apps provide the adviser with a unique value proposition for clients at the same time as solving the client communication challenge. This proposition is not one of an annual meeting and intermittent phone calls but instead an “always on” channel for the client to access adviser information when it suits them.
The digital connection allows the adviser to start providing education and information content for clients to review in their time and to be a thought leader for the client in all matters financial. It is not Facebook or Ticktock, they don’t need to look at the App each morning but getting the adviser's brand on a client’s device, where maybe they check in a handful of times a year, is marketing gold.
Going digital transforms client relationships, value proposition and new business opportunities. So, when considering your objectives for this New Year, it is well worth including: “Explore going digital in 2021”, to bring your value proposition to a whole new level with your clients.
Karl O Meara