Referrals are the key to Financial Advisor Marketing – it’s always been that way. One happy client tells their brother, uncle, neighbour or friend. The problem is that referrals aren’t just delivered via word of mouth any more. Clients use their mobile devices and computers to spread the word. How can financial advisors adapt to this new world of referrals? Particularly if said financial advisor has little or no knowledge of this new-fangled technology. Here are the 5 steps for financial advisors (of any technological disposition) to make the most of this opportunity and to avoid losing out.
They installed computers in my school the year I left. That was 1988 – the start of it all. The beginning of an era where the elite few who understood the technical jargon of the Internet called the shots. But that was OK – surely after a while the Internet and all of its associated business tools would be made easier to understand, right? Wrong.
For many business owners and particularly for those in professional services, the opportunities (and threats) relating to the Internet remain as much of a mystery now as they did years ago. So let me demystify the confusion around financial advisor marketing by providing my top 5 tips to drive leads via the Internet:
TIP 1: Local Business? You need a Google Listing
Well actually it’s called a Google My Business Listing. It’s the information that appears at the top (or to the side) of the Google search results when you search for a local business service. Search for ‘financial advisor in London’ and you will be greeted by a list of solicitors who have created a Google Listing.
How do you create a Google Listing for your business? Well that’s easy – simply search for ‘Google My Business’ and follow the search result to Google’s very straightforward instructions.
Important – when you set up your Listing make sure to fill in all the fields relating to business descriptions, services, photos etc as these really help with search ranking. Remember, Google is all about providing browsers with relevant search results so make it comprehensive.
You will probably notice that Google has already set a listing up for you based on data from a variety of sources – these sources will likely be inaccurate so it is vital to claim your listing so that you can update it.
Pro tip – your new Listing has the option to publish short news stories which can be updated every couple of weeks. Use that option to seize more Google search real estate!
TIP 2: Set up a Facebook Page
Like me you may have a problem with Facebook. The thoughts of sharing family photos with old friends from school sounds may not be your cup of tea. But it’s that brand of Facebook that you need for your business – it’s a Facebook Page.
A Facebook Page is for businesses and it is one of your your primary online means of generating referrals. Setting up a Facebook Page is very like setting up a Google Listing – simply folllow the instructions from a Google search for ‘set up a Facebook Page’ and make sure you complete all the available information including contact details, business description and service details.
Once your Page has been set up then encourage your existing clients to Like your Page. If you have a Facebook account then Facebook provides an easy way to encourage your friends to do this via an invitation.
Use your Page to publish interesting sector content together with photos of your business and staff. Keep the tone of your posts light.
- Run competitions with other businesses to help grow your Likes.
- Create a calendar of future posts and schedule them in advance using Facebook’s scheduled posts feature.
- Do not use Facebook (or any social media channel) to overtly sell your service.
TIP 3: e-Mail is still alive and kicking
OK – I hear what you’re saying – some of my clients aren’t on Facebook and they don’t use Google. Well chances are they have an email account, even if it is a Hotmail account from the 90s. Email has been shown to convert leads at a higher rate than social media. That is maybe because an email will remain in the client’s inbox until it is archived whereas a post on social media gets pushed down the feed automatically as new posts arrive.
An educational and short monthly email to clients might be just enough to encourage contact or certainly sufficient to keep your business in their consciousness.
So make sure to gather your client email addresses and send a monthly email. Ensure your contact details are shown clearly and test any links that you place in the text.
- Use a email software like MailChimp to send your emails. This is a free service up to a particular subscriber total
- Make sure your subject line is engaging, or your clients might not even open it.
- Personalise your emails by using the first name of your client in the text
- Measure the open rate of your emails as a means of judging how useful your clients find your emails.
TIP 4: Use your website as a marketing tool, not a shop-window
I’ve never been a fan of complicated websites. In fact, I make a point of not booking a restaurant where I can’t easily find a menu and a phone number within a few seconds. That might seem like an over reaction, and it probably is, but how hard is it to add a phone number to the top of your website? Remember, the website is usually there to drum up new business, which will involve a phone call at some point!
My recommendation is to keep your website as simple as possible with clear calls to action (phone number, email etc) at the top of the site. It should describe your business and particularly your services. It doesn’t require thousands of pounds to build and it should be updated by you, the business owner. Google love a website that is updated on a regular basis and yes, it must be mobile friendly. A website built on any paid or free platform should be mobile friendly.
TIP 5: Measure, Measure, Measure
It’s time to dig out that old quote from John Wanamaker (1838-1922), the department-store magnate, who once said,
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
This quote will resonate with all those who have religiously advertised in the local newspaper or sector magazine for most of their business career. Online marketing is a different beast altogether, at least it should be if it’s done correctly. Here are some ways this some styling of marketing can be made to be very measurable:
- Using a simple (and free) product like Google Analytics can tell you how many people visit key pages in your website and even how many fill out your contact form.
- Facebook insights will tell you how many times someone has clicked on your Call Now button or sent you a message.
- Google My Business insights will tell you how many people have clicked to call or sought directions to your place of business.
With these measurements in place you can very quickly understand where your online leads are coming from and make any changes you need to make.
- Use Google Data Studio to bring together all of your Key Performance Indicators into one place. This will allow you see your overall online reach and easily compare over previous periods.
I hope you find these tips useful. I accept they are extremely basic but that’s a great place to start. My objective here was to impart some simple tips which could make a huge difference to financial advisor marketing.
Stuart McLean is the founder of table59, a Professional Services Online Marketing Agency dedicated to helping its clients to generate online leads.
table59 has assisted its clients in the UK and the US to construct multiple online channels and to use these to grow online reach and leads. Clients include the Mortgage Advice Bureau and Balcas.