I am often amazed by the number of brokers who pay little or no consideration to how they are getting their name out there to attract potential customers.
It’s easy to understand why they take this approach. When you are busy and business is plentiful it is not surprising that marketing and advertising your service becomes less of a priority. And, for a small firm or one man band especially, finding the time to spend on marketing seems wasteful when that time could be spent writing new business.
However, as we have all learned in the last few years, downturns in business can come from nowhere and they can hit hard. If business levels decline how are you going to attract new clients and let people know about your services if you’re not implementing an effective marketing strategy?
But where do you begin?
Given that we operate in an increasingly digital world the internet is a good place to start. Have a smart, up to date website is essential. Websites have now come down in price considerably and a simple but effective site can be bought for just a couple of hundred pounds. Most people looking for a service start their search online so it’s vital you have a strong digital presence.
Allow customers to leave reviews on your website which will act as a referral to potential new clients.
Depending on your marketing budget consider advertising in local press. Often, in local papers, an advertisement will buy you some editorial space which gives you a chance to demonstrate your expertise. Alternatively you could contact your local press and see if they need any financial experts for their advice pages.
Find out if your community centre hosts any free advice events and offer your services or contact local groups such as the WI and offer to give a talk to its members.
Consider the appearance of your office. If you have a shop window does it adequately portray the services you offer? Does the shop look clean, tidy and attractive?
If you have staff consider asking someone qualified to mystery shop your business and then act upon the findings – if you can utilise the skills of someone with a marketing perspective this could be particularly effective.
Look at all of the ways your customers can contact you and ensure these ‘touchpoints’ are 100% professional. Make sure your stationary and business cards are brand consistent and clearly explain the services you offer.
Use a good CRM system to help you communicate with your customers automatically on important dates i.e. Christmas, birthdays and the anniversary of them moving into their property.
Consider producing a customer newsletter to send out periodically. You can use this to give updates on your business and services as well as information and advice on any market developments that could impact them.
Send out commentary on things like the Budget or the introduction of new FCA rules in order to keep your customers on top of market changes and to demonstrate your knowledge of such subjects.
Above all, take every opportunity to critically look at the way your business is portrayed and take action to make things better in small increments. This avoids the needs for a huge rebrand which, when done in haste, can be haphazard and can have the opposite effect to what you’re trying to achieve.