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  • Writer's pictureFinancial Marketing Pros

Pro-Tip #16: The Most Profitable Lead Source For Financial Advisors?

From the desks of Joe Bayliss & Roy Furr


Our top clients collectively did over $2 billion in production last year. We helped them drive thousands upon thousands of qualified leads.


With that, we have our fingers on the pulse of the most effective and cost-efficient ways financial advisors generate leads.


When you break it down, there are really 3 categories of lead sources…


  1. Paid media

  2. Earned media

  3. Owned media


Let’s take a quick look at each, the pros and cons, and which represents the most profitable lead source for financial advisors. And by the end of this short post, you’ll have at least one actionable idea for how you could quickly and affordably generate an influx of qualified and motivated leads.


Let’s Start With Paid Media. 


This is what it sounds like. You pay to put your advertising message in front of your prospects. This is our bread and butter because it works.


In paid media, certain channels and certain messages can consistently make the phone ring. For example, we know that the advisors who are willing to invest in TV right now, especially long form (30-minute) shows, can basically buy new leads week after week. Other channels are less reliable (e.g. digital) but if you can make them work, they can be a great additional paid lead source.


If you can write a check and you know what message will move your market, this can be a profit machine. That’s its biggest pro. You can quickly scale up, as fast as your budget allows. The con is that you have to have the courage and cash to write the check!


Next is Earned Media.


This is incredibly attractive because it’s free! If someone else is in front of your market and they invite you onto their media platform, it can be a great way to generate leads.


This includes everything from PR opportunities to speaking engagements to search engine optimization or social media (yes, you earn the trust of the algorithm to put you in front of their audience).


The biggest pro of earned media is its cost — nothing. But that comes with a major con because it creates a reliance on the goodwill and generosity of others, which means you’re not in control of your destiny.


Finally, We Have Owned Media.


This may be the least obvious, but it can also be the most profitable source of leads for any business — including financial advisors. Owned media is marketing that goes out to your audience of clients and prospects who’ve given you permission to communicate with them.


One example is lead nurture emails. You should be sending these to anyone who inquires with you but doesn’t become a client right away. It’s normal for someone to inquire with a financial advisor months or even years before they’re ready to become a client, and the only way you’ll convert them when they’re ready is to make sure you’ve stayed on their radar.


Another powerful example, and one of the most profitable campaigns we can run for any client, is an informational webinar for unconverted leads. In fact, one client reported that this was their second-most profitable media channel behind referrals. And it’s the most profitable channel they can easily control.


The biggest pro of owned media is that it can easily be your most lucrative lead source, and so it should absolutely be used consistently and strategically as part of your total marketing plan. The con is that it often takes paid media and earned media to begin to build a database of leads and prospects before you can really turn up the profits in owned media.


That said, many financial advisors are significantly under-leveraging the power of their unconverted leads.


One of our recent webinar campaigns generated 325 registrations, 310 attendees and 41 appointment requests (the first 11 appointments had $9 million in investable assets). And there are more appointments in the pipeline, plus more opportunities to re-use the webinar.


We offer a Free Marketing Audit, including a Marketing Strategy Audit, to help you discover which media channels and marketing strategies will generate the biggest results for you.



Please understand we’re currently only accepting new clients who are spending a minimum of $250,000 per year in marketing.


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