I was recently looking into some Google search trends. In addition to the research we do, it’s a nice way to see changes in consumer preferences. Sometimes you see decreases in search volumes (i.e. fewer people each year are searching the term “stockbroker”). More importantly though, you see increases in search volumes that point to important trends. Check this one out …
Certainly, it’s become more common for people to search for things “near me,” but that’s not the point here. You can see similar upward trends for “ﬁnancial advisor (city name)” as well.
The point is that more people are going online to begin their search for a financial advisor. While this isn’t shocking (our research has pointed to this for years), I don’t think people are taking this trend seriously enough.
It seems that most trends happen right beneath our feet. We are aware of them, but they often take years to play out, so they’re not always top of mind. For that reason, many businesses don’t act decisively enough to capture a ﬁrst mover’s advantage.
Take electric vehicles for example. In 2001, the ﬁrst Prius hybrids hit the market in the United States. By 2008, the Tesla arrived. They were a novelty at the time. If you knew someone who got one, you wanted to see it. Wait, it’s silent?!?
Even back then, it was predicted that electric cars would become the norm. Did every automaker take action? Hardly. But those who did are in an enviable position today. Honda has still yet to release an EV in the U.S.
Digital marketing is in a similar spot. Our data (and everyone else’s) points toward its growing importance, but many advisors are slow to invest. Consumers searching for “ﬁnancial advisor near me” is a prime example. These people are literally searching for an advisor near them, yet many advisors aren’t anywhere close to the ﬁrst page of Google results.
Are you ready to make some moves? These four actions will get you started down the right path:
- Master the Search Ad in Google. These ads appear at the top of search results. You could place yourself there today if you’d like. If you don’t have the staff internally to run ads, look for an external vendor. This is much quicker than “getting ranked” for keywords organically (for free).
- Pay more attention to your Google Business Proﬁle. The completeness of this proﬁle (among other things) determines whether you show up beside the map in search results. Add pictures, descriptions and contact information. Solicit reviews and ask people to mention the city name.
- Get Yourself Listed on Page 1 of Google for Important Search Terms. It is very challenging but worth pursuing. Focus on content creation, feeding your site with educational content that includes your targeted keywords.
- Reconsider a Templated Website Design. Your site is too important to be an afterthought. Custom sites are a must. If someone searches for an advisor, then lands on your half-hearted site, what good was this whole exercise anyway?
Act now, be decisive, and thank yourself later.
Stephen Boswell is a are partners with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell www.oechsli.com