The Value of Lead Magnets
Every business needs a stream of qualified leads. For financial advisors this is a unique challenge. While a neighborhood bakery, autoshop, or boutique clothing store provides tangible goods and services, the benefits of working with a financial advisor may not be as instantly gratifying. Many consumers only seek out financial advisors when there’s a pressing need, meaning it’s often too late to properly address the issue. One way to address this is to incorporate lead magnets into your marketing plan.
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is anything that drives a consumer to a specific action. You can think of it similar to a call-to-action or a give. What a lead magnet does is attract consumers with a tangible offer or unique experience. This is often thought of in terms of digital marketing. For example, a consumer responds to a digital ad, routing them to a landing page which has a form submittal to receive a complimentary kit, rate report, or retirement analysis. There are many different versions of this structure and advisors can implement a digital lead magnet system to reach many types of consumers.
While it’s good to focus on the digital, lead magnets can be very effective in traditional formats. For instance, we’ve seen success with agents offering a free round of golf or a free tennis lesson. Instead of (or in addition to) using digital ads to promote this offer, the agent places a high-quality, eye-catching ad at the target venue. This can, to an extent, pre-qualify the audience, based on the venue where the ad is placed . The consumer gets a unique experience of value and is able to learn more about you in a casual, low-pressure manner. Another benefit is that you can build a relationship with the venue, which can open you to business owners and advocates.
What Makes a Good Lead Magnet?
A good lead magnet:
Offers an experience or product of real value
A rate report or retirement analysis represents a real value for your time and expertise. For some consumers, this may be enough. But to really attract high-value consumers, offer something that is immediately gratifying.
Is pitched toward a specific target market
You can use a lead magnet any number of ways, which is why you should have a clear idea of the type of consumer you wish to attract.
Gives you an opportunity to interact with the consumer
Dangling out an Outback gift-card for an introductory phone call at best gives you an impersonal interaction with a consumer and at worse attracts plate-lickers. If your lead magnet involves an experience like a lesson with a golf pro, this is an event that you and the consumer can share together. This gives you opportunities to interact with the consumer and for them to get a sense of you.
Aligns you with businesses that support you and your efforts
Since you are likely to use another business’ products or services as a carrot to attract consumers, it’s important to develop a good relationship with the business. As mentioned above, this can gain you advocates and access to business planning opportunities. On a smaller level, however, having a good relationship ensures that you are able to continue to use the business for your lead magnet. Make sure that the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Newest Competitive SPIUL
Marketing Corner – Wednesday June 29th, 2016
6 Key Challenges Advisors Face Today
Advisors and Agents face many challenges throughout their career. From establishing a practice, building a client base, marketing, and dealing with downturns, the zigs and zags of an agent’s career can be erratic. Here are six key challenges advisors face today.
Shifting Demographics and Client Bases
America is on the cusp of the largest transfer of generational wealth, ever. Over the next 30 years, some $30 trillion will be transferred from Boomers to Gen-Xers and Millennials. That’s a pretty good opportunity for advisors, except for two things:
Nearly 66% of children release their parent’s advisor
Most advisors only focus on a particular age segment
Retaining clients across familial generations requires skill. Although there is no such thing as “easy money,” focusing only on Boomers does simplify your practice. You are able to understand the key needs of this population segment and positions to continually enhance your expertise. But doing this cuts you off from the next wave, which is going to arrive sooner than you think. Some demarcations put the outer edge of Gen-Xers around 1960, which means that in five-ten years, these will be the new Boomers. Plus many Gen-Xers and Millennials (yes, Millennials) represent planning opportunities now. Take some time understand the key issues facing each generation and expand your target market.
