Contents WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS WHITE PAPER
What You Will It can be difficult to develop a client base as a financial advisor in the Denver
Metro area, especially if you’re just starting out. Traditional marketing methods
Marketing Plans are frustrating and oftentimes fruitless for financial professionals without
for Denver marketing experience. If you’re like most business owners, you’d rather focus on
Financial servicing your clients and running your business as opposed to conducting
Advisors…………. 2 marketing activities.
The answer to your marketing woes: Online Marketing. Online Marketing
Components……… 3 through search engines is the most cost effective marketing approach for most
Search…………….. 4 This paper will teach you the following about Online Marketing:
Paid Actions you can take TODAY to improve your search engine rankings
Search………......... 6 The 3 main components of Online Marketing through search engines and
how each will bring you clients
Organic How to identify – and avoid - online directories that will likely do nothing
Search…………….. 8 but drain your marketing budget
How to design your website to turn more website visitors into clients
Web Design Tips… 12
Getting Started…. 14
MARKETING PLANS FOR FINANCIAL ADVISORS
Do you have a marketing plan? Financial Advisor marketing plans should contain
the following general areas1:
A current Look at the State of Your Financial Advisory Practice
Marketing Strategies to Meet Business Goals
Budget for all activities, including marketing
This paper will address marketing strategies for your Financial Advisory
business – specifically the benefits of Online Marketing. As shown in Figure 1,
Online Marketing through search engines provides the greatest Return on
Investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars, and can reach your target clients
much more effectively than traditional forms of advertising. The cornerstone of
any financial advisory business marketing plan must be online marketing.
Online marketing with
provides a much better
ROI and a lower cost
per lead than
traditional forms of
Figure 1: Cost Per Lead for Online Marketing Search vs. Traditional Forms of Advertising2
Entrepreneur.com Small Business Encyclopedia
US Bancorp Piper Jaffray Research
ONLINE MARKETING COMPONENTS
All financial advisors need to be aware of the three major online marketing
components. All 3 components can and should be used to generate business
Each of these components is described in depth in Figure 2. To illustrate, when
searching for “Denver Financial Advisors”, within the search results, there are 3
distinct areas where your financial advisory business can appear:
To have a truly
you need to focus on
getting visibility for
your Financial Advisory
business within each of
the three major areas
of Search: Local,
Organic, and Paid.
Figure 2: Google Search Results for “Denver Financial Advisors”
One of the easiest ways to get your listings to appear in search engine results is
to take control of your local search listings in Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. This
is a great first step to immediately increase your chances of bringing in business
from the Internet. The Local Search Results for Google “Denver Financial
Advisors” are featured in Figure 3.
Local Search appears
near the top of the
search engine results
and provides a link
directly to your home
page. It is free and all
looking to promote
themselves need to get
listed in Local Search.
Figure 3: Google Local Search Results
The search for “Denver Financial Advisors” yields many results for financial
advisors within Denver. Their location is noted by the letters both on the list, and
on the map. When you are on an actual search engine results page, clicking on
the links will take you directly to the financial advisor’s website (if they have
one). You can take a look at the current search engine results for “Denver
Financial Advisors on your own computer by clicking here.
All of the major search engines have a local search component and you should
ensure that your website is listed within each one.
Local Search Advantages:
It is FREE
Local search results appear at the top of the results page (just below the
You can upload detailed information about your financial practice
including an overview, photos, web page link, services offered and
much, much more
Local Search Disadvantages
None – You need to sign up for this right now
To take control of your local search listing now at the three major search engines
All 3 major search
by clicking on the links below:
engines will allow you
to submit your firm Google: http://www.google.com/local/add/businessCenter?gl=US&hl=en-US
information to local
search. Get started Yahoo: http://listings.local.yahoo.com/csubmit/index.php
now with these links.
The Bottom Line on Local Search
Free and easy way to get a presence with major search engines
Potential to bring in clients for relatively little effort
A must for advisors who wish to promote their services online
Paid search advertisements can be purchased by any organization, and when an
ad is clicked, the advertiser pays the search engine. As shown in Figure 4, paid
advertisements appear to the right – and sometimes at the top - of the search
results in all major search engines.
Paid Search is the
quickest way to get a
visible link to your
website from within
search engine results.
