Your free guide to marketing by Levone


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 ALLIANCE   The name you can work with.

At The Mortgage Alliance, not only do we want to help you keep your existing
clients, we also want to help you find new ones.

That’s why we’ve developed this marketing guide. It will give you thought-
provoking ideas, introduce you to a range of marketing materials, and provide
you with useful tips that could help your business grow.

Please let us know if the guide is helpful. Your feedback is essential to improving
our service.

If you need any further information or support, just call on 0845 605 0067*
or email

Phil Whitehouse

Head of TMA


1.   What is marketing?                                                3

2.   How to secure new clients                                         4

3.   Building a database                                               5

4.   Planning your communications strategy                             6

5.   Online marketing                                                  8

6.   Email marketing                                                   10

7.   Online advertising                                                12

8.   Direct mail                                                       13

9.   Press advertising                                                 14

10. Public relations                                                   15

11. Seminars                                                           16

12. Useful references                                                  17
1. What is marketing?

We know that a successful marketing                         It’s hard to deny, networking has always been a
campaign can help a business grow                           valuable tool for IFAs. 72% cite it as being a main
                                                            source of new-business generation2, and in recent
but what is it, what does ‘marketing’
                                                            times – particularly with the advent of online marketing
really mean?                                                opportunities – it’s becoming even more important to
There are a number of definitions. Put simply,              network effectively. Surprisingly though, only 5% of
marketing is the process within a business that             IFAs consciously make time to attend a networking
identifies, anticipates and satisfies ever-changing         event, largely due to time constraints.
customer requirements – profitably.
                                                            So how can you minimise the impact on your
It sounds simple, but it’s easy to overlook marketing       efficiency, but maximise the opportunities that an
as an important aspect of your business. When               effective marketing campaign could bring to your analysed replies to its 2008 broker          business? In the following pages you’ll find advice
survey, it found that 20% of respondents spent just         and suggestions on how to do just that.
£250 or less on promoting their services1. Many
see marketing as an unnecessary drain on time and
money, preferring to rely on word-of-mouth referrals
for the majority of new business.

If you’d like more details about marketing or how it could help grow your
business, you can find additional information from the Chartered Institute
of Marketing at

2. How to find new clients

First of all you need to decide what type of                    Be active in your local community
clients you want to attract. Once you have                      Get yourself known by becoming involved in local
done this, you need to generate new                             clubs, societies and organisations. There are plenty of
leads. There are a number of ways you                           opportunities to market yourself professionally among
                                                                colleagues and build rapport on a face-to-face level
can do this (some of which you will already
                                                                with prospective clients. How many of these do you
be doing) but here are some priorities:                         know of in your area?
When you’ve identified your target market, you
                                                                • Sports clubs
can plan more effective methods of lead generation.
But it’s important to make sure you have some basic             • Doctors’ surgeries with noticeboards
marketing principles covered, too:                              • Supermarkets’ with noticeboards

Make your business visible                                      • Women’s Institutes

If a potential client is looking for advice, they have to       • Rotary Clubs
be able to find you. Start with the basics and make
                                                                • Community centres’ newsletters
sure your name is in the Yellow Pages, local
directories, and on IFAP (                  • Accountants and solicitors

                                                                • Free local newspapers

Successful advisers are never afraid to ask for recommendations. So why not
introduce a Recommend a Friend scheme? It’s a simple way of rewarding your
current clients, who benefit by giving your name out to their friends. It can be a
very effective, low cost form of marketing.

3. Building a database

Databases are useful for tracking and                       Using your database
analysing current business, and planning                    Take a moment to think about how your business
campaigns to attract future clients.                        works, day-to-day. With information from your
                                                            database you can keep regular track of lead
An up-to-date database is a vital tool for successful
                                                            conversions, sales per customer, profitability, and
business. You can use any kind of software, but one
                                                            margins of products or services throughout your
of the easiest tools is a simple Excel spreadsheet.
                                                            business. You can also see, at a glance, how your
The key is to make sure you collect consistent data
                                                            clients fall into segments – which may help you
and keep it regularly updated. Most of these details
                                                            improve efficiency and help you focus your business.
can be captured at your first client meeting:
                                                            In future marketing campaigns, you can plan activities
• Personal details, such as name, address, phone
                                                            that will attract specific segments of your database. If
  number, email address
                                                            you keep your information up-to-date, it’s also very
• Family details, such as marital status, number and        useful for creating mail merges for letters and keeping
  age of children                                           track of regular communication programmes.

