That is according to intermediaries, who have warned that marketing can easily become a ‘black hole’ into which money disappears with little tangible benefit if no clear plan is in place.
The issue of how brokers present themselves in marketing has been a hot discussion topic, after it emerged that a ‘mortgage kama sutra’ advertising campaign from online broker Habito had provoked complaints, though it was cleared by the Advertising Standards Authority of being inappropriate or offensive.
And in a contribution for Mortgage Solutions, Richard McDonald, marketing manager at Lloyds Banking Group, also explained that an effective marketing strategy does not have to be expensive.
So how do brokers get their marketing plan in place? And what budget-friendly options are open to them?
Demonstrate what we do
James McGregor, director at Mesa Financial Consultants, said he has been vocal in the past about how poor the broker industry is at marketing, noting that it was a big issue that it can be very hard to demonstrate to the general public what advisers actually do.
He added that getting started with marketing can be particularly difficult for new entrants, who have no cash to spare.
“You won’t physically see money for six months if you set up your own firm. Then you will be playing catch up for a long time,” he said.
Why should people use you?
Stuart Powell, managing director of Ocean Mortgages, said that it was crucial that any marketing be authentic and demonstrate the real you, as “people buy from people”.
He added that it is vital to work out a clear message about why people should choose you over your competitors.
“Client reviews are essential so join a company like VouchedFor and ask for a client review every time. By doing this, you will get leads, appear towards the top of Google searches, and have marketing materials you can use from their site,” he continued.
Paul Flavin, managing director of mortgages.online, said marketing can be a “black hole that you throw money into” which leaves you wondering if you can ever justify the amount spent.
He agreed it was key that brokers demonstrate how they are offering something different to their competitors
Flavin added: “Don’t overthink your new company name – the only people it really matters to are you and your mum. Ideally the name should convey something about what you do, but it’s more about the tone and the way you present yourself that attracts like-minded clients.”
Flavin also said that the “dreaded reviews” will help you drive home your message.
“People may be attracted to what you are offering and the way you are presenting your business, but they also need that reassurance from others that this is a tried and tested path, and that you deliver on your promises.”
Build your network
McGregor emphasised that brokers starting out should lean on their existing networks, looking to build a significant number and variety of introducers.
He explained his firm does this by showing how they can add value to them, rather than simply asking them for business.
“Work out angles how you can be valuable for accountants, solicitors, estate agents and bankers, as there are numerous ways to do this,” he continued.
“Then once you have enough cash in the bank you can decide whether you want to jump in to the pitfalls of paid marketing – it can be costly but very rewarding.”
Looking for likes
McGregor argued that tapping into social media was a cost-effective way of sharing stories and gaining exposure, which can make a real difference to your profile.
Powell also vouched for the value in being active on social media, noting that LinkedIn can prove useful for building connections with other businesses and for seeing how more established brands have developed their profile.
He added: “Talk to a couple of experts about Facebook ads. These can be marketing campaigns specifically for the niche you want to aim for and can be delivered for as little as £20 per day.”
Understand your market
Flavin said that leads are king for brokers, and the way to generate them is to play to your strengths as an adviser.
“If you feel that face-to-face is your strength then you need introducers such as estate agents or solicitors. If it’s internet or telephone-based then you either have to enter the world of ‘pay per click’ or find a good quality lead source ‒ yes, they do exist.
“Know your market and sell to like-minded people.”