Published: 30 May, 2024

Unlock Rapid Growth: 6 Marketing Strategies to Attract and Retain AuM pen_spark

Everybody likes a quick win – both in life and business.

And although a lot of fund marketing is about long-term goals and focus, there are also quick wins in our sector that can have a speedy and significant impact if you approach them correctly.

This is what this ProFundCom white paper is all about – the quick wins that can help your business now and give you a boost in the months ahead.

We are going to cover:

  • Campaign analytics
  • Data aggregation
  • Align with your sales team
  • Integrated platforms
  • Content creation strategies
  • Marketing automations

After twenty years of helping clients with digital marketing, I’ve seen the dramatic effect these techniques can have when used properly.

Let’s start with campaign analytics – as this is the cornerstone of so much else in the fund marketing world.

Quick Win 1 – Analyse Your Campaigns

One of the big problems that comes when you try to analyse marketing campaigns is that there’s lots of ‘noise’ surrounding them. By that, I mean all the different metrics that are constantly being created and updated and are begging for your attention – such as click rates, open rates, social likes, unsubscribes etc.

These are all important and need to be looked at and considered. But you must keep this question at the back of your mind:

Is this telling me anything useful?

Take email open rates, for example. That is what I call a ‘1998 statistic’, as it’s the type of metric that people used to sweat over 25 years ago, when analysis was in its infancy. Back then, your open rate was one of the only things you could measure in an email campaign. So, people spent a lot of time and effort examining and drawing conclusions from open rates – as they had no other means of measurement and analysis.

But times have changed massively and very much for the better when it comes to analysis. Now, you have the power to look beyond these bald statistics into something more nuanced and relevant to what you want to achieve. For example, if you take email, then these are some of the questions that campaign analytics can help you to answer:

  • Is my distribution list growing?
  • What is the quality of the people on the list?
  • Are my emails convincing people to act?
  • Are people getting tired of our emails?

The answers to these questions can help you guide your marketing campaigns and produce more stuff that people want to say – and less of what they don’t. And they can all be revealed by taking a closer look at basic statistics.

Tracking your distribution growth, for example, is simply a case of looking at stats over time to see how you’re doing. But, of course, growth is not the only thing you have to worry about in this regard – as you also need to look at the quality of the people on your list. Are they engaging and interacting with your content? It’s easy to find out – you just need to dive in and look at the stats. That enables you to do a bit of list cleaning by taking out subscribers who aren’t engaging. So, if you find contacts who haven’t looked at, or interacted with, anything you’ve produced in the last year or so, then it’s a fair bet they never will be interested – so you can remove them from your list.

Also, if bounce rates reveal that some addresses aren’t receiving your messages, then remove them – as those people have obviously left their roles.

And when it comes to the quality of your actual content, analysis will also help you with this. For example, with a new email campaign, you can take two simple stats – open rate and click-through rate – to reveal the quality of what you’re doing. The open rate on its own doesn’t reveal that much, as people may be opening the email on the strength of a good subject line. But if you see low click rates then it suggests that the actual content of the email is falling flat, which could also push up unsubscribes. What you want to see is high open rates combined with high click rates, as that shows you that you’re onto something and that this campaign is working well.

But what is the best way to track all these statistics?

When it comes to tracking, most people turn to Excel. They take data from across email, LinkedIn, Twitter etc and put it into a chart. This works, but the problem is it’s both tedious and time-consuming if you’re doing it manually. And it’s difficult to maintain the discipline to do this regularly and make sure everything is up to date.

This is where tech is your friend. A platform like ProFundCom will analyse all your content campaigns and show you, in real time, what’s working and what isn’t. (Other platforms are available, of course, but ProFundCom is the only one that focuses exclusively on the fund sector.)

Basically, it does the work for you – leaving your marketing team free to do something more productive than simply trawling through data and putting stats into spreadsheets.

What’s more, ProFundCom can take raw data from across multiple campaigns – email, LinkedIn, Twitter, event attendance etc – and aggregate it. And this brings us neatly on to our next quick win…

Quick Win 2 – Data Aggregation

By data aggregation I mean combining all your marketing and sales analytics from across your organisation.

Why is this so important?

Because it can give you a single view of all an investor’s or prospect’s activity – across social, email, web, investor portal, and events.

One big benefit of this is that it makes the most of your CRM – it uses it to the max and gives you a reward for all the investment, both in terms of time and money, that you’ve put into it.

