Martin Lewis: Money Saving Expert’s secret to success revealed – ‘It made the difference!’
Martin Lewis spoke about his website’s meteoric rise in a 2015 interview with the Financial Times, in which he revealed why he thinks Money Saving Expert became a go-to source for financial advice. The website has amassed millions of regular visitors, which Mr Lewis credits to the move to take finance journalism and focus it on everyday spending. The journalist has become well-known for advice on how to get good deals on specific products, from credit cards to mortgages and retail items. Another key aspect of the site, as explained in the FT interview, is that all of the research is done by him and his team of journalists.
He also realised that the only thing people want is answers, and that “nobody wants to know about the issues”.
He added: “They want to be told what to do, and I tell them. That’s the difference.”
Another feature of the Money Saving Expert’s success is the personalised advice, with Mr Lewis’s face at the centre of its articles – accompanied by his television appearances.
He said: “Finance is a personal thing and you want to see the whites of someone’s eyes.
“Thankfully, our research shows there are a lot more people who like than dislike me – it’s about an 85/15.”
His research also shows that when his face comes off the site in March, people will still go on visiting, and the site will go on raking in the money.
The business model comprises of no advertising and no subscriptions, all revenue comes from paid-for links.
In the interview, Mr Lewis estimated that he has saved the British public billions thanks to his advice.
In the 12 years prior to 2015 he calculated that he had saved people “tens of billions” of pounds.
Mr Lewis added: “You can argue there’s over £20billion been paid out in PPI and we reckon we’re over 25 percent of that, so there’s five billion to start with.”
In another 2015 interview with the Telegraph, Mr Lewis said his website was the “cleverest thing he has ever done”.
He said: “I spent £80 to set up a website in 2003. It’s called moneysavingexpert.com. It was built by a chap in Uzbekistan, off-the-peg, with forums, and in only two weeks.
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“It was the cleverest thing I did, but I didn’t know it was clever. My friend said it wouldn’t work, he said I needed to have adverts on the website and that ‘no one puts a face on a financial website’.
“I set it up because I thought the information should be out there, not to make money. It was only when the server costs became too expensive that I thought I should look at that.
“In the end, it’s turned £80 into more than nine figures, after tax. You also have to factor in the 90-hour weeks and the huge amounts of stress.
“Now people make the mistake of saying ‘you’re rich now that you’ve sold the website’. But they don’t realise I was lucky, I’d already made a lot before that.”
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