Test Drive Your Marketing Funnel: Customer Journey

For financial advisors, it's all about the clients. Which is essential because, without clients, there is no business. And without business, well…. You know what happens. 

These days, advisors have the crucial task of nurturing existing client relationships while consistently forming new ones. In fact, most advisors spend just as much time – if not more – searching for prospective clients as they do meeting with existing clients weekly.

It's safe to say we live in a customer-centered world. And to survive in this environment, you've got to get on your customer's level. You're going to need high-value content. Content that positions you as an expert in your niche and reminds your prospects that you actually know what you're talking about. And then, most importantly, once you've attracted them, you need to keep them. This requires building trust. Lots and lots of trust. 

Over time, marketing strategies (and consumer attitudes) change. And if you expect to survive thrive out there, you will need to convert your potential clients into paying clients, which means reevaluating what you're doing and creating a marketing plan that serves your purpose. 

That's where marketing funnels come in. 

First, let's cover the basics. Simply put, a marketing funnel covers your customer's entire journey with you – from their first encounter with your business to beyond. This journey takes them from a complete lack of awareness of your firm through interest, purchase, and then relationship maintenance.

This theoretical customer journey – also known as the customer funnel, sales funnel, conversion funnel, or AIDA – was first mapped out in 1898 by E. St. Elmo Lewis. The AIDA model identifies awareness, interest, desire, and action as the process of the ideal customer journey.

Here's how it's supposed to work from the perspective of a general consumer (I'll use myself as an example): 

I see an ad for a shiny new blender bottle on Instagram. 

I click the link, which takes me to a landing page where I can buy one. I also see a pop-up offering 15% off my first purchase if I sign up for their newsletter. It looks to be full of relevant info, so I sign up. 

I'm unsure about their bottles, so I exit the site. 

Over the next month, I receive a few emails from the company promoting their other products and reminding me to take advantage of my 15% off. 

One night I read a particularly entertaining email from them, and the next thing I know, I click through to their website and buy a brand new blender bottle. 

Can you see the funnel? Instagram ad > landing page > submission on a pop-up form > promotional emails > landing page > blender bottle purchase. 

The simple idea behind this marketing strategy is that people rarely make a purchase the first time they see a product. So to close the sale, you need to nurture your prospect. 

Now that we've covered the basics, here's what a typical advisor's marketing funnel might look like: You host a webinar. You gently encourage attendees to visit your website, and in exchange for their email addresses, you'll share a replay of the webinar. Then you follow up after the event with a few automated emails, thanking participants for attending and encouraging them to schedule a call to discuss their financial future. Periodically, they’ll receive more automated emails and newsletters.

Looks good, right? Not so fast. In reality, not only is this strategy a bit outdated, but traditional marketing funnels aren't as effective for the type of high-priced, high-commitment services that advisors provide to their clients. If you want to succeed, you will need to optimize your plan.

For starters, how many of your current clients sought you out proactively? And how many came to you once they were already experiencing a financial crisis? The sales process for a financial planner isn't linear. It's the type of relationship you might spend years fostering before your client requires your business. 

So let's look at a more realistic scenario:

You host the webinar

Some participants request the webinar for replay. 

The automated emails sit unopened. 

The monthly newsletters pile up, also ignored. 

You have no further engagement with most of the attendees, but they know your name. They know your business - they've seen the emails coming through each month. 

A year or so later, you're speaking at an event. One of your old webinar attendees is also there and decides to sit in on your break-out session.

And the next month, when they see your newsletter, they open it and read it. They see that you're hosting a new podcast, so they subscribe to that and follow you on social media. 

Every once in a while, they engage with your content. They even ask a few questions during your most recent IG Live. 

Another year or so goes by, and that old webinar attendee experiences a substantial life change and needs financial help. 

Guess who comes to mind? 

Finally, you've landed that client.

There is this wild idea that once you develop a marketing plan, you can just set it and forget it. But it's not a rotisserie chicken

An effective marketing campaign requires constant supervision and maintenance. If you haven't updated your marketing funnel since its inception, this is your reminder to make it a priority. 

Traditional marketing funnels are unrealistic for your typical client – why would someone trust and hire you to manage their net worth just because you funneled them through an automatic marketing process? You must identify where things get clunky in your approach. 

Review your metrics. At what point in the journey are you losing your prospects? 

Focus on the long-term. The types of prospects you want to attract will become life-long clients. Maintain the relationship until your client is ready. It's going to take some time to build the trust your clients need to just hand over their life savings. Once they require your services (and the trust has already been created), they'll come to you. 

That’s how you create an effective customer journey. 

Sure, your skills are used for creating wealth, not for building marketing campaigns, which is where our team of professional marketers comes in. 

Whether you have an active marketing funnel or even an aging one, Lexicon Content Development can help. Set up a time to chat with us here and take advantage of this prospecting tool ASAP. 

No idea what you're doing? No problem. We'll walk you through it.

Related: 5 Mistakes Financial Advisors Make With Facebook Ads