Starting a new brokerage in the highly competitive world of retail FX is a challenging task. The likes of the IG Group have whopping marketing and advertising budgets in the tens of millions of pounds, and deploy considerable resources to maintain their position as the UK’s number 1 with a 30% market share. So how does a new entrant with limited marketing spend and resources hope to compete?
Assuming you’ve done your homework, identified a viable segment of the market, understand your target audience, taken a good, hard look at the competition, have a decent business and marketing plan, the right platform and IT support, and a realistic budget based on your objectives, then all’s good. In reality, it’s unlikely that you’ll be going head-to-head with any of the top ten brokers who collectively have an 85% share of the world FX market. However, you’ll want to keep a handle on your operating costs and get as much out of your marketing for as little as possible. Today there are numerous marketing applications available that can give your fledgling business a much needed boost without costing a fortune and in many cases for free.
Before you open your doors for business you’ll probably need some basic word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools. Certainly you could spend around £100 per licence for Microsoft Office or go for Office365 Enterprise, where you pay a small-ish monthly subscription fee. The upside of Office365 Enterprise is you get a lot of stuff for your money, centralised admin control and compliance assistance, for example. Alternatively, Apache OpenOffice is a suite of applications that includes Writer (Word), Calc (Excel), Impress (PowerPoint) and Draw (Paint). You’ll find that Apache OpenOffice can handle all popular file formats including Microsoft. You can customise the applications should you choose to do so, and it’s completely free. It might be that you’ll want to go the whole nine yards and adopt a free Linux operating system (OS) for desktop such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint.
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The powerhouse that is Google offers a wide range of free apps for individuals and very cheap enterprise solutions starting at around $5 USD per user per month. The Google suite offers email, cloud storage, video and business calls, integrated calendar, company intranet, document creation and collaboration, central admin and secure archiving. Of course, you can use Google’s YouTube platform to upload, share and promote your video content. You can also use targeted YouTube advertising, where you only pay for what people watch. YouTube lets you segment your target audience and provides free analytics. Produce sufficiently engaging, informative and fun video content, and you won’t have to pay anything to build a loyal audience of subscribers. What’s more, if you produce original content then you can earn additional revenue by joining the YouTube Partner Programme, and let other companies place their ads on and around your content.
The success or failure of any FX brokerage depends on attracting and retaining customers, and encouraging those customers to trade regularly. The job of marketing is to make your target customers aware of your existence; establish why your brokerage is any better or different than the next guy; and encourage them to open an account, fund and actually start trading. Getting your prospects to the point of decision or conversion can be a costly and time-consuming process. Fortunately there are free and low-cost marketing applications to help you.
Your marketing communications plan will probably include a variety of media. The aim of your marketing messages is to move your prospects from awareness and interest to preference and decision. The marketing tools at your disposal will include email, web, PPC (pay per click), social, events, sponsorship and mobile. You might also opt for broadcast media. There are several good books on guerrilla marketing and how to apply a little creativity to your plan, such as Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin. We haven’t got time to cover all the options available to you, so we’ll stick to just four.