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Tougher business conditions force more IFAs to embrace Net

IFA Life founder Philip Calvert said: “Just two years ago, most IFAs would never have contemplated using social networks as a marketing tool, but now large numbers are embracing the technology. And what’s particularly interesting, is that some of the very latest social media tools such as Twitter are now being adopted by IFAs.”

Calvert, who runs seminars for financial advisers on Internet marketing added that many IFAs were finding trading conditions exceptionally tough.

“We’ve had an usually high number of IFAs calling over the last two weeks asking for ideas on how they can use social networks to promote their services. The common theme among those making inquiries was that business was quiet.”

But new communication skills are needed to avoid making online mistakes.

IFA Life warns that many business users of social networking sites make early mistakes such as over-selling themselves. Many business people are attracted by social networks as a marketing tool because of the high numbers of people who will see them and their ability to improve search-engine rankings, but over-zealous use of these websites can be a big turn-off for other users.

Calvert said: “New users of social networking sites need to take a little time initially to hang back, learn the etiquette and avoid advertising their services too prominently.

“The trick for financial planners using these sites is not to advertise – but to add value by posting regular financial tips, hints, ideas, comments, facts, short articles and Blogs.

"The more you try to sell yourself – the less you’ll actually sell. But if you are seen as someone who is helpful, knowledgeable and a good networker – you will quickly attract people to your profile page or website.”

Calvert reports that where IFAs embrace social networking tools through a pre-planned strategy, they can see an immediate and startling improvement in their overall visibility and in search-engine positioning.

He said: “Those financial planning firms who think that social networking websites are just for kids need to think again. Twitter and Facebook are experiencing growth at a staggering rate – and it’s the business world that’s embracing it most.

“When IFAs include proven social networking tools such as LinkedIn, IFA Life, Twitter, YouTube, Ecademy, Xing and Social Median as part of their marketing plan, they’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to their businesses. If financial advisers ignore these tools, they’ll be left behind online and miss out on huge new business opportunities.”

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  1. Adrian says:

    We have developed an exciting product exclusively for IFAs but have the opposite problem when it comes to raising awareness about ourselves and the product we offer. The product we are marketing is an unregulated investment scheme and we are extremely restricted in terms of how we can market the product as it is only intended for high net worth individuals or sophisticated investors or purchased through an IFA.
    Over many years I have developed extensive experience reaching the general public and generating interest via social networking sites, search engine marketing and web site production. One of the most important things I have learnt is that its definitely not about attracting as many people to your web site as possible, more a case of making sure that the right kind of visitors come. I have known of many companies who have had 10 or 15 times the traffic that my site has had yet only generate 1/10th as many enquiries.
    Effective targeting will yield much better and more profitable results than simply trying to attract the whole world.
    I was also very interested to see in the article above that IFAs are actively trying to improve their search engine rankings and Im curious to know how they are approaching this and what the expectations are in terms of results?
    Knowing what rankings will generate the right business is an art in itself. And even then once you know which terms and phrases will generate the business how do you compete with the really the big players who have more money and more resources to throw at it?
    I have spent some considerable time looking at IFA web sites, common portals and online marketing methods in order to better understand how we can be more effective with our own targeting. Whilst doing this research it occurred to me that many of the IFA sites I saw could be doing much more with their own web pages in order to generate more targeted traffic and interest and needn’t cost an arm and a leg to do and I dont mean complicated databases or Decision trees. Whilst this kind of functionality can add to the overall ‘stickyness’ of the site, Im talking about basic things such as headings, keywords, page layout and frames that enable engines like Google and Yahoo to better understand what the web site is about and rank it accordingly.
    My belief is that the web site should be in order before worrying about sites like Twitter and Facebook.
    For any IFAs interested, I would be more than happy to provide some useful advice on how your web site and online presence could be improved in exchange for some useful ideas and conversation on how we can reach more IFAs interested in the kind of product we offer.
    Contact adrian@buyhotelrooms.com