IFAs are busy people, so the thought of putting regular time into content for your blog can seem overwhelming. However, the SEO and marketing benefits can be huge – making the effort well worth the investment.
Indeed, many of the best financial websites (i.e. the most visible in Google) still use blogging, frequently adding fresh content to their website. In their minds, blogging is a means for engaging qualified prospects, driving website traffic, increasing brand exposure and nurturing leads towards a transaction or conversion.
However, IFAs and financial planners often have many legitimate questions when it comes to blogging. Such as:
How long did it take the best financial websites to rank on Google’s page one, for their target keywords?
What sorts of topics actually engage readers?
What role does a blog actually play in a financial adviser’s sales pipeline / conversion funnel?
How do I actually write compelling content for my company blog?
Why The Best Financial Websites Still Blog
Financial advisers do not have unlimited marketing budgets. We understand that. When times are tight, it can be so tempting to simply divert all of your marketing resources into paid, “quick win” media and campaigns which seem to provide a clearer ROI picture.
It’s certainly true that “owned” media doesn’t easily demonstrate immediate ROI. It’s a longer term investment. However, as any good financial adviser will tell their clients, the fact that this marketing approach is longer term shouldn’t detract from its value. Indeed, it’s often the longer-term investment strategies which pay out the biggest wins!
This is no less true when it comes to blogging. Think about the way you yourself behave, for instance, prior to making a buying decision,especially when it’s something potentially expensive and requiring a lot of trust in the vendor (such as asking for financial services or marketing services).
You tend to check out the company in question. Subconsciously, you’re looking to answer questions like:
What’s their website like? Does it look legitimate and trustworthy?
What are others saying about this company, and what kinds of clients are they working with?
What sorts of things are they saying? Do they look like experts in their field? Do they look like a safe pair of hands I could entrust my financial affairs or marketing with?
It’s this latter set of question that your blog directly speaks into. The best financial websites have a blog because they recognise it as a crucial means to establish brand authority, trust and credibility in the eyes of their target audience.
Moreover, by hitting relevant keywords with your blog content, this gives you the opportunity to rank higher in Google for your audience’s search terms, therefore allowing your website to take up more “real estate” in the search engine results. This makes it more likely your audience will click on your link and consider your financial brand, instead of your competitor.
How Blogging Works In An IFA’s Conversion Funnel
As a financial adviser, how many people do you know who need financial advice, except they themselves do not realise it yet? Undoubtedly, you know many of them.
How do you get these people to realise they have a problem that you can fix? This is where blogging also becomes an immensely valuable means of getting such prospects into your buyer’s journey – maybe even without them realising it.
This happens to all of us, all the time, when we are searching online trying to find a solution to problem we have. It happened to me just the other week.
Our hoover wasn’t great, and we kept borrowing my sister-in-law’s instead. So I start reading articles online about what makes a good hoover. I weighted up cordless models, and looked at bagless ones. I read up about how long a hoover could expect to last if properly looked after.
By the time I’d read the articles and blogs answering my questions, I knew it was time to buy a new hoover. I also had a set of criteria to help me find the right one. A few weeks later, we had our Dyson Animal in our hands!
The best financial websites recognise that there is an opportunity to capture people in the beginning stages of their buyer’s journey – the point where, quite often, they don’t even think they’re seriously looking to buy or commit to something.
These people are often looking to educate themselves to make informed decisions about their finances. They aren’t looking for an IFA right now, but given the right set of information, they might soon realise they really need one after all. By providing answers to their questions, such as “should I transfer out of my final salary pension?”, you can nurture them towards this end.
At CreativeAdviser, we often speak of three stages in a person’s buyer’s journey.
First, there’s awareness. The person in question isn’t really aware of their problem or their need for your services, but they are becoming educated about the subject.
Second, there’s consideration. The individual is, at this stage, sufficiently educated about their problem, and knows that one option to resolve it is to work with a professional. In our case, this might be a financial adviser reading our blog, who comes to realise that they really do need to engage in digital marketing to attract more clients – rather than just relying on referrals. At this point, they are weighting up whether to outsource this work to a professional financial marketing agency (like us), or do the work themselves.
Third, there’s decision. This is where the person weighs up whether to use your services, work with your competitor, do the work themselves, or abandon the purchase.
The best financial websites use a blog to hit all three stages of the buyer’s journey. By educating prospects via great content on financial matters, they can build awareness in their target audience that they do, indeed, have a problem that they might be able to solve. An example might be a blog answering the question: “Will I have enough money for a comfortable retirement?”
By providing thought leadership, original and compelling articles and trust-inspiring insights via their blog, they can engage prospects at the consideration stage. Here, a blog might publish content on a topic such as: “Are financial adviser fees worth it?”
Then, by publishing material on your brand’s competences, value proposition and unique selling points, you can nudge those prospects who are now at the consideration stage. An example topic might be a testimonial, such as: “How X Advisers Helped Me Retire On £35K A Year: Margaret’s Story.”