The Financial Advisor's Guide to Lead Generation Using Paid Advertising
There is a common misconception that marketing is now primarily focused on unpaid advertising through organic means. Though organic Google searches are certainly important for inbound marketing success, financial advisors who bypass paid advertising will miss out on valuable opportunities to produce qualified leads, prospects, and revenue-producing clients.
After all, some people do not organically search Google for financial advisor services. Contrary to popular opinion, some people refuse to use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This means financial advisors who fail to spend for paid advertising will limit their potential client connections and ultimately lose market share to the competition. Let’s take a look at the importance of paid advertising for financial advisors.
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Paid Advertising Versus Inbound Marketing
Paid advertising can be conducted both online and offline. As an example, your financial advisory firm can pay for ads on billboards, in newspapers, magazines, and also in the form of web-based banners. Though these online display ads certainly cost money, they have the potential to result in a significant increase in lead conversions that improve your bottom line. Furthermore, if you opt for pay-per-click advertising on search engines and other parts of the web, you will pay in accordance with the number of people who actually click on your ads rather than a potentially expensive flat rate.
Alternatively, inbound marketing is more organic. Instead of putting overt ads out there for the masses to see, the focus is on connecting with those who demonstrate an interest in your financial advisor firm’s services by entering various sets of keywords in the major search engines. These are particularly coveted clients as they have already shown a need or desire for your types of services.
Examples of inbound marketing include content optimized for search engines (SEO) such as:
- Blog posts
- Service pages
- A homepage
- Social media
Furthermore, inbound marketing also includes connecting with customers through online directories, guest blog posts, and other means. In other words, it is best to think of inbound marketing as a form of advertising that is based on Internet visibility, while paid advertising is more of an overt approach to connecting with potential leads.
How do Financial Advisors Advertise?
Advertising is not exactly the same as marketing. Financial advisors rely on several different forms of outbound advertising to connect with prospective clients. As an example, banner ads placed on search engines help connect financial advisors with those looking for their services. Furthermore, ads on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and billboards are also effective forms of local advertising. These are overt attempts to get the financial advisory firm's name and brand in front of locals who might need financial advisor services.
Ideally, your financial advisor firm will use a combination of traditional outbound advertising along with newer forms of advertising such as banner ads on the web and paid ads on social media. These ads boost brand awareness, drive prospects to your firm, and promote sales opportunities. Furthermore, such ads ensure prospective customers know your business exists. If you were to completely avoid advertising, there is a good chance plenty of locals would bypass your company simply because what is out of sight is out of mind.
How do Financial Advisors Market?
Today’s marketing has gravitated toward inbound avenues on the internet. Something as simple as an active blog has the potential to be a valuable inbound marketing tool. From social media posts and interactions to guest blog posts, content optimization for search engines and beyond, there are plenty of ways for financial advisors to market their services to locals on the Internet.
It is particularly important to generate a steady stream of content geared toward locals in need of your financial advisor services. Add localized information along with keywords and key phrases relevant to your region and industry to your online content and you will enjoy a meaningful uptick in online traffic, phone calls, email inquiries, etc.
Types of Paid Advertising
Pay-per-click ads on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo are particularly popular forms of paid advertising on the web. These ads are prominently displayed along the top or sides of search engines and other webpages. You pay in accordance with the number of clicks your pay-per-click ads receive. This way, if only a few people click your ads, you won’t spend a significant amount of money on your paid advertising campaigns.
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It is now possible to overtly advertise your financial advisor services on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to put your brand, logo and firm name front and center on the digital stage. LinkedIn provides a Messaging Ads service in which sponsored messages are shared with targeted parties. Such messages are sent in a manner that draws attention to your financial advisory firm, potentially highlighting an upcoming event or information session. Zero in on those in your local area who are likely to need your financial advisor services and your LinkedIn Messaging Ads will prove quite successful.
LinkedIn also provides businesses with lead generation forms that can be added to messages to collect leads on the popular platform. In fact, you can even analyze the bang for your paid advertising buck by taking a look at the metrics pertaining to your Messaging Ads. LinkedIn empowers you to check the open and click-through rates along with other metrics through the platform’s Campaign Manager tool.
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Native ads, sometimes referred to as sponsored content, are pieces of online content sponsored by financial advisor firms. As an example, some websites recommend or reference a particular service or product after receiving sponsorship financing from a business looking to drum up interest in its value offering. Native ads are best described as a seamless immersion of an advertisement within unpaid content.
