As a financial planning professional, your mind is always on drumming up new business and this probably takes up a considerable portion of your time and money.
It’d be great to streamline your marketing efforts, but with traditional practices going the way of the dodo bird (and quickly) figuring out where you should spend your time while on the inbound marketing train can be just as time consuming as making the plan itself.
Inbound marketing is still a largely ignored strategy from planners because the opportunities are so vast, and while it’s true that (from a business perspective) this should be encouraging, it’s also very intimidating if you don’t know where to start.
Despite this hurdle, advisers need to embrace the changing tides of finding new prospects.
You probably already have a website for potential clients to find out more about you, but if you’re in a competitive area or niche, they need to not only be able to find you during a search, but they need to feel confident in your authority.
This is where an important element of the inbound marketing equation for your website comes in using Search Engine Optimization (or SEO).
What is SEO and Why Should I Care?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the name web marketers, web developers and content writers use to explain the science behind how a website appears in search engine results. If you type in search terms (or keywords) in a search engine bar (Google, Bing, etc.) a variety of factors come into play to determine if your website appears at the top or not. Everyone searches everything on Google when they have some sort of intent (more on that later). And if they can’t find anything about you and your business online first, it’s unlikely they’ll bother hunting for you when another adviser has the number one spot on the search results page.
What are Those Factors?
Search engines rely on “page authority” to determine which websites should appear first after keywords are entered into the search bar. Page authority is determined mainly by the content that appears on each webpage and how relevant that content is to the search terms entered.
How Do I Figure Out My Keywords?
You can use keyword research tools to determine how your prospects are finding you (see the end of this post for tools you can use). Come up with 10-15 keywords that they may enter in the search bar. To do this, ask yourself:
- Where’s my office located? Your city name is most relevant here.
- What exactly do I offer? What’s my niche?
- Any additional services? Are you a CFP® professional that’s also a CPA?
You can also use Google’s suggestion tool. Start by typing in something like “financial advisers in ______ (your city here)” and see what Google has in their drop-down menu directly under the bar. Those are the terms people search for the most in your area.
Similarly, at the end of every search result page, there’s often suggested terms you can try as well.
An important note on financial planning and how Google looks at your site; Google treats financial planning services as a local service only, so determining your keyword and content plan around this is vital. There are two main things you can do to give your website a huge boost when it comes to ranking high on search results for local factors:
- Make sure your site lists your business hours, business address and phone numbers.
- Make a Google Maps and Apple Maps business page.
How Do I Make the Content “Work” For My Site?
By using those same keywords your prospects would use to find you and by developing a strategy for what appears on each page of your website, you develop the “trail” by which you can be found online. When it comes to someone searching for you, know that there’s always an intent to either understand something, buy something, find something or fix something. In your financial planning world, it will most likely be a combo of learning something and buying something.
To develop your content strategy, you’ll need to do a lot of research. You can do it yourself or you can find a reputable market research professional to do it for you.
- Go in with a specific target marketing in mind. Create a client persona profile.
- How old are they?
- Which gender?
- What’s their profession?
- How much do they earn?
- What are their general goals?
- Do they have shared interests?
- Where do they live?
The more information you can provide your research professional, the better the results can be that you can base your content plan on.
This is also the time to research your competition that is doing better than you. Why? They clearly have something that works. After all, it if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. By looking at your competition, you can also see what holes your practice can fill that others cannot.
I Want to Try This Myself. Have Any Suggested Tools?
Glad you asked! Check out some of my favorites below.
- Keyword Tool
- Can I Rank
- Small SEO Tools
- Top Visor
- Google Trends
- Freshkey Research Tool
- Open Link Profiler
Inbound Marketing is a Beautiful and Complicated Web
…But it doesn’t have to be intimidating. By utilizing free and simple tools based on some on-point research, you can start (or update) your online presence that will please both human and machine alike. A solid foundation is key for your practice, and this foundation must now include a solid web presence. Having an excellent web presence is only the beginning of what we like to call a “unique client experience” at the CWA Network, which in and of itself becomes part of your marketing machine. Have a great week folks!
Kristina Rocci is the web content manager for the CWA Network, a Rochester, N.Y.-based financial adviser coaching business that has developed a turnkey practice management business plan for the high net wealth, 401K and Mass Affluent/Gen XY markets. She originally hails from the fin-tech world in Toronto with 7 years of digital marketing under her belt. You can learn all about how the CWA Network can help adviser and planners alike at www.cwanetwork.com.