Digital marketing funnels have quickly evolved as marketing has shifted away from traditional outbound marketing methods to inbound marketing tactics that rely on digital marketing. In particular, digital marketing has dramatically altered the management of marketing & sales funnels for financial advisors and other financial professionals. The effective use of digital marketing tools greatly facilitates making more sales with the utmost efficiency.
Plenty of financial advisors understandably do not know where to start in the quest to improve their management of digital sales funnels. So, a good starting point is to take a look at the best approaches for financial businesses to employ when using digital marketing to convert contacts into leads, prospects, and revenue-producing clients.
What is a funnel to begin with?
A Funnel is a term to describe the journey a consumer takes from a visitor or someone "browsing for information" to a qualified lead and then a paying client.
The formula for a high converting funnel is straightforward, but it can often be overlooked. The reason being, with all the new technology & automation tools being introduced, it’s easy to get what’s called shiny object syndrome, and thus, take our eyes off the prize.
Moreover, thinking macro instead of micro, and considering the big picture, the formula for a funnel goes like this:
Traffic + Conversions = Money
Whether your sales process takes place on a sales page or involves a call or in-person meeting with the sales team, the formula is still the same.
If the product or service is sold on the page, then a conversion on the page would be people buying. If the page converts really well, the more traffic you drive to that converting page, the more business you will bring.
If the sales process requires a phone call, then a conversion might entail somebody scheduling an appointment on the page. In this sense, more appointments should lead to more sales.
The more traffic you drive, the more appointments you will get, the more sales you get.
Here’s a visual of what the process looks like:
With this formula in mind, these are the steps to make it work.
Step 1: Get Traffic to Your Website or funnel
You’ve built a beautiful website or landing page and figuratively turned on the neon “Open for Business” sign, but the traffic to your site is non-existent. Just because you built it does not ensure that people will come.
Your job is to drive the traffic. That way, they get to see your services exist and can help them get their needs met.
There are two primary ways to get traffic to your site:
Paid traffic and Organic traffic.
This is just as it sounds. You pay money and, in return, get traffic. The most commonly known examples of paid search traffic are Facebook Ads and Google Ads.
There are many other great ways to pay for traffic, such as Pinterest Ads, Twitter, Snapchat, Native ads, Banner ads, your industry’s niche sites, etc.
For example, a paid search strategy could be a blog all by itself.
It is not uncommon for some brands to use a blog article as a subtle long-form sales letter, with call to actions on it that drive traffic to a checkout page.
You want to be on the first page of Google, right?
To get more organic traffic to your site, you must make it elementary for prospects to find you. Above all, when they search for words or phrases specifically relevant to your website.
Getting on the first page of the search engines like Google and Bing is critical to achieving that goal.
So how is that done?
Firstly, to do this, you need a great hosting provider and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
SEO involves implementing tactics such as on-page optimization and link building that will bump your search engine ranking. This could be anything from your site structure to the words you use in your title tags and meta descriptions.
At the same rate, getting quality links from reputable websites pointing back to your website is a critical part of SEO.
Furthermore, SEO can get quite complicated and esoteric, especially because what might work one day could be obsolete the next.
There are several useful tools out there that can save you time and make the process of SEO much easier. One such tool is Yoast. Yoast is the best on-page optimization tool out there. It's also free.
Getting attention and traffic to your website is step one of the Sales Funnel for Financial Advisor journey.
Step 2: Convert that Traffic into Qualified Leads
Now that you started driving traffic to your site, the next step is to make that traffic convert.
When someone comes to your website without buying, that should be the start of a conversation, not the end.
However, to keep the conversation going, you must capture those leads to nurture that relationship.
For example, you can capture visitors’ information (e.g., an email address) by sending them to a high converting landing page or through a pop-up box on your website.
In both instances, we recommend offering something of value and useful in return for their information.
This could be anything from a free ebook on retirement planning, registration for a free webinar (or seminar), or subscribing to your blog (that you update with valuable content regularly).
Here are two ways you can collect a visitor's information. Transitioning them from visitor to lead.
Many times, Financial Advisory businesses will spend all this money on buying traffic to their website.
But they make the mistake of sending that traffic to their website and then failing to tell that traffic what they should do next.
In other words, there is no clear path to value.
Instead, to avoid this, send your traffic to a landing page, which gives them a single directive. This reduces friction as there is less confusion on what action the visitor needs to take.
A landing page is called a landing page because, as its name implies, it's one that visitors “land on." But, they're not mean to navigate or do much once they land on the page.