Marketing and Prospecting
Marketing and prospecting will always be a challenge in any business. Financial advisors are in especially prone position, however, when it comes to generating leads and converting new clients, since the service they provide is not a tangible object and often involves long time-frames. As generations shift, so too does the effective means to reach new clients. This is where having an array of marketing solutions is helpful. While you may have one core marketing activity (seminars, social media, referrals, etc.) having many different marketing tools will help you adapt to changing target markets. It’s not digital versus traditional or push versus pull marketing. It’s digital and traditional, push and pull marketing.
One immediate challenge facing the financial service industry at large is the DOL fiduciary rule. While advisors can expound endlessly on the potential impact of this rule, it does raise some concerns about regulation in general and the changing perceptions of what it is financial professionals actually do. We’ll see how this change plays out before full implementation (already there are many lawsuits set to argue against the rule) but it points to the importance of staying abreast of industry-wide changes and being diversified in your offerings.
Balancing Being A Good Advisor and A Good Businessperson
A good advisor provides custom-tailored service and excellent care. A good businessperson understands the true cost of profit and has a vision for the company on several different time scales. The challenge many advisors have is that they have to be both a good advisor and a good businessperson. Independent advisors may pull enough in production to hire a support staff, but the responsibilities of dealing with consumers and protecting the business’s growth fall squarely on their shoulders. Time spent as an advisor can take away time needed to ensure business needs are met. Time focused on the numbers takes away from time that could be spent with consumers, which at the end of the day, helps support the vision of the business.
How do you balance this? It may help to establish a distinct marketing and business plan periodically. You may also wish to align with another producer or agency. Or you might seek out a FMO to handle marketing and back office tasks, as well as help shape the scope of your business. However you do it, never forget that you are a business owner and need time to focus on business needs as much as client needs.
The market is unpredictable. While there are best practices, solutions, and strategies that work within and outside the market, the market still casts a large shadow over financial services. Market volatility presents a challenge to advisors in a few interesting ways. Advisors need to have some idea of how products and solutions will perform in the ecosystem of the stock market. Consumers, watching key stock figures and measurements, come armed with their own perceptions, fears, and concerns. This can lead to behavioral finance biases. While you can’t control the market, you can help people address their specific needs. Having a good understanding of consumers’ biases and issues can go a long way to selling your market-tough solutions.
Generalization v. Specialization
The problem many professionals face is to generalize or specialize. This is true of doctors, lawyers, and certainly financial advisors. If you are too generalized, you may miss opportunities to land advance-market, high net-worth clients. If you are too specialized, you may be vulnerable to changes with your specialty and target market. One possible approach for success is similar to the point we made about marketing: have one core offering, with an array of other offerings. This will allow you to go after niche clients, with a sustaining set of services.
Complimentary Seminar Secrets Guide + Checklist
Fill out the form below to receive
your complimentary copy.
An advisor’s first face-to-face meeting with a prospect is, like all first impressions, very important. Your prospect gains a sense of you as a professional and service provider. If they leave the appointment confused or with a bad taste, they probably won’t park their retirement with you, no matter your years of experience or credentials. While some advisors are naturally proficient at nailing initial meetings with prospects, there are many easy ways advisors—even the best—can tank first appointments. Such as:
You Are Too Eager To Sell
One of the easiest ways to ruin a first appointment is to sell right away or sell too hard. First appointments are really about getting to know each other and focusing on products will make you more of a salesperson, rather than a financial professional. Instead of focusing on products, focus on solutions and results. Products are just tools that solve problems.
You Talk About Yourself Too Much
It’s good to build rapport and explain your background/qualifications, but going on about yourself will make you seem egotistical, narcissistic, and take away time that your prospect can use to voice their specific concerns.
You Don’t Engage The Consumer
Even with a two-way conversation, it’s possible for you to not engage with your consumer properly. Ask them questions and relate information back to their specific goals or vision for retirement.
You Don’t Give The Consumer Time To Process Information
In the course of the appointment, you may delve into complex financial topics or discuss important options. Give the consumer time to process this information and ask clarifying questions. Guide them through their options and help them piece together for themselves the ideal solution.
