Everyone in financial services understands that advisors generate 75-90% of all their new business from referrals. That doesn’t mean they’re generating enough revenue however, as most advisors will tell you they want more referrals, more leads, more clients.
Advisors pursue many tactics to generate more leads. Oftentimes, it’s a mishmash of ideas from Advisor Marketing Guru #1 mixed with some ideas from Advisor Marketing Guru #2 and then, a gentle sprinkling of what worked for 2 or 3 advisors that spoke at last years conference. Advisors have been chasing this dream forever, the perfect formula to attract ideal clients – not necessarily leads by the droves, but certainly more ideal leads.
Here are 7 reasons advisors struggle with generating leads.
1 – No Story
People want stories. They already know advisors “sell” financial products, some even “prepare financial plans”, but few people truly understand what an advisor can really do for them. They don’t often know the answer to the three big “why” questions: Why you? Why me? Why plan?
Your story should give people what they need to be able to identify you and your services as different, better and highly relevant to them. When you figure out your story, you’ll have the opportunity to turn it into your brand and then use that to your advantage in all of your lead marketing. Your brand precedes you. It gives you clarity and focus. Your lead marketing will be way better just having gone through the process of creating your story. With a compelling story, your ideal prospects will know you are right for each other. They will begin to experience your brand.
2 – No Credibility
Credibility isn’t simply experience, credentials or success. Credibility is proof of expertise and that you understand your audience and their needs. It’s proof that you have a process, a game plan, to help them. Credibility can be exhibited in several ways: via social media, a compelling and rich website, valuable highly relevant content, and a clear niche audience and expertise.
Achieving credibility is a seasoned advisor’s rite of passage. Credibility is earned each and every day. Credibility is daily proof you know more, care more, give more and will do more for your audience. It’s why marketing is so important because marketing, specifically digital marketing, can help you ooze credibility and outshine other financial advisors – your competitors.
3 – All “ASK”, No “GIVE”
“Contact me today for a free, no obligation, financial consultation” has to be the least effective call-to-action ever and yet it’s the most prevalent on most advisors websites. It may be appropriate and well intentioned but it simply isn’t effective.
On my company website, TactiBrand.com, I get 4-6 form submissions a year. In contrast, I get 2,000+ downloads of my papers. I get thousands who read my blog posts every month and who also listen to my podcasts, Mod Marketing. I get most of my inquiries via LinkedIn messages.
The value of my content drives my ability to generate leads. I tend to “give” way more then I “ask”. Even when I’m asking it’s usually to get advisors to show up somewhere so I can give.
The same holds true for financial advisors. Advisors who have lots to give have a significant advantage over their peers. In addition, this advantage will multiply once fee transparency is in effect. The trouble for most advisors isn’t that they don’t get this concept, most do. The problem is that most advisors don’t have a process or the time to produce the content they know they need.
4 – Big “ASK”
Most businesses who market their services online know they need an “ask” on their site – some kind of call-to-action. It could be as simple as “Contact Us” or “Contact for a Free No-obligation Financial Consultation”. Ever heard that one before?
Where most advisors stumble is assuming they have built enough credibility to warrant a website prospect saying yes to a more significant ask – like booking a meeting. Many marketing books have been written on the critical importance of building trust in your marketing. This starts with small asks such as: download free paper, listen to podcast, watch video, then maybe they’ll be ready to connect socially, attend webinar and then maybe they’ll be ready to attend seminar, meet with you for a free analysis and report. Attracting clients is a lot like making friends – a “big ask” is rarely the right first approach. Start small and give more than you ask for in return.
5 – No Value
Many advisors fall into the trap of assuming any paper or video is worthy of their ideal audience’s time. Financial firms who know their clients should know what information, strategies, challenges, pain points, and questions intrigue them most.
Content that is used to engage your ideal audience needs to be highly relevant and appreciated. The more value, the better the results.
Here are some good examples websites that house relevant content given their brand and audiences:
Another good idea to ramp up the value of your offer is to offer a variety of pieces of content. I’ve written well-over 15 papers over the years plus videos, courses, guidebooks, and assessment tools. Lead generation isn’t just about capturing their interest; it’s about earning their trust through credibility.
6 – No Commitment
Lead generation requires a significant commitment. This commitment comes in the form of time and most often an investment in a lead generation strategy company. I frequently speak with advisors who earmark much less than $5,000 for a lead generation campaign. That’s a do-it-yourself budget because it will take that full amount within a few months just to create enough traffic to get you started. Lead generation is a serious commitment. Done well it’s highly profitable. But to do it well it requires an adequate investment of both time and money. It’s why so many growth consultants focus on referral programs. It’s easier to get commitment from advisors to invest and implement a referral program. I agree that “referrals” are a safer bet when you have a strong brand, a great marketing foundation, and a valuable service offering.
To build a highly successful lead generation program, you need to implement then enhance as you work on perfecting your lead campaign. Lead generation is a process. It’s a process of better understanding your value, your audience and how to best entice and engage them.
7 – No Clear Niche
Advisors have been pitched niche marketing for decades. They get it. It’s an opportunity to fine-tune your marketing and it gives you better insight into whom to target to as well as how and where to reach them. What many advisors also see is the possibility of turning away everyone else. Most advisors have diverse books of business and while they know whom they enjoy working with most, revenue typically trumps targeting only ideal clients.
When advisors identify and market to their ideal niche, a lot of wonderful things happen:
Lead generation is a process. Financial lead generation is its own beast. If you decide to pursue lead generation and are prepared to do it right, know that it’s a process that requires adequate funding to succeed and that it requires amazing content.