As someone who has devoted a large part of my life to helping financial services professionals generate leads and empower their marketing strategies, I’m well aware that registered investment advisors in particular are ALWAYS looking for new sources of financial advisor leads. It makes sense, because if someone wants to continue to grow their own business, they need a steady stream of new clients coming right to their door.
The problem is that this isn’t just often easier said than done … it does require investment, too.
Many advisors find sites like SmartAsset or WiserAdvisor particularly challenging. SmartAsset in particular is a paid lead source where someone can buy leads and get them directly for $100 or $200 on average … with a closing rate of about one out of 10. This, of course, is different than trying to generate leads from your own website.
That’s a lot of money to be spending on something that might not necessarily work for you. But does that mean that paid lead gen is a bad idea? Far from it.
I have one current client in particular who buys all the leads he can from SmartAsset—that’s how well it’s working for him. Another client, however, tried it and didn’t care for it—he just wasn’t seeing the kind of lead flow that other firms were seeing. So why did the same resource work exceptionally well for one client and not for another?
Ultimately, a lot of it likely comes down to the perception of return on investment.
The Importance of Perspective in Lead Generation for Financial Advisors
In our own experience, the return on investment that we’ve seen from sites like these is definitely positive—but the closing rate is unquestionably far lower than organic search or referrals. One out of 10 is still an acceptable ROI when you’re talking about $500,000 in assets. However, as always, your mileage may vary.
We believe that the key to making sure these types of qualified lead resources work for your own financial services firm is to be open to trying one channel for a set amount of time before you move onto another. You need to be flexible but also aware. Once it feels like you’ve gotten enough activity to your sales funnel and you’ve found all the potential clients you can, move onto another and start the process again. You may stick with one channel for six months or even a year.
Try these types of paid lead sources and directories that your digital marketing firm partner is recommending—assuming that they are working exclusively for RIAs, of course–or what he or she has seen with other clients. See what type of tangible ROI you can get. If one channel does not perform the way you need it to, don’t be afraid to move on.
You also need to be aware that there are more opportunities out there in terms of lead generation for financial advisors than you probably realize. With that in mind, here are a list of qualified lead resources for financial advisors that you’re definitely going to want to explore as soon as you can.
Also bear in mind that there is an additional benefit of working with these paid lead sources. If they have a directory that you can get listed in, and they have high domain authority, then you get the added benefit—oftentimes dramatic—of having a powerful backlink into your site.
All told, the purpose of this list is to provide you with a wide array of different lead resources that you can choose from depending on your needs. As always, your “needs” will vary—both in the context of your business and your larger goals in the moment. Many of these lead sources or directories work very, very well for some people and not well at all for others. If your actual ROI isn’t what you’re after once six or so months have passed, don’t be afraid to move on to another channel.
It doesn’t mean that these financial advisor lead resources won’t work for you—it just means that you haven’t found the right “recipe” quite yet.
At its core, Paladin Registry is a solution built to match up clients with prescreened fiduciaries—in other words, financial advisor firms like yours. The registry itself has two types of members—registered investment advisors and investment advisor representatives. Overall, Paladin provides three distinct types of online services to firms:
- Registry referrals to qualified prospects, although you can get this only by signing up for a membership.
- Website and internet services designed to produce qualified leads.
- Marketing and consulting services aimed at helping those qualified leads convert.
Naturally, service fees vary depending on factors like your service requirements, the number of locations you’re running and the number of professionals in your firm. However, this may be a good source for you to explore, so be sure to contact Paladin directly for more information.
One of the things that makes NAPFA such a viable resource is that it makes it easy for people to initiate contact with ONLY those advisors that are a solid match for their specific needs. But that means you get a lot of information about your potential clients, too—including their financial planning requirements, contact preferences and other pivotal details. This is a great way to generate not just leads but QUALIFIED leads, allowing NAPFA to do a large part of the “hard work” on your behalf.
What is interesting is how I have seen these leads come into the client pipeline.
For every client, we install a software that we developed called the LeadGen LeadSource Plugin, and it basically tells us where the leads are coming from. This plugin has allowed us to trace where and how the NAPFA leads come in. It’s counterintuitive but definitely worth it. Reach out to me if you would like to get this plugin for your firm’s site or discuss how NAPFA could be a source of leads for you.
Garrett Planning Network
Garrett Planning Network is yet another solution designed to help consumers find qualified and vetted advisors in their specific area—which is again something that you can leverage to your advantage. Joining the network allows you to become a part of a vibrant, supportive and (most essentially) diverse group of financial professionals who have all joined together in service of something far greater than any one of them could be individually. It’s a community of like-minded people who always act with the best interests of their clients at heart, and its powerful reputation can definitely be an asset to your marketing strategy and lead gen efforts.
XY Planning Network
Similarly, we have the XY Planning Network. Joining the XY Planning Network advisor portal is a perfect opportunity to help generate leads in a way that puts you out in front of your prospective clients. Not only do you have a chance to gain visibility and rise above the rest of your competitors, but you also get a chance to become the go-to expert for your particular niche. Advisors on the XY Planning Network are listed by their specialty—so you can go directly after whoever your ideal customer actually is with minimal effort. This can include entrepreneurs, those that are concerned with estate planning or retirement, and much, much more.
Maybe the best part about WalletHub isn’t just that it’s a great way to increase your online visibility and join conversations in your industry already taking place—it’s also totally free to do so. You can increase your web presence in a way that showcases your services, engage with members of your community and show off your knowledge, AND increase new qualified prospects—all at the exact same time. At the time of this writing, it has a domain authority of 82, so an excellent backlink.
But more than that, they’re ALSO collecting credit score data from people who sign up—thus giving you even more actionable information to work from when you reach out to these prospects for the first time.
This one we’ve already mentioned, but for the sake of completion we’ll go over it again. On average, we find that financial advisors pay about $100 to $200 per lead on SmartAsset and up to around $2,000 to $3,000 for every new customer acquired. Before allowing any financial advisor firm onto the platform, SmartAsset confirms that it is A) properly registered with either the United States Securities and Exchange Commission or an appropriate state regulator, and that B) it actually possesses any and all licenses that it claims to. In order to join SmartAsset, you cannot have any pending or valid regulatory disclosures within the past decade. At our firm, this is the one we are seeing get the best results.
Dave Ramsey is a lot more than just a trusted authority in the financial services world, he also has vetted professionals on his website that he shows off on a regular basis, too. His website itself is a lead generation solution for approved advisors, and if you’re able to rise to meet that criteria, it can be a very lucrative opportunity for you, indeed.
Finally, we have WiserAdvisor—a solution that bills itself as an “independent and unbiased matching service” that aims to help people find the best financial advisors to meet their own unique needs. Its financial advisor directory can be organized by state or even major cities, once again allowing you to go after those high-quality leads that are already very close to your physical place of business.
Christopher P. Wendt is president of Midstream Marketing, a digital agency that generates predictable leads for independent financial advisory firms. Over the past 10 years, he’s spent hundreds of hours applying the LeadGen FormulaTM, a proven method helping financial advisors generate more leads. You can reach him at [email protected]