If one of your business clients came to you and asked for help marketing their business you’d probably introduce them to a marketing agency, right?
That’s the logical thing to do of course, because you’re a finance specialist, not a marketer. But the world is changing all the time and we’re all having to evolve and adapt. There are now an increasing number of opportunities for advisers to genuinely help their clients to promote their business, and you don’t need to be a marketing expert to do this.
The dynamics of the emerging peer-to-business lending sector are enabling advisers to proactively offer added value to their business clients (whether retail or business to business) whilst helping them secure competitively priced finance. In the simplest of terms, crowdfunding firms are websites where a community of lenders and borrowers come together to make loans and investments. By putting a business onto a crowdfunding site, an adviser is making the profile of that business accessible to the community who use, or are in any way linked to the platform. That’s because crowdfunders work by promoting a business’ loan application through social media channels to the ‘crowd’ of individual investors all committing small amounts of cash to a secured or unsecured loan.
OK, so putting a business onto a crowdfunding site can create profile and awareness of that brand, but what about results? Good marketing makes a difference to the bottom line, doesn’t it?
Absolutely, and this can go beyond the basic goal of helping get the funding a business requires. Investors who put capital forward will naturally have a vested interest in that business. So, to use a simple example, an investor faced with a choice of local high street cafes for coffee on a Saturday morning will probably choose the one he has invested in, and will also be more likely recommend it to his friends. This example can be applied to web-based businesses too, it’s not just about locality. We all know that no matter how much a firm spends on advertising, the most powerful endorsements are those that come from people we know and trust.
Even those that don’t actually invest will see the business profile, read about its successes and plans for the future and get a feel for the people behind it. It’s a chance for a company to push its brand values to potential customers and apply for finance through a channel that is typically faster and cheaper than banks with a dedicated adviser route that recognises the valuable contribution advisers make in the commercial finance industry.
So I certainly don’t envisage a situation whereby advisers start up their own marketing agencies, but it’s clear this added exposure can enable you to create value for your clients that would otherwise be missed. That’s got to be a positive for all involved.
Julian Wells is head of introducer channel for rebuildingsociety.com