You Don’t Ask Probing Questions
There may be other factors outside of a fact-finder sheet that determine if a product or solution is appropriate. Ask probing questions to get a better sense of your prospect and the full picture of their unique situation.
You Ignore Key Details And Goals
The prospect will likely outline their needs and retirement goals. Pay attention to this information. Discussing solutions that ignore these goals will alienate the consumer, leaving them with an impression that you aren’t listening.
You Don’t Take Notes
Taking notes throughout the appointment not only helps you keep track of important details, it also demonstrates your care and professionalism to the consumer.
You Fail To Demonstrate Empathy
One of that main reasons people seek financial advisors, over say, a robo-advisor, is the sense of care and connection they get working with a real human being. This really comes down to being an empathetic professional, meaning that you demonstrate your awareness of how important the consumer’s goals are. Being able to read and respond to emotions, such as confusion, fear, and frustration, is very helpful as you work through the appointment. Remember that for most consumers money is only as good as the security and protection it provides. You may also deal with consumers who recently lost spouses or parents.
You Over Explain
Key financial concepts and solutions can require detailed explanations. However, using too much technical jargon or bringing in unnecessary information outside the topic at hand can overwhelm the consumer.
You Under Explain
On the other hand, not providing a clear, full explanation of a process or product inhibits the consumer’s ability to see how it might be appropriate for them.
You Are Boring
Financial services involve numbers, processes, and details that may not be the most exciting, even if they serve to illustrate exactly what the consumer needs. Most people don’t care about the internal mechanisms or economic theory behind a solution; they care about a secure retirement. So what is exciting or compelling to you, a person who lives and breathes in the financial world, may not be to the consumer. Always bring solutions to the consumer’s level and make it come to life through relatable metaphors. Break up long instances of speech with questions or checks for knowledge. Use visuals.
You Dominate The Conversation
While you are the expert and will likely have a lot to say regarding a consumer’s situation, dominating the conversation makes the consumer feel invalidated. Allow your consumer time to interject. Make them feel comfortable to ask questions.
Your Lose Control Of The Session
You certainly shouldn’t dominate the conversation, but you should also not lose control of the session by letting a prospect go on and on. Keep the conversation focused on a specific need or goal. This goal, may involve many individual concerns or considerations, but having an ultimate goal that they all move toward can help keep the session focused and help you maintain control over the appointment.
Your Explanations And Solutions Are All Over The Place
Your explanations and solutions should move in a structured manner. Approaching solutions from all angles at once causes the consumer to withdraw.
You Don’t Relate Information Back To The Needs or Goals
What does your prospect ultimately need or want? A secure retirement? Upside potential? College funding? All three? Every solution is going to involve detailed processes and specific considerations. Bring your prospect in closer by relating the solution back to their goal. For example, after explaining an overfunding IUL strategy, say, “This allows you to retire safely and send little Jenna to college.”
Complimentary Seminar Secrets Guide
Fill out the form below to receive
your complimentary copy.
Marketing Corner – Thursday, June 9th, 2016
Six Ways To Be More Personal In Your Practice
The best advisors know they don’t sell products—they sell themselves. With the rise of robo-advisors and increasingly competitive markets, one of the easiest ways to gain a foothold with your consumer base is to be a personable professional. For some advisors, this is common sense and natural. Others may not be aware of the ways they could sell themselves better. Here are six simple ways to put your best foot forward.
Too many times we see advisors that have decent looking websites with poorly shot profile photos, if they have photos of themselves at all. A well-shot photograph allows consumers to put a face to the services or bio they are reading about. Using your image on other marketing materials like fliers or mailers can also serve to make a personal connection.
Statistics show that video can increase linger time and conversions for websites. You might find that some advisor websites have explainer videos on every concept or product line. This is great, however you can bring video to your website without huge expense by providing a short introduction clip on your home page. In this clip you should address the consumer, give your mission statement and a summary of your skills/experience. This allows the consumer to see and hear you, further connecting your practice to a real person.
