If you're not yet familiar with the term “marketing funnel,” it's the systematic process from your initial connection with a prospective client to the point where they are offered the opportunity to engage your services.
Funnels have been around for well over a century as an organized approach to generating new business. And yet, most financial advisors have not adopted the use of the marketing funnel. That's all the more reason you should… it will set you apart, and assist you in automating more of your new client lead generation.
Let's start with some basics…
What is a Funnel?
Every buyer goes on a journey, from awareness of a need they have to discovery of a solution to the decision they make about employing that solution to address their need. A marketing funnel gives you, as a financial advisor, the ability to guide your prospect through that process while maintaining as much control as possible.
A typical funnel is a structured series of steps that will engage your prospect and lead them to consume information and take actions that will either keep them moving forward or disqualify them as a candidate. If you think about the shape of a funnel, you start at the top with the broadest possible audience.
As your prospective clients from one step to the next, learning more about you and your offerings, and comparing what they learn to their situation and needs, many will opt out from continuing along the path you set out. The ones who do are demonstrating their continued interest, and are far more likely to convert into clients.
Marketing funnels are commonly used across many different industries, usually to drive prospects toward a buying decisions. In the case of a financial advisor marketing funnel, however, they are best employed to drive prospects to an initial meeting or event.
What a Marketing Funnel is Not…
Whenever I talk about marketing funnels to financial advisors (which I do quite frequently), I get plenty of push-back. Some think that funnels are too pushy. Others think they'll create a compliance nightmare. Neither is true provided you keep the focus on focusing on your prospects needs and nurturing relationships. For those who make it through the funnel, the sales will happen more naturally.
One size doesn't fit all. When it comes to your product portfolio, you don't just offer the same solution to everyone, do you? Of course not. And the same is true of funnels. The most effective funnels have multiple entry points and put your prospects in control of deciding where to go and what to do next. That said, when you build the framework for the funnel, you're the one deciding what options they have (so don't tell them, but you're really always in control).
The most successful funnels have a few things in common: 1) they target prospects effectively, 2) they use engaging content to compel prospects to move forward in a process, and 3) they have a clear call-to-action so prospects know what to do next.
Why do financial advisors need a marketing funnel?
Think about what happens during an initial meeting with a prospect in your office. Upon arrival, you welcome them, maybe offer them a cup of coffee or some water, show them around, and then sit down with them to review the agenda for your meeting. Why should it be any different online? Think of it another way: if you open your office door and walk away, you're basically leaving them there to figure out where to go and what to do next. That doesn't work in real life, and it doesn't work online either.
Without the effective guidance of a funnel, you're missing opportunities to show prospects who you are, what it would be like to work with you, and what values hold.
In a time when so many of us spend time online and on our mobile devices, marketing funnels have become integral to successful marketing strategies in many industries. As an advisor, if you're not employing marketing funnels, then you are leaving people to figure things out for themselves. You're missing opportunities to pre-qualify your prospects and guide them toward an opportunity to work with you.
How can financial advisers use marketing funnels?
Most people have adopted the habit of communicating online and on their own schedule. This is often done via email or social media or watching videos or reading articles and blog posts. As an advisor, you want to tap into the way people communicate and consume information, and marketing funnels can help you do just that. As you move prospects through the stages of your funnel, you take each opportunity to educate them and get them to know, like and trust you.
Remember, you're not selling a traditional product, you are “selling” a solution to your prospects specific needs. And you're also selling yourself, your expertise, your trustworthiness, and the capabilities of the firm or products you represent.
Marketing funnels, like most marketing tools, evolve over time. So the key is not to develop the “perfect” funnel right out of the gate, but, rather, to get started and test different approaches until one clicks.
Marketing funnels can be a difficult process to understand, and even more difficult for financial advisors because of the unique nature of the industry, the services offered, and the limitations surround how you are allowed to market yourself. However, by positioning yourself correctly and have a clear plan of action in place with your online marketing systems, you can capture more qualified leads and have an automated system built to help you convert them into clients.
Want to discover more about using marketing funnels to grow your practice? Schedule a FREE, no-obligation funnel strategy call with us to explore what types of funnels might be most effective for you.