Our Case Study demonstrates how APM supported J Finance Limited, a financial services company located in Newbury, Berkshire, with their business growth aspirations…
Setting the Scene for Growth
Founded in 2001, J Finance Ltd quickly established itself as an approachable, helpful and proactive financial services company in Newbury.
By 2016, this independent business had earned a great reputation for mortgage, pension, insurance and investment advice and services. They wanted to build on their strong position to grow the business, yet they also needed solutions that would enable the owners to strike a better work-life balance.
Having worked with a business consultant, they were looking for a marketing company to identify opportunities and put the brand in the strongest position to attract new leads. They recognised that Alison Page Marketing provided tailored marketing services that could be a fundamental tool in achieving the desired business growth. We started to work together in January 2017.
Is Current Marketing Activity Working?
Before we start to work on a marketing plan, we need to understand the current marketing activity. J Finance Ltd had been successfully operating for 15 years, so they clearly had some resources in place to promote their services.
In the first meeting with owners Sallie and Jonathan Bright, we discussed their ideal clients and how they were currently targeting them. At that time, the company had a Hibu website and social media profiles and was working with two companies to generate internet leads. They also had established relationships with several local estate agents, who referred clients and were using Zoho CRM to aid communication with prospects and clients.
On the plus side, the estate agent referrals were reaching people at the exact time when financial services were needed. What’s more, the conversion rate on enquiries was around 55% and customer reviews were highly complementary. These suggested that the J Finance team were responsive and personable and, just as importantly, they delivered results.
We could, however, see considerable room for improvement; the website wasn’t responsive nor optimised for SEO and the social profiles were inactive. J Finance also weren’t leveraging their testimonials as well as they could be.
What is the Best Marketing Activity to Support Business Growth?
There were a few further steps before creating a marketing plan. Firstly, we needed to fully understand the client process. This would enable us to identify marketing opportunities that fit into the existing systems. Secondly, we wanted to pinpoint the business goals, to ensure our marketing activity moved J Finance in the right direction.
For this client, success would be measured against the following goals:
- Employing 2 more Financial Advisers by the end of 2017 and another in 2018 to total 8 within the team
- Each Adviser being able to achieve a minimum monthly target
- Each Adviser connects with a new estate agent to increase referrals
- Reaching a specified annual turnover
The owners intended that the growth goals would able them to work from home 2 days per week and open up the option of taking time out of the business. What’s more, any marketing activity had to tie in with the company’s values and build on the strong reputation that they had already established.
Building Strong Foundations for Marketing Success
This client needed a long-term strategy to develop relationships with existing clients and nurture fresh prospects. This required the development of strong foundations that would equip the team to deliver a consistent and professional brand message across all communication.
Our recommended marketing services included but were not limited to the following:
- Establishing brand guidelines to be applied to all marketing material and documentation
- Reviewing and updating existing client communications to ensure consistency
- Creation of branded materials to support the sales team
- Cleansing CRM data to remove duplicate records and ensure correct categorisation
- Introducing a monthly newsletter and sign-up call-to-action
- Developing a new, responsive website that included a resource library of branded documents that advisers could use to inform prospects and clients about key financial decisions
- Installing Trustist to promote customer reviews on the website and social media
- An SEO audit and implementation of activity to boost optimisation, including a monthly blog
- Building up the LinkedIn company profile and encouraging activity from the team, whilst deleting inactive social media profiles
- Building connections by joining the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce and attending local networking groups.
We ensured that any recommendation in our marketing plan complied with Financial Conduct Authority regulations and GDPR.
The activity was phased to keep it manageable and within the allocated monthly marketing budget.
The Impact of Our Marketing Services
A marketing plan can sound impressive, yet it only really counts if it generates tangible results. This means regularly reviewing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor impact.
The company reported that increased lead generation resulted in year-on-year growth from the point we started working with them. By May 2017, they recorded their best month ever, an achievement which has been topped several times since.
By the end of 2018, 3 new qualified financial advisers had joined the team, taking the pressure off the owners. This gave them greater flexibility and improved their work-life balance. Outsourcing marketing activity also supported this goal!
Growth has been achieved without compromising the company’s values. In addition to estate agent referrals, many new leads come from client recommendations and they consistently receive 5-star reviews on Trustist, like these:
5-star service. I cannot recommend J Finance highly enough. Quick, efficient, friendly and helpful on my mortgage application. All the team are OUTSTANDING! I will definitely be using them again and will be telling all my friends and family about this superb company!
Amazing service as always, the second time I have used J Finance for arranging a mortgage application and they couldn’t be more helpful! Would highly recommend for anyone and will definitely use them again in the future.
Feedback on our Marketing Services
Having worked with J Finance Ltd for 5 years, they felt confident about managing their marketing activity in-house from January 2022. We have received great feedback from them over the years including the following testimonial:
Proactive and knowledgeable marketing support. Alison has worked with J Finance for a number of years. She has helped us build and strengthen our brand, as well as helping increase our client base. We started out by producing new branding and corporate material but have also designed and launched a new website as well as producing a monthly newsletter and worked on social media promotion. She is diligent, hardworking and will always help you find the answers to your marketing questions.