Current Adelaide time:

Fresh News:

Articles on business communication
As featured at

Marketing on the cheap

by Diana Clement


There are two ways to get good marketing; one involves buckets of money, the other is to Do-It-Yourself.

DIY marketing doesn't even need to be a hard slog - providing you get creative. It's about honing your public image, attracting new business, and growing the profitability of your existing business. Some of the best ever marketing gimmicks don't cost much.

But let's start at the beginning. What is marketing? Definitions of marketing are varied, but generally it's the commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service . Marketing includes advertising, networking, direct mail, public relations and much more.

In the case of Financial Planners the aim of marketing is generally to generate new leads, convert them, and squeeze old and new business for more sales and profit. There is, unfortunately, no one size fits all marketing method. You need to develop strategies for your business that work.

For some, advertising is the main thrust. But this is a scattergun approach, even with a vertical market magazine or radio programme. Instead, low budget, targeted campaigns can be just as or even more successful. If you don't know how to do it, read a few books, trawl the net, attend a seminar or two and you could be an instant expert on the subject.

South African-based Anthony Morris, who was a keynote speaker at the Financial Planners & Insurance Adviser Association conference in Auckland recently, has some pretty nifty marketing tricks up his sleeve when it comes to getting leads.

One of his favourites is to choose your top 50 clients and deliver a birthday cake and 10 business cards to his or her workplace the day before just in case they plan to take their birthday off. The theory is that your client will share the cake with colleagues and with a bit of luck your client will distribute your cards to potential leads - all for the cost of a cake.

Creativity, sometimes cheesy creativity such as this can capture the attention of prospects, and give you a foot in the door.

Why not, for example, contact your local secondary school and offer to assist in personal finance education? Parents might like the idea of meeting with the philanthropic financial planner who is teaching the financial facts of life to their kids. You could even get paid a few bucks to do it at night school.

Money Managers might be one of the biggest Financial Planning networks in NEw Zealand and will spend in excess of $2m this year on marketing, but marketing manager Alasdair Scott started out 20 years ago with a zero budget. Scott became a master of the marketing gimmick and worked hard at becoming a media darling.

Top of his low-budget marketing winners are:

Scott says Money Managers has had some very successful marketing gimmicks that cost virtually nothing. He remembers a particular golf day for clients, that was paid for by a fund management company. Former cricketer Ian Chapple had recently begun working for the fund manager and he was marketing a golf driver at the time. "The fund management company even paid for the golf balls and the prizes," Scott says.



Networking is also a very cost effective method of marketing, says Scott. Early on he hit the speaking tour, becoming a regular at clubs such as Probus, the RSA, and golf clubs. "It doesn't cost you a cent to speak at meetings as you are invited to come along. Sometimes we're even provided with a petrol voucher, which we donated back to the club because it looked good," he said.

When you engage in public speaking for clubs and charities you have the opportunity to develop trusting relationships with potential clients.

Networking is an approach also taken by Cambridge-based Alan Milton of Diversified Investment Strategies. The company gets many of its referrals from accountants and lawyers and the four directors concentrate much of their marketing effort on meeting with these professionals.

As you can imagine, Morris really goes in for the kill with potential clients he meets. He views marketing as a contact sport and doesn't worry if at first potential clients glaze over. That is just the kick off.

Morris recounts one client who he met at a barbecue. The guy brushed off his attempts to discuss financial planning, but Morris gleaned that he had a 4x4 vehicle, the kids played rugby and the name of his wife. He repeatedly telephoned to chat, but not sell service and emailed articles of interest to his target. Morris continues:

"Then just before Christmas I left a message saying: 'trying to keep in contact with you and it would be good to have you has a client. Hope your existing advisor is this good at keeping in contact.'."


Direct mail & newsletters

Producing your own newsletter or direct mailing used to be a laborious and sometimes expensive process. Thanks to the power of the Internet, it can be an easy method of raising your profile with clients and is one that Morris wholeheartedly promotes.


Write articles and get yourself quoted in the press

Writing articles and appearing on radio is one way to increase your credibility. There are lots of magazines and websites screaming out for content and articles. You may not make the columns of the New York Times or Wall Street Journal when you first start out. But the local freebie newspaper may be just as effective if you become their financial expert.

Don't just restrict yourself to newspapers. Money Managers' Scott reckons some of the company's most worthwhile media exposure has been on radio.

Most lifestyle magazines from bridal magazines to fishing ones have regular financial columns and those that are more strapped for cash are unlikely to have the money to pay journalists to write for them. Milton writes regular articles for a golfing magazine. Likewise New Plymouth-based Peter Hensley writes for Investigate magazine.

Don't restrict yourself to print media and radio. Websites need content and many can't afford to pay for it.


