Most financial advisors realize that having a website is essential, if for no other reason than to validate their existence in a digitally connected world. While many advisors are investing more money to upgrade the quality of their websites beyond unimaginative and technologically deficient digital brochures, most are not designed in an effective manner to attract visitors who may need their services.
With the days of traditional marketing methods long gone, advisors have few lead generation options beyond implementing a modern digital marketing strategy anchored by a quality website with the ability to attract and engage visitors. Not unlike traditional marketing, an effective digital marketing strategy seeks to build ongoing connections and nurture them into qualified leads and, ultimately, prospective clients. The difference is, with an effective digital strategy, you don’t have to spend your time and resources finding people to talk to because they will seek you out.
However, just building a website doesn’t mean people will come. It needs to be digitally wired to make it visible and accessible to wandering eyes. More technically, it needs to be optimized for the search engines to find you. An increasing number of advisors are discovering the ROI benefits of search engine optimization (SEO), not only in generating website traffic, but also for attracting more qualified leads.
Using SEO for Targeted Lead Generation
SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search results. When done effectively, SEO can increase your brand awareness, build targeted traffic and improve your performance in the search results. While it can increase the number of visitors to your website, using the right SEO techniques can also attract visitors who are genuinely interested in your services down to a particular niche or specialization.
The challenge for financial advisors is that SEO can be somewhat complex, involving the selection of the right keywords and integrating them into high-quality content, titles, subheads, URLs, and images. It can also involve lots of inner and outbound linking. For SEO to work effectively, it can take several months to see results and it requires ongoing management to refine the methods and improve results.
Because most advisors have neither the time nor inclination to master SEO, they typically outsource to SEO firms or marketing consultants. An SEO expert can facilitate the steps to submit your website to the search engines, do off-page link building, set up reporting, and analyze results. While it is an added expense, an effective SEO strategy can generate significant ROI that only improves over time.
High-Quality Content is Key
Even a fully optimized website can lose its luster with the search engines if it doesn’t contain SEO-friendly content. Fresh, high-quality content laced with the right keywords is the juice that keeps the search engine bots coming back, which is what drives up your search ranking. The more content you create and post, the more traffic you can get. And, a lot of that new traffic will include qualified leads.
The most effective way to add fresh content is with a blog, posting timely and relevant articles at least once or twice a month, or more. Not only is this essential for building traffic and attracting qualified leads, but it is also a great opportunity to build your presence and authority in your target market. By creating content that appeals to your target market, it is more likely to attract the people who are genuinely interested in your services.
You can then leverage your content across your digital channels, posting it to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram or creating videos or slide shares that can be posted to YouTube. You can also pitch it to national and local journalists who may have an interest in using it in their publications. When the content is viewed and shared it can drive more targeted traffic to your website.
Converting Visitors into Qualified Leads
You know your SEO is working when your web traffic gradually increases each month. But, if you don’t give your visitors an easy way to convert to leads on your website, it won’t improve your ROI. For that, you need to include clear calls-to-action to engage your visitors and move them into the funnel. A call-to-action can be as simple as an opt-in for an e-newsletter, offer to download a report or registration for a webinar.
Once they become leads, they can be tracked using marketing automation software, which can fulfill their requests and keep them engaged by providing ongoing, relevant content based on their activities on your website or social media sites. Marketing automation software can also “score” your leads based on the level of their engagement. Leads with the highest scores are more likely to be receptive to a call to move them further down the funnel.
Monitor, Measure and Analyze
Clearly, implementing an SEO-based digital marketing strategy is no small endeavor. However, no traditional marketing method can match it for its efficiency and ROI. For the best possible outcome, the results should be monitored and measured against your business goals. It is important to know which content is generating visitors, where leads are coming from, and which types of leads are more likely to convert to a prospect. SEO and marketing automation tools are available to analyze results from the top-down and bottom-up, leading to improved targeting, more efficient spending, and, ultimately, more business.
Dan Sondhelm is CEO of Sondhelm Partners, a firm that helps asset managers, mutual funds, ETFs, wealth managers and fintech companies grow through marketing, public relations and sales programs. Click to read Dan’s latest Insight articles and to schedule a complimentary consultation.