I’m a financial advisor and I talk with a lot of other advisors. Many of them have built websites, some have Facebook pages and other social media, some have tried online advertising and others have done nothing.
The common thread that I find across a lot of my conversations is that very few financial advisors have a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes a web marketing strategy (AKA a digital marketing strategy).
There are so many options around how to market online that it’s easy to try a lot of different approaches but not have much success due to a lack of focus.
In this article I’ll talk about some of the high level issues and in subsequent articles we’ll look at each one in more depth.
A web site is no longer enough.
It’s expected. But, more importantly, can you answer this question – “Why should I visit your web site?”
Most web sites I look at in the financial planning industry are boring. They’re online sales brochures that use a lot of jargon, talk about products and don’t focus on the end user. And they’re very rarely updated.
We’re selling a service that’s largely intangible so we need to think outside the box a bit when it comes to our marketing. Does your website look up to date? Do you make it clear who your target market is and what benefits they’ll gain by seeking your advice? Are there very clear ways to contact you? Do you offer visitors the option to subscribe to your email list (you do have an email list, don’t you)?
High Google rankings don’t automatically happen
I’ve spoken to some advisors who expect that because they have a web site, their business will appear on page one of the Google listing. What about your competitors? What keywords do you even want to rank for?
Google looks at a bunch of different areas when it determines the place your site’s pages deserve in the search engines. In my opinion, the things to focus on are:
- Having good quality content that meets the needs of the readers
- Regularly updating your site with fresh content
- Having a mobile-friendly website
- Fast page loading times
Of course there are other factors and no-one can say for certain how Google’s algorithm works, but these items are a good place to start.
Do you know what keywords you want to rank for?
I mentioned this above, but it’s worth it’s own section.
Google can include a single page on your website across multiple keyword searches. For example, for my financial planning business, the main page ranks for both “Financial Planning Adelaide” and “Financial Planner Adelaide”. Other pages within my website rank for other keywords, such as “Salary Sacrifice” or “Allocated Pensions”.
In many cases, I’ve targeted these specific keywords.
It pays to spend a little bit of time doing some keyword research to see what people are searching for. This will help you analyze your competitors and see who ranks well for certain keywords. You’ll be able to make up a shortlist of keywords and build pages on your website that provide information on those topics.
Not Understanding Social
I admit – I’m not great at this either, but one problem I see is people with Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts etc, who don’t post very often. And by “not very often” I mean that weeks or months may go by without a post.
For social to work well, you need to post regularly and engage with your followers.
There are some tools to help you do this (I’ll highlight some of these in future articles). This job could be delegated to someone in your office or even an external agency.
The Online Advertising Opportunity
I’m surprised more financial planning businesses don’t advertise online. It’s one of the most cost effective (and measurable) ways to advertise and it doesn’t cost a lot compared to traditional forms of advertising.
Google Adwords lets you target ads that’ll show around certain search terms. So even if your site doesn’t rank for that term, your ad will still appear in the search results. With Google you can also do geo-targeting so you can ensure your ads are seen only by people in your state or city.
Facebook advertising allows you to filter your audience down further. Want to advertise to women between 40-50 with degrees in your city? No problem. What about people who like football? Easy.
Twitter and LinkedIn are other options where you can advertise and target your ads to certain demographics.
Too much social in all the wrong places
There are a lot of social media options. But do you need to use Pinterest, Instagram, Google + etc?
The answer is – “it depends”.
It depends on where your target market hangs out.
If a lot of them are on Facebook, then start there.
I stopped using the Twitter account for my financial planning business because it wasn’t giving me much of a pay-off compared to my Facebook page. So I focused more on Facebook.
An Instagram account hasn’t been relevant for my financial planning business, but one works well for my guitar blog.
If you’ve got a picture of your target client, then you’ve probably worked out what social media they use. If not, ask your clients.
Do you have a clear sales funnel?
If someone likes your Facebook page, what’s the next step?
How do you get an email address so you can start marketing to your clients, instead of relying on them coming to you?
Do you have prominent email sign up boxes on your website?
If someone does sign up, what happens next? Do you have an automated series of emails that are sent to them?
Have a Plan
Finally, have a cohesive plan for your marketing. Decide on what you’re wanting to achieve – is it an increase in new client appointments, increase in web traffic, sign ups to your newsletter list. Then work backwards from the goal and decide on the suitable strategies and tools you can use to achieve the desired outcomes.
This will help you focus on the areas that deliver a higher payoff.
In future articles I’ll expand on each of these points and show you how to create a digital marketing strategy for your financial advice business.
I love your feedback. Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on this article, and what areas you’d like to learn more about.