At Sesame Bankhall Group (SBG) we are committed ensuring that all customers have access to the support and quality advice they need, when they need it.
That’s why, when the nationwide lockdown was announced on 23 March, we felt a responsibility to our members, as well as advisers in the wider market, to help them make sense of the changes, and to understand how the effective delivery of financial advice would be affected.
So, at a time when everyone’s inboxes were an explosion of speculation, SBG responded decisively with the launch of our COVID-19 Support Hub on 23 March.
Because our aim is to support all advisers to deliver the best possible service for their customers, we ensured the hub was available to the whole market, not hidden behind password-protected portals. Our aspiration was to give intermediaries a tool that they could refer to daily: something they could keep open in the background and check back for updates regularly. To support this, we introduced a ticker banner with live news updates running across the top of every page.
The hub was split into four sections, based on the themes of questions and support requests we were receiving from advisers:
- Personal wellbeing: providing resources to help people adapt to change
- Financial and business wellbeing: supporting business resilience through the unknown
- Market news: giving easy access to the lender and provider views and updates
- Q&A: making it easy to find answers to questions about SBG services and guidance
The response from advisers was overwhelmingly positive, as we generated over 31,500 page views since launch.
As part of our campaign, we also launched two podcasts in March: The Sesame podcast to our network members, and The Adviser Podcast to our directly authorised audience in Bankhall and PMS. These podcasts have been very well-received by advisers, amassing over 1,100 listeners since launching, and expanding the number of ways our advisers can keep-up with us, in a way that suits them.
As time went on and the first lockdown ended, people were starting to make plans again and we were being asked: what will a post-COVID world look like, and who are the firms who will be successful on the other side?
To answer these questions, we launched our Bounce Back Hub on 5 May, collaborating with advisers, lenders and providers to shape the future that lies ahead, and consider what this will look like in terms of economic, social and regulatory change.
To ensure adviser awareness of the support available, an integrated campaign was launched across a variety of digital channels including email, social media and magazine publications, direct to SBG’s membership and beyond, communicating additions to the hub, new podcast publications, and updated materials. Advisers were highly engaged with email activity and we generated an average click-to-open rate of 23% (dramatically above the industry average of 2.72% according to MailChimp). So while some advisers were happy to read the high-level information communicated directly by email, almost a quarter of readers clicked through to develop their understanding.
This timely, transparent, proactive and empathetic response to such an unprecedented situation to support our market in a meaningful way is why we believe that Sesame Bankhall Group deserves to be awarded Mortgage Introducer’s Marketing Campaign of the Year 2020.