I know nothing about marketing
I am a university drop-out. When I left Cardiff Institute after failing the second year of my electronics design degree, I began working full time in management for McDonalds, for whom I had been a part-time, baseball cap-wearing skivvy for four years. Then, thanks to a friend in the business, I joined the Co-operative Insurance Society – my gateway into this wonderful profession of ours.
At no point in this far-from-illustrious career path did anyone teach me a thing about marketing.
Marketing is no doubt both an art and a science, and I’m sure that a degree in marketing would markedly increase the returns I see on my efforts. And yet, I seem to be doing OK, and I imagine you are too.
Most advisers’ primary source of new clients is referrals from existing clients. That’s certainly true for me and I reckon that’s a sign of a healthy business. We instinctively know that if we look after the clients we have, they will look after us in turn by referring their friends and family to us in the right circumstances. This is a simple quid pro quo: we have provided value to them, and they want to give something back (even though they have already paid us for that value).
This process is magnified significantly through providing value online. The internet enables us to scale up the benefits of one-to-one conversations, so that we can provide value to many more people at once. If the people consuming our online content get enough value from it, they will share it with their social circle. This is the new currency: social capital. If we pay enough of this capital into the virtual bank account of the internet, in time it will pay us back.
It took me two years to get a single client from my online efforts, but I made many mistakes that I would not make if I were starting again today. Then after another few more months I began receiving a steady stream of enquiries from the contact form on my website.
Since I started my weekly audio podcast, I have been receiving more enquiries than ever, and have signed up four new clients, with between them over a million pounds in liquid assets in the last six weeks. It has taken time to build up a head of steam, but now I have, I’m reaping the benefits.
It turns out that these days marketing, at least the online variety, is pretty simple. Give value, lots of it, and the internet will pay you back. I’m not sure I needed a degree to figure that out.
Any marketing geniuses on Adviser Lounge, I’d love to know what you think. Is there more to online marketing than just providing value and waiting for the rewards. Is online marketing the only kind that counts in 2013 and beyond? Let me know in the comments…
(By the way, it IS possible to find the time to spend productively online, and still be able to see clients. I do it, and I can show you how to do it too)