How do you aggregate your data in this way? One route is through programming – but that’s the technical method and, while it’s undoubtedly effective if done properly, it is certainly not a quick win. It requires time, a lot of technical expertise, and money.

Instead, the quicker and easier way to do it is through APIs (application programming interfaces), which move data through your organisation – from channels such as email, web and social – and into the CRM. The simplest way to do this is by using a tool called Zapier, which allows you to build a series of ‘zaps’, which are effectively automations. It’s a sort of digital glue that sticks various systems together.

It does take a bit of knowledge and technical ability to do this properly. You need to understand the various inputs and outputs you want the system to generate. For example, you need to know what you want coming in and then where that information is going – Google Sheets, Excel etc. So, a little bit of programming expertise is required, but there are loads of training videos on YouTube and Zapier has excellent support. So, with a bit of hard work, this is pretty quick to do.

One way this helps is that you can compare and contrast everything that’s going on across your company. You can see where there’s growth and where there’s decline. You may see that email is going up in terms of engagement and readership, whereas social media interaction is going down. You can also look at things on a geographical basis, to find out what is resonating most in different territories, which can often turn up surprising and interesting results.

Just because something is going well in the US, say, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s translating into European success. Knowing what’s working where allows you to vary your marketing tactics and strategy according to geographical preferences – rather than having a ‘one size fits all’ approach, where you send everything out to everyone.  This is something we track ourselves at ProFundCom and it often results in a focus switch. For example, a couple of years back our geographical analysis revealed a growing amount of traction from people in south-east Asia – Hong Kong, Singapore, and even Vietnam – whereas our key territories had always been North America and Western Europe. This suggested we had a ready market in those countries, so we created some campaigns specifically aimed at prospects in those areas – and we built valuable leads in south-east Asia as a result.

Not only does data aggregation allow you to double down on what you’re doing well and bolster what’s going badly, but it also allows you to give immediate insights to anyone asking about marketing performance. So, when the CEO is asking how you’re doing – and undoubtedly wondering about ROI – then you can show them quickly and easily. If you can’t do that, as you don’t have the stats at your fingertips, then you sow doubt and mistrust. And that means your pay negotiations and budget discussions are only going to end badly, as you’re unable to prove your worth.

Perhaps the most important benefit of aggregating your data is that you can pop it all into your CRM and show the sales team everything a prospect or investor has been engaging and interacting with. So, before a rep speaks to someone they can see a complete history of that person’s engagements with your firm across all channels and scenarios – the social posts they’ve commented on, the emails they’ve opened, the fact sheets they’ve downloaded, and the events they’ve attended.

This is incredibly important and powerful information, as it can guide a sales conversation and give the person on the other end the confidence of knowing they are dealing with a firm that understands and values them. That will have a direct and demonstrable result in terms of increased assets under management.

And the subject of sales and marketing interaction leads us directly onto the next quick win.

Quick Win 3 – Align With Your Sales Team

Everyone loves the sales team – especially the C-suite – as they are the rainmakers who bring in the money. The fact that it’s the marketing team that put in the hard yards to make this happen is all too often overlooked.

But it’s your job to make the link between marketing and sales more obvious and tangible. And the closer you can align yourself to your sales team, the better.

How do you do that?

Partly this is a case of improving the interaction between the two departments. All too often they operate as separate silos within a firm. Both teams are working to achieve the same thing, but have a different stake in the process. So, arguments start – such as who gets credit for a sale, the quality of leads, how leads are distributed etc. A relatively quick and easy way to solve this is for people from sales to come on board with marketing for a period, and vice versa. When marketing sees and understands AuM and asset allocation at the sales end, and when sales gets an insight into branding, demand generation, and content creation, it’s easier for both teams to communicate – as they’ve had direct experience of what the other is up against.

But also, you need to deliver actionable insights to the sales team by making marketing data easy to digest. For example, it should be a simple process to identify prospects within a particular territory who are interested in a certain fund. Marketing can make that happen for sales, with a little bit of help from tech. You can do it through Power BI – Microsoft’s business analytics tool, which is relatively inexpensive and available as part of Microsoft 365. It’s a nice piece of software, as it’s good for making easily understandable graphical representations of important data sets. Once again, YouTube is a fountain of knowledge on how to use it, but you can also hire someone on outsourcing sites like Fiverr and Upwork to do it for you.

