Marketing is one of those subjects that you know you should probably pay more attention to, but you are not sure where to start not helped by some of the language used by marketers. In my regular blog I am going to be looking at marketing as a broker, the basics and the benefits as well as looking at trends and new ideas.
Marketing ultimately is the mechanism to get and keep more customers and you do not need a big budget or a lot of experience to build a solid marketing plan. The first thing to work out is who is your target market and once you know that identify what appeals to this demographic. Marketing is not just a sales play, if you just focus on selling your customers and potential customers something your message will soon become lost and the target audience will stop listening.
Before you start you should have a clear brand and what you stand for; there is a lot of psychology around this but it’s best not to overthink it, just consider the brands you know, trust and why, to get some ideas. This can be as simple as your name, ‘Joe Smith Mortgage Advice Services’ which will give your business a personal feel or a descriptive name ‘Integrity Mortgage Services’ or even something more abstract and fun, a good recent example of this is Purple Bricks. It depends what really appeals to you as you are going to have to live and breathe it.
Once you have a clear idea of your brand the next stage is to build a profile which will primarily be online. The first step has got to be a refresh of your LinkedIn profile, as a business tool this is a great way to establish a credible presence and once created you should start connecting to anyone who you feel may be able to help your business. This may be lender, protection and GI contacts, other brokers, firms you respect and existing clients who have a LinkedIn profile.
Next you need a website. If you are a member of a network then there may be an approved supplier that the network can put you in touch with or alternatively you could commission your own, although this will be more expensive. A more cost-effective short-term solution would be to sign up to an industry website builder and content provider like Adviser Portals. For a modest monthly subscription, you can have your website up and running very quickly and you can then start sharing these details in every communication you undertake.
Give some real thought to your website content though – this is the brochure to your business and will inform your potential clients in more ways than you can imagine. It is invariably the first thing people do today when looking at a business they may engage with. So think about the imagery, use real pictures where possible, get testimonials from satisfied clients and put these on your site and make it really easy for existing and potential clients to make contact with you and ensure your respond promptly.
Take a look at other people’s websites and copy what you like but don’t feel you have to do it all in one go, your site will continue to evolve so build the basics and then gradually improve this over time.
Next time: what is the right contact strategy for my clients?
Kevin Paterson is director of sales & marketing at Ceta Insurance