Inbound marketing for financial advisors continues to grow in popularity and effectiveness, but it was not too long ago that financial advisors depended on Outbound Marketing tactics to produce qualified leads for their services. You know the tactics: Telemarketing, cold calling, direct mail, email drip systems, seminars, COI’s, advertising, and affinity marketing, to name just a few.
Outbound: Advisors Initiate Contact
The key characteristic of Outbound Marketing is advisors initiating contact with investors, whether they are interested in being contacted or not.
At its core, Outbound Marketing has always been a distinctly disruptive sales process. A disruptive process because advisors were initiating contact with investors who do not want to be contacted. In fact, they resent the contact.
The result of Outbound Marketing was an expensive, time-consuming process that burns out thousands of advisors every year when their rejection rates approached 100%. It took a particular type of sales personality to cold call 100 leads per day with little or nothing to show for it.
Financial advisors rationalized the dismal results of the Outbound sales process by calling it a numbers game. For example, one telephone call in 100 might produce a conversation that created a potential prospect. Even more onerous, less than 1% of investors responded to the financial advisor's direct mail campaigns. They hoped large numbers of direct email would produce a profitable result.
To this day, advisors continue to use these tactics for two reasons:
- They are in control when they determine quantities of contact
- They have no other way to produce prospects
Salesmen have been the primary beneficiaries of these tactics.
Advisors who were more about planning and investing have never been comfortable with these tactics. These intellectual, quantitative, and analytical professionals never got comfortable using these aggressive sales tactics. Consequently, their firms or practices relied on referrals and suffered from slow growth.
The Google Alternative
The Internet and Google have changed the game for financial advisors. Today, enterprising professionals use the Internet and the major search engines to bring prospects to them. They no longer have to initiate contact with investors who have no interest in the services that are provided by financial advisors.
Today, investors can easily use the Internet to find and research financial advisors. What they see on the Internet determines who they contact for interviews.
Investors Control Contact
It sounds too good to be true that investors will initiate contact with financial advisors. But, that is exactly what happens when investors need advisors and they use the Internet to find, screen, and initiate contact with them.
Three things have to happen to make this Inbound Marketing process work:
- Investors have to be able to find you on the Internet (visibility)
- Investors have to visit your website (traffic)
- Your website has to convert visitors into leads and contacts
The last step is the toughest. Websites have three minutes or less to create credibility, trust, and interest.
Control Has Shifted
Depending on your point of view, there is a downside to Inbound Marketing. Control has shifted from advisors to investors. Based on large amounts of public data, investors decide who they want to contact and when they want to contact them.
Therefore, you need a marketing strategy that motivates investors to contact you.
This can be as simple as exchanging a free offer (eBook) for the investor’s contact information. The more value in the exchange the more financial advisor websites will produce high-quality leads.
It’s a Gunfight
Instead of spending time and money on ineffective Outbound Marketing strategies, increasing numbers of financial advisor firms are redirecting their efforts to Inbound Marketing campaigns that produce superior results.
Like any other marketing endeavor, there will be winners and losers. The winners will do what it takes to make the Internet a major source of new clients for their firms.
On the other hand, losers will make token Inbound Marketing efforts that do not produce results. That is like sending a knife fighter to a gunfight. Due to the competitive nature of the industry, the knife fighter will not win and neither will advisors who make token digital marketing efforts.
Why? It takes a commitment to be successful. That’s because the Internet is the most competitive marketplace on earth. Investors have thousands of choices at their fingertips. Advisors who make token efforts are doomed to disappointment and failure.
Winners Do This
Financial advisor firms who have substantial Inbound Marketing results use very similar business models to produce high quality leads for their services.
Step one is an investor-friendly website that is designed to convert visitors into qualified leads. Most advisor websites disseminate similar types of information, but that is not enough to compel visitors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact information. There is a big difference between a website that acts like an online sales brochure and a lead generation website.
Step two is Internet visibility for keywords that drive the right types of traffic to financial advisor websites. For example, if an ideal type of client for a financial advisor is a pre-retiree, then the advisor wants to rank well for keywords that are used by pre-retirees when they are seeking financial advisors or information on the Internet.
Step three is an outcome that is based on results that are produced in step two. Financial advisor websites need traffic to be successful. If the typical website converts 2% of visitors into leads, then the more traffic that is produced by advisors’ Inbound Marketing activities, the more leads will be produced by the financial advisors’ websites.
The most frequently used Inbound marketing tactics are:
- Content marketing - articles for advisor blog sites
- Social media marketing
- Pillar pages for websites
- Local SEO marketing
- Drip email marketing
Editor's note: This blog article was originally published in 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.