According to a report published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), lead generation is the marketing activity for 2017. Approximately 80 percent of B2B and 66 percent of B2C organizations surveyed by CMI put lead generation at the top of the marketing checklist. For financial advisory firms focused on the digital customer journey, this rally in lead generation can form the basis of a marketing automation system that generate leads for forward-thinking financial advisors.
What is Lead Generation?
In marketing, lead generation is the process of generating a list of potential, qualified buyers i.e. leads who show interest in your product or service. Generating leads has an even greater purpose, namely it is the first step of the sales cycle, identifying prospects who may be interested in your offer. There are two approaches to lead generation: to buy a list of leads or build a list of leads yourself. The problem with buying or purchasing leads is that it puts an organization at risk. Unsolicited emails may be flagged for spam or worse, blacklisted. Once a domain email is blocked from a server, you can never get it back.
A better process for lead generation is to build it, organically, with a quality lead generation funnel. There are many types of funnels. The marketers job is to begin with the end in mind and design a lead generation funnel for a specific goal—build an audience or email list is one approach most commonly used. Nearly all funnels consist of a landing page and what’s called a lead magnet. Most successful digital marketers have used this approach to build their own subscriber lists, then upsell or cross-sell products or courses.
Simplified Lead Generation
A simplified process for lead generation for financial advisors is formulaic, scalable and repeatable. Here is a brief explanation of how the process starts:
Step 1: Define the ideal client.
The first and most essential step to the lead generation process is defining the ideal client also called a customer avatar. Creating a firm’s customer avatar begins with demographic segmentation, facts based on age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, annual household income, home value, geographic location, number of children, occupation, education level, net worth, etc. This information can be usually be gleaned from a CRM system. Psychographic factors such as hobbies, interests, and personality types should also be used to build the avatar. When complete, building a customer avatar will help you target the right type of clients and get clear on who you are marketing to.
Step 2: Build a Landing Page
Now that we have defined our ideal client, we need to guide them to our offer using a single web page known as a landing page. A landing page is also referred to as a lead capture page since this page usually contains an input form that needs to be filled out in exchange for the offer presented on the landing page, a free report or guide for example. The goal for the landing page is to capture as much information about the visitor as possible—first name, last name, email address usually—in hopes of converting them into an actual client at a future point in time.
Landing Page creation begins with deciding what action or what behavior we want to happen. It is the end goal and addresses what we want our prospects to do. The answer varies: register for webinar, sign up for our email newsletter, download a PDF, watch a video, or schedule a demo.
Each landing page has a specific purpose and intent. A squeeze page is a type of landing page designed to capture an op-in email address from a potential subscriber. It is used most often since email is one of the most coveted pieces of lead data. Squeeze pages are successful when they “squeeze” or get the website visitor to enter their email address into a form field and opt-in to receive future emails. Now that the landing page and form is in place, we must offer something of value, known as a lead magnet, in exchange for this information.
Step 3: Create a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is exactly how it sounds, something that attracts. Stated another way, a lead ‘magnet’ is an incentive (some call it an ethical bribe) used by marketers designed to capture interest. Magnets may take many forms such as a guide, report, cheat sheet, handout, toolkit, resource list, webinar, video, assessment, quiz, survey, even a free course. In order to receive the magnet, a lead must fill out an input form. This provides the mechanism to capture identifiable data. This information is then automatically fed into a CRM system like Redtail or Salesforce or a linked to an email service like Constant Contact or MailChimp. Think about the mindset of your consumer and why should they become a lead in the first place? Provide them something of value in exchange for becoming a lead.
Examples of Lead Magnets for Financial Advisors
Usually, a magnet’s main purpose is to build an opt-in email subscriber list in hopes of nurturing the relationship over time so it eventually converts to a sale. If a lead magnet is going to succeed then it must provide exceptional value and be relevant to your ideal client. Most prospects are searching for information that will help them save time, money, make them more productive, or in the case of most financial advisors, help them to make a good financial, investment, and life decision. The key is to figure out what pain points your prospect is trying to solve and then create a lead magnet which addresses it.
Here are many examples to brainstorm:TypeLead Magnet DescriptionTopiceBookAn electronic version of a printed book, usually about 10k wordsInvesting in Cryptocurrencies eBook
Case StudyA report about a person, group, or situation, several pagesRetired Corporate Executive Case StudyCheatsheetA concise set of notes used for quick reference, usually 1-2 pagesBuy or Lease Your Next Car – A Cheatsheet for Busy CommutersChecklistA list of items required, usually 1 pageValue Investor ChecklistGuideA guidebook of directions, advice, and information, several pagesThe Ultimate Guide to Tax Efficient Investing for Medical ProfessionalsTemplateA standard document, pre-developed page layout, usually 1-2 pagesBudget Template Worksheet for Newly Married CouplesToolA device that aids in accomplishing a taskExtra Payment Mortgage Calculator for First-Time How BuyersWhitepaperAn authoritative report giving information, between 5-16 pagesAnnual Generational Wealth Management ReportSpreadsheetAn electronic document in which data is arranged in rows and columnsLoan Amortization Table SpreadsheetWebinarA live or recorded seminar conducted over the Internet, usually 1 hourSocial Security Benefits for Widows and Widowers
In summary, nearly all lead generation funnels use a form of this technique to create brand awareness and growth for drawing leads via content marketing, blogs, and social media. Financial advisors can take a page out of the digital marketer’s playbook and use this strategy to automate lead nurturing. This assumes an email campaign system such as Constant Contact or MailChimp, CRM, and compliance-approved materials are already in place. Once automated, lead generation funnels can exist on the Internet for a set periand do some of the heavy lifting for financial advisory firms.