Dispelling the myth: 3 steps to generating leads onlineArticle added by Maggie Crowley on August 22, 2014
Maggie Crowley

Maggie Crowley


Joined: May 09, 2013

My Company

Financial marketing experts talk a lot about generating leads online, but we rarely see it in action. Today, advisors seem to think about digital marketing a bit like a mythical unicorn. Many speak of its powers, but few admit to seeing it up close.

Let’s extinguish the myth: Advisors can generate leads online more efficiently than by using traditional marketing tactics like direct mail and cold calling. A strong website and strategy can transform your business, but here’s the thing: It’s not an overnight success story. I will tell you firsthand that generating leads online takes time, effort and a little guts.

Instead of expanding on one of the many digital lead gen theories that have already been published, I’ll explain the three essential parts of generating leads online. Look out for my next article, where I'll explain three tangible ways advisors are putting this into action today.

Quick note: First thing’s first! Before you can convert online, a website needs to draw in your ideal client. When visitors arrive on your website, what kind of impression do they form about your firm based on the site? If the website is outdated, hard to find or hard to use, don’t expect leads to pick up the phone.

Your website is the only marketing tool that represents your firm 24/7. It’s vital that your advisor website is sending the right message.

3 parts to generating leads online

1. Identify the offer

We’ve all heard the axiom that content is king. Today’s consumers are savvier than ever and they’re looking for value in all the places they spend time on the Web, including your website. What can you offer prospects that will peak their interest and add value to their busy lives? Today, this offer usually comes in the form of a helpful piece of content like a blog, article, white paper, podcast, etc.

Website visitors generally don’t mind exchanging their contact information if they perceive that they’re getting something worthwhile in return.
To figure out what kind of value-add offer your consumers are looking for, get inside the minds of your ideal client (your target audience). I suggest starting this process by building out your client personas. Developing a client persona allows you to take a look at who your ideal client is and understanding where your services fit in.

Expert tip: Instead of taking a guess at the type of content your website visitors are interested in, use real data. Change up your content offers each month for three months and record the data to identify the most popular content on your site.

2. Ask visitors to take action

Calls to action (CTA) are exactly what the name implies: These little digital buttons direct your audience towards taking the next logical step on your website.

What is it you’d like your audience to do next? Common CTAs we find on financial advisor websites are “Download Ebook,” or “Subscribe to My Newsletter.” Whatever action you have in mind, users will go for it if they understand the benefit and if it’s really easy for them to do it.

A great CTA enhances your website in a couple of tremendous ways. First, it makes your website interactive for users. CTAs can also reveal tons of information about who’s visiting your website and the types of content they’re interested in.

3. Create the exchange

Finally, leads are generated when a prospect exchanges their contact information for something valuable (i.e., your content offer). In essence, the website visitor expresses that they are interested in a piece of information that you have created. As a result, you’ve begun building a positive relationship with someone who may be your ideal client.

Technically speaking, the exchange happens via a Web-to-lead form. The best forms are simple – we don’t want our new lead to feel as if they’re signing their life away to download a piece of content. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, try keeping your form under five fields (name, email, phone, etc.)
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