Financial advisor websites produce leads and contacts. Both can become valuable prospects that turn into clients.
For our purposes, a “lead” is an investor who is actively seeking a financial advisor. They visit websites to learn more about advisors before they use Contact Us to initiate contact. Since they have already completed their online research their main goal is to schedule interviews.
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A much larger number of visitors on financial advisor websites become “contacts” in a CRM system. That’s because they are not seeking advisors, they are seeking information. On the one hand, it could be information about financial advisor firms and professionals. Or, it could be financial information that resides on advisor websites. For example, a pre-retiree is seeking information about moving assets from their 401k plan to an IRA.
Financial advisors should not discount the value of contacts who may not have an immediate need for an advisor. What if the investor will be retiring in a few months and has a substantial amount of assets? By providing the information, financial advisors can establish a relationship with this type of investor and create a competitive advantage by being the source of important information.
Conversion Rates (Visitors to Leads/Contacts)
What is every financial advisor’s worst-case scenario? Investors visit their websites and exit without contacting the advisor or registering for some type of free, no-obligation offer. And, they never return to the site because they did not find what they were looking for on their first visit.
Perhaps the most important metric for financial advisors’ websites is their conversion rates. That is, the number of visitors who are converted into active leads or contacts for the advisors’ CRM systems.
This makes a website a financial advisor’s most powerful sales tool. It has the all-important role of convincing visitors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact information.
If investors are seeking advisors, they should be able to find what they are looking for and initiate contact by completing a landing page, emailing the advisor, or who knows, they may even call the advisor.
There is another major issue called timing. Investors are seeking advisors, but they do not need the advisors’ services for six months when they plan to retire and roll assets from their 401ks into IRAs. So, in the short-run, they are seeking information, but in the next few months, they are seeking advisors.
What is a typical conversion rate? Approximately 2% of website visitors, so 500 visitors per month should produce about 10 leads and contacts if the website is designed to convert visitors into leads. Some higher performing financial advisor websites may have conversion rates that are double or triple this number.
The Free Offer
The best performing financial advisor websites will have various types of free offers that have compelling titles and content. In general, the role of the free offers is to motivate visitors who are seeking information to initiate contact by registering for the free offer.
It has been our experience that the best performing websites use eBooks for free offers. The eBooks have intriguing titles, subtext, and content that causes investors to register. The best content will cover financial pain points that impact the financial advisor’s ideal types of clients. For example, a big fear of retirees is running out of money late in life.
Other popular free offers include free consultations, newsletters, plan reviews, and portfolio reviews. But they rarely produce results that match the eBooks. Investors are cautious about consultations from firms they don’t know. There is also reluctance about turning over their current plans and portfolios to firms they found on the Internet. Newsletters are questionable because most investors are already inundated with information.
These are very strategic decisions for most financial advisors. How do they convert: contacts into leads, leads into prospects, and prospects into clients? A lead means you have the investors’ contact information, but you have not contacted them to determine their level of interest. Leads become prospects when you have contacted them and established “mutual” interest. They are interested in your services and they meet your minimum requirements for new clients. Prospects become clients when they sign a service agreement.
This may seem pretty basic, but it is not just semantics. Crystal clear differences should exist between contacts, leads, prospects, and clients. The differences make investors the same and unique at the same time.
A key business practice is the marketing tactics that financial advisors use to nurture contacts and leads into revenue-producing clients.
Every financial advisor in America has a website. Advisors may or may not be doing anything proactive to produce traffic for their websites. Even if they have limited traffic, the website may not be designed to produce leads and contacts for their owners. In fact, most financial advisor websites act more like online sales brochures than sources of leads.
Financial advisors should have benchmarks that measure the performance of their current digital marketing efforts. The role of digital marketing is to improve all of these baseline numbers. It is rewarding to see the month-to-month progress for a firm’s digital marketing efforts. Every month advisors should be ranking for more keywords and higher page ranks. The page rank that matters most on Google is one because 91.5% of Google users do not scroll to page two.
Performance against benchmarks is the best way to measure your digital marketing results.
The Bottom Line
Digital marketing strategies represent a major new business opportunity for financial advisors. The opportunity should be approached like any other business challenge that requires an investment to be successful.
A reasonable expectation is digital marketing will produce high quality leads for financial advisors. There is one primary reason why this is true. Investors spend time on financial advisor websites, learning more about them before they made the decision to contact them. They must like what they see to initiate contact. That is true because the predisposition of most investors is to withhold this information from financial advisors because they do not want to be impacted by aggressive sales tactics.