• Financial status, indicating employment status,
  clients’ salaries and any commitments (like

• Products held and maturity dates, to help you
  identify sales opportunities

• Your activities, showing what you have done for
  your client and when

• Notes on attitude, to savings and risk protection.

Check your database regularly. Have all your clients had an annual review?
Whether or not you’ve seen them in person, don’t forget to send a birthday card
– and always use your database to highlight policies that are about to expire.

4. Planning your communications strategy

Now you’ve created your database                               Plan your budget
and identified your target audience, you                       A key factor in successful marketing campaigns is
need to plan how you will reach them.                          financial viability. Your profile may be raised or you
                                                               may sell products and services as a result of your
Set specific objectives                                        efforts, but are you going to recover the costs and
Before you start, decide what you want to achieve.             make a profit? Consider the following:
Good objectives are always measureable, so that                • Campaign costs include more than design, print,
you can identify success and improve your results.               advertising space, literature and postage. Don’t
• Who are you talking to? For example,                           forget to factor in telephone calls and man hours
  first-time buyers                                            • Think about your response rate. Past experience is
• How do you want to benefit? By raising                         a good guide, but if it’s a new venture you can base
  your profile, or just generating sales?                        your figures on 1-2% for a direct mail campaign to
                                                                 existing customers, or 0.25% from a local press ad
Before you plan any communication, you need to set
realistic targets: say, ten new enquiries each month.          This information may take additional time to collect,
This will help you focus your activities effectively.          but it’s important to understand the effectiveness of
                                                               your marketing campaigns. This will help you decide
Choose the right campaign                                      whether to repeat an activity – or not.
You know your business best, so you’re in an ideal
position to decide what kind of marketing will be
most appropriate for your target market.

For example, if you are working in an office then
posters and display materials may be a good choice.
If you attend local events regularly, you could consider
becoming a sponsor with high visibility. And if your
target customers are local to you, why not write a
number of short articles and submit them to your
local newspaper…? There are many combinations
of materials, and mediums, that could meet
your objectives.

4. Planning your communications strategy – continued

Timing                                                         Measure success and feedback
How long is the campaign running, how long will it             When your ign has run its course, use your database
take to plan? Plan all marketing activities with time to       to track and measure its success. This will help you
spare. To avoid any last-minute panics, include time           plan future activities. Ask yourself:
needed for approving printed materials and posting
                                                               • Did the campaign meet your initial objectives, or
items. Remember, if you are inviting clients to an
                                                                 did you find responses you weren’t expecting and
event, you should give them 15 to 20 days to
                                                                 discover something new about your clients?
respond. It’s also worth staggering any direct mail
campaigns, to manage the responses effectively.                • How many sales or appointments did it create,
                                                                 and how many of those were you able to convert?
Briefing and following up
                                                               • Have all the leads been followed up, or is there
Who’s making the calls, who’s answering the phone?               a logical activity (such as thank you letters, after
Before launching your campaign, make sure you brief              clients attend a social event) that you need to plan?
anyone who may be involved in following up leads or
                                                               • What could you do better next time?
dealing with responses. This helps to promote the
professional image of your business.

Make sure that everyone understands the key
objectives of the campaign, and that they’re well-
equipped with the answers to potential questions.
It’s also a good idea to hold regular catch-up
sessions, reporting success stories that will help
keep your team motivated.

Pre-campaign planning is important, but don’t forget – you must have a
strategy in place to deal with your success! Track your responses, make
sure every client enquiry is followed up professionally. It’s the most important
part of your whole campaign…

5. Online marketing

Where do your clients look for information?                     Getting started is easy
Often, the answer is ‘online’. Almost 75%                       A good starting point is to decide which topics you’re
of IFAs in the UK now have a website,4 so                       most comfortable with, and then set up Google Alerts.
establishing the right reputation online and                    Like all Google services, this one is free.

