If you’re like most financial planners, you’re probably looking for new clients for your business. For many planners, the most common sources of new clients are referrals from existing clients or centres of influence such as accountants or lawyers.
Did you know that there’s an increasing number of people turning to the internet to find financial advice?
Some people prefer to use the internet to do their research, and they’re becoming more comfortable using the web to find professional advisers. Many of these people are looking for help and guidance with their financial planning and are looking for trusted advisers.
There’s Two Ways That People Get To Your Website
To keep things simple, there are two ways that people get to your website:
- You find them and tell them to go there, or
- They find your site themselves.
Let’s break this down a bit further.
You Find Them
When I first set up the website for my financial planning business, this was my initial strategy (until my eyes were opened to the other opportunity).
I promoted my website to my existing clients. Firstly I mentioned it in our client letters, made sure our web address was on all our stationery, and I sent out links to the website to all the clients we had email addresses for.
As a second part to this strategy, we also encouraged clients to forward our emails, articles etc to their friends, so their friends could click through and discover our website.
For a few months last year, I also used some Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising with Google. When people searched for particular terms, our ads would appear alongside the search results and they could click through. We only ever got charged for the clicks, not the number of times the ads appeared. I’ll talk more about PPC in a future article.
Helping People Find Your Site Themselves
Whilst it’s useful to be sending out email newsletters and encouraging people to click through to your site, there is another option.
Everyday there are hundreds of people in your city searching for the services that you provide.
The problem is, that they’re usually typing a range of search terms into Google. You need to know which words are the ones to target.
When you know the main keywords that potential clients are searching for, you’re able to add content to your site that is relevant to those search terms. If you do things well and provide quality content that people read, Google will make sure your site shows up well in the search results.
This is part of an internet marketing term called ‘Search Engine Optimisation’, or SEO for short.
And if you get the SEO right, you can begin ranking for a number of search terms that are relevant to your niche.
Here’s an example.
I just did some searches in the Google Keyword Tool for financial planners and financial advisors in Chicago. Here’s the results.
Imaging if out of these 350 people you could get 10% of them to visit your website. What if one or two of them became clients? Would that help your business?
Let’s look at another search.
This search is for a couple of broader search terms – ‘Retirement planning’ and ’401k plan’.
Because the search is for a broader term, and hasn’t got a city mentioned, there are more results. Looking at the screenshot you can see that every month, there’s an average of 18,100 people world-wide searching for ‘Retirement Planning’ and 4,400 searching for ’401k plan’.
Some of these people will be in your geographic area. Google changes the search results depending on the location of the person doing the search. I live in Australia, so if I search for ‘retirement planning’ I get a number of Australian domains in the top 10 search results. In the US, I’d expect you’ll see no Australian domains in your results, and would possibly see some local businesses.
Do the search for your local area and see what comes up. And maybe get a friend in a different state to do the same search and email you the screen shot so you can see what differences there are.
Knowing which keywords to target is very important.
There are a couple of criteria that I use:
- The keywords must be relevant to my business
- The people using the keywords must be looking for advice, not tire-kickers, so avoid keywords with words like ‘free’ in them.
- I must have a relatively good chance of ranking well in Google for the chosen keywords. Ranking well means in the top 10 search results with a long term goal of being in the top 1 or 2.
I use a tool called ‘Market Samurai’ which helps me determine the best keywords for my niches. It uses data from Google to help you find an initial set of keywords, but then does a lot of analysis on the top 10 search results for each keyword so you can evaluate your chances of success.
The keywords your business targets may be different from another financial planning business. We all have different value propositions, so it makes sense to target different words.
How We Can Help
We can talk with you about the SEO of your website, and give you ideas on how to improve it. As part of this consulting we’ll work with you to build a shortlist of keywords that you can target.
Leave a comment below – do you know what keywords you’re targeting? Do you have more questions about how Google works?