Sponsoring community events can be a great way to get your name out in your area. But to get the most out of this strategy you should actually attend the event and meet members of your community. Consider also creating regular charity events that tie the community together, such as a food or clothing drive, charity sports tournament, or volunteer blitz. This aligns with your passions outside of work and helps you to become a known quantity in your local area.
When you meet a new prospect, you likely have casual small talk before delving into products and solutions. Conversation topics like family, goals, experiences, etc. This information is
helpful to provide a personal touch later on as you drip on an unconverted lead and to reinforce your relationship once they become a client. Within your CRM capture this information and use as you interact with the consumer.
We’ve discussed the importance (and ease) of personalizing emails/subject lines before, but it’s worth repeating here. This is such a simple, low-effort way to provide a personal touch with something that is somewhat impersonal. If possible, personalize mailers and form letters as well.
Tastefully Demonstrate Your Personality In Your Collateral
Striking the right balance between personality and professionalism is a skill. Done well, it demonstrates that you are a human being with a family and interests, not a suit trying to sell
insurance. There are many ways to do this. For example, in the copy on your website or newsletters, use language that has a bit of your voice, while still providing professional and compliant details. You can also consider a hobby or passion and use this as imagery or metaphor in your marketing collateral. Again the key is balance. A little bit of personality makes you relatable and distinguished; too much turns you into a clown.
Complimentary Summer Slump Survival Kit
Fill out the form below to receive
your complimentary copy.
Ten Best Practices to Boost Your Email Marketing Activity
Whether used for communication with current clients or to prospect for new leads, email is a still a powerful and efficient tool for advisors. As a piece of your overall marketing mix, email is essential; as important as direct mail, social media marketing, and digital adverting. However, many advisors miss opportunities to get the most out of their email. Here are ten best practices for email marketing.
Build An Email Pipeline
Let’s say you have a batch of email addresses in your CRM that you’ve collected from seminars, digital gives, and other marketing activities. What you really have is the beginning of an email pipeline. This collection of email addresses is an unused resource, a marketing opportunity that is already sitting within your practice. Take some time to sift through the email addresses and place them into your email service provider. You now have a large potential audience to send general marketing communications and drip messages.
The most basic way you can segment emails is between current clients and opt-in leads. Obviously the kind of bulk emails you send to a current valued client will be different than what you send to prospects, but it’s important that you have an easy way to distinguish and send relevant batch messages to these two basic types of lists. Also important: to easily drop new email addresses into their appropriate list. Most email service providers make this fairly simple–you will just need to make some initial time investment to comb through your email addresses.
As you build out further, you should be able to create segments within your main segments. These other segments should reflect where a lead is at within your marketing funnel (or marketing circuit), allowing you to match your message to their level of familiarity with you and your services.
We’ve mentioned automated drip marketing before, but we mention it here again because it’s an effective method to touch many prospects with a low time investment. The drip can be initiated manually after a prospect states they aren’t ready for your services or can be initiated automatically after a form submittal on your website.
It will almost always be in your advantage to personalize marketing whenever possible. Fortunately this is very easy in email. For one-on-one emails, it’s as simple as you addressing the lead or client. For batch emails—depending on how much corresponding information you have—it may be a function within your email service provider.
Images can enhance your marketing messages and break up chunks of text. The imagery you use in your email templates might be branding or items that support/correspond to your message. This will help your emails stand out from others and establish personality with your brand.
There is a potential trade-off however. Too many images may impact the deliverability of your emails and trigger spam filters, so be sure to use images carefully and test large batch messages.
Use CTAs (Calls to Action) Buttons
Call-To-Action buttons are very useful at engaging leads and directing them toward specific actions. This might be to read more about a subject that you tease in the email, to watch a video, or fill out a form.
