Reach is an interesting word. It describes a process that connects financial advisors to their ideal types of clients. For example, an ideal client is a pre-retiree. Financial advisors have processes that reach pre-retirees.
Reach has a second key characteristic that should not be overlooked. Do advisors reach-out to investors (Outbound Marketing) or do investors reach-out to advisors (Inbound Marketing)? The answer to this question is an integral part of the marketing strategies that are utilized by most financial advisors.
How do they reach investors and more importantly how do they reach the right types of investors?
Outbound Marketing is Obsolete
Financial advisors have used Outbound Marketing strategies for decades to initiate contact with investors. Cold calling has been the most frequently used tactic. Networking, direct mail, and seminars are other tactics that financial advisors have used to reach investors.
As a case in point, cold calling was time-consuming and fraught with rejection. That’s because investors did not want to be contacted. Some advisors would describe experiences that caused them to make 100 calls per day and produced one prospect that may or may become a client. In recent years, Caller ID has made this process even less productive. Investors tell us they do not accept calls if they do not recognize the caller.
Direct mail/email is not much better. Mail gets thrown away and emails are diverted by spam filters. Free seminars and webinars produce the best results for this marketing tactic.
You already know Outbound Marketing tactics are relatively obsolete. Only the most aggressive salespeople with no alternatives still use these tactics.
Inbound Marketing is an alternative that can be used by firms. In this case Investors find advisors and initiate contact. Inbound is not a viable alternative for professionals unless they happen to own their firms. That’s because the foundation of Inbound Marketing is the Internet so advisors need websites to make it work.
Investors use the Internet to find, research, and contact financial advisors. They use keywords to find advisors and financial information. They visit advisor and third-party websites to learn more about advisors. In general, they initiate contact with advisors through their websites.
The Internet is a game-changer. It has impacted the marketing practices of several industries. Financial advisory services are no different. They are the perfect application for the Internet because the process used by investors is information-based.
Inbound marketing has two core strategies – SEO and SEM.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) makes it possible for advisors to earn their visibility in the major search engines. Then investors find them when they enter the right keywords. Visibility produces website traffic, which creates a marketing opportunity to convert visitors into contacts (leads).
SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a way to run ads that buy your way on to page one of Google and the other search engines. Google has 72% of the search traffic so it is the obvious choice for advertising campaigns.
SEO takes time to create the visibility you need to attract visitors to your website. SEM is the quick solution, but you have to compete with other firms for a limited number of advertising slots. These slots are usually dominated by big firms with very deep pockets.
Many advisors claim their only source of new clients is referrals from friends, family, current clients, and Centers of Influence. This is the best way to reach prospects if your effort produces a sufficient flow of referrals each month.
Without a doubt, referrals produce the highest quality prospects. In fact, they may be pre-sold based on what they were told by the referral source.
The issue is consistency. Do you receive 4-5 referrals per month and convert 1-2 of them into revenue-producing clients?
Specialization Works Best
The key to Inbound Marketing is reaching the right types of investors. If your ideal client is a pre-retiree, then you need a digital marketing strategy that is designed to reach pre-retirees.
Your strategy starts with keyword research. What keywords do pre-retirees use when they are seeking financial advisors? It could be a string of keywords that includes: Pre-retiree, financial advisor, location.
This process works best when you want to reach a particular type of investor. That’s because the type of investor (pre-retiree) can be embedded in the keywords that they use to find advisors.
There is an even bigger potential market for reaching investors who are seeking financial information. Using the example of the pre-retiree, this person could be seeking information about rolling assets from a 401k plan into an IRA.
They are seeking information before they are seeking advisors. You could have a significant competitive advantage if your firm is the source of the information they are seeking. That’s because they find the information on your blog site, which creates an opportunity to enhance your credibility and market your service and/or provide free information that has registration requirements.
Advisors want contacts that they can sell to right away. Consequently, they are not as interested in contacts that end-up in their drip systems. However, sometimes these are their best contacts. For example, the pre-retiree who is going to leave the workforce in six months and will be rolling $1.8 million into an IRA.
Multi-channel marketing is the logical extension of SEO, SEM, and referral-based marketing system. It is a single strategy that is implemented across multiple channels: SEO, SEM, Social, Drip, purchase leads, hosting webinars, etc.
Multi-channel creates more opportunities for investors to connect to your firm. It does not matter how investors search for financial advisors – it is vital that they find your firm and visit your website. This is your one-time opportunity to market your services to prospective clients.