Let’s talk “the funnel.” No, not the oil change kind or the one filled with beer in college. We’re talking about the figurative kind—the sales funnel that has been around (and plans to stick around) for decades. The premise works like this: Fill the funnel with tons of prospects, zero in on and retarget the ones that fit your niche, and they become a customer or client soon enough.
The process has been around for so long because it works. It just doesn’t work for advisors. Let’s talk about why and how you can embrace the difference between advisor marketing and traditional marketing to create a successful lead generation strategy for your firm.
Advisor Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing
Typically, marketing and sales strategies transcend industries. What works in one often works in another. You’ve probably even gone to a sales seminar (we know you have the take home binder sitting on your office bookshelf still, likely untouched since you placed it there) to learn about the funnel.
The very linear journey, however, doesn’t work for advisors trying to expand their client list for three mammoth reasons:
- Trust: The traditional funnel doesn’t leave a lot of room for building the kind of trust you need your prospects to feel in order to hand their dreams over to you. You aren’t just selling trendy cell phone cases or edible cookie dough. You are positioning yourself to be in charge of a prospect’s entire financial future. Building that trust takes time and requires a more intimate approach.
- Short-sighted Value: You probably have case studies and graphs to show to prospects which outline how much you can save them in taxes or fees over time. But it is nearly impossible to show results in the short term. We all want the big picture American Dream, but the truth is that we’re also pretty focused on making a quick buck. And that’s a huge obstacle you must overcome that other industries typically don’t have to deal with. At the end of the day, there is no litmus test or objective measure by which a prospect can evaluate your worth, so the “final sale” may take some convincing.
- Timing: Building a huge list of prospects sounds great. But you will likely have a lot of people in that group who either don’t need you yet or don’t think they need you at all. The process from discovery to that first introductory call could be quite a long one. Your “sales process” must accommodate for the fact the prospects could be in limbo for a long time before taking action.
Why Content Marketing Works for Advisors
So if a traditional marketing approach doesn’t work, what will? The answer is content marketing.
This marketing approach calls for creating helpful, informative content that can be (1) shared by you with your existing prospects and (2) also found by new prospects who are researching potential financial advisors. Blogs, whitepapers, checklists, and how-to videos are all examples of content marketing. The beauty of content marketing is that it brings the prospects to you. It allows them to move through the journey of finding an advisor at their own pace versus you constantly reaching out to them to move them through the funnel.
Content marketing works for advisors because it is far less invasive, less threatening, and adds overall value for your prospect along the way. The informative nature of content marketing allows you to stay engaged with your prospects and earn their trust through sharing your expertise and resources. Where traditional sales focuses on closing the deal, content marketing operates under the premise of adding value. Ironically, the best way to “sell” a prospect as a financial advisor is by not being salesy.
Advisors are coaches at heart, helping clients take the necessary steps to reach financial milestones and achieve retirement goals. Content marketing gives you the platform to use that coaching side in order to demonstrate your value and, in turn, build a community of followers who don’t have to cut you a check every quarter in order to be a part of it.
Use your content to show your human side, share your expertise, and extend a virtual hand. When the time comes, you’ll be the hand they reach for.
Content! Content! Content!