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Can you relate to this?
You have a website. You have social media profiles. You subscribe to a marketing service that automatically emails and posts various types of content on your behalf. This service is supposedly taking care of all your online marketing for you.
Even though you’re spending hundreds of dollars each month, your audience isn’t growing. You're only followed online by a few clients, some bots, and your mom. Your business hasn’t grown as a result of this added activity, but you feel obligated to continue because you know you need an online presence.
I speak to advisors every day who are experiencing this. They know their online marketing isn’t getting the results they want, but they don’t know what to do about it.
Why is there such a big gap between what advisors expect from their online marketing and what they actually get?
The short answer: False education.
Marketing companies sell the enticing idea that advisors can just launch a new website and auto-post to social media to get results. This is a fantasy.
In my last article, I talked about the biggest lie advisor marketing companies sell. It’s a doozy for sure, but this lie is almost as bad. It’s this:
“Our incredible content will grow your business!”
Why is this a lie? Because content is meaningless if no one sees it.
The Real Way To Grow
First, we must acknowledge that “growth” encompasses many things. It includes building an audience, nurturing that audience, converting leads into prospects, and prospects into clients. It requires maintaining client relationships and “growing” them into referral sources. The list goes on. All that being said though, the journey of growth begins with building an audience.
Herein lies the problem.
Most advisors subscribe to marketing services because they need help building an audience -- not because they already have one. They don’t need more content no one will see, but rather, more people to see their content.
There are two primary ways to reach this goal. The first is to do so organically. Advisors can build an audience organically by collecting business cards at networking events, connecting with prospects on social media, building an email subscriber list, and so on. This kind of grassroots marketing takes time, energy, and commitment, but it works.
Another powerful way to build an audience is by advertising online. This method has seen staggering growth in nearly all industries, but financial advisors have largely failed to benefit from it. For the most part, only the biggest and most innovative firms in the nation are using online advertising to grow business.
Considering the high degree of mathematical competency financial advisors have, it’s shocking that more of them aren’t leveraging this marketing channel. The return on ad spend (ROAS) averages $2 for every $1 spent on Google or Facebook1, which is quite impressive. Spend $1,000 and get back $2,000? That’s pretty easy math! And for advisors, the numbers often prove to be much better. When a $3 click can lead to a $3MM client, it’s not hard to justify significant ad spend.
Here are a few more reasons advisors should be advertising online:
- Targeting (and Retargeting) -- Online advertising allows advisors to zone in on their ideal prospect profile. Demographic and geographic criteria can be specified to a remarkable degree. Even interests and behaviors can be targeted. Lookalike audiences even empower advisors to target people with similar characteristics as their best clients! Furthermore, once a prospect visits an advisor’s landing page or website, retargeting ensures the right message shows up over and over again, dramatically increasing the likelihood that cold opportunities will convert into warm leads.
- Brand Awareness -- Even if prospects don’t click and convert from ads right away, the repeated exposure to a specific brand can burn an indelible impression over time. By seeing the same company and value proposition over and over, it gradually forms an emotional connection and makes people aware of who the advertiser is and what they have to offer.
- Scale -- Unlike traditional advertising methods, digital ad campaigns can be deployed and optimized quickly. If one channel isn’t performing well, it’s easy to turn off. If another is excelling, it’s easy to double down. By looking at the data, advisors can make agile moves to spend more on what’s working and cut what’s not.
Perhaps the reason more advisors aren’t advertising online is because they lack the time or expertise to do so themselves. That’s okay! Advisors shouldn’t be expected to act as professional marketers. They’re usually far better off delegating or outsourcing this kind of work, so they can focus on client relationships.
This is why our industry must demand more from marketing providers than cloned websites and canned content that doesn’t really move the needle. It’s time to start insisting that marketing companies deliver what advisors really need: results!