I saw an interesting video ad in my social media feed last night. The video showed and tracked with a red line just where a website visitor’s mouse traveled as they navigated a particular webpage. Let’s just suffice it to say, the final image looked like the mad scribbles of a kindergartener who got ahold of one too many juice boxes at the lunch table.
Of course, the point of this video ad was to illustrate that you need to have a strategy and flow to your webpages to improve the user experience and lead them where you want them to go—to conversion. And rightly so! But in fact, this illustration works for more than just webpages. It is the perfect analogy for the entire journey a financial planning prospect takes in getting to know you.
The Prospect Journey Isn’t Perfectly Linear
The reality is that it’s very rare when there is a direct line between a referral and that initial prospect appointment. Of course, this would be ideal, but it’s unrealistic. Very rarely are prospects eager to come in and meet with a new financial advisor, share all their financial information with someone they don’t know, and then move their accounts from the advisor they have had for a long time.
It’s a tough sell, no matter how great an advisor you actually are. Your best bet is to build touchpoints on the client journey that keep the mad scribbles to a minimum, guide your prospect through certain touchpoints on a well-defined journey, and land that initial call.
The Prospect Journey
So what is the path that a prospective financial planning client actually takes? Here is one of the most common examples.
Exposure: In some way or another, you have come across Joe Prospect’s radar. This could be through referral, social media, email, or even an ad. Here is where his journey begins.
Web Search: Now that Joe’s interest is piqued, he is going to do what 55% of other consumers do these days and look you up online. Will you and/or your firm come up easily when he searches for you? Will publications you’ve been featured in make it on Google’s first page? What will Joe Prospect find?
View Social Media Profiles: Whether the prospect visits the website or social media pages first will depend entirely on whether your prospect searches for you directly or for the firm. If you are being referred, chances are it will be your name that is searched first and the website visited second.
Either way, Joe Prospect will want to find out just who you are, and what better way to do that than by checking your social media profiles? A prospect can usually determine pretty quickly if they’re even remotely interested in you, what you stand for, or getting to know you from your profile, so you’ll want these to be updated and in tip-top shape.
Visit the Website: If you’re staying on top of SEO, we hope that your prospect will find your firm’s webpage pretty easily and can visit that to learn more. If not, they should be able to follow a link from your social pages directly to the firm’s site. If your prospect has made it here, this is already a win. Ideally, your site will also be designed to capture leads so you can nurture your leads as they move further through the process. In fact, this is how you keep them moving toward that final destination.
Read Blog Articles: Blog articles are a great way to showcase your expertise, special offerings, and much more. Make sure your article reflects the type of work you do to attract the right type of client.
Sign Up for Email Newsletter: Research has shown that each blog article should have an option at the end of the page to sign up for the email newsletter. It makes sense, after all. If a prospect is already reading your articles, it means they are interested in what you have to say. Strike while the iron is hot and offer them the same great content directly to their inbox!
Check for Social Media Updates: If your prospect becomes interested in you enough, they’ll likely follow you on one or more social platforms. It’s your job to make sure you stay top of mind by updating these regularly.
Download a Guide: You can offer your guides on social media and your website to maximize the number of potential downloads. Keep your prospect exposed to these opportunities to collect their information.
Attend a Webinar or Listen to Your Podcast: More and more these virtual modes of prospecting are taking over. The pandemic has certainly done much to escalate these trends, and they don’t show signs of slowing down.
Schedule an Appointment: You never really know where in the journey someone is going to be ready to take this final step. It could be after a few interactions; it could be after twenty. It could take an entire year of following you for Joe Prospect to finally reach out. This is why you always need to have the Call to Action (CTA) to schedule an appointment readily available on the site, in your email campaigns, at the end of your webinars and podcasts, and on your social media platforms.
What touchpoints do you have in place? Where do you typically lose clients?
Defining the Fail Points
If you are having trouble moving prospects through the touchpoints on your journey, you need to be able to identify where and why. Here are some common reasons prospects fall off and become disinterested:
- They are not nurtured via email after they download a guide, attend a webinar, or join your email list.
- You don’t regularly update your social media profiles, or you haven’t in a long time.
- Your website is not set up to capture leads, so you can’t keep tabs on those who are interested in keeping touch.
- Your LinkedIn profile hasn’t been updated in ten years.
Tracking these fall-off points can get a little tricky, but they can be monitored through Google Analytics, social media insights, email marketing campaign analytics, and the like. But if you’re not sure how to get started, we suggest enlisting the help of a professional. To be quite honest, your ability to keep your pipeline full depends on it.
Converting referrals into appointments and clients is not easy. But it can be simplified by having a defined path that you have perfected to give yourself the very best chance.