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Top 8 Questions Every Financial Advisor Should Be Asking About Digital Marketing

Every week we talk to several financial advisors who are considering the use of digital marketing to build brand awareness and produce new leads for their firms. Although each financial advisor may have different questions about digital marketing there are certain questions that are more frequent than others.

We will address each of those questions in this article. But first, let’s review an important issue that impacts the answers to all eight questions.

Let’s assume the simplest and cheapest solution for generating new leads for financial advisors is to buy them from a lead generation company. Ironically, lead generation companies rely on digital marketing business practices to produce leads for financial advisors.

When financial advisors use digital marketing to generate their own leads, they are making an important investment that will pay dividends for several years. They are creating the brand awareness (online visibility) they need to produce traffic for their websites. Then they rely on custom, lead generation websites to convert the traffic into high-quality leads.

There is no question, in the past two years, that Covid accelerated the change from outbound marketing (advisors initiate contact with investors) to inbound marketing (investors initiate contact with financial advisors). Technology also impacted their sales practices. For example, advisors started using Zoom to present their advice and services. 

Digital marketing is definitely an investment that supports the growth of RIAs and other types of financial advisors.

Is it optional or increasingly a necessity to be competitive and produce new leads? 

Read our responses to the Top eight questions that financial advisors are asking about digital marketing.


What makes digital marketing more feasible now?

This is an easy one. The Internet is beginning to impact the way financial advisors market their services to investors. It has taken longer for the Internet to impact the financial services industry due to its powerful sales culture and 650,000 licensed advisors and sales representatives who are more than likely resistant to change.

On one side of the coin is investors and how they use the Internet to find all types of service providers (advisors, CPAs, attorneys). The other side of the coin is financial advisors and how they use the Internet to reach investors who are seeking professionals who can help them manage their money.

The impact of the Internet is here to stay because it gives investors unprecedented power over who they select for their financial advisors.


What are the two primary applications that cause investors to use the Internet?

Hint: The answer is not the convenience of Zoom calls.

The Internet makes it easy to find financial advisors. 62% of the time, Investors use voice commands to tell Google what they are seeking. In two seconds or less, they have access to hundreds of financial advisors. 

An even bigger application is finding information on the Internet to screen financial advisors before they contact them. 82% of investors will visit financial advisor websites. 64% of investors will Google search financial advisor names. It does not matter how investors find financial advisors, they will still use the Internet to screen them. 

Consequently, a financial advisor’s presence on the Internet is becoming increasingly critical.


How does digital marketing produce high-quality leads?

The answer lies in the process that investors use to find and research financial advisors before they contact them.

They conduct online research before they make the decision to initiate contact. When they contact advisors it means:

  • They liked what they saw on financial advisor websites
  • What they saw was competitive with other financial advisors
  • The financial advisor delivers the services they are seeking
  • The advisor works with clients like them

Conversely, if investors do not like what they see, there will be no contact.


What is digital marketing and how is it different from inbound marketing?

Digital marketing is a broad term that involves the use of the Internet to create online visibility, website traffic, and website conversions.

Inbound marketing is tactical: Investors initiate contact with advisors. It is the opposite of largely obsolete traditional or outbound marketing tactics that require advisors to initiate contact with investors.  

Another key difference is the way investors encounter financial advisors. Digital marketing, including inbound marketing tactics, means the encounters are online (websites, social media, content). 

A popular inbound marketing tactic is the creation and online distribution of content (blog articles) that brings investors to financial advisor websites. 


What are the primary digital marketing services?

A key component of a digital marketing strategy is a custom lead generation website that gives investors multiple reasons to initiate contact with the financial advisors that own the sites. Custom is important because it has more SEO value.

Once the website is up and running financial advisors need traffic that the websites can convert into leads and contacts. The amount of traffic is based on the financial advisor's visibility on the Internet. There are several ways to create visibility:

  • Blog articles
  • Pillar pages
  • Social media posts
  • Local SEO
  • Paid advertising campaigns
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts


What is better SEO, SEM, or both?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the preferred strategy for many advisors for two reasons. First, it can produce higher quality leads because investors learn more about advisors when they visit websites. And second, a high quality website and online visibility make it easier for investors to research financial advisors.

The downside is it can take time to build the online visibility that makes it easy for investors to find financial advisors on the Internet.

On the other hand, if financial advisors have the marketing budgets to support SEM’s (Search Engine Marketing) paid advertising campaigns, they can buy page one visibility.

Using both can be the best way to build online visibility and website traffic faster.

Keep in mind, SEO supports SEM so financial advisors really need both.


How long does it take for digital marketing using SEO practices to produce meaningful results?

It can take a few months based on several variables:

  • The quality of a website
  • The amount of local, online competition
  • The number of blog articles per month
  • The number of social posts per month
  • The use of pillar pages and other Google conventions 
  • The quality of the content

SEO will produce the best leads based on how investors find and research financial advisors.


What kind of lead flow can I expect from digital marketing?

There are two key metrics that impact lead flow. One is the amount of traffic on financial advisor websites. The other is a website’s conversion rate (visitors to leads).

Traffic is produced by online visibility. The more visible the financial advisor, the more traffic the advisor will experience on the financial advisor’s website. For example, a financial advisor who publishes a new blog article per week will have more online visibility faster than an advisor who produces one new article per month.

Once the traffic is flowing then it is up to the website to convert the traffic into qualified leads and contacts. A standard conversion rate is 2.4% so a typical website will produce two to three leads per 100 visitors. Of course, the site has to be designed to convert relevant visitors into high quality leads.

Most financial advisors say their websites do not convert at this rate. That is because their websites are online sales brochures and were not designed to produce leads.

On the other hand, digital marketing agencies that know the industry should be able to improve on this conversion rate - leads per 100 visitors.

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