Engagement Marketing Is Not Asking "Will You Marry Me?"

Many financial advisers have not yet grasped the fundamental of engagement marketing, and that is don’t race to ask someone if they want to buy something.  Seems a simple enough concept doesn’t it?  It is akin to asking a brand new dating partner “will you marry me?” when they haven’t yet decided if they want to go on any further dates with you.  

If you’ve dated for a bit, the odds of getting a “yes” to the “will you marry me?” question undoubtedly get a bit better, though probably only marginally so.  If you’ve been engaged for a while and everyone knows what the end game is, then the odds are pretty good that you will get a “yes” to the big question.

How does this apply to marketing financial advice?  Well…the biggest killer to much of the marketing efforts is the tendency to pop the “will you marry me” question to people who haven’t decided yet whether they want to spend any further with you.

It is important to understand here What the difference is between marketing and selling.

Many advisers seem to think that these are one and the same thing.  Or, if pressed a little further, “marketing” is often confused with “advertising”.   Marketing does include advertising… as it also includes having a clear value proposition, understanding the target market, the branding of the individual and the branding of the business entity, and a number of other things.

Marketing is therefore really about creating opportunities to gain a client or some new business at some point in the future.  Selling is the personalised process of converting that opportunity into an actual piece of business that shows up in your accounts. Engagement marketing is the bit in between creating the initial opportunity and being granted the chance to deliver personalised advice which might pay you.

The combination of marketing, engaging and selling is really the answer to the perennial question of “how can I create more opportunities to engage with people who would be willing to take the actions I would recommend”?

The undervalued (or perhaps missing entirely) element part that really makes a significant different today is “opportunities to engage with people“.  THAT is the piece that you must concentrate upon to create “more effective” marketing.  It is a process of patient conversion…giving people the time and space and information that they need to be ready to engage personally.

So engagement marketing is really about inter-acting with people on a regular basis until at some point in the engagement process you – or more likely some other event unrelated to your marketing and positioning – will trigger “desire” on their part to act.

That is when the marketing process is finished, and selling begins.  Having said that, if your marketing and engagement process is done well the reality is that there is very little selling involved.  The personalised advice simply becomes an extension of the engagement.

Engagement marketing doesn’t stop when they have taken your advice and become a client though. The best advisory firms treat engagement marketing to existing clients just as importantly as engagement marketing with brand new prospects.  The engagement and ongoing interaction with existing clients is even more important than landing a brand new client, as existing clients can add significant value to your business if you can move them from just paying you to becoming advocates for your business.

To make your marketing more effective – to get better results for your business – stop asking the marriage question.  It’s not about the big moment and the big “sale”.  Build systems and processes to engage people in a way they feel comfortable with, and share information and insights, and help them help themselves…..and they will want to stick with you for the long haul.

Related: The Top 20 Adviser Marketing Kitbag Essentials