But, useful as this sort of thing is, the most precious thing you can deliver to your sales team is a deep analysis of all available campaign analytics to reveal the prospects and investors within the CRM who either represent a sales opportunity or a redemption risk.

These people can be categorised in four main types:

  • Low hanging fruit – prospects who are actively engaged with your fund, so are downloading videos opening attachments etc, but nobody in sales has yet spoken to them.
  • Cross-selling opportunities – existing clients who are looking at funds they are not currently invested in
  • Redemption risks – existing investors who have stopped looking at your marketing material, which suggests a redemption may be imminent
  • Marketing alpha – this refers to the prospects who have been dormant for months but are now engaging with the information you’re sending out again.

Start to deliver this type of information and your sales team will love you for it. Not only do they have a source of red-hot leads at their fingertips, but – if you follow the advice on aggregating data from the previous section – they can prepare for a call by looking at all the things that person is interested in, as you’ll have it collated and available in an easily digestible format within your CRM.

So, this will do wonders for interdepartmental relations. But it also strengthens the position of the marketing team, as it enables you to draw a direct line from successful sales conversations – of which there will be many on the back of this – to the marketing activity that started the whole process.  Because, let’s not forget, when the going gets tough economically it’s often marketing that gets going out of the door, as it is still a woefully undervalued discipline.

Delivering these sorts of insights to your sales team makes the marketing department indispensable, as it’s clear to anyone just how much value you are bringing as a department.

Quick Win 4 – Invest In An Integrated Platform

Your marketing technology stack is made up of various channels – SEO, social, email, website etc. To an extent, the more channels you have the better, as it increases your brand reach. But this also comes with a problem, as each one needs its own tools, which must be monitored and managed. So, the more bases you’re trying to cover, the more moving parts you have in your stack, which can become confusing and cumbersome.

The way around this is to integrate all these moving parts into your system. But that is a complex task and you risk spending way too much time building out the necessary integrations, which will have a negative knock-on effect on all your other activities. So, unless you have considerable resources at your disposal – and I have yet to come across an over-resourced fund marketing department – you need to find another way to do this.

Thankfully, there is a lovely, easy quick win here – you need to invest in a specialist integrated platform that brings all your data together for you.

ProFundCom is an integrated platform, but others are available, such as  HubSpot. However, please be careful, and do your homework, as many ‘integrated platforms’ are anything but.

In short, integration is vital to ensure your data analysis does the job of boosting and retaining AuM, as it makes everything we’ve already spoken about in this paper so much easier.

Quick Win Five – Get Clever With Your Content

One of the toughest jobs in marketing is to generate a constant supply of leads. But it’s vital, so requires much thought and effort.

In basic terms, you have two ways to bring in leads – through inbound and outbound marketing.

Inbound means encouraging potential and existing investors to engage directly with you, by getting your name and opinions across the fund sector through featuring in industry publications, platforms and panels, producing advertorials and newsletters, making media appearances, and running surveys.

Outbound means deploying your content across various channels where your ideal investors can access your brand narrative. You send out emails, fund updates, webinars, and social media posts, which are distributed to actively attract prospects.

Both are necessary, but inbound is harder, more expensive, and takes more time.

So, you want to be in a position where the majority of leads come through outbound marketing – as that is a case of your potential clients coming to you, rather than the other way around.

The first part of a successful outbound marketing strategy is to create and distribute a lot of content, which can be hard work. But the mistake many fund marketers make is to create the wrong sort of content. This is content that merely seeks to sell, or boast about performance, but which does little to cut through and attract attention and, with it, demand. It soon gets tiresome and people switch off from it.

So, what is the right sort of content?

What you should be creating is thought leadership, which is content that shows you as an expert in your sector. It could be based around market trends, regulatory changes, investment strategies etc – but the key is to show a deep understanding of the industry and its trends. So, the purpose is not to sell, or provide run of the mill market analysis. It’s about provoking thought – by challenging accepted wisdom, making a new and bold point, or taking an existing conversation off in a different direction.

Everyone in fund marketing can do this, as the knowledge is there. But few do it well or regularly, as performance and sales-based content is seen as the ‘safe’ option.

But this misses the point and ignores what clients and prospects want from you. Don’t forget, people have signed up for your list, or downloaded existing content, because they want to hear from you, find out your opinions, and learn from your experience.

If you don’t tap into that, then you are missing a trick.