The power of technology

Morris—the sort of bloke who could sell bungy jumps to the over 90s—doesn't miss a trick and he's harnessed the power of technology to snare more clients.

Text messages, audio messaging services, email, and more are in his armoury in his quest to keep in touch with clients and potential clients and to maximise their business.

Be smart, says Morris; find out when the client's wedding anniversary is and send him or her a text message the day before to remind them. You'll get brownie points for that. But don't forget to update your database when the client gets divorced or a spouse dies.

Or simply use audio messaging services to leave "soft intro" messages on potential clients' voicemail.


Learn more

Great marketing ideas aren't country specific. So if you're looking for ideas, trawl the Internet or buy Australian, American, South African, New Zealand, European or British books on the subject. It doesn't take more than a few winning ideas to get your marketing on track.


So what does professional PR cost?

Shattock Communications & Research, Money Managers PR agency, says even a small budget PR campaign can be worthwhile.

But over and above media coverage, Shattock believes that referrals and testimonials have the best conversion rates. "The conversion rates on referrals are 90 to 100 per cent," Shattock says. "Yet companies seem insistent on pouring money into advertising and they either can't measure the conversion rates or they aren't so flash."

His company coaches its clients in the art of extracting testimonials. One tip he gives is not to ask for testimonials, but to write "case studies" about the client, which amount to the same thing.

Asked what a low-budget professional PR campaign costs, John Shattock quotes the example of an environmental consultant who launched her new business with a campaign that cost $1,200 a month for several months. Shattock took her message about new local government regulations to the media and she was quoted widely - a much more effective means of getting her message across "than spending twenty five bucks a column centimetre for advertising". The consultant mailed copies of the stories, which showed her to be an expert in her field, to potential clients.


Get creative

We've given you a handful of ideas of how to Do-It-Yourself, but the possibilities are endless if you put a creative hat on. Why not participate at AMP shows with a sure-fire gimmick on your stand or by handing out outrageous gifts? Or you could send clients a post card while on holiday.


Don't waste your leads

Finally, take a tip from Morris and don't waste your leads. Aim to contact them six or eight times.



Reports I have written:

Measuring the impact and ROI of social media
Measuring the impact and ROI of social media - for Ark Group
Making social media work for your business
Making Social Media work for your business - for Ark Group
Social Media: the new business communication landscape
Social Media: The New Business Communication Landscape - for Ark Group
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation
How to get started with podcasting in your organisation - for Melcrum Publishing
How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues
Contributing author to How to use social media to solve critical internal communication issues - for Melcrum Publishing

How to use social media to engage employees
Contributing author to How to use social media to engage employees - for Melcrum Publishing

Contributing author to How to communicate with hard-to-reach employees - for Melcrum Publishing



Have you subscribed to my weekly newsletter yet?

As a subscriber you get kept up-to-date on when new articles are added.

Twitter Mastery for Business - subscribe and it's yours for free!Subscribe now! and receive a free version of my $79 report, Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business.

It's the first in a series of reports I'm writing on how to master the various key elements of social media.

Each report is an-depth, step-by-step process that explains in clear, plain English how to master a particular social media tool and help your business communicate better for better business results.

Each report is easy to read, easy to implement and easy on the pocket -- just $79 per copy.

But as a new subscriber to my blog and newsletter, I'm giving you a copy of the free version of Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business report as a way of saying "thank you" for joining my community.

Please subscribe, then check for the email you will receive from me shortly after, because in the email will be details of how to download the report [1.2mb pdf]

Subscribe now!

Enter your Email

Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

If you would like to use any of the articles on this site that I have personally written (they will either have 'By Lee Hopkins' on them, or nothing at all) please feel free to do so as long as you include the following 'resource box' text and a link back to

"Lee Hopkins the author of over 130 articles on business communication, and is recognised world-wide as one of Australia's leading experts in online business communication, including Social Media or Web2.0 as it's also known.

To connect with him, please email him at Lee at

Visit his site at to find many more articles on business communication. He also blogs at Whilst there, why not pick up a complimentary copy of his 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business', which explains all about this latest seismic change to the business communication landscape!" Platinum AuthorCreative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Finally, if this site or any of the articles have been of any help to you, perhaps you'd like to say 'thank you' by throwing a few pennies my way. If so, please click on the button below and donate whatever you feel is appropriate. The payment is handled by PayPal and is extremely secure. Thanks.




Follow me on TwitterFollow me on FacebookFollow me on LinkedInFollow me on YouTubeFollow me on Google+


Subscribe to my newsletter now and be the envy of world presidents

Subscribe to my weekly business communication newsletter and receive a FREE version of my highly-regarded report, 'Master the Art and Science of Twitter for Business' (that sells for $79)
Find out more...


Related material :


Better Business Writing course

A 12-step plan to take you from Twitter newbie to Twitter supremo and grow your business in the process.

