As a SME business owner in the finance arena, whether you’re an insurance broker, mortgage broker, an independent financial adviser, or a pension adviser, you can’t do business without leads.
When you’re short of leads or need to grow it can be tempting to just buy unqualified leads, these can often turn out to generate very little business as the leads are not very relevant, or worse brand damaging, as they’ve been sold multiple times. In fact the whole legality of 3rd party leads purchased online has been called into question, as the online ads themselves are often misleading.
However, there are other ways. Either by developing your website and digital marketing yourselves, or working with an agency, you can operate and control your own online financial services lead generation strategy. Moving away from buying leads through a third party can give you more finessed strategy that produces much more successful results.
1. Know who you are looking for
Before you start ensure that you have identified what type of leads you want. Understanding who you are looking for – and indeed what they are looking for – is important as you start the task of refining your online presence and digital marketing in order to capture specific leads
2. Using your website
Your greatest online presence Is usually your website. It makes sense then to structure it in a way that lets you target and collect leads. One of the first steps is to optimise our website for search engines.
Keyword research enables the creation of ‘best in class’ online content that will see your website receive a higher page ranking in search engines such as Google. The reasons for this are clear. One, if you want your content to rank, it’s got to be very good, two, put simply most people don’t scroll past the first page of results they come across. If you want people to visit your website, you need to get it on the first page for relevant search engine rankings.
Once your potential clients are on your website you need them to take action. More specifically you need them to take action to determine how valuable they are as leads, as well as providing you with an opening to contact them.
3. Capturing leads with your content
Content such as quizzes, free downloads and web forms can be used as part of the lead generation funnel to filter out website visitors who are unlikely to want to take advantage of your financial services, or don’t fit with the services you provide.
Targeted content that appeals to the type of client that you are looking for acts as a lead magnet and provides you with the material you need to determine the most appropriate approach to take when making contact. This requires a strategy, measurement and above all testing to get optimum results.
4. Pay Per Click advertising
Generating qualified leads via PPC advertising such as Google Ads or Bing Ads can be an effective method of sourcing good-quality leads with ads than are targeted by, for example, demographic or location. However, many IFAs and other financial services companies aren’t capturing the full potential of this tool, with ad keywords poorly researched, ad copy not tested, landing pages badly conceived and conversion not tracked well.
When used well PPC advertising lets you thoroughly analyse your campaigns, fine-tune them, and manage your budget and either improve your profitability or gain more leads for a similar budget.
5. Capturing leads by email
Rather than sending out random emails or eshots, planning email campaigns that target different recipients in different ways and encourage them to interact further with you can be an excellent way of generating qualified leads. Essentially you will design any calls for actions in your emails to appeal particularly to those whose business you are most interested in.
Making email content relevant to those who are most likely to become clients in turn means that the content won’t appeal to individuals who were highly unlikely to ever become clients. In terms of emails this often means they will unsubscribe from your mailing lists or won’t provide you with email details in the first place.
While it can seem scary to reduce your potential client base, you should be careful that you don’t favour quantity over quality. The reality is the larger your list and the more generic your leads, the more it costs in time to contact them and in email storage and sending. Targeted and qualified is always better.
6. Using your social media presence
Many independent financial advisers are comfortable using their social media profiles to talk about developments in the sector, to share financial news or just to stay in touch with existing clients. Used intelligently though they can also help you to capture qualified leads.
If you are going to employ social media to generate leads, then it’s important that you consider which is the most suitable platform to use. Lots of people may have liked your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter, but if you are, for example, interested in B2B leads then you would probably far better gathering this type of lead through LinkedIn.
When it comes to Facebook, you can often implement similar lead strategies to those employed on your website. It comes down to the same approach, do you want likes or leads? If it’s leads, then you need to carry out customer and demographic research, then build a process that captures relevant customer details for you to progress.
7. Don’t forget the phones
Checking that you are tracking where callers found your number is a useful way of discovering which of your online channels are working most effectively at finding you clients. Comparing the origins of phone calls with how many of them were converted into customers lets you understand where the best phone leads are coming from and to focus on those channels
You can also use text messages to follow-up initial contacts and keep leads warm. This can be very effective when used in conjunction with an email campaign.
8. Automate your processes
Controlling your own online lead generation process gives you the opportunity to also control and monitor the data that your online lead generation strategy produces. As you’re not using a third party you have instant access to data. The key is turning the data into insights, letting your business see exactly how your lead generation program is progressing.
Access to live ongoing data also lets you be much more responsive to changes in lead quality and numbers, for example switching focus to those areas of the business that are generating most leads, or engaging additional staff when seasonal demand is likely to increase.
However long you’ve been working in the financial services sector, you can always benefit from finding new customers. Generating your own qualified leads, tailored to your business needs, and governed by your goals, is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to grow your company in a sustainable and scalable manner.