Although it will cost
money for each click, it
is the quickest way to
bring traffic to your
Figure 4: Paid Search Results
Paid search involves establishing an account with the major search engine
providers to have specific ads appear based on various search terms. Users
clicking your ad are taken directly to your website. Paid ads receive
somewhere between 15%-30% of all clicks on the search engine results page.3
Unlike other forms of Paid Search advertising differs from traditional advertising methods because
advertising, users are the advertising is highly targeted. Traditional advertising – like direct mail
actively seeking your and TV ads – interrupt the user and are almost always ignored and rejected.
services with paid With paid search advertising, you get hot leads. A person has a financial
search – making it planning issue that needs solving, they type in a search term, and your
much more likely to advertisement appears. They click on your ad and arrive at your website -
generate hot leads ready to be converted into a client.
than traditional forms
Paid Search Advantages:
Easy to sign up and get started
You control what search terms trigger your advertisement
You control your ad “rank” in the sponsored links area
Quick way to get traffic to your website
Highly targeted prospects delivered to your website
Paid Search Disadvantages
Do your homework Steep learning curve to do it right
before engaging in Can be complex
paid search – part of Time consuming
your research should You can lose money quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing
include repeated visits
to our completely free To get started with paid search, use the following links below.
The Bottom Line on Paid Search
The quickest way to get prospective clients to your website
Easy to get started and get a presence with search engines
You can burn through a lot of money with poor results if you don’t do
your homework prior to buying paid search ads
More users click on organic search result links than any other, making it the
holy grail of search marketing. Keeping with our example search term of
“Denver Financial Advisors”, please see the organic search results in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Google Organic Search Results
Although only a few results are shown in the above screen capture, listings
continue on for many pages. Organic listings appear on the left side in the
major search engines, below any sponsored ads or local search results.
While 15%-30% of all user clicks are for paid search results, the remaining
Most users click on 70%-85% of clicks are for organic listings. It is great to be listed here, and it is
Organic Search results often times possible, depending on what search terms you want your financial
advisor website to be ranked near the top.
To do well with So, if you want to rank highly for “Denver Financial Advisors” in the organic
Organic Search, listings, your site will need to be recognized by search engine algorithms as
Google must recognize being highly relevant for the given search term . So, your web site (or a given
your web site as a high page on your site featuring the search term) should have a lot of good information
quality site with relative to the search term. So good in fact, that other websites use your Denver
relevant content for the Financial Advisors web page as a reference and link to it.
terms being searched
The keys to doing well in organic search are having great, popular content that is
used frequently by others. Having a blog right on your site is a great start.
Organic Search Advantages:
It is completely free
The majority of users click on organic search links
Organic Search Disadvantages
You need to be constantly aware of industry trends and apparent changes
in search engine algorithms
You’ll need to have some sort of computer programming help to make
sure that your website is properly coded
You’ll need to keep your website consistently updated with fresh,
relevant information to make sure that search engines recognize your
website as an authority
Even if you do everything right, organic search engine rankings take a
long time to improve
The Bottom Line on Organic Search
An essential part of your online marketing strategy
Very time consuming –your website must be an authority for your
specific areas of practice
Results take a while to materialize – you won’t jump to #1 instantly
ONLINE MARKETING PITFALLS
This white paper primarily deals with online marketing through search engines –
There are other
by far the most effective way to market your business online. But there are other
options for your online
methods – including online paid directories – where you can market your
business. But are they worth it?
engines, but many of How are People Going to Find Your Financial Advisor Website?
receive a fraction of the I frequently give online marketing presentations to business groups in the Denver
traffic and will likely Metro area. During my presentations, I put the audience members into the not-
not yield a positive so-hypothetical position of looking for a Denver professional (attorney, plumber,
return on investment. landscaper - whatever). Then I ask for a show of hands of how the audience
members would go about finding a Denver area professional in various ways.
How many would use Google?
How many would use Yahoo?
How many would use Microsoft (or MSN)?
How many would use DexKnows.com?
How many would use YellowPages.com?
The overwhelming majority raise their hands for Google. Many hands still remain
up for Yahoo – and Microsoft. Only very rarely does an audience member raise
their hand for DexKnows.com or YellowPages.com.
Don’t Spend Money At Low Ranking Websites
According to Alexa.com, major search engine traffic is far more significant than
online paid directories (see Figure 6):
Your online marketing Web Site Alexa.com Internet Traffic Rank4
budget needs to focus
on where people are Yahoo.com 1
actually searching for
your services – the Google.com 2
major search engines –
as opposed to regional
or national directories DexKnows.com 6,606
that get much lower
volumes of traffic.
