November 15th, 2022
The dawn of opportunities for digital marketing to generate lead for financial planners may be coming of age in 2023. Digital marketing for financial advisors has long provided limited opportunities for lead generation being mired in illogical interpretations of regulatory compliance. With all the confusing restrictions on digital marketing has made digital not attractive. Further, financial advisors are in a trust business. They rely on referrals for high quality targeted lead generation. Combined, few advisors have focused on digital for lead generation.
The regulatory restrictions are confusing. A financial planner cannot solicit reviews, but a review is not a testimonial. A testimonial is premeditated and driven by the request of the financial planner. You can’t stop someone from leaving an online review of your business on Google Business, Facebook, Yelp, etc. Why would requesting reviews be considered the same as a testimonial?
The opportunities for digital marketing for financial planners are growing as regulatory inconsistencies get worked out and new targeted advertising is made available to the financial planners. It is a highly competitive market with the application of digital marketing being in its infancy for local firms. There is a first mover advantage opportunity.
Online Lead Generation Focus
Financial advisors could benefit from both a lead generation campaign or a thought leadership campaign. The focus herein is on lead generation, as the results are more measurable and are near term.
Geographic Focus for Local SEO SEM
Given the highly competitive market for financial planners, the geographic focus is “hyperlocal.” Highly target the local community and not the region. Go after Falls church, VA, versus Northern Virginia or DC. If we look at how Google segments your hyperlocal market, there is a larger demand, see below:
Google Service Area
Demand for Financial Planners – Most will search online for non-local terms, e.g., terms not using “falls church”. However, if we just look at the falls church financial planner searches below, we get about 30 a month, see below). Out of a population of 14,668, that’s about 0.2%, which seems substantial.
Google Search Volumes, Average per Month, USA
|financial advisor falls church||10|
|financial planner falls church||10|
|axa advisors falls church va||10|
|axa advisors falls church||10|
|financial advisors falls church||0|
|financial planning falls church||0|
If we look at search volumes for the Google “service area” that has more population than falls church city for all the related terms to financial services, we get 5,530 searches a month (see https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1uB_eILejfS-guZp0h6Bb8fOFL1cu5qD6amcXvOf1MXQ/edit?usp=sharing). There is no exact data available, but we see a significant amount of searches. We believe that prospects are searching to find financial planners online in falls Church.
How to Turn That Demand Into Leads?
After some improvements on the website’s ability to convert visitors into contacts, there are five tools that could be used in order of priority:
- Review Management
- Local SEO
- Local Services Ads
- Organic SEO
- Pay per Click / Retargeting Ads
Reputation & Review Management for Financial Planners
It appears that financial planners can now get reviews (see https://rizereviews.com/why-financial-advisors-can-now-acquire-and-leverage-google-reviews-for-marketing/). Further, few of the financial planners are getting reviews. If regulatory compliance now allows the use of third party to help you get reviews either as a service or software, you have a major opportunity to get ahead of your competition. Local business that acted on reviews when they first were offered 7+ years ago, now have dozens or hundreds of reviews, have created a barrier to entry for any local competitors. Can we use our review management platform to build your reviews? If so, it can be a game changer, if you can get ahead of the competition.
Financial Advisor Local SEO
Local SEO and reviews go hand in hand, if we can do the reviews, we can make local SEO take off too.
Local Services Ads
This is likely very new for financial planners and is an opportunity to generate leads. As seen below, financial planners are displayed at the top of search results. You pay not per click, but per lead/contact. There were some issues before, like you had to get different reviews fior that listing versus you map listing, but there have been many changes to the service. Given that ist new, you may do well by being a first mover. You have to apply to be screened… Businesses with the “Google Screened” badge are screened. Terms & Policies
Local Services Ads vs Pay Per Click Ads
Traditional organic SEO is a longer term approach, which works well for establishing your brand as an industry thought leader. For lead generation in the near term it is not a fit.
Pay Per Click / Retargeting Ads
Search ads could work, but they’d have to be hyper-hyper-locally focused. Now that every bank, every insurance company, every brokerage, everyone who has anything to do with money, and then, all the Robinhoods and Personal Capitals of the world, all want to be your financial planner. There are billions of dollars in ad money that all those potential competitors are dumping into our channels. But a local person might be able to compete for the old-school, face-to-face, you know where my office is and where I live, type of guy, and the people who prefer that. The long and short….it will be expensive.
Financial Planners Digital Marketing in 2023 – Summary of Findings
Review promotion, local SEO, and Google Local Services Ads require further investigation, but these are definite potential opportunities for those that take that first mover advantage.