If you’re like most independent RIAs, you wear many hats within your advisory business. Some days, you’re the sales rep, other times you’re dealing with vendors. And some days, you’re even the janitor. But you still have to find time to grow your business and find new opportunities. This is where a good inbound marketing strategy comes in.
It may seem like inbound marketing has a lot of moving parts, but it can be boiled down to four simple phases. At its core, inbound marketing is about addressing your target audience’s questions and pain points, which will develop strong client relationships. It’s an irreplaceable part of any marketing strategy, so join us as we break it down to its bare bones with easy phases to follow!
Phase 1: Create Valuable Content
Content is the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy. The more content you have, the more SEO juice, social media posts, and traffic will follow. Common content offerings including things like eBooks, webinars, case studies, blog posts, and videos… but the possibilities are endless!
Whatever content route you choose, it should be geared towards your target clientele and should be centered around a need or solution to a problem they’re having. Starting with your niche’s pain point will attract clients searching for specific services. Creating beneficial and tailored content for your niche will show your knowledge, establish trust, and lay a foundation for great client relationships.
In the example below, C.L. Sheldon & Company creates consistent content on their blog, tailored to their niche of military officers. By providing specific content that benefits their target audience, they attract potential clients and show the value the specific value they provide to their niche. This opens the door to all sorts of opportunities, like email newsletters, social media, and lead-generation campaigns.
Phase 2: Optimize
Once you have some content created, it’s time to optimize where that content lives on your website. This step helps generate extra payoff from your original content, like boosting your search rankings and increasing your conversion rate. Website optimization comes in three forms: SEO, UX, and lead generation. Let’s dive into each one more.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO involves a range of activities that you can execute on your site and content to make it more accessible and searchable. With strategic keywords, proper tags, and internal linking, SEO makes your website more visible to prospects. Consistently creating fresh content on your site is a good start, but you should also be pursuing aggressive SEO efforts to boost its visibility.
When creating the content, you’ll want to get into the habit of these SEO best-practices:
Use Trending Topics In Your Niche/ Industry
In today’s fast-paced, socially connected, online world, everything moves in instant speed. Tailoring content and keywords around heavily searched subjects, even if they are in demand for only a few days, can increase your chances of popping up in Google’s search results and improve your SEO.
Include Keywords, Headlines, Subheadings, and Lead Sentences
This makes prospective clients’ search much easier when they are able to find you on the first-page search of Google or other search engines. Including words your niche will be searching for will help get your content seen.
Using internal links to past blog posts and external links to reputable third-party content can help Google make sense of webpages. Use keywords as anchors to link to related blog posts, statistics, or similar content that your audience might find useful.
Use ALT Tags for Images
Since search engines can’t “read” a picture, it’s important to include tags on each image in your content. Tags describe what the picture is so that Google can crawl it to determine search rankings! Including keywords here can give your SEO a double boost!
2. User Experience (UX)
According to Adobe, 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site. In a crowded industry like financial services, it’s hard enough to get leads to click on your site. Once you’re there, it’s important to make sure they don’t leave!
User experience (UX) is an umbrella that designs your website to optimize ease of use, accessibility, and convenience. If your website visitors don’t find the information they’re seeking quickly, they will write you off in a matter of minutes. You don’t want clients to feel confused or overwhelmed when they visit your site, so you should invest time to make it professional, yet simple.
At the bare minimum, your site should:
- Be mobile-friendly and optimized for all devices
- Feel consistent with matching headers, fonts, colors, buttons, spacing and overall web-design style
- Have NO 404 errors! In other words, all links and pages must work. You can check crawl errors on Google Webmaster Tools to prevent this.
- Use tasteful images. If you’re using stock photos, keep them professional and relevant. You can find great, free stock photos on sites like Unsplash.
Below, RX Wealth Advisors‘ website UX is clean, organized, and gives a professional first impression of the firm.
3. Lead Generation
Now that your site is chock-full of content and designed for easy experience, it’s time to take lock in leads! By including Calls-To-Action (CTAs), landing pages, and forms, you can convince leads to take the next step and collect valuable information from potential clients. Let’s dive into each one a little deeper:
CTAs are clearly-marked buttons that entice your site visitors to take the next step to engage with your firm. It’s important to think about both the color of your buttons as well as the verbiage you’re using on them. It should evoke trust, urgency, and excitement.
Landing Pages and Forms
A landing page is a great place to offer the exclusive content you’re creating, such as a whitepaper, guidebook, webinar recording, or eBook. A form is on the landing page itself and asks clients to fill out their information in exchange for the content. If paired correctly, you will generate leads through your content creation and can drip on them through the information they’ve given you.
Phase 3: Promote
Now, it’s time to get as many eyes on your content as you can. There’s really no easier way to spread your content than through social media and email. Both of these platforms give you a way to personally engage with potential clients and create a voice for your firm.
As for social media, we recommend being on at least Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Being on social media means more than simply setting up a profile – it takes consistent posting, engagement, and tweaking to be successful. Always post your original content on your profiles with a catchy caption and a graphic or image. You should also curate reputable third-party content that you can share on social that will benefit your target clients. Rather than always speaking at your audience on social, keeping up with shares, comments, and followers is also an integral part to rounding off your firm’s online presence. For more social media strategy help, read this article.
Below, advisory firm WealthKeel shares its video content on Facebook.
Email marketing gives you a great way to drip on prospects that might not be ready to commit to your firm. With the information you collect from forms and landing pages, you’ll be able to develop a list to send out updates, original content, and monthly newsletters. To do so, you’ll have to choose an email service provider. We recommend MailChimp, which has plenty of templates to choose from.
Phase 4: Improve & Iterate
Now you might think this step just gives you extra work, but it will end up saving you time, energy, and money. By reviewing what’s working well and what’s flopping will keep you on track and ensure you’re not wasting the little time you have. Review the impact of your work by asking yourself some guiding questions and using analytics to determine:
- How are visitors finding our website?
- Are our site visitors converting into leads?
- Which calls-to-action are receiving the highest click-through rate and which are falling flat?
- What can we do to improve the conversion rate of our CTAs, landing pages, etc?
By using Google Webmaster Tools, you can find information on your site performance and demographics of your visitors. If you perform an audit at least once a month, you can get ahead of potential problems and fix your strategy before it’s too late!