What would I want to see?

I’m not a marketer. Nonetheless, I’m helping a portfolio manager with a marketing campaign to attract new clients. This isn’t straightforward, because I don’t have a great deal of experience in marketing. But I know that marketing is the best way to grow a business. The good news, with this campaign, is that it will be paid for with corporate marketing dollars, so even if it brings in a single new client, it will have been a success.

But the question remains in my mind: if I were an individual with adequate net worth and the disposition to hire a professional money manager, what would I want to see? What would cause me to not throw away the mail piece, but open it and read it? What would convince me to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment?

Often, when a person doesn’t know how to succeed, it’s more obvious how to fail. Here are a few things I wouldn’t do. Unaddressed mail; it usually goes straight in the recycle bin without a glance. We have names and addresses, so that’s not a problem. But anything that looks like unaddressed mail would be just as bad: an envelope with a generic brochure within it, a postcard or a form letter. Being young, I probably wouldn’t pick up the phone right away. I’d turn to the internet first, and learn what I could from a website. Not having a website, or having a sparse or amateur-looking website would cause me to hesitate. The last thing I would do is promise a “free report with the five biggest mistakes…” or encourage the reader to “act now, this is a limited time offer.” In fact, that reminds me that exclamation points (!) are out of the question.

So, I’ve started with a much-needed updated to the website. It was acceptable before, but I’ve modernized the look and updated the content. Much of the content comes from account documents (IPS), so there will be consistency in the message. Now people who receive our mailer will have a positive first impression if they turn to the website.

The eventual mailing campaign will provide a subset of the same content, with an invitation to phone us for a 15 minute conversation. It will have a unique layout, not a plain, white letter, but not a generic brochure. I kind of like this trifold. But I think it is important to maintain the personal touch of letter wording.

I start the letter by talking about them, that they are successful (since they’re on our list) and that they probably have better things to do with their time than manage their investments. But since it’s important, I suggest they should hire the best qualified professional they can. Then I introduce our portfolio manager and invite the prospective client to phone us and arrange a short telephone conversation to see if there’s a fit.

It’s low pressure, but I hope the message speaks to the people who receive it. I’d love to see some success, even if the results don’t impact me personally. What would you want to see if a trustworthy investment expert were introducing himself to you? What would make you pick up your phone?

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2 thoughts on “What would I want to see?

  1. Robert – Totally agree with updating the website to make it look more professional and having a low key pitch. But I suspect that’s a personal preference thing.

    I’d also want to know two other things:

    1) What’s this particular managers point of view or strength: active vs. passive? ETF, index, fund or stock?
    2) And I’d probably also want to see a sample of a typical portfolio statement I could expect displaying very clearly the investments, their returns, how they’re doing against their benchmark and most of all how my returns are doing in comparison.

  2. Interesting thoughts. Someone at the office also suggested a Performance page, but we don’t have any performance numbers yet.

    I thought it went without saying that a portfolio manager would use an active approach, but I guess what it comes down to is that clients are paying for the service (either way). I guess what would be helpful is more specifics on portfolio construction (how do we choose which investments to include) and possibly provide a sample.

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