A Definitive Guide For Financial Advisor Marketing In The 2020s
The world is changing, and so is how financial advisors market their services to individual investors. It should be no surprise that the catalyst for this change is the impact of the Internet. And it is
just beginning to impact the financial service industry significantly.
This quick guide for financial advisor marketing will help you transition to a strategy that will be your firm’s primary source of organic growth for the remainder of this decade.
Regardless of size and brand name awareness, every financial advisor can benefit from this marketing strategy. The sooner you build a presence online, the sooner you will start reaping the rewards of reaching more prospective clients to grow your business. Consider these four axioms:
- Waiting for the telephone to ring is not a marketing strategy
- Marketing is an essential part of building a profitable business
- An effective marketing strategy is critical if you are seeking organic growth
- Organic growth is vital for enhancing the valuation of your business
The content in this guide will help you build a powerful foundation for marketing your financial advice and services to individual investors and their families through 2030.
Not long ago, financial advisors used various outbound marketing strategies to initiate contact with individual investors. The three most frequently used methods were:
- Cold calling
- Direct mail
- COI networking
One reason for their demise was the low productivity of these strategies. As it has been for years, trying to reach a target audience who did not want to be reached was not a good use of the financial advisors’ time. Only the most aggressive salespeople have continued to use these invasive sales tactics.
Various technologies like Caller ID and spam filters have made outbound marketing even less productive. Advisors are lucky if 100 telephone calls produce one real prospect for their services.
Can we say outbound marketing is dead? No, we can’t say that. But, even some of the wirehouses have abandoned boiler room tactics due to the invasive nature and low productivity of these sales tactics.
If outbound marketing is dying or dead, what will take its place?
When we talk to financial advisors about their current marketing strategies, more than 80% say their principal strategy is referrals from:
- Current clients
- Friends and family
- Centers of influence
There is no question that referrals are a financial advisor’s best source of leads for the sale of their advice and services. A referral has a predisposition that the financial advisor is credible and trustworthy. This is a significant competitive advantage.
The quality of the leads is not the issue. The quantity of leads that are produced by referrals is the issue. Many financial advisors are reluctant to ask clients, friends, and family for referrals, so they must wait for the telephone to ring.
Most financial advisors say they receive a few referrals each year. Then they say they convert about 50% of them into revenue-producing clients – an excellent close ratio. The problem is a few conversions (two-four) barely cover the losses financial advisors experience each year due to terminations, deaths, and relocations.
Consequently, referrals are not a viable strategy for long-term organic growth.
The Internet has been a game changer for several industries. It has changed how entire industries market their products and services to their customers and clients.
Assuming the Internet will not impact the financial service industry would be unrealistic. In fact, financial advisor marketing is the perfect application of Internet marketing (also known as digital marketing and inbound marketing) because it is based on an exchange of information.
The Internet gives investors access to vast amounts of information about financial professionals and the firms they work for. Our data shows when investors are seeking financial advisors, 82% will visit the advisors’ websites, and 64% will Google search their names.
Not only can investors use the Internet to find and research financial advisors, but they can also maintain their anonymity until they are ready to be contacted. This is their real power!
This is also one of the key benefits of digital marketing for financial advisors. In this case, investors initiate contact with financial advisors. There are no longer any invasive sales tactics. This is how lead generation companies (WiserAdvisor, SmartAsset) produce the leads they sell to financial advisors.
Back in the day, when outbound marketing was the dominant force, investors had to talk to financial advisors to learn more about the firms and the professionals who worked there. This opened the door to the sales tactics used every day back then. The most successful professionals were often the advisors with the best sales skills.
We have already said the Internet is a game changer because it gives investors unprecedented access to vast amounts of information about financial firms and the professionals who work there.
Because investors initiate the contact, they are anonymous and control who they want to contact. What they see on the Internet (website, Google name search) determines who they want to contact for interviews.
The tactics of financial advisors have shifted from outbound marketing (advisors contact investors) to inbound marketing (investors contact advisors).
There is an old saying in the financial service industry: “That money moves on trust.” It makes perfect sense that investors select financial advisors that they believe are trustworthy. And trustworthiness can be based on credibility.
The question is, how do financial advisors use the Internet to create credibility and trust?
One answer is the information that resides on the financial advisors’ websites. Do the sites deliver the information that investors are seeking? This is where financial advisor content marketing comes into play.
A second answer is the financial advisors’ willingness to disclose information about their firm’s professional credentials and business practices. For example, information that describes how financial advisors are compensated for their advice and services.
