What financial advice clients REALLY want

So, you’re tasked with marketing your financial advice practice. 

You might be asking yourself questions like: 

  • How do I attract more attention and interest? 
  • Where should I promote my business?
  • What forms of marketing and/or advertising should I use? 

These are all valuable questions to ask when developing strategy, however there are two fundamental questions that need to be answered first:

  1. Who is my ideal client?
  2. What does my Ideal Client really want?

Answer these two questions, and everything else becomes clear. 

In this article you’ll learn: 

Ok, let’s dive in…

Our job as change makers

You might look at your services list and think, “Yeah, I sell financial advice strategies, financing, and retirement planning services”.

And while there’s truth to that, there’s a deeper layer to consider. 

People don’t usually wake up and say, “I really need a retirement financial plan”.

People are driven by deep seated emotional needs. 

For example:

  • The need to be better than their neighbour
  • The longing for approval from their family
  • The fear of shame
  • Etc. 

So a better way of digging into the value that you (or any business) provides, is to think of yourself as a change maker: 

People are looking to: 

  • Get from where they are now… to where they want to be
  • Get from how they feel now (negative)… to how they imagine their ideal life to be (positive)
  • Get from who they are now… to who they want to be
  • And so on

A useful approach to marketing is to simply focus on illuminating the path for them.

Be the one to clearly articulate:

  • You know where they are now (their current state)
  • You understand where they want to go (their ideal state)
  • You have a proven way to get them there (so they can believe in you AND in their own ability to do it)

Often, the the gap between where they are now and where they want to be (and the amount of pain they’re in now, vs how they will feel to overcome that pain) – dictates how emotionally compelling it is – and how much they’re willing to pay to solve the problem or achieve the goal. 

How to map the before and after impact of what you offer

One of the first exercises I learned years ago as a young copywriter, was to map out the different types of benefits a product/service offered to the buyer. 

This is critical to dive into, so that you can ‘speak the same language’ as your ideal clients, and connect with them on an emotionally compelling level…

In other words, speak right to their heart. 

Here are the different types of benefits: 

  • The general benefit: derived from a feature of the product/service
  • The emotional benefit: how that makes them feel
  • The dimensionalised benefit: how that impacts their day-today life
  • The ultimate benefit: how that changes their identity

Notice that each layer gets deeper and deeper into the psyche of a person. 


The Change Grid: the tool I use these days with my clients to map out the ultimate value they provide in their client’s lives. 

Here’s an example: 

  • Feature / product / service: Mortgage refinancing.
  • General benefit: Shave 5+ years off your mortgage by refinancing to the best rate. 
  • Emotional benefit: Feel freer faster and get in control of your mortgage.
  • Dimensionalised benefit: Imagine the day you deposit your very last mortgage payment, and the freedom of those extra 5 years of no payments. What will you do? Overseas holidays, new cars, treat your spouse?
  • Ultimate benefit: Be one of the few savvy homeowners who have paid their home off sooner & owe nothing to the bank!

Now if you compare the following ad headlines, which do you think will get more attention? 

  • Mortgage Refinancing: We’ll Get You the Best Rate, Guaranteed!
  • Consumer Report: 1 Simple Strategy (the Banks DON’T Want You to Know) That Savvy Homeowners Are Using to Slash 5+ Years Off Their Mortgage & Be Freer Faster!

My bet would be on the second one.

Now this ‘Change Makers” approach is all well and good, but it depends on you having a crystal clear understanding of 1 thing…

Your Ideal Client. 

Getting clear on your Ideal Client

So when it comes time to start working on your content marketing strategy, your very first step is to develop a detailed Ideal Client Profile. 

This is important because it allows you to: 

  • Picture an individual person so that you can imagine communicating with them directly (always more powerful AND easy)
  • Plot their demographics, psychographics and interests (key to knowing where to publish and promote your content)
  • Understand their financial beliefs and views (critical to identifying what to communicate to them)
  • Map out their triggers for financial advice (often lifestage related), top goals and challenges
  • Know the language they use (so you can speak to them in a way they already understand and can relate to)
  • Predict their objections to financial advice (so you can handle these effectively) 
  • Get clear on their big reasons why (their dimensionalised and ultimate benefits)
  • Figure out their buying process (and whether there are other stakeholders you need to consider too)
  • Understand their Problem-Solution-Provider awareness level – so you can match your marketing to their current level of awareness

In my course, Content Marketing for Financial Advice, I cover this in detail, and provide a valuable tool tailored specifically for financial advice firms: 

A done-for-you ‘Financial Advice’ Ideal Client Profile template, covering demographics, psychographics, basic financial position, triggers for financial advice, financial goals and challenges, common objections, and much more. It will help you quickly develop your Ideal Client Profile!

The Ideal Client Profile and the Change Grid forms the fundamental first steps for content marketing success, because the best marketing focuses on the customer and how you can help them get what they want.

Research reveals: The factors of trustworthiness in financial services

To close out this article with some hard data, I’ve summed up some important research from Deloitte’s recent study “Restoring trust in financial services in the digital era”. 

Their consumer survey found that: 

  • 32% of customers said their trust in the financial services industry has deteriorated in the last 12 months
  • 25% of customers do not trust the financial services industry, with banking and insurance the least trusted sectors
  • Almost half (47%) of customers do not trust their own financial services provider
  • Nearly a third (30%) of wealth management customers and a quarter of insurance customers intend to switch providers in the next 1-2 years

Amidst these alarming figures, they were able to reveal the top factors driving trust (ranked descending in importance):

The top 3 factors driving trustworthiness: 

  • Systems to protect data and privacy
  • Social and ethical responsibility
  • Putting the customer’s interests first

So what you have above is a must-follow list of factors to convey in your content marketing and website content. 

Alongside this, make sure that you have: 

  • A crystal clear understanding of your ideal Client
  • Their financial dreams and challenges
  • And how your services impact all aspects of their lives

Strategy takeaway:
👉No effective marketing ever happens without a ruthless focus on the customer!

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