Measure Results Closely
While you likely only care about one ultimate result—whether or not a lead converts—you should be aware of the important email stats related to your campaign. What was the deliverability rate of a batch message? How many people opened it? How many people clicked a CTA or visited your website as a result of the email. These stats are not only important to understanding the effectiveness of your campaign, but can be used to further segment your lists.
Make Your Messages Short and Sweet
Long blocks of texts, especially with marketing messages, strain on the eye. Plus if you can’t tell a lead in a few hundred words why they should click on your CTA or call in for more information, you don’t have your value proposition whittled to the essentials.
Use Good Subject Lines
Crafting good subject lines is an art. You can easily find lists of the most successful subject lines online. Some swear by using “FREE” or using numbers and lists. What works for you will depend on the content of your email and your target list. The best practice, however, is to be straightforward and clear, less spammy and sales-y. For instance, the subject line of this piece is “Here Are Ten Best Practices to Boost Your Email Marketing Activity.” Give a sense of what the recipient will see when they open the email and how the information can help them.
• Worried about Social Security Changes? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know
• Find Out If You Can Retire Safely
• Five Reasons Why A Life Insurance Policy Is Right For You
• Planning For Retirement Can Be Confusing—We Can Help
• Our Free Retirement Analyzer Report Helps You Know When You Can Retire
• Retirement Plan Take A Beating in the Markets? Fight Back With Our Tailored Solutions
With most email platforms you will have the option for A/B testing. This allows you to test two subject lines and gives you a better picture over time of your email marketing success.
Use Signature Line for Contact Info and Links
Your signature line should be clear and updated (no old phone numbers, outdated fax numbers etc.) Provide necessary information about how to contact you, your title and affiliations, and business website. Avoid clogging your signature line with unnecessary quotes and inspirational messages. You should use icon links to you or your company’s social media profiles, so that clients and prospects can find you in all the places you are located online.
Complimentary Generational Marketing Kit
Fill out the form below to receive
your complimentary copy.
5 More Behavioral Finance Biases You May
Face From Clients and Prospects
Why do your clients balk at logical solutions? Why do prospects shoot down options that accomplish what they need? Why do you sometimes get panicked calls in the middle of the night to undo a sturdy financial plan? The sub-field of economics called behavioral finance seeks to explain the underpinnings behind individuals’ irrational actions. These biases aren’t just cute pieces of trivia; they can have a dramatic impact on the client or prospect’s overall financial plan and prevent you from clearing business. At play within these biases—psychology, broader social science, and deeply held evolutionary tactics.
Many times these biases involve placing an illogical value on money and numbers, but they also point to how people view money beyond it’s numerical valence. After all, the value of money in retirement is not the amount, but what kind of life it buys you. With high stakes, it’s understandable that individuals might not make the most rational decisions.
We’ve previously discussed five common behavioral finance biases you may encounter. Here are five more.
Confirmation bias can be found in many different fields, like science, journalism, politics, and criminal justice. The central premise of this bias is that an individual ignores or reframes contradictory information to support their predetermined conclusion and exaggerates information that seems to support this conclusion. Confirmation bias can lead to overconfidence, which when applied in the financial world, can have dramatic consequences. A prospect or client exhibiting confirmation bias may discount your advice, even if you can back your recommendations with recent research and relevant news information.
Combating Confirmation Bias: One way to combat this particular bias is to reduce a scenario to its simplest hypothetical expression. Frame options with “just for the sake of argument…” or“ let’s play Devil’s Advocate…”. Use metaphors outside the world of finance to highlight distinctions between irrational and rational choices.
This bias describes the tendency of an individual to use recent performance as an indicator for the overall performance. For example, someone with money invested in a hot stock that has seen spectacular two-month gains may want to invest more into the stock. The investor may ignore the bigger picture and other relevant information. If the investor is lucky, the stock keeps rising. If not, the investor may experience a historical dip that its evident looking at the stocks’ performance on a larger timeframe.