And third, what do investors see when they Google search the financial advisors’ names? Ideally, they will see substantial amounts of high-quality content that establish the advisors as financial experts.
This is the information investors must see before they are comfortable giving up their anonymity and contacting financial advisors. Find out how financial events should impact the digital marketing strategies of financial advisors.
Internet visibility is the key to digital marketing
success. The more visible your firm is online, the easier you are to find. The easier you are to find, the more visitors you have to your website. The more visitors you have to your website, the more leads your website can produce for your marketing team.
The number one SEO strategy for building Internet visibility is content marketing.
Investors go to Google and enter keywords to find what they are seeking. For example, “how to find the best financial advisors.” Ideally, these keywords will lead them to articles you have written, and the articles will lead them to your website, where you have the opportunity to convince them to contact you.
Social media is an increasingly powerful tool that financial advisors can use to:
- Increase the visibility of their brands on the Internet
- Interact directly with their potential clients
- Launch promotions, distribute information, and generate leads
An essential part of this strategy is leveraging every piece of content published on your website and blog. The more you leverage your content, the greater your return on the marketing dollars you spend to produce the content.
It makes sense that the more your content is seen, the more valuable it is for your firm. This is also true for engagement. Your target markets must open and read your content to have SEO (Search Engine Optimization) value.
This makes a steady flow of high-quality content distributed in search engines and social media channels extremely valuable. You achieve maximum effectiveness when you leverage the visibility of your content.
The answer is Google. It has a predisposition to connect buyers to local service providers. In fact, it has been reported that 24.7% of Google’s website ranking algorithm is based on your local visibility.
When it comes to financial advice and services, investors may also have the same predisposition – a local service provider.
The predisposition of investors may have changed since Covid, so virtual marketing and servicing are more acceptable. But you should be prepared to offer prospects a choice. Let them choose the type of interaction they are most comfortable with. The more visible you are locally, the more visible you are on the Internet. Keep in mind that visibility is your key to success as long as it provides traffic to your website and increases lead flow.
Not every investor is using the Internet to find financial advisors. A much bigger number is seeking financial information that could include data about the financial advisors providing the information.
A frequent alternative is investors collecting information while they are in their fact-gathering phase. They intend to use the content later when they are ready to start interviewing financial advisors.
These contacts will end up in your CRM or another system where you store names and contact information. Then you keep your name in front of them with monthly or bi-monthly emails that help you build credibility and trust.
Your goal is to create a competitive advantage so that when they interview financial advisors. What kind of CRM for financial advisors are you using?
SEM is Search Engine Marketing. This strategy uses paid advertising campaigns to build or supplement your online visibility. Instead of using SEO to build website visibility over time, you can buy your visibility very quickly. In fact, many financial advisors do both to accelerate their flow of leads.
Google and Facebook are two of the more popular channels.
Think of the time and expense you have spent building your visibility on the Internet and producing traffic for your website. Only to have investors visit your website and exit it without leaving their contact information.
Your website has a one-time opportunity to convince visitors to submit their contact information. And, it may only have three minutes (average time on site) to make this happen.
Your website has to deliver critical information to investors that they use to compare your firm to other financial advisors:
- Background information for your firm (about us)
- Who you serve (ideal clients)
- What you do (your services)
- Why select your firm (differentiating characteristics)
- A Resource Center (financial information)
All of this information is delivered by intuitive navigation. Investors will exit financial advisor websites before they search for information.
Following are the top five traps that negatively impact the success of financial advisor marketing.
- They have rented or purchased websites that are nothing more than online sales brochures. Their websites are not designed to convert visitors into qualified leads.
- Every advisor has a website, but they are not doing anything to produce website traffic. Traffic requires Internet visibility.
- Advisors are downloading articles from libraries that have no SEO value. Google and the other search engines have already seen the content hundreds or thousands of times. No SEO means no Internet visibility and no website traffic.
- Advisors write their own original content, but it is the wrong type of content. For example, they write about general financial topics that are lost on the Internet. How do you compete with the Wall Street Journal and the other brand names? Consequently, there is no visibility or traffic.
- They should be writing about the financial pain points of their ideal types of clients. For example, what are solutions for some of the financial concerns of a person about to retire?
Advisors make little or no use of digital marketing tools to build their local online visibility. Since they don’t see any results, they assume digital marketing will not work for them.
The Internet is a financial advisor’s best solution for organic growth. However, the Internet is an intensely competitive way to market their services. Advisors who are serious about digital marketing should hire an agency that understands their industry to do the work for them.