It’s quite common for financial planners to have a poor digital presence and to not capitalize on the opportunities that the internet presents them with.
Not only that, but there is so much competition from the “big names” like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, etc.
So how do you stand out?
It starts with deciding on your goals.
The goal of your digital marketing efforts are going to vary by practice, but probably include:
- Getting a certain number of new clients
- Retaining current clients
- Building out content that educates current and prospective customers
- Becoming the “go-to” expert in Financial Planning in their area of the world.
While there are only four options listed there, any one of those can be a huge undertaking for a small team to complete, let alone one person. I’m going to focus on getting new clients here, so we can start you off with a solid strategy for improving your online reputation.
Improving Your Local Digital Footprint
As a financial planner, the majority of your clients likely come into your office or live in a city nearby you. This is both a huge opportunity in terms of knowing your potential customers, and a big negative in terms of how many people you really have the ability to target.
Fortunately, if done correctly you can be extremely effective in getting new customers. Unfortunately, many financial planners get this wrong.
The key here is to get in front of your customers where they already are. One of the best ways to figure that out when it comes to social media is to test different platforms and see what works.
But one of the real quick wins here for financial advisers is something seemingly boring: Google.
A recent study shows that 72% of people who completed a local search visited a business within five miles. In addition, local searches lead 50% of mobile visitors to visit a store within 24 hours.
Yet, so many financial planners aren’t utilizing Google to it’s full potential. I’m not only talking about the paid advertisements at the top of a search, but also the local or “map” pack. You know those 3 or 4 local listings that show up below the map when you search for a nearby location.
Local listings are the one of the primary places someone looks when they are searching google for “financial planner near me” or “best financial advisor in [city name].”
If you’re not showing up there, you’re losing out on a TON of visibility.
Think about it – these are people IN YOUR AREA looking for YOUR SERVICES and you aren’t showing up. These are extremely targeted leads that are practically begging to talk to you.
You need to be showing up there. So how do you do that?
Here are 3 ways to take advantage of some of the “low-hanging fruit” and start getting found more consistently in the search engines.
1. Optimize Your Local Citations
There are many things you can do to get into the map pack, but one of the most important to get right first, is your local citations.
This means getting your business into local and national directories that make sense in your industry. This is a very tedious process and you must make sure that your business is showing up online with the same name, address and phone number in all places. Even the “Street” vs “St.” shouldn’t be different.
There are many companies/aggregators that will offer to “help” you do this — but be careful, some of the top names will charge you a monthly fee and if you ever decide to stop paying, they will revert everything back to how it was before you signed up. Talk about being stuck with a company.
There are also folks you can hire (like Conversion Owl Marketing – shameless plug) to build up the database of your online listings, in the slow, but much more stable method.
While it will take more time and more money up front, using someone that will take their time and make sure you’re in all the places you need to be is the best long-term strategy here.
Not only do you want to have your name, address, and phone number, but you want to keep these up to date and include images of your store, team, and even products. Including multimedia is going to get you noticed more and help you rise to the top.
2. Getting Consistent Reviews
Another way to build up your online presence as a financial planner, is to get your customers to leave you a review online. This can be anywhere from a Google Review to Yelp, and even Facebook.
In a recent study by Nielsen, 88% of people said they trusted online reviews as much as they trust a personal recommendation from a friend of colleague. However, the reviews needed to be authentic AND there had to be enough of them to make a good judgment call.
Not only do customers trust multiple reviews, but so do Google and other search engines. Now, you can’t go around and give discounts for leaving a review, or pay someone to go leave a bunch of them. These sites are smart enough to know when someone is trying to game the system.
By creating a strategy to get reviews from your customers is going to really help you get noticed online.
3. Get Recognized by Other Local Companies
In order to show the search engines that your company is the best in your area, you’re going to need more than customer reviews and an address there. Having the local media showcase your company, or building a relationship with local businesses who link to your website is going to really go far in helping your cause.
Let’s say you’re a financial planner who specializes in helping seniors, you can combine forces with a local adult community or AARP chapter and promote each other. This is a great way to not only get new clients from those places directly, but if they promote you online and link to your site, this shows search engines that you’re a reputable business in that area.
Many local companies are more than happy to accept an offer like this, because you’re going to be promoting them too – it’s a win-win situation for you both.
These three methods take time, and are not the only things you need to optimize, but they are going to improve your online visibility and allow more of those targeted leads to find you. Start bringing in more of the right clients and try not to focus all your time on outbound marketing methods like direct mail and TV commercials.
If you’re looking for more information on how to get started with, or improve your current local business strategy, let me know. I’m happy to answer any questions and point you in the right direction if I’m unable to do so.