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Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Let the marketing begin!

Well, my financial planning business is now in 'soft launch' mode, with a website, Facebook page, yellow pages entry etc. all 'live'. I delivered an initial batch of ten brochures to a local gated estate (the letterboxes were nearly all marked 'no junk mail', but as I'm not a direct mail company, and the letters were individually addressed, I ignored that - on the other hand, the occupants will probably ignore my letters). It was amazing the amount of time I ended up spending on printing brochures, folding and stapling them, creating a mailing list in excel (by looking up local street addresses on google maps), and then getting the mail-merged envelopes to print out correctly using manual feed (one-at-a-time, or the printer jams). Oh, and I also wasted time creating a mock 'stamp' to print on the envelopes (supposedly this makes them more likely to be opened, rather than going straight into the bin). I'm planning to print and distribute around 50 letters/brochures a week from now on. As there are around 20,000 households in the six local postcode areas, I won't run out of letter boxes any time soon.

I'll print out another 20 envelopes tomorrow and deliver them in the evening, so that they should end up mixed in with the official mail sitting in those letter boxes on Thursday, and hence be more likely to be opened. And hopefully the Easter long weekend might encourage people to read the brochure ('Financial Health Check - 14 questions you should ask yourself'). Whether anybody actually decides to phone me or make an appointment only time will tell. According to general statistics about direct mail campaigns, the response rate is often around 2-3%%, so I'm aiming for a marketing 'funnel' of  around 200 letters/month > 4 -6 responses/month > 1-2 initial (free) meetings booked > ~1 new client per month.

Once I put some finishing touches on the website I'll setup Google and Facebook Ad campaigns to drive targeted (local) traffic to my website. Hopefully that also generates some online bookings.

My uni studies are going OK so far - my GPA for the first two subjects is 6.5/7 (conincidentally exactly the same as I ended up with for my Master of Astronomy degree). I've only enrolled in one subject per semester this year (as I also need to squeeze in the four subjects for the ADFP course I'm enrolled in, and then complete a TASA (Tax Agent Services Act) mandatory course before the end of this year) as I want to keep my GPA above 6.0 so I qualify for the "Dean's List".

If all goes well this year, I'd like to do all the remaining seven subjects next year and finish off the Masters degree, and I also want to get the Financial Adviser exam out of the way next year (the deadline for passing the exam is 1 Jan 2021).

After that I plan on doing the CFP exam in 2021 (I'll receive exemption for CFP 2, 3 and 4 when I complete the Master of Financial Planning degree, therefore I'll only need to complete the subject 'CFP 1' to then be eligible to sit the CFP Certification Assessment), and I'd like to commence a PhD in financial planning once I've completed the Master's degree. We'll see how it all turns out ...

Meanwhile, back to the marketing 'campaign' ;)

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