The beauty of thought leadership content is it builds trust in the mind of the reader, which is vital for any financial institution. When you look at polls of who the people trust least, you normally find that those in marketing and finance come pretty far down the list – normally hovering somewhere between politicians and used car salesmen.

So, as a fund marketer, you face a double-whammy of inherent distrust. People are almost programmed to distrust anything they see as marketing material. And, on top of that, they have little trust in the sector you are trying to market, which is seen as faceless, profit-driven and greedy. And this is a view that has rapidly intensified and spread since 2008.

So, by constantly trying to sell, or bleating about your good performance – while ignoring the bad – you become untrustworthy in the eyes of the reader.

By contrast, demonstrating knowledge and experience of the sector through thought leadership, helps you build trust by showing them that you are a capable guardian of their money.

Another benefit is that, because thought leadership content is more engaging and interesting, it is far more likely to be shared than other marketing material.

Admittedly, producing good thought leadership content requires time and effort, but there are two things you can do that turn this into a real quick win.

Firstly, it’s making all the content you’ve produced available on your website in some form, e.g. videos and articles. This ensures you get a second bite at the cherry with each piece of content, as not only do people consume it in its first iteration – through email, social, or as a webinar etc – it now continues to work for you as long as it’s up on your site. So, people will start to seek out your website, as it will become recognised as a source of investment advice. And then – by consuming content – they’ll leave engagement data that can be fed into your CRM, lead scoring systems, automations, and reporting tools.

The second part of the quick win is that you can take each piece of content you produce – and split it into smaller parts. For instance, you do a webinar, which you record and upload for people to watch at any time on your site. You also have it written up as a white paper, then break that piece up into articles, which can also be sent out as emails. These can be broken down once more into LinkedIn posts, then boiled down further into tweets.

When you use this method, you get so much more value from each piece of content – potentially deriving hundreds of smaller pieces from something like a digital event. This ensures you get huge value from your content creation process. And it also means you reach a much wider audience than if you just concentrated on one piece and format and left it at that.

Quick Win Six – Introduce Automations

Automations are one of the marketer’s best friends, as you can set them up and running, then sit back and view the results. Here are some of the best and easiest automations to add into your system:

The remail

You send an email, then – after seven days – resend the message to everyone who either didn’t open the email, or opened it but didn’t click on any links. Seven days later you do it again.

That is so easy, but our clients tell us this is the most powerful marketing automation they use.

The A/B split test

Before you send out an email, do two versions of either the subject line or the content (not both, or you won’t know what’s making the difference) – so you have an A version and a B version. Then send it out to 10% of the people on your list, with half getting A and half getting B. Then you wait a day or so and see which one recorded the most engagement. Then you send out the winner to the rest of your list.

The nurture campaign

When someone downloads something from your website, or registers for an event they invariably leave their details and give you permission to contact them. So, you should take advantage of this through an email nurture campaign. You can set this up so that it starts a certain number of days after you receive their details – say 10 days – then automatically sends out emails at set times after that. These should be designed to introduce your fund, but also to underline your knowledge and experience in the sector so the respondent starts to trust your judgement.

You also need a call to action in each email, such as asking them to set up a call with a manager, or download a factsheet. If the prospect does that, then you take them out of the campaign. But you must have enough emails in the campaign to do the job, as this won’t happen overnight. According to Harvard Business School, it takes 7 to 11 touches before you make a positive impact.

The activation campaign  

This is an automation I designed to activate highly engaged prospects by alerting your sales team. It works through lead scoring, which is a technique that attributes scores to the people on your list that correlate to certain actions. This can work across your whole system. So, for example, visiting your website could get a score of one, commenting on a social post – two, downloading an attachment – three, and visiting the investor portal – four.

All this activity is automatically tracked then – when a prospect hits a certain score – an alert is sent to your CRM, which then sends a note to the sales team to identify that person as a hot lead. If the sales team doesn’t pick up on this after a certain amount of time, the note is automatically resent.

The event attendance optimiser

With this simple automation, you can dramatically increase event attendance – by as much as 30% in my experience.

The first step is to send out an invitation campaign across multiple channels, telling people about your event and asking them to attend. This initial invite is then automatically re-sent to those who didn’t open it in the first place. You also automatically follow up on those who opened an invite but didn’t click on the attendance link and those who clicked on the link, but didn’t register for the event. You have obviously piqued the interest of these people, but for some reason they haven’t registered. But there’s a good chance that your automatically generated reminder will jog their memory and persuade them to attend – as they are clearly interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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