maximising that presence are becoming                           Google Alerts will send you daily links to articles that
increasingly important.                                         include your specific search terms. These articles may
                                                                be blogs, forums or newspaper articles, almost all of
Maximise your online presence                                   which now have comments pages. To improve your
It’s not difficult to set up a website – “Building a            reputation, you will need a presence you can link back
Website for Dummies” is a good starting point – but             to: your company website, or personal page.
getting it seen by your clients is more of a challenge.         If you can dedicate a small amount of regular time to
Visibility to search engines, such as Google, is crucial.       building online presence, consider setting up your
You can improve your visibility by using standard               own blog: background about your expertise, and links
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques. But                to articles you find useful. Wordpress and Blogger are
unless you are experienced at writing copy that will be         two good examples of blogging applications – and it’s
recognised by search engines, it may be worth getting           worth remembering that advice comes across far
professional advice.                                            better from an individual than a company, so a
                                                                personal blog can be a real bonus.
Build your reputation
                                                                Finally, don’t forget that blogs are most effective
Reputation (known as Page Rank by Google), is                   when they’re presented professionally and,
based on the number of other sites that link to your            most importantly, kept up to date.
content. This gives an indication of your level of     is a good example
authority in a particular area. And if those sites have         of someone building on this idea by adding opinions
an even higher level of authority than yours, such as           and links to regular articles.
The Times, then this adds extra weight.

The key to improving your chances of success is
activity. You may have the most engaging website in
your field, but if no-one knows you exist then no-one
will visit it. It sounds like a paradox: use the internet
to promote your website. But it can work, and it can
be inexpensive.

5. Online marketing – continued

Virtual contact                                                The other well-known social media forums, such as
Whatever your plans for online activity, it’s worth            Linked-in or Facebook, are also worth considering for
thinking about how you stay in touch with current              inclusion as part of your online profile – providing you
clients at the moment. How many of your clients                host appropriate content. Once you have a presence,
prefer email contact to letters, or how many of them           there is no reason to stop you using the space as your
have their own online presence in some way?                    own ‘virtual focus group’; canvassing the opinion of
                                                               the community, listening and responding to their
The latest generation of social networks – such as             thoughts.
Twitter – mean that you can keep in loose contact
with a wide range of people. In the UK, Twitter has
already helped many small businesses who use it
regularly to communicate professional opinions.

If you’re not sure about the technology however, IFA
Life’s Twitter League is a good place to start. You can
see how other IFAs are using the service, with
colleagues and professional contacts, clients, and
friends and family. If you do ‘tweet’, your clients will
also be able to ‘follow’ your communications – giving
them your personal insight to financial current affairs.

Word of mouth referrals travel faster by broadband – but never forget, the
internet is an open forum. Everyone can see what you write, so keep your
opinions professional and take care to leave a virtual presence that you’re
happy for anyone to read…

6. Email marketing

Email marketing offers a fast, cheap way to                     Understanding the Data Protection Act
communicate with your clients. It’s also                        It is important to make sure you don’t contravene the
great for testing ideas, and can help you                       Data Protection Act(s)1984, 1995 and 1998 (DPA).
create campaigns for a large target market                      For email marketing this means you should use the
                                                                data only for the purpose(s) indicated by the
– with a personal feel.
                                                                customer, and make sure they’ve ‘opted in’ to
In recent years, the response rates from direct mail            receiving email. You should also make sure that
campaigns (typically 1.5%), are being outperformed              all customers ‘opting out’ are removed from your
significantly by email. With response rates reaching            contact list immediately.
over 4%, this means that email is now almost three
times more effective than printed and posted
campaigns. That’s why including ‘opt ins’ to your
requests for contact details is so important.

Creating your email contact list
A new European Directive was introduced in
December 2003, which extended the Data Protection
Act (DPA) to include email. It’s now a legal requirement
that your customer gives you a positive ‘opt in’ before
you send them email communications.

Any email sent without ‘opt in’ is known as SPAM,
which is contrary to the provisions of the DPA.
Whenever you ask for an email address, you must
give your client a fair opportunity to choose whether
or not they are contacted this way.

