Digital advertising for financial advisers is amazing when it goes well. Increased website traffic, brand awareness and conversions are things we all strive for. The trouble is, this is an area where financial advisers often end up failing, and wasting a lot of money.
Google AdWords, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads and Facebook Ads. They all sound great, and hold enormous potential on paper. However, in our experience IFAs tend to fail at these campaigns when they try them themselves due to largely the same issue:
Their audience doesn’t know who they are.
The Typical Marketing Horror Story
This is often how things transpire when an IFA decides to invest in online advertising. They think:
“I’ve just launched a new website or set up my new financial adviser business. Let’s get the word out there on the internet to my target audience, so high net worth clients come to us for advice.”
So, they create a Google AdWords account, and perhaps a Facebook Ads Manager and Twitter Ads account. Or, possibly they approach a cheap or inexperienced offshore freelancer to set up their campaigns for them. Hundreds of pounds is then invested in buying ads, to get it all up and running.
Once everything is set up, you basically let it run for a few months and almost forget about it. After some time has passed, you decide it’s time to check up on how things are going. You look at the reports, and discover that things …haven’t gone so well.
Perhaps an increase in website traffic from before, but likely your bounce rate is quite high and your average session duration is quite low. Crucially, the number of conversions is small to non-existent.
You have been funneling money into these different paid advertising channels – Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Twitter Ads and LinkedIn Ads. The aim was to gain conversions which then turns into revenue for your business, yet you have little to show for it. However, the sad story doesn’t stop there.
Why Is This Happening?
Before we answer that question, let’s quickly look at what happens to websites for financial advisers when their adverts don’t get meaningful engagement.
When your audience doesn’t engage with your advertising, the platform you are using kick in their algorithms which make it harder for your campaigns to reach your audience – making them less profitable. Why? Because platforms like Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and others tend to base the cost per click on audience engagement.
In other words, the higher your audience engagement, the lower your cost per click tends to go. However, because your campaign is new and people don’t know your brand yet, the engagement is low. So the cost per click is higher. This then goes in a downward spiral as the weeks pass, meaning you get less and less bang for your buck out of your marketing budget.
In other words, your audience pool is shrinking, whilst the cost to reach that shrinking pool goes up over time. Why? Fundamentally, this is because:
- People don’t know you yet.
- They don’t like what you’re saying, what you look like or what you’re offering.
- They don’t trust you.
Of course, the reverse of these things holds the key. If your audience knows you, likes the look of you, trusts you and is attracted to what you’re offering, your engagement should go up. Increased engagement means lower costs per click over time, which means things get better as you go along.
However, therein lies the catch-22. After all, surely one of the key purposes of digital advertising is to get the word out, so people do get to know you and do eventually get like and trust you?
Yet, if these channels do not actually achieve that, what purposes do these channels serve? Moreover, how are you supposed to “get the word out” beforehand, so you advertising campaigns actually work?
The Way Forward For Financial Adviser Websites
The solution isn’t an easy one, but essentially you need to get to know your audience prior to pouring money into online advertising.
What this actually looks like depends on your specific target audience, your brand, and your marketing goals. However, a common place to start is content marketing and SEO (search engine optimisation).
These channels allow you to put out thought leadership to your audience. These should be topics that interest them, are perceived as valuable, and which you specialise in. Other areas to consider are PR, events and sponsorships.
Some IFAs, for instance, run pensions seminars in their local area – a great way to get the word out. One client of ours has even used banner advertising at a local golf course, because a lot of potential, higher net worth clients frequent it.
The other strategy is to initially focus your digital advertising to a very specific group of people. For instance, in your AdWords campaign, consider investing the initial ad budget in a remarketing campaign (i.e. showing ads to previous visitors of your website). You might also want to run a “brand” campaign, so you capture traffic from people who are specifically searching for your brand in Google Search.
On Facebook, consider uploading your email list to the Ads Manager and only showