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RIA Marketing That Maximizes Lead Conversion Rates

Let’s start with a few RIA marketing definitions that will make the rest of this article more meaningful. 

Leads: Investors contact you because they are interested in hiring a financial advisor who can help them plan their future and invest their assets. At this stage in your sales funnel, you have their contact information and that is all. Chances are they are interviewing professionals at several firms.

Contacts: These investors do not have an immediate need for a financial advisor. Let’s call this a timing issue - a future need not an immediate need. Instead, they are currently seeking various types of information: Financial information, general information about advisors, or information about specific financial firms and/or professionals. 

Contacts will end up in your CRM system so you can drip on them on a scheduled basis. A key characteristic of contacts is timing - they are not ready to interview financial advisors now but will be in the future. The main issue is when.

Prospect: You have interacted with the leads and there is mutual interest. They are interested in your services and you are interested in serving their financial needs. However, they are not prospects if they are not interested in your services. 

Likewise, they are not prospects if you are not interested in working with them. The key to this category of investor is mutual interest.

Conversions: There are multiple forms of conversion depending on the stage of the relationship. For example, you may be converting a lead or contact into a prospect or a prospect into a revenue-producing client. Conversion rates are sometimes referred to as close ratios. This is what happens at the bottom of your sales funnel.


(1) Yes, No, Maybe

It is pretty simple when investors say “yes” they are going to hire you. All you have to do is send them service agreements that confirm the details of the relationship.

Investors who ultimately say “no” are doing you a favor because you will no longer waste your valuable time on someone who has no intention of hiring you. Park them in your drip system and stay in touch just in case their needs change, but they have to initiate the contact by responding to a drip email.

It is the “maybes” who waste more of your time than any others. They don’t say “yes”, but they don’t say “no”. They say check back in a couple of months when they have more time or are ready to talk. But, that type of follow-up can produce additional delays. 

Hope may spring eternal, but you are better off transferring the investors from “active prospects” to drip list members. There is no reason to burn the prospect. Let them do that by unsubscribing from your drip list. Otherwise, you stay in touch until they are ready to talk and make a decision.


(2) A Critical Decision

It is important to recognize you are asking investors to make critical decisions when they select financial advisors. This is not a simple decision that has no consequences if they get it wrong. In fact, bad selection decisions can have dire consequences. 

How important is the decision? Make the right selection decisions and they will have more money for their retirement years. Make the wrong selection decisions and they have less money for retirement. Make really bad decisions and they may run out of money late in life.

Without a doubt, the selection of the right advisor is the most important financial decision investors will make in their lifetimes. It can impact when they retire, how they live during their retirement years, and their financial security late in life when they need it the most. No wonder they are skittish when they select financial advisors.

This is a critical decision and financial advisor marketing should be structured to help investors make the right selection decisions by providing all of the information they need to make this crucial decision.

Providing information starts on the Internet when investors visit financial advisor websites and Google search their names. What they see either makes them more comfortable or less comfortable. And, don’t forget, it has to be competitive with the other financial advisors they are researching.


(3) Data Gathering

An important phase of a financial advisor’s sales funnel is data gathering. You know the ideal prospects like to talk about themselves: Needs, concerns, assets, past experiences, current circumstances, financial goals, etc. 

Every financial advisor should have a well thought out sales process for gathering information that will help them convert more prospects into clients. This is more than just fact-finding. It is using the data gathering process to solidify financial advisor relationships with prospects. 

The key to an effective sales funnel is movement through its various stages. That is, leads and contacts go in the top of their respective sales funnels when you capture the initial contact information that you can use to interact with them.

Capturing important information about prospect needs should be a positive experience for them. This is your way of showing you are going to tailor your services to their specific situations. You are not providing a cook-cutter solution. If financial advisors do not care about their needs they would not be asking them all of these questions.


(4) The Two Funnel Approach

Financial advisors should operate two primary sales funnels for leads/prospects and contacts. Each one should have their own distinct strategy with a common goal that is based on movement down the funnel. In this case, we want leads and contacts to become active prospects and we want active prospects to become revenue-producing clients.

In both cases, it is imperative that the 

financial advisor's actions in both funnels are adding substantial value. One funnel strategy is the interaction between financial advisors and the leads and prospects in the funnel. The other funnel strategy is based on the drip emails to names on one or more drip lists.

One productive strategy for the latter funnel is to send blog articles to names on the drip list. The more people open and read the content the higher the probability it will rank well (page one) in the major search engines. That’s right people on financial advisor drip lists can improve your search rankings, which increases online visibility and traffic to advisor websites. 

The content going to both lists should have some relevance to their needs and situations. For example, you don’t want to send baby boomer content to millennials. Although money is money, they have very different goals and concerns. The more relevance the content the higher the probability investors will respond to obtain additional information.

The drip email strategy also produces substantial competitive advantage when investors start interviewing financial advisors.  


(5) The Digital Marketing Difference

Digital marketing will help financial advisors make investors’ decision-making process simpler, faster, and safer. That’s because all of the information about your firm resides in the public domain. Sometimes they just have to know where to look. Advisors can help them do that.

Even more importantly, investors have increased control over the process. That is, they can maintain their anonymity until they are ready to be contacted. This is much different than the obsolete outbound marketing days when financial advisors controlled all of the information and they had to initiate contact to share it. 

It starts with what investors see when they visit financial advisor websites. Do the websites provide all of the information that investors are seeking? Is the information competitive with the other financial advisor websites that investors are visiting? 

Does the advisor practice full disclosure for information that is important to investors? Does the financial advisor website do a good job differentiating itself from other advisor websites? Does the site deliver important reasons why investors should contact that advisor? 

The next step occurs when investors Google search the names of financial advisors. What should financial advisors want them to see? How about financial articles that demonstrate the expertise of the firm. Or, positive reviews and five star ratings? Investors Google search names to find some sort of validation that financial advisors are the trustworthy financial experts they say are. 

Digital marketing is a way to reduce the skittishness of investors and increase their  confidence that they are talking to the right financial advisors. The net outcome is more website visitors become leads and more leads become active prospects. Advisors just have to be smart enough to give investors a series of positive reasons for contacting them and moving through the funnel in a positive manner. 

There is no question what investors see on the Internet has a lot to do with who they contact for interviews. This may be even more important as more financial advisors adopt virtual marketing strategies.


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