The five questions in this article will help financial advisors make the right decision when they research and select digital marketing agencies to help them accelerate the growth of their firms.
Most financial advisors have used traditional marketing tactics for decades to produce new clients. This makes perfect sense because advisors were able to control these marketing processes. For example, they could choose to make 50 cold calls per day or send out 1,000 pieces of direct mail each month. Some advisors also built networks of Centers of Influence to produce referrals for their services.
Of course, some firms with bigger marketing budgets also advertised their services on print, radio, and TV. This type of marketing is more similar to digital marketing when investors respond to ads or other types of messaging, but it is more expensive and risky when there are no responses or the wrong types of investors respond to the ads.
But enough about old, traditional methods for marketing financial advice and services. Our goal in this article is to identify and answer the five most frequent questions that financial advisors should be asking digital marketing agencies.
How does your digital marketing process work?
Let’s start at the end and work backward. The end occurs when a financial advisor website converts a visitor into a qualified lead. Then it is up to the financial advisor’s sales process to convert the lead into a revenue-producing client. But, not just any client.
It should be an ideal type of client that is based on the requirements of the financial advisor.
For example, the lead is a business owner who is selling his or her company, is retiring in the next six months, and has more than $1,000,000 of assets available for investment. How is this possible? The way investors use the Internet to find and research financial advisors makes it possible to use target marketing tactics.
The next challenge is to get investors to visit financial advisor websites.
This is accomplished using five digital marketing tactics:
- Content marketing (blog articles)
- Social media marketing
- Pillar pages
- Local SEO
- Drip email
Where did the lead come from? The lead responded to something they saw on a financial advisor website. Whatever they saw was so compelling that they were willing to give-up their anonymity to get it.
This makes the marketing message or free offer (eBook) a critical component in the marketing chain.
How important is a website in the digital marketing process?
If the role of digital marketing is to produce visibility and website traffic, then it is the role of financial advisor websites to convert visitors into leads. This is tougher than it sounds because the website has to be good enough to convince visitors to give-up their anonymity and submit their contact information. This is no small task when the predisposition of most investors is to withhold the information.
Therefore, financial advisor websites have a critical role. They have to be competitive with other financial advisor websites and they have to be designed to produce two types of leads.
The first type of lead is a visitor who is actively seeking the services of a financial advisor. The second type of lead is a visitor who is seeking information. These visitors could be seeking information about a particular financial advisor, general information about financial advisors, or information on various financial topics.
How does a digital marketing agency increase the visibility of your brand on the Internet?
We listed the five core strategies earlier in this article. These services also increase the visibility of financial advisor brands in ways that are similar to advertising but also create a value exchange. For example, investors exchange their contact information for a free eBook. The more value created by the advisor the more likely investors will give-up their anonymity to get it.
It is critical to know the key to building brand awareness is meeting all of Google’s expectations. That’s because the goal of digital marketing is to achieve page one ranks on Google (and other search engines) that drive the right types of traffic to financial advisor websites. Why page one? Because 91.5% of Google users do not scroll to page two.
How do we measure the success of a digital marketing campaign?
There are several KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). No doubt, the most important KPI is the number of leads that are produced by financial advisor websites. In fact, you could take this KPI a step further and look at the number of leads that were converted into revenue-producing clients.
This is just one KPI. Another set of KPIs is your visibility on the Internet. For example, how many keywords does your website rank for, and what is the page rank for those keywords.
A realistic expectation, based on your digital marketing plan, is the more keywords you rank for and the higher the page ranks the more visible you are on the Internet. This visibility is what produces traffic to your website.
Visibility is also a way to measure online brand awareness.
Will digital marketing produce positive ROI?
The ultimate goal of any digital marketing strategy is positive ROI. That is, financial advisors will convert more leads in revenue-producing clients than the digital marketing expense to produce the lead.
An equally important question is how long will the digital marketing process take to produce positive cash flow?
One answer is timing can depend on how much effort financial advisors put into their digital marketing efforts. For example, two financial advisors are using content marketing (blog articles) to build their visibility on the Internet. One advisory firm is producing one new article per month. The other financial advisor is producing one new article per week.
It stands to reason the financial advisor producing weekly content will build a bigger online presence faster than the advisor producing monthly content. In both cases, the amount of content may be impacted by the marketing budgets of the financial advisors.
As increasing numbers of investors use the Internet to find and research financial advisors the more important digital marketing will be for all sizes and types of financial advisors.
At some point, digital marketing will no longer be an option, it will be a necessity based on visibility, traffic, and conversions.
And, the sooner financial advisors start this marketing adventure the sooner they will have competitive advantage compared to financial advisors who do not embrace digital marketing tactics.