Digital marketing is a powerful tool for today’s financial advisor. Virtually anyone with internet service and an email address can get started promoting their business with an array of digital marketing tools.
There’s no doubt that digital marketing is effective when done correctly. However, the real question for most financial advisors is how to turn website visits and video views into real conversions (i.e., active prospects and revenue-producing clients).
While that is the ultimate question, there are some other questions you need to ask yourself from the beginning to understand the investor journey specific to those seeking financial advisory services, as well as the contact points along the way. By getting the answers to those questions, you are getting to the core of how you can convert leads into prospects and clients with digital marketing.
There are 3 basic steps to the conversion process, each having several touchpoints along the way.
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal Client
Like any financial advisor, you likely have clients of all shapes and sizes. The key metric may be their available assets for investment. However, every firm has an “ideal type of client.” While that may look different for each financial advisor, the goal of this exercise is to figure out what that ideal client looks like for you so you have a clear picture of who you want to target with your financial advisor marketing efforts.
Step 2: Attract Your Ideal Client
Now that you have identified your ideal client, you can use targeted digital marketing efforts to appeal to this audience and entice them to learn more about your services.
Step 3: Convert Your Ideal Client
This is the point where all of your digital marketing efforts are put to the test. If you have correctly appealed to your ideal clients, this is the step where you have guided them through their journey (and your sales funnel) to become actual clients.
The steps outlined above are meant to provide a high-level overview of moving potential clients through the sales cycle, also known as the client journey.
While there are different variations of this cycle and its stages, the most common stages are Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Let’s break those down:
Attention (also known as awareness) as the name implies is the part of the customer journey where a potential client becomes aware of your existence. With digital marketing, this can be because of an online search (whether your firm came up organically or part of a paid search campaign) display ad, social media share, etc.
This is why first impressions matter as much as they do. Here’s an example: Jessica searches for “Financial advisors, Anytown USA, 401k.” We know from her query that she’s searching for a financial advisor in a specific area who works with 401k participants. If your firm came up in her search because of successful SEO on your part, you also need to have the website and online content to back it up or Jessica will click on the next financial advisor in her search results.
Interest is when you have this prospect’s attention. Though it may be fleeting, so this is where your content should be timely, accurate, and compelling enough to hold their interest and move further into the customer journey.
This can be done by showing them that you validate and understand their unique needs and that they will face negative consequences by not seeking help from a financial professional. As an example: If they don’t create an estate plan, their loved ones could spend years trying to settle their estate when a simple plan would have prevented all of the headaches.
Desire is when you have created a feeling in your prospective clients that you can solve their problems and that they would be better off using your services. Continuing with the example above regarding estate plans, in this step, you can show how different the experience is for loved ones when you create a detailed estate plan and make your client’s exact wishes known.
Action is where you encourage prospects to take immediate action. For digital marketing, this often comes in the form of a request for an online meeting, an email, or a phone call. It’s important to note that unlike retail where there is often a “buy now” or “add to cart” button, the equivalent doesn’t exist for financial advisors.
However, you can make a strong case for taking the next steps by highlighting the reasons they need a financial advisor in the first place and making it easy to connect with you in whichever way is convenient for them. Finally, just like an in-person sale, this step can’t be rushed by skipping other steps. It’s essential to walk your prospective clients through each stage to enhance the likelihood of your success in getting real conversions.
Create Content Based on Each Stage of the Customer Journey
While we touched a bit on content in the above sections, it deserves its own section. That’s because, without the right content, financial advisors will have a hard time guiding prospective clients through the customer journey/sales cycle.
For example, at the awareness stage of the cycle, you can provide general resources such as white papers, blog articles, podcasts, and more. By gating your content, you have now moved them into your database and can move them into the interest and desire stages with your outbound messaging. Hopefully, by this point, you have used your data and analytics to determine their specific interest and can send more targeted information or offers to lead them into the conversion process to become a new client.
Showing the right content to the right prospect at the right time is the key to getting conversions from your digital marketing efforts. And remember, you don’t have to take this journey alone! The right digital marketing agencies can help with every aspect of taking your prospects through the sales cycle, letting you free up some of your time to focus on running your business, watching the news cycle and markets, and servicing the clients you already have.