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What we've learnt in 2020

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In the final of our three-part ‘Adapting to change’ summer series, social media expert Philip Calvert gives his tips about how to use marketing to better connect with your clients and potential clients in this challenging year and beyond.

What has 2020 taught us so far?

Firstly, it has taught us that communication is critical and also, that it needs to be quick.

During my online forums with advisers, it has been interesting to see the split between the advisers who, at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, were quick to contact their clients to reassure them and the advisers who did not. Those advisers who did not will be forgotten by their clients very quickly.

2020 has also taught us that, as an industry, we need to increase our communication and that it needs to be creative too.

I sent an email to an adviser recently and I got her out of office reply. There was a short video within the body of the email showing her on the golf course. In the clip, she explained she was taking a long weekend and if I had a query, to look at her website or leave a message and she would get back to me. It was the first time I’d seen an adviser use video in this way. It was a simple idea but very creative and amazingly effective.

Communication also needs to be sincere and it needs to be pitched right. As an example, take a look at the ads from the big brands at the moment. All of them explain how they’re here to support us during these difficult times.

Advice over video calls is opening new doors

2020 has also taught us that advice over a video call works just fine.

It wasn’t all that long ago that many advisers would have said that financial planning could only be done face to face. Some advisers may still believe that but lots of the UK’s biggest adviser firms are using a combination of the video call software out there to meet with clients. And clients love it. What’s more, advisers are telling me they are getting referrals this way following successful online client meetings.

Some advisers I know are even talking about creating new business models based around offering advice using video software. That said, this method of giving advice is still new for many advisers. And in the same way you would practise your skills if you were presenting a seminar, you need to practise your online presentation skills.

So get command of the technology and make sure your camera technique is correct. One of the biggest mistakes I see advisers make is that they are looking down or up at the camera. But as every broadcast journalist will tell you, the camera needs to be at eye level.

Also, using this online technology is a focused activity and can be tiring. So work hard on your listening skills. And think of your background while online. It’s great to be able to work from your kitchen table, but you may want to make sure you have a clean and simple background to look as professional as possible.

What else has 2020 taught us?

2020 has also taught us that we need to be much more strategic with our use of social media.

When online platforms were first introduced, they were called social networking sites because the technology allowed people to engage and interact with each other. People buy people. However, social networking has been sacrificed for social media in many ways so how you use the technology is really important.

In my opinion, adviser firms are far too random with their use of social media. It’s not sustainable to record a podcast, set up a You Tube channel or an Instagram account and throw content in there hoping it will stick. The problem is that random acts of marketing give unpredictable results. They are not scalable or as effective as they could be which just causes stress.

To attract new clients, you need your marketing to be strategic so that it’s effective. You also want your marketing to be low cost so consider picking one marketing tool you know your dream clients use, or two at most, and stick to them.

How webinars can add value

I recently carried out some research into the marketing activities that work for top-performing advisers. The tools they generally use to attract clients are Linkedin, books, seminars and webinars.

The one thing these tools have in common is that they’re all educational. They’re marketing activities that add value to existing clients while attracting new clients. That’s why they can work.

Webinars in particular are underutilised as a marketing tool but they are low cost and very simple to produce. They are also very effective and can give predictable results.

If you decide webinars should be your core marketing strategy, you can get away with one hour of marketing activity per month which will save you time. Other advantages are that you can present to many potential clients at the same time and if the title of your webinar is compelling enough, you can attract the right people.

Whether the webinar model you choose is showing Power Point slides or a boardroom briefing style with cameras, your audience is getting value from you, the expert.

To hold a webinar, you can use one of the online video tools readily available and make sure you set an agenda with a short welcome and introduction. I like to offer an incentive at the beginning of my webinars so people stick around to the end. Also, tell your back story briefly. People take a lot of interest in your story, especially if you have been through adversity, and are more likely to listen to your content.

As for the content of your webinar, ask your clients what topics they would like to hear about. I always carry a notebook to write down questions from clients for ideas which I can turn in to topics for webinars.

As part of your webinar, give a market summary and cover off any common myths in our industry. Be honest and include case studies as proof to support the issue you are talking about. At the end of your webinar, offer a consultation call which explains to your audience how to get in touch with you. But set expectations at this point to filter out some people, such as telling them that they have to book in a call with you.

Looking ahead to 2021

A well-presented webinar with valuable content that shares your expertise can mean it’s the most natural thing in the world for people to then get in touch with you for quality financial advice.

Seminars are another great way to share your expertise and value, for great results. So as we look forward to 2021, hopefully in a post pandemic world, you could be thinking about how seminars could be your chosen marketing activity to support existing clients and attract new ones.

Read the other two blogs from our ‘Adapting to change’ summer series, How to be virtually brilliant and Leadership in challenging times.


The value of investments can go down as well as up and your clients could get back less than they paid in.

The views expressed in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.