Love them or hate them, there’s no denying that Hargreaves Lansdown execute certain things particularly well - and marketing is one of them.
As they play in the professional services niche, and probably target people who could be your clients, it’s worthwhile taking a moment to understand what their marketing does well and how it helps them to be successful. Here are seven points to consider and attempt to replicate - not all of these points require a large marketing budget, or a dedicated in house marketing staff.
- They’re great at content - providing relevant and informed material for their clients, whether that’s in the form of articles, guides and tools, calculators, fund prices or research. This positions them as being knowledgeable or the stockbroker/investment firm of choice, in their case. Consider some of these: ’How we identify active funds with best potential’, ‘10 Most popular ISA funds in July’, ‘20 years on: lessons from the Asian financial crisis’ and so on. In short, they produce material their audience wants to read.
- They’re also excellent at research - compiling best buy lists and expert fund lists. This may be complicated for some firms, particularly with the MiFID II implications on research, but using a third party provider or creating your own research is still a viable option.
- You’ll also find they’re very good at keeping in touch on a regular basis - what’s known as setting up regular ‘touchpoints’ with their audience. If you’re on their mailing list, you’ll get a well-designed, attention-grabbing, informative piece of direct email at least once a fortnight.
- They’re also great at sending timely reminders, prompting people as to what allowances they should be using and when. How many times do clients hear from you per year and is the communication timely in the client’s mind, as well as your own?
- All of this makes it easy for people to get in touch with them. They can just open their email and hit ‘reply’. This keeps dialogue and interaction open and high; even if clients don’t see a physical person, they feel communicated with and looked after.
- They’re also always in the press and media, commenting on topical news events. They can always be relied upon to have a view, which positions them as an authority in the marketplace. It might not be possible for you to appear on the same platforms as Hargreaves - talking to Newsnight or Huw Edwards, but the local press might be an option. Is there a big financial story people local to you really need to know about?
- If you go on to Hargreaves’ website, you’ll find that it’s bold, clear and easy to navigate. Notably, it’s also written from the user’s point of view, not theirs: ‘I want to’, ‘I’m looking for’, ‘Let me…’. A clean website layout and navigation does not need to be expensive. Is yours as easy to use as theirs?
How many of the above pieces of marketing can you realistically do? Maybe it’s only one or two. Or maybe, thinking about it (and with a little help!), you could be doing five or six.
Whatever the answer, looking at the industry ‘big boys’ and seeing which bits of strategy you can learn from is a good approach when it comes to attracting a similar audience. After all, Hargreaves have managed it!