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Marketing for Financial Planners

When the Consumer Duty came into effect in July 2023, City watchdog, The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) was clear about setting “higher and clearer standards of consumer protection across financial services” and requiring firms to “put their customers’ needs first.” Firms must “act to deliver good outcomes for retail customers”, offering real peace of mind to investors.

This focus on customers’ needs and outcomes has a lot in common with marketing your financial advice business! Let’s look at this in more detail.

Putting customers’ needs first

Marketing is all about communicating the value of your product or service to your ideal client. Put yourself in their shoes: what research will they do, and how will they decide on the right financial adviser for their particular needs and, indeed, aspirations?

These days, most people start their research process online and will, at the very least, expect to see a company website with details about the services on offer, fees and charges, and how to get in touch. However, marketing is more than just advertising, and would-be investors also want to read client stories and testimonials and be reassured that all the relevant industry accreditations and regulatory authorisations are in place. They also want to understand the human side of the business – in effect, who will be looking after their future. The starting point should therefore always be to put your customers' needs first and make the information they are looking for easy to find and understand.

Word of mouth and social proof

Word of mouth continues to work well for many firms and independent advisers. Referrals are a cost effective and authentic way to win new business, so encourage existing clients to refer others to your services and make yourself available to follow up on any new enquiries.

However, if you are keen to grow your financial advice firm, you may need more than personal referrals. Social proof is the term used to describe how people alter their behaviour based on the actions of others. When it comes to choosing the right financial adviser, people can be influenced by other investors’ experiences, both face to face and online.

Online information that prospective clients will take on board includes reviews and testimonials, blogs and news articles, as well as social media posts and the responses to those. To keep the momentum going and build even more social proof, think about:

  • Collating feedback from independent industry-specific review sites, such as VouchedFor or Unbiased.
  • Repurposing content – if you wrote a helpful article, can you share it as a series of social media posts or make a video?
  • Using social media to highlight your firm’s culture and what it’s like to work there.
  • Sharing thought leadership content so that you are seen as an expert in your industry.
  • Developing your own personal brand.
  • Obtaining video testimonials from happy clients, delighted with the results you have delivered.

Personal branding

Having a good online presence and a strong personal brand will be the keys to your success and help you stand out from the competition. For some people, branding means a fancy logo and matching pen, but personal branding is all about how you are perceived as a ‘trusted adviser’.

You’ve heard the old saying ‘people buy from people’ and, certainly, where long-term business relationships are concerned, it is essential to build trust with your clients, particularly given that they are, in many ways, relying on their adviser’s expertise to help map out their future. Demonstrate credibility by:

  • Taking a truly client-centred approach to communication, speaking clearly, avoiding jargon, listening well and showing understanding.
  • Working out what sets you apart from others in your industry and highlighting this in every aspect of your messaging from meetings, emails, social media and the wording of your website.
  • Being authentic and therefore using Artificial Intelligence tools like Chat GPT or CoPilot with extreme caution.
  • Being consistent and transparent, so that ‘what you see is what you get’.
  • Asking for feedback and constantly using it as an opportunity to learn and improve.
  • Adhering to the strict regulatory and compliance framework in financial services.

Getting it right – next steps

Marketing plans evolve over time, as does the industry’s target audience, and what worked 5 years ago may not be so successful today. If you want to get it right, review what you are doing on a regular basis and make any necessary changes. Even small adjustments can have a big impact on the size of your audience, how they perceive you and in turn their engagement.

Busy professionals don’t always have the time, skills or interest in marketing, so if it really isn’t your strong point, is there someone else within the firm who can assist, or do you need to get help from an external agency or marketing partner?

Cal Partners is a niche marketing agency working exclusively with professional services businesses like financial planners. We can work with you and tailor our offer to your needs and growth plans.

Get in touch by calling 0333 050 6015, emailing hello@calpartners.co.uk or completing the contact form.

About the author

Alison O'Neill

Account Manager, Alison, is a former Forensic Scientist who moved into professional services marketing in 2008 and is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (MCIM).

Marketing for Professional Services

Cal Partners

The go-to strategic marketing partner for ambitious professional services