Almost every financial services business needs to promote itself in some way, reaching out to clients and prospective clients. For those financial firms with large numbers of target clients in well-defined market segments, advertising can be a cost-effective way of communicating with them.
Getting savvy with advertising
Set out your promotional objectives and decide whether to advertise
Determine your promotional budget
Decide where and when to advertise
Measure the effectiveness of your advertising campaign
Clarify what you are trying to achieve
Before deciding whether to use advertising, clarify what you are trying to achieve. You may need to create awareness of something, or change your client’s attitudes. You may need to convey a specific one-off message to your market. For example, informing people about a post Budget announcements that could impact on their financial situation.
You may need to prompt a specific action, such as the client visiting your premises. If you are building up a database of leads, your objective might be to gather the contact details of potential clients. Or your objective may be to create sales there and then.
You may need to address your existing client’s, rather than win new ones. Keeping up front of mind awareness encourages clients to consider you first when they next think about their personal finances.
So be specific about who you are trying to communicate with.
Who are you trying to reach?
What common characteristics define your target market? For example, consumers in the same geographical area or individuals from the same socio-economic background
Decide if you want to reach end-users or intermediaries
Be clear who makes the buying decision
Which media will best reach your target market?
Advertising is only cost-effective if it reaches a readership which significantly overlaps with your target audience.
Could advertising carry the right message?
In general, advertisements work best when they carry a concise message
The form of the advertisement may physically limit what you can say
Your advertisement, and the media in which you advertise, must suit your image.
- Direct mail with a mailing list that more closely matches your target market
- Personal selling to build relationships with high-value clients Merchandising, packaging and point-of-sale materials for client purchases
- PR for building your reputation over the longer term
- Trade exhibitions and conferences
- An e-newsletter that drives traffic to your website
Deciding how much you should spend is not an exact science.
How much do you normally spend? How much did you spend last year, and how effective was it, in relation to your business objectives?
What are your competitors doing?
- If your competitors are advertising heavily, you may need to match their activities
- If a new competing product has been launched, you may need to fight off the competitive threat
How far are you from achieving your objectives?
- If you are launching a new service proposition into a new market, you may need to spend heavily to achieve client awareness
- If your proposition is already well established, you may only need a few advertisements to keep up front of mind awareness
What is your advertising worth to you?
What margins do you make and how much repeat business can you expect?
What is the lifetime value of a new client?
Are you considering a brand-building investment? Are you planning a short-term sales drive or longer-term awareness?
How effective do you expect your advertising to be?
Check that your budget is realistic. How many extra sales do you need to generate to justify your spend?
What media can you afford to consider? The cost of the media does not always equate to its potential power. A simple entry in an online directory can generate a lot of enquiries, for example.
Segmentation of the market
Identify your segment of the market and decide which media best reach your target audience. The choice of media is vast.
Financial adviser firms are likely to need to advertise in more than one type of media to be effective.
Observe where your competitors advertise and consider using more than one type of media and marketing method
Search online to see how easy it is for your clients and prospective clients to find your website as the internet is generally the first place they will go
Ask a selection of people from your target market what they read, watch, listen to and which websites they visit.
Consider the use of a specialist media buying agency to help you
Choose the media that match your needs.
Ask yourself some key questions:
How many members of your target group read a particular publication or visit a certain website and how often?
Does the publication or site have the right image for your advertisement?
How much will your ad cost to produce?
How much will the advert cost to run?
Financial marketers must not unleash the cookie monster
UK cookie law comes into force, is your website legal?
The law has been mooted for some time and originally required ‘explicit consent’ from site visitors before certain pop-ups and the like are revealed.
Last minute change to the legislation
But there was a last minute change to the legislation, which means sites have to obtain just ‘implied consent’ – this is friendlier for businesses but knocks the UK out of quilter from the rest of the EU when it comes to the transparency of cookies.
Although it is thought many UK-based sites will not be ready for the law, the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is looking to report back on sites that are not obeying the directive and there’s the slight possibility of a £500,000 fine for those who flout the law.