Combating Recency Bias: Present a wide-array of data, recent and over longer timeframes.
Illusion of Control Bias
As the name suggests, the Illusion of Control bias describes an individual’s tendency to assume more control than actually is available, often in very irrational situations. This can lead to ascribing control and influence to a positive result that is logically uncontrollable and random. This then affects future decision-making, which can have drastically negative results.
Combating Illusion of Control bias: Provide examples of when individual’s actions did not lead to a positive result.
If you listen to daily market reports you may be familiar with the effects of the overreaction bias. When new information about a company, commodity, or market segment is released, some investors may overreact, causing a dramatic pull away from the item’s true value. This can be particularly impactful at the individual level, where a client ignores your recommendations and best practices as a result of new information.
Combating Overreaction Bias: Give contrasting information or research, identify alternatives and options, provide historical data or context.
Presenting products and interacting with consumers, you likely know how you say what you say is just as important as what you say. The framing bias describes individuals’ tendency to choose a positively framed option over a negatively framed one, even when the net result of the choices are the same. A slim negative overwhelms the positive probable. The mechanics behind this bias are similar to the loss aversion bias.
Overcoming the Framing Bias: Present the positives while acknowledging the negatives.
Complimentary Informed Advisor Guide
Fill out the form below to receive
your complimentary copy.
Five Ways to Deal With The Summer Slump
The summer months are often a down period for many advisors and agents. Reaching prospects, booking appointments, and clearing production can be difficult when large segments of your target market are on vacation or are otherwise disposed. Maybe this isn’t a problem for you; maybe you enjoy a little R+R in the middle of the year. For many advisors this summer slowdown is what separates the business year into two distinct halves. Summer essentially serves as halftime, and who wouldn’t want a little breather between two busy periods, especially when prospecting is much harder at this time of the year?
You can beat the summer slump, however, and roll up new opportunities. Through alternative marketing strategies and a little refocusing, you can effectively engage your target market, boost production, and rejuvenate your practice during this down period. Here are five ways to do so.
When you think of holiday marketing, you probably think of the big three–Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. These are certainly prime opportunities to engage with prospects. However, many advisors forget about off-holiday marketing opportunities, holidays and occasions that don’t have quite the visibility of something like Christmas. The summer period is full of these off-holidays—Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and so forth. These give you something to market around, an excuse to engage consumers, and a way to stand out against your competitors, since many advisors don’t off-holiday marketing.
Supplement Marketing With Digital Components
Many advisors rely on direct mail for marketing, and with good reason—direct mail still works. However, you can enhance your physical marketing efforts with digital advertising, often with a minimal uptick in budget. This can be particularly effective at dealing with the lower response rates and decreased seminar attendance you may experience during the summer.
Direct lead-gen programs have become a big part of financial marketing. While you should not solely rely on online lead-gen programs for your prospecting, they can be a great boost in a down period. We advocate “eat later” marketing strategies because they pay off more in the long run, but to get through a short-term dry spell, a lead-gen program may give you some of the immediate results you desire.
One of the reasons there’s a slump in the summer is because your target market is more active and focused on other things. The summer often brings a wide array of public/community events, some aimed at keeping the kids busy, some designed to take advantage of nice weather. This gives you many opportunities to engage directly with your target market. This could be through sponsorship of a regular event in your area, participation in an event, or even just attending and striking up a conversation.
Evaluate Your Marketing Plan/Create a Marketing Plan
Halfway through the year is a good time to evaluate your marketing plan. Consider your successes, your failures, and what you can improve immediately. Hopefully you took time in December to make a marketing plan; if not, the downturn of the summer is a good time to create one. A good marketing plan outlines your vision for the year (and beyond) and holds you and your team accountable. This does not mean, however, that it is a static document. Rather it is a living process, hence why the summer is good time to make appropriate adjustments.
Complimentary 2016 CD Replacement Kit
Fill out the form below to receive
your complimentary copy.