The Science Behind Content Marketing
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A local RIA may think it is competing with the local wirehouses.
A local wirehouse team may think it is competing with the other wirehouse teams.
An independent firm tied to a broker-dealer may think it is competing with other IBD firms.
Sorry Charlie, the true competition for advisory clients starts with being able to cut through the clutter of 3,000 or more competing ads that the typical prospects sees…per day!
In our saturated search economy, an area of expertise or niche like retirement-income planning is not enough to stand out and for new clients to find you.
Many top-growing firms recognize this challenge and have adapted by becoming content marketers.
Let’s first glimpse into how this type of advisory firm approaches marketing and then review some steps for any advisory practice to cut through the clutter and reach and influence their target prospects.
How does a content marketing-led firm approach marketing?
A top-growing firm works from an overall go-to-market strategy.
Essentially, this strategy identifies its target market, the demographics and psychographics of that market, the key messages that will resonate with this target market, and how it will get its message in front of the target market (i.e., the tactics).
The go-to-market strategy also details the delivery model, including the specific problems the advisor solves and how they solve them.
If you can create at least five points of differentiation you are likely to be unique.
For example, do you help professional baseball players maximize their earnings and protect their wealth?
Or, does your comprehensive wealth management help educate the next generation on how to invest sustainably?
Any single point will not differentiate you and your practice, but a combination of key practice attributes can put you in a category of one.
Narrowing in at this level of specificity in your marketing is essential to creating content to reach and get the attention of your prospects when they have one of the problems you solve.
If you don’t have a go-to-market for your practice, go back and create one.
That done, you are ready for the next step: a content marketing strategy.
A content marketing strategy can work as outlined below with an inbound, outbound, and COI/media-marketing component.
Assume you have identified a specific target market and messages that will appeal to this audience.
Drive inbound leads who find you
Here’s how inbound marketing can work for you.
Place relatively small ads and articles in front of thousands of viewers in your target market. A very small percentage of them will click the link to a landing page for something like a lead magnet/special report/white paper, offering the investor something of immediate value.
The landing page’s sole purpose (and a content marketer’s success) is tied to converting as high a percentage as possible to become a lead, meaning they offer first name, last name, email, and possibly phone and address.
The carrot is often a free report such as 99 Retirement Tips for High-Tech Workers.
Content marketing-led firms know that the title of the report is one of its most important features, and the download of the PDF is just the start of the relationship.
The idea is to get semi-qualified prospects to raise their hand and get on your marketing list and then use marketing automation at scale to execute your tailored conversion sequence.
Reach out to existing leads and create new ones with outbound programs
For example, some years I engaged an advisory firm that was marketing nationally and running a weekly column on a niche website. It had built a list of a few thousand leads (newsletter subscribers).
At first, it had been getting a flow of new clients from this newsletter list. But after a few years both email open and response rates were stagnant.
It had one full-time salesperson and he was at the end of his rope calling longtime subscribers who enjoyed the newsletter, but were fine with the way their investments were managed.
I suggested a simple concept for old and new subscribers: a webinar that would give the reasons why the subscribers should hire the advisory firm behind the newsletter to manage their money for them.
This brought instant results from an invitation to both current subscribers and a third-party/media email list in the form of hundreds of webinar leads and an immediate sales pipeline.
And, we were just getting started with a webinar series and other outbound strategies.
Extend your reach with a very specific go-to-market strategy
You can extend your content marketing engine as outlined above to identify and market through centers of influence (COIs) and media companies that are already reaching your target prospects.
Two keys to success are obviously to select those COIs/media who have developed a community or relationship with your specific niche.
Use your inbound and outbound content marketing tactics to get your message in front of their audience.
Bringing it home
Whatever your practice model, make sure your content marketing engine appeals to a target market or niche that looks a lot like one or more ideal clients.
Here are five steps for success that other firms have used to consistently cut through the information and advertising clutter and become top growers:
- Develop a specific go-to-market strategy
- Create leads on your website through inbound marketing
- Add outbound tactics like email and event marketing to both current and new contacts
- Use inbound and outbound to market through COIs and with media firms
- Leverage marketing automation like Infusionsoft or Hubspot for follow-up/conversion at scale
Follow this process and judge the results for yourself.
Bob Hanson is author of Marketing Power for Financial Advisors. To grab his free report, 7 Content Marketing Secrets of Highly-Successful Advisors, click here.