Figure 6: Traffic Rank of Major Search Engines vs. Local/Regional Directory Websites
Where do you want your financial advisor marketing message to appear? My
informal polling as well as Alexa data indicates the overwhelming majority of
Denver searches begin at a major search engine like Yahoo or Google.
Extremely High Cost For Very Little Return
A small business owner in Eagle County revealed to me that he paid $12,000 to
be listed in a phone book company’s online directory for 1 year, and it
generated just ONE client. It was essentially a waste of precious marketing
The Bottom Line on Online Marketing Pitfalls
Everyone uses major search engines, so advertise on Google, Yahoo,
Don’t advertise on unpopular websites
Online directories may not be worth the money – do your homework
prior to investing your marketing budget
Alexa.com Search May, 2008
WEB SITE DESIGN TIPS
By getting more familiar with the search engine strategies presented in this white
paper (Local, Organic, Paid), you’ll have the capability to bring more visitors to
your website. But this isn’t enough. Entire books have been written about what to
do when a visitor reaches your website. How do you convert this hot lead into a
Obviously, you can’t take advantage of online marketing techniques unless you
have an online presence. Therefore, you MUST have a website.
Your website must The primary goal of your financial advisory website is to
have the single goal of generate business.
generating business for
your practice. Any It is just that simple. You build a website to generate business for your advisory
website items that practice. Many financial professional websites don’t have a clearly defined
don’t contribute to this objective at all – to their detriment. They are disorganized, difficult to navigate,
goal are distractions and focus on firm accolades and services rather than on generating business.
and should be
eliminated. To generate business, your website must focus solely on your
In order for your Business is generated through your clients, therefore the entire website must be
website to generate crafted from the client perspective. If you use the Search Engine techniques
business, the website described in the previous sections, it is likely that the majority of the visitors to
must be designed your website have arrived at your site after conducting a search for a specific
around the site visitors service that you offer. You must not disappoint them.
and must demonstrate
Who is your typical website visitor?
that your business can
help solve their Someone that knows what they’re looking for, and they want to find it fast. If you
financial planning don’t give them what they need quickly, they’ll find another advisor website that
In order to accommodate these impatient users, your website must:
Have a clean, compelling, modern design
Be clear of distractions (like flash or any type of animation)
Be free of extraneous information
In other words, provide only information on your website that is pertinent to the
visitors that you would like to convert into clients. Anything else gets in the
way of this conversion process.
Web Site Design Tips
If your financial advisor website wins website design awards, you’re probably
doing something wrong. The average website visitor decides within 50
milliseconds whether or not they’re going to even bother looking through the
pages of your website.
For your website to be effective, it must:
Think up-to-date and
well structured website Look contemporary – like it was designed within the past year or two
design. You don’t want Compare favorably to the competition
a flashy, gimmicky, or Be very easy for the visitor to navigate
distracting website. Be very easy for the visitor to find what they need
This will just irritate Be free of clutter
visitors and they’ll look Be free of motion, animation, and Flash
Your website doesn’t have to be an award winning or cutting edge design.
Usually this is a bad idea. Your site needs to be pleasing to the eye and easy
for site visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for.
The Bottom Line on Your Website Design
Your website needs to look professional and up to date
Design the website for the prospective clients that visit your website.
Make it easy for them to find the information that they're looking for
You are now familiar with the online marketing techniques that are available to
you – as a financial advisor – to successfully market your services and bring
prospects to your website.
There are two paths that you can take to promote your business online:
Do It Yourself
If you have a technical aptitude and love computers, you may be interested in
No matter what path
doing it yourself. I have many free resources, tips, tricks, and how to advice on
you choose, the the Denver Online Marketing Blog at Database Watchdog that can assist you in
“Denver Online getting started. You can also e-mail or call me (contact info is below), and I
Marketing Blog” can should be able to answer any questions that you have.
be a tremendous asset
in your online Get Some Help
marketing pursuits. Many advisors would rather not deal with marketing efforts and would prefer to
focus on servicing their clients. For these financial advisors, outsourcing online
marketing activities makes the most sense. I have the ability to relieve these
advisors of the burden of marketing online, freeing up their time so they can
focus on their core business.
I provide a free one hour consultation for all financial advisors. I would be happy
to describe these online marketing techniques in more depth help you further
explore how new business can be driven your way through the Internet.
If you’re interested in a free consultation – or if you just have questions about
Internet marketing, please contact me.
Database Watchdog, LLC