They are so supposed to land on the page and take one action.
Not two. Not three. Not even one point five.
One action only.
The difference is that it has one clear call to action and prompts people to accomplish it.
In the financial advisor example, the landing page could’ve been a sign-up page for a free consultation or access to a free PDF such as a Retirement Planning Checklist resource.
Pop Up Box
Suppose you're a partner in a Financial Advisory Practice. More often than not, when someone comes to your site, they’re doing research and gathering information.
Therefore, they have no intention of making an appointment (or letting you manage all of their money) today.
Amateur financial advisors let visitors browse through their site like a glossy brochure and then wave bye as they click the back button and go directly to their competitor’s website.
However, that isn't you.
You’re smarter and more skilled.
That's why you know you can use something such as a pop up box that says something like, “Interested in the 5 simple steps in the Retirement Planning Checklist? Download the free Checklist below to help you stay on track and make sure you don’t miss anything.” or “Life happens. Plan today. Protect tomorrow. We’re here to help. Click below to Schedule a Free Consultation.”
Now you have leads. Getting those leads is step two of the funnel for a Financial Advisor.
The next step is nurturing those leads and getting them to know, like, and trust you.
There are many tools out there that can help you can create stunning landing pages and pop-up boxes. One simple tool is Leadpages.
The number of things you can do with Leadpages is magnificent. You can do something simple like sending a lead magnet, registering visitors for webinars, and creating a direct registration page for a live seminar.
Building a page is super easy with their user-friendly drag-n-drop builder, numerous templates, and easy integration with your website. In addition, it integrates seamlessly with various email marketing platforms. The importance of this integration leads us to step 3 of the funnel for financial advisors.
Step 3: Nurture Leads to New Clients with Email Marketing Automation
Email is arguably the best digital marketing tool in existence. Not just one-off emails or having an email newsletter, but all of the creative ways you can leverage this tool. Furthermore, email is compelling from not only a revenue-generating standpoint but an overall profit standpoint. In other words, the bottom line.
This is because the ROI from email marketing is proven year after year to be in the 40x to 50x range. Most recently, Campaign Monitor's annual report, which used data across multiple industries, revealed that the average ROI from email is 44x.
However, this last step of the funnel, qualifying and converting leads into clients, is also the hardest.
We've touched on capturing leads so that you can nurture their buying decision, but what does this actually mean?
More often than not, a prospect doesn’t decide to work with an advisor quickly.
There’s a lot that goes into that decision.
This is why you should be there for almost every stage while also nurturing them to the next.
The typical journey goes like this:
- Problem recognition (this means, the individual has recognized they have a problem they need solved. I.e. they want to put a retirement plan into place, but don't know where to start).
- Information gathering (now they are doing research to see how they can solve their problem. In other words, they're 'looking for a solution').
- Compare and or interview alternatives (here the individual is comparing options based on all the information they have gathered thus far. At this point they may have met with an advior or even a few, as well as, read more information on the web, and information the advisors they met with provided them).
- Make a decision based on best fit (This is where they make a decision that they feel is the best option for them based on the options they have).
- Evaluate their decision (here, they are waiting and expecting an ROI. Additionally, they want to feel that this was time and money well spent, and was the best decision they have ever made in their lives. This makes them feel good about themselves, and a very satisfied customer).
- Refer other clients to the advisor (This is the promise land for the financial advisor! Nothing is more rewarding than when your previous clients become your highest-performing sales reps. Additionally, referrals close at a much higher percentage than virtually any other method as well. This is comparable to having a sales team working hot leads like clock work).
Considering this journey, we can significantly influence it in our favor through email marketing.
For instance, instead of immediately going for the hard sell, you target your leads based on their behavior and then send them relevant content at the right time.
Likewise, if they’re just starting their journey, you can offer something like a “Retirement Planning Checklist.”
If they like this, you can now segment them through your automation to see what else they like.
Based on how they respond, you can now send them more targeted content based on their needs.
In other words, you can give them more of what they want, which is a potent thing to do in marketing, for obvious reasons. This process is known as message mapping.
Furthermore, if a lead is further down the funnel and already knows they want to work with an advisor, a checklist wouldn’t be ‘relevant content. They’re at the point of choosing the best financial advisor for their needs, so perhaps you could offer a free consultation to get to know their needs better.
Ideally, this is what you want as a financial advisor. More appointments mean more business opportunities.
But it all begins with having a proper funnel set up and following the formula, traffic + conversions = money.