The Big Marketing Mistake

Amar Pandit , CFA , CFP

Amar Pandit

A respected entrepreneur with 25+ years of Experience, Amar Pandit is the Founder of several companies that are making a Happy difference in the lives of people. He is currently the Founder of Happyness Factory, a world-class online investment & goal-based financial planning platform through which he aims to help every Indian family save and invest wisely. He is very passionate about spreading financial literacy and is the author of 4 bestselling books (+ 2 more to release in 2020), 8 Sketch Books, Board Game and 700 + columns.

“I like this website. I want a similar one made,” said Rahul to his website developer Ashish. Rahul, a financial planner from Gujarat, had seen a fellow professional’s website during a presentation. He loved the website so much that he decided to get a similar one for himself. Thus, he reached out to Ashish (who had developed the website Rahul was mesmerized with). Rahul thought he had cracked the formula for his own website. Ashish went ahead and created an almost similar website. He changed a few colours here and there. He rearranged the menu bar. He copied a lot of content too. But in his enthusiasm, Ashish forgot to even change (in many places) the name of the company he was copying from. Forget Ashish, even Rahul had not read his own newly created website for such errors, quality, and effectiveness, until I brought this to his notice one day. This brings me to the topic I cover today – the one critical mistake that many financial professionals commit.

What do you think Rahul’s mistake is?

Hint – It’s not about the correct company name on the website or about the quality or that he should have even read his website completely.

It’s about trying to be like someone who he thinks is successful. Following someone else’s model of success in marketing is simply a recipe for failure (not to mention mediocrity). We all know that it is super-efficient and effective to do something that has already worked for other people. While this might be true in operations and other areas of the business, it’s one of the costliest mistakes in marketing.

A key goal of marketing is to create an emotional connection between you and your prospective ideal clients.

The important words here are between you and your prospective ideal clients (your audience).

For this connection to happen, you have to answer these questions:

1. Who are you?

2. Who is your prospective ideal client?

3. What are the problems you are solving for this prospective ideal client?

4. How are you different and better than all the other solutions if any for your audience?

5. Where are you likely to find these people? What do they read? What associations are they a part of?

And many other questions.

When someone lands on your website, the amount of time you have, to capture their attention is less than 15 seconds. We are living in a world where a person’s attention is the most sought-after commodity. This is the space you have to market in, and it’s a challenge. And it’s no small feat.

Take a look at this website. This is a website by a Financial Advisor in the US, Adam F. Cmejla, CFP.

Who should you think Adam serves?

His target audience should not have any difficulty figuring out whether he is the best to solve their problems or the other 9 in his town who might be speaking the same language.

Focus on your target audience and make it easy for them to understand who you best serve and that you are the best (and right) one for them. If you are not the right one for them, the prospect should quickly figure that out too and go somewhere else. This protects your most important capital – Time. The time that you can save from this is simply unbelievable. Just imagine you are going to meet a prospective client and invest 4 hours to realize that you are not the right fit for the prospect. What a real waste of time. This is exactly where many financial professionals waste a lot of their time without ever realizing it. This is because they are busy meeting people (and think things are moving and they just need to try hard or get better).

Fortunately, you do not have to market to everyone. In fact, if you try to market to everybody, you’re really marketing to nobody.

Everything about marketing is easier in the context of a niche business. Having a specific group of people with a specific problem you’re trying to solve makes all of this rocket fuel. The best part is that no one is doing something like this so focusing on your niche is one of the best ways to market. It’s not impossible to do it without a niche, but a niche makes your marketing easier.

However, just writing about a specific niche for the sake of sounding different is the worst thing you could do.

Your marketing needs to reflect who you really are, what you believe in, who you best serve and what you do for your audience. There is no one like you. Just like there is no one like me. We are all unique in our own ways. The only person who can be you is you. And the only person who can be me is me.

Stephanie Bogan, an entrepreneur and business coach to financial advisors wrote in her newsletter, “The sweet spot of marketing is the information your audience wants, where they want it, delivered in the way that is most authentically yours. For example, if you know that your audience checks email often, but you don’t like writing, try emailing a quick video message every week. Add captions for those who might watch with their sound turned off.”

If you don’t like doing videos, you don’t have to do it because everyone else is doing it. But if you like doing videos instead of writing, then by all means do so. Don’t simply write because I write (although I am going to get many of you to do so 😊. Do the thing that comes naturally to you. People need to see/hear/read the real you. People need to know about the awesome work you are doing. Your communication will be super impactful only when it comes from your heart (your authentic self) and from all the stories that you would like to share. And not some cookie cutter message that you have received from the free marketing subscription plan you were given.