6. Email marketing – continued

How do you build an email campaign?                            Download times for HTML emails are greater,
An email campaign is like any other marketing activity:        particularly where a lot of graphics are used. It is also
you need to have clear objectives.                             important to remember that although your HTML
                                                               email may look good on your PC, your recipients may
• What you want to achieve? Is your email                      not operate on the same system – so text and images
  communicating an opinion, raising awareness                  may disappear or move position. Text shown as an
  of a product or service, or simply keeping                   image may be blocked completely, which means your
  regular contact?                                             message won’t be delivered at all.
• What is your budget, what are your timings?                  If you are using an email marketing agency, they
  Building an email professionally incurs time and             will use technology that detects what your recipients
  resources, so plan ahead. Also, think about your             can receive and send the appropriate format on
  timings – the hour and day of the week the email             your behalf.
  is sent can affect the ‘open rate’.

• How you are going to measure success – for                   Measure your success
  example, by the number of people contacting                  One of the great advantages to marketing by email,
  you by return, or the number of people ‘clicking-            is the data you can collect throughout the process –
  through’ to your website?                                    helping you improve your strategy, from campaign
                                                               to campaign. You will be able to find out:
What will your email look like?
                                                               • Delivery rates, what % of emails were delivered
When you’re building your email contact list, it’s               to an inbox
important to ask your clients how they’d like to
receive the emails – which format they prefer.                 • Open rates, what % of emails were opened

• Plain Text, which is an ordinary text file with no           • Bounce rates, which email addresses were
  graphics. Download times are usually quicker                   incorrect (a hard bounce) and which ones
  than HTML emails.                                              existed but had full in-boxes (a soft bounce)?

• HTML, which looks like a web page. These emails              • Unsubscribe rates, how many people requested
  generally have better responses, but your clients              to be fully taken off the list?
  will need an internet connection to read the email.          • Click-through rates, how many clicks against total
                                                                 number of emails sent?

                                                               • Direct response rates, did they contact you by
                                                                 telephone or email?

                                                               • Recommendations, did they pass your email
                                                                 on to anyone else?

Remember, online users don’t read – they scan. Make your emails easy
to understand in just a few seconds by using sharp headlines and small,
bite-sized chunks of copy.

7. Online advertising

Online advertising comes in all sorts of formats, showcasing everything
from video clips to calculators, static adverts or downloadable PDFs.

   There are three main types of online advertising:
   • Display or banner advertising, which builds           • Search engine marketing, which makes sure
     your profile and encourages people to visit your        people can find you when they’re actively looking
     website for more detailed information                   for information about a particular subject

   • Sponsorship advertising, which allows
     you to link up with websites or companies
     that are trusted by your target audience

Display advertising                                            Who are you displaying to?
You may decide to create display advertising, often            The internet is a big place. For a campaign to be
known as ‘banners’, for inclusion on another site with         effective, you must find out who visits a website,
higher traffic than your own. Unless you have in-depth         before deciding to invest in banner advertising. Make
technical knowledge though, it’s advisable to involve a        sure that you’re advertising to your target market – a
professional agency – they can often help you book             good starting point could be the websites of local
the advertising space. The cost? A lot depends on              newspapers, radio stations and clubs – and that your
your budget. A small local campaign could be                   ad is going to appear in the right section of the site.
delivered for less than £10k, while large national             For example, an ad that appears in the personal
advertising could cost up to £100k.                            finance section could be much more effective than an
                                                               ad that appears in the recruitment section.
Don’t forget, ads work best when they’re focused on
clients’ needs. Tell them clearly what products or             Your costs are likely to be based on the number of
services you can offer. It’s best to keep them simple,         ‘impressions’ you want – the number of times your ad
too, as they have to compete with lots of other online         appears on the website. To give you an idea, the
clutter. There should always be a motivating reason for        average response rate for financial ads is about 0.2%.
someone to click on the ad and visit your website – a          This means that to get 200 clicks through to your
free financial review, for example – so remember to            website you’d need to have roughly 100,000
make this clear in your content.                               impressions. The better your advertising is (the more
                                                               appealing your proposition), the higher your click-
                                                               through rate will be.

                                                               Finally, track your results and make sure reports are
                                                               delivered on your performance. This way, you can
                                                               make adjustments while your advertising is still live
                                                               and improve your results.