As long as the native ad blends in with the aesthetics of the media, the users might not understand they are looking at an ad. The purpose of this approach is to boost prospect engagement and spur referrals beyond what might be possible with a conventional ad. Examples of native ads include sponsored social media posts, promoted articles, and content that references a financial advisory firm. Even a social media influencer mentioning such a company's services constitutes a native ad.
Most people are unaware that sponsored content has been used for nearly a full century. Rewind time back to the 1920s and businesses were sponsoring radio shows. Contemporary sponsored content, however, is more centered on financial advisors sponsoring articles and blogs. Though some sponsored content is subtle in nature, other examples are comparably overt.
Some pieces of sponsored content display a byline that indicates the content has a sponsoring brand. In fact, certain pieces of sponsored content also display ads within the content as well. This approach is fairly direct yet it promotes the brand in an informative manner.
Banner/Display Ads/Search ads
Wouldn’t it be great if your financial advisory firm’s paid ads appeared on search engines after locals searched for financial services providers in your area? This is possible with banner/search ads. Also referred to as display ads, this form of advertising is quite effective as it positions the financial advisory firm's link and name toward the top of the screen, greatly enhancing the chances of a potential client clicking it and proceeding to the firm’s website, ultimately learning about its value proposition.
How to Create the Best Advertising
The best forms of advertising evoke emotion, tell a story, and prove indelible. However, it might not be possible to accomplish each of these objectives with a banner ad on Google. When in doubt, opt for a clear message that communicates your unique value offering and inspires viewers to visit your website, social media, or another component of your online footprint.
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Truly elite ads prove memorable, ensuring viewers will remember the name, logo or slogan as time progresses, greatly enhancing the chances of a conversion down the line. However, if you have the time or budget possible to tell a brief story, do so. Stories create emotional connections with the audience, ensuring they relate to your firm and its message.
Targeting Your Audience
The beauty of paid advertising on the web is it empowers you to specifically target locals who are likely to need your financial advisory services. Use banner ads on search engines or social media platform advertising on Facebook and you will be able to narrow your search to specific demographics most likely to need or want your specific services. This way, those who actively search the web for financial advisor services in your area or fit your target client's demographic profile will see your ads and prove that much likelier to contact your firm for more information.
Advertising technology has advanced to the point it is possible to perform retargeting. This means financial advisors can display targeted ads to individuals who have visited their company’s webpage in the past. These prospects are particularly valuable as they are already familiar with the financial advisory firm. Opt for retargeting and these coveted clients will see your ads as they surf the web, boosting the chances of a return visit to your website and a subsequent phone call, email or online chat to learn more about your service offerings.
Landing Pages for Your Paid Advertising
PPC ads direct traffic to your landing page. It is imperative this page looks polished, has a flawless user experience design, and converts prospects into contacts. Fail to prepare your landing page for a spike in traffic stemming from paid advertising and your return on investment may prove disappointing. In fact, a top-notch landing page can even boost your search engine ranking if its content is relevant to what web sleuths are searching for.
However, the primary goal of the landing page is to convert visitors into high-quality leads who become clients for your financial advisory firm services. The landing page should immediately capture the visitor’s attention. The page’s headline should inspire visitors to continue reading through the remainder of the page and seriously consider your financial advisor firm’s unique offer and value proposition.
As visitors progress through the landing page, they should be crystal clear on the action you would like them to take. A properly designed landing page highlighted by polished aesthetics and a seamless user experience will really keep visitors on the site for longer periods of time, greatly enhancing the chances of converting them into leads, contacts, and prospects.
The most important component of a successful landing page is its call to action, sometimes referred to by the acronym - CTA. Invest the time and effort necessary to craft a compelling call to action and you will maximize the number of landing page visitors who become active prospects. This brief yet impactful message should spur online visitors to take a particular action.
Most CTA’s suggest the visitor fills out the financial advisor firm’s online contact form so the company can reach out to them with more information. Other CTAs encourage online visitors to contact the office by phone or email to schedule an initial consultation. Create a persuasive CTA and your online visitors will prove more likely to follow through with the suggested action prior to leaving the website.
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Develop a Strategy Before Spending Money on Advertising
You only have so many dollars to spend on paid advertising. Furthermore, there is a limited amount of time available to invest in inbound marketing tactics. Do not burn through your money and time with paid advertising or inbound marketing until you have devised a sound outreach strategy. Spend your advertising budget over time, taking time to review the success of each strategy along the way, and modifying your approach as necessary.
Incorporate the right blend of paid advertising with inbound marketing and you will boost interest in your financial advisor firm, converting more leads into prospects into clients. Continue to tweak your advertising plan as appropriate in the weeks and months to come, implement your findings from in-depth analyses into these strategic alternatives and you will find the right balance between the many online advertising venues.
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