More details


Better Business Writing

Better Business Writing course

You’ve probably always wanted to improve your writing skills in your workplace, but perhaps there wasn't a training course around to help you.

Well, now there is.

More details

Turn Guesstimates into Estimates & close more sales!

Award-winning ProposalKit gives your clients the detailed price quote and proposal they need so YOU close more sales (and boost your bottom line!) Finally you can quote with accuracy, increasing your profitability and professionalism. ProposalKit is easy, customizable, proven, and downloadable now!

Social Media White Paper
(3rd Edition)

Social Media book for free

Trevor Cook and I wrote a booklet to help our clients and friends come to grips with this new online phenomenon called 'Social Media' or 'Web2.0'. Now in its third edition, it is still being widely cited and is receiving lots of favourable comments.

Download your free copy now (pdf)

Find out more about it (opens new window)

Vodburner rocks!
Vodburner is my tool of choice for recording skype video calls, either for later podcasting or simply for my own record. Now that video is becoming more and more important, I can't imagine online life without it.
More about Vodburner...

What you say about Lee Hopkins:

"One of the best days I've spent with a man! "

"As a speaker, Lee and his alter ego in the guise of avatar 'Lee Laperriere' played a key role in making our virtual event in Second Life a success. Lee was well-researched, engaging and enthusiastic about the possibilities that virtual collaboration brings and his presentation showed that he had really thought about the needs of our audience"

"Wow - what a presentation, it went so well, thank you very much! Fantastic job! "

"Lindy and Lee, you were both brilliant and I'm very thankful and pleased for your efforts, it was excellent. Thank you. "

"One of Australia's leading public relations practitioners in the so-called new media"

"While I only had the pleasure of actually meeting Lee face-to-face several months ago, I have been aware of him in conference programs and through feedback from one of my team members for a while. Lee has an amazing and unique skill for managing the new media to support business outcomes"

"Oz's best social network strategist"

"As for Local Royalty, you really are a Superstar among the bloggers and blogosphere!"

"Lee Hopkins, one of Australia's most respected social media experts"

"Lee was very entertaining and knowledgeable. He demystified social media for me and he made me feel it IS possible."

"His enthusiasm is infectious - exciting stuff!"

"Excellent. A really fascinating insight from an engaging speaker."

"A very difficult topic but it was explained in a fantastically simple way."

"The Walkleys relies on the good will of Australia’s talented communicators to make events like these happen and I can’t thank you enough for taking time out from your heavy schedule to make the convention such a memorable event."

"The workshop was very useful in that it enabled us to directly relate what we learnt in the seminar to our business. Lee was very easy to relate to and he presented all the information in a way that was simple to understand."

"Informative and engaging - gave good overview of new on-line technologies and how they can be applied to businesses. Particularly valued the opportunity to have a separate session to look at the specific needs and potential uses for my own business."

"Great to talk to someone who is expert in their field and passionate."

"The ability to interact one on one with Lee, as well as seeing new technologies and how they can be easily implemented into current business processes [was great]"

"Great. Lee was very engaging and presented info in easy to understand language and examples. Use of music, video, PowerPoint etc keep contents fun and educational. Great stuff!"

“Great! Even I could understand and appreciate the content. Excellent examples, wonderful presentation. I’m going back to share with my team. Thank you. "

“Lee was a great facilitator and his energy and passion for social media was evident."

“Excellent, enthusiastic presenter who is right into what he is talking about. Walking the talk. Just the right amount of info about the different topics. Not too geeky. Strong emphasis on how the tools can assist effective business communication. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. The workshop opened lots of doors, stimulating. I’m strongly encouraged to try things out. Many thanks.”

“Lee was great – knowledgeable, enthusiastic, generous in sharing his expertise. I liked the demonstrations."

"Great Workshop... helped me crystalise my thoughts on social media and now I feel ready to develop the strategy and make use of this great new medium"

Would you like me to run a workshop in-house for YOUR company?

Contact me to discuss how we can bring your company into this new and exciting communication universe.

View many of the presentations I have given over at Slideshare

View leehopkins's profile on slideshare

Why does employee communication matter?

Why does employee communication matter?

Download a presentation I gave to a group of PR students on slideshare

For your consideration:


Your special audio report on VOIP is here!

Free VOIP report





Your special audio report on website design is here!

Free Website design report




"I communicate therefore I am"
CommsCafe mug
Available in medium and large mug sizes. You KNOW you want one!



CommsCafe mug

Available in men's and women's fittings. You KNOW you want one!

Writing for a web audience

Netwriting Masters CourseWant to write more powerfully for a web audience?...
Right-click on this image and download the pdf file to your computer's hard drive.
"The definitive guide to writing for the web"
says Lee