8. Direct mail

Direct mail is an effective way to get a                     Make your direct mail effective
message across to your current clients                       Once you’ve identified your objectives, make sure that
and target market, especially if they don’t                  your communication is relevant each kind of target market:
use email regularly.
                                                             1   Existing customers are people who already
Be clear                                                         have a business relationship with you. They’re
                                                                 the most likely segment to respond favourably
Make sure that any direct mail clearly communicates
                                                                 to your mailing.
your message/offering. It’s important to ‘signpost’
what you’d like people to do when they’ve read your
message; for example, complete an application form
                                                             2   Prospects are clients who have had previous
                                                                 contact with you, but have not yet established
or make an appointment.                                          an ongoing client relationship. This is your first
                                                                 chance to make a professional impression – so
Be objective
                                                                 it’s vital to choose the right message and tone
It is important that you don’t waste a lot of time,              for your campaign.
effort and money writing to people who won’t
respond to your mailing. The more time you spend             3   Cold lists comprise people with whom you have
identifying likely respondents, the more successful              had no contact, but who could be interested in
and economical your campaign will be. You’ll probably            what you are offering. You can buy or rent these
have access to four distinct target markets: existing            lists from brokers such as:
customers, prospects, dormant customers and
‘cold contacts’.


                                                                 List Broker

                                                                 Business Lists UK

                                                             4   Lapsed customers are those dormant
                                                                 customers who haven’t given you any
                                                                 business recently.

Get advice and help from the professionals. The Royal Mail (
will give you information on bulk mailings and the cost of different sized packages.
If you are considering a significant campaign, it may also be worth talking to a
specialised advertising agency.

9. Press advertising

Local press advertising can be very                         Last-minute deals
effective. To make the greatest impact                      You may be contacted by a publication with what
in your local area, you should run your                     appears to be a great value, last-minute deal. But
advertising campaign over several                           before you accept, take time to consider the following:

weeks and build a regular presence                          • Does it fit with your campaign plan?
in the publication.                                         • What position in the publication is the space
                                                              being offered?
Check your campaign basics
• Research the publications in your local area              • Do you have another ad running in the
  – including local free newspapers or those that             same paper?
  are paid for                                              • Are your competitors also advertising?
• Consider each publication in terms of content             • Would another publication be more effective?
  – is it a suitable medium for a financial services
                                                            • Are you in a position to handle the response?

• Consider your target market – which
  publications are they likely to read?

• Cost – standard advertising rates are provided
  on a rate card in the publication’s Media Pack.
  Negotiate a discount if you can, especially if you
  intend to run the same ad over several weeks.

You have about three seconds to attract your readers’ attention in
a print publication. So make your advertisement stands out, and is
uncluttered by too many messages.

10. Public relations

Public relations (PR) is another                                   Successful press releases include:
very effective medium for marketing                                • WHO or what is the story about? Give the essence
your business.                                                       of the story in a short, snappy headline that will
                                                                     attract the readers’ (and editor’s) attention
Your best chance of securing coverage is to pro-
actively target media who have an article or                       • WHAT has happened? Summarise the story in the
programme about financial planning. Providing you                    first paragraph; write in short sentences and
are confident of your knowledge, position yourself as                paragraphs – and makes sure that any information
one of the experts quoted or interviewed for the piece.              included is 100% correct. Quotes from you, a
It will help if you can build a relationship with the                colleague or a client (with their permission) bring
journalist in advance; they will usually appreciate                  the article to life and help establish your name as
having a reliable source on tap for their publication.               an authoritative view

                                                                   • WHY has this occurred, WHERE is this happening
Press releases and editorials
                                                                     and WHEN?
A press release needs to be relevant and to the point,
whereas an editorial article is more general. Journalists          • HOW to get in contact with you. Always include
often use press releases as a basis for their own                    contact names and numbers.
articles, whereas an editorial article will be published           Finally, make it easy for an editor to choose your press
word for word.                                                     release as the basis for a story rather than someone
                                                                   else’s – double space your copy, and keep it short
Tips on writing a press release
                                                                   (ideally less than one side of A4).
Newspaper offices receive hundreds of press
releases. To be successful, yours must be                          Monitoring success
professionally presented, contain news or a hook that              Once you have sent your press release to a journalist,
will get the editor’s (and readers’) interest – and be             follow up to see if it has been received and is of
written in a style that lends itself to the publication.           interest. If it is not used, find out why.
Follow a consistent format as you put your press
releases together, and send them regularly to
                                                                   Other PR opportunities
publications that interest your target market. Once you            Networking and attending community or sector
have sent your press release to a journalist, follow up            events can build awareness and lead to further
to see if it has been received and is of interest. If it is        editorial coverage. So it is worthwhile considering
not used, find out why.                                            the following:

