There are two strategies that will increase the visibility of your financial advisor website. One is SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the other is SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Before we dive into these alternative strategies let’s review some definitions for the keywords that describe how these marketing strategies work.
Note, different definitions may exist for some of these words.
SEO is the process that financial advisors use to build their online visibility for specific keywords in the major search engines. Google is the leader because it controls 72% of all search traffic.
SEM is the use of paid advertising to buy visibility for certain keywords in the major search engines. Your firm can be displayed on page one of Google tomorrow if you are willing to pay more per click than your competitors.
Inbound marketing principles are based on investors initiating contact with financial advisors. The Internet makes this possible. These principles are the opposite of obsolete outbound marketing tactics (cold calling, direct mail) that were based on advisors initiating contact with investors – most of whom did not want the contact.
Virtual marketing is an alternative to traditional face-to-face marketing. Interactions with current prospects are limited to computers and telephones. There is little to no traditional marketing due to the pandemic and other considerations.
The Role of Inbound Marketing
Based on the above definition Inbound Marketing for financial advisors has two distinct purposes:
- Increase the visibility of advisor brands so investors can find them
- Use the visibility to produce traffic to financial advisor websites
However, not just any traffic. Inbound marketing targets a financial advisor’s ideal type of clients. If an advisor prefers to work with pre-retirees, then the advisor’s Inbound Marketing efforts target the pre-retirees in that financial advisor’s market.
The best financial advisor websites should give investors multiple reasons to engage with them.
The best type of engagement is represented by investors who are actively seeking financial advisors on the Internet. When they initiate contact, they want to schedule interviews.
The second type of engagement is represented by investors who are seeking one or more of four types of information:
- Information about the firm
- Information about one or more professionals at the firm
- General information about financial advisors
- General information about financial topics
Since advisors don’t know in advance what first-time investor visitors are seeking it is best to be prepared to deliver all four types of information on their websites. No matter what investors are seeking there is a good chance they will find it on the advisor’s website.
So, every website should experience a relatively large number of visitors each month. And, the websites have a one-time opportunity to convert the visitors into qualified leads.
The Critical Role of the Free Offer
The last thing any financial advisor wants to see is investors visiting their websites and leaving without providing their contact information. This is a one-time opportunity because there is a good chance these investors will not make return visits.
Financial advisors hope their websites deliver the information that investors are seeking. But it is not just the delivery of the right information. A financial advisor’s information has to be competitive with the other information that investors are viewing on the Internet.
There is an insurance policy. That is advisors prominently display a free offer (for example an eBook) that they will exchange for the investors’ contact information.
What is the key? It has to be something of value. For example, an advisor might provide a free eBook that addresses a major financial pain-point for their ideal type of client. The bigger the pain-point the higher the probability investors will exchange their contact information to get it.
Financial advisor websites should give visitors several reasons to engage with them. This could be multiple free offers that represent significant value for investors.
A Process of Exclusion
We have written in the past that most investors do not know how to select the best financial advisors, so they use a process of exclusion. This how exclusion works:
- Investors view information on 10 financial advisor websites
- They narrow it down to the 6 they like the best
- The interview the 3 they like the best
- They select the 1 they like the best
The “process of exclusion” describes how investors get from the 10 advisors they started with to the 1 that they selected.
The goal of a financial advisor is simple – don’t get excluded.
Why do investors use this process? Because they do not have objective processes that help them identify and select the best financial advisors.
The Right Information
If financial advisors fail to deliver the right information, they will have inadvertently given investors reasons to delete them from their searches.
This may sound difficult because the definition of the right information will vary by investor. But, there are certain categories of information that are relatively consistent between investors:
- About the firm
- About the professionals who work at the firm
- Descriptions of the firm’s services
- Types of clients
- Why select a particular firm
- Insights (blog articles)
There is a lot of other content that advisors can add to their websites, but they should be cautious when they do that. In fact, Google might call additional content distractions. That is, the content distracts investors from viewing information that would help them learn more about the firm.
A big plus, for a lot of financial advisor websites, is the use of video. Many people prefer watching videos versus reading page after page of text. Plus, video helps investors get a better sense of a firm’s personality that is more difficult to express in text.
Digital marketing is the future for financial advisors. The sooner advisors start harnessing the power of the Internet the better.