                                                                   • Speaking opportunities at dinners,
                                                                     seminars, conferences

                                                                   • Sponsorship opportunities at local charities,
                                                                     sporting/cultural events

                                                                   • Developing relationships with the local community
                                                                     (schools, colleges, businesses, professional
                                                                     bodies, etc)

                                                                   • Joining local organisations to which your best
                                                                     business prospects belong, such as local business
                                                                     groups (eg the Chamber of Commerce), charity
                                                                     groups, the golf club etc.

11. Seminars

This can be one of the most effective ways                       • Why will this group of people come?
to win new clients, although it can also be                      • How can I emphasise my unique selling points?
one of the most difficult to get right.                          • Will I use humour, facts, or presentation aids?
If you’ve identified your target market, there are plenty
                                                                 • Do I need an outside speaker for added kudos?
of opportunities to meet potential clients in a seminar
or event’ environment. But your approach will be                 • Will I need to do different seminars for different
different, depending on whether you want to target                 target markets?
individuals or corporate clients.                                • What is my budget for venue and promotion?
For individual clients try offering your services                • Do I need to develop a campaign to generate
as a speaker at:                                                   awareness – if so, what is it?
• Local community gatherings
                                                                 Creating the right first impression
• Local clubs and organisations
                                                                 This is usually done in the first few seconds of meeting
• Organising a local seminar.                                    someone. Remember that the person you are talking
                                                                 to probably already has their business with someone
For corporate clients try promoting your services by:
                                                                 else. So whenever you consider face-to-face
• Organising seminars                                            marketing, in an event or seminar location, remember
• Arranging workshops                                            to look smart, confident, relaxed, approachable and
                                                                 friendly at all times.
• Holding business breakfasts

• Specialist members’ clubs.

In each situation, you’ll need to think about the people
you want to attract – and what will make the event a
rewarding experiences for them. Consider the venue,
the facilities, and ask yourself:

12. Useful references

When you start building your marketing                              Mailing Preference Service (MPS)
activities, it’s useful to be aware of certain            
data protection rules and advertising                               Lists addresses for those consumers who wish to limit
regulations. Here are some addresses                                or increase the amount of direct mail they receive. The
you may find useful:                                                MPS has an up-to-date consumer file, which licensed
                                                                    direct mail users can use to clean their own lists.
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)                                                      Royal Mail
The Advertising Standards Authority is an independent
body set up by the advertising industry to police                   For a more detailed explanation of planning your
the rules for non-broadcast advertisements, sales                   direct mail activity, the Royal Mail provides valuable
promotions and direct marketing that are laid down                  information on the format and costs of running
in the CAP Code.                                                    direct mail campaigns.

Data Protection                                                     Telephone Preference Service (TPS)                                            

For legal issues relating to the use and storage                    Lists telephone numbers of those consumers who do
of an individual’s data.                                            not wish to receive unsolicited calls at home. You can
                                                                    cross-reference your list with the TPS list to check
Direct Marketing Association (DMA)                                  whether they have registered with the TPS to prevent                                                      unsolicited calls. This will also help to ensure that any
                                                                    consumers you do call are more likely to be receptive
Europe’s largest trade association in the marketing
                                                                    towards you. TPS applies only to calls made to their
and communications sector, it aims to protect the
                                                                    homes from companies with whom the consumer has
UK direct marketing industry from legislative threats
                                                                    no relationship.
and to promote its ongoing development.

Financial Services Authority (FSA)

The FSA is an independent body that regulates the
financial services industry in the UK. It expects firms
and individuals to maintain particular standards set by
it. It monitors how far firms and individuals are meeting
these standards. Where serious problems arise it
investigates and, if appropriate, disciplines or
prosecutes those responsible for conducting financial
business outside the rules.

1 [IFA postal survey 2008.ppt] IFA Research 5 June 2008 (ref: c3655), Andy Glazier
2 [IFA postal survey 2008.ppt] IFA Research 5 June 2008 (ref: c3655), Andy Glazier
4 [IFA postal survey 2008.ppt] IFA Research 5 June 2008 (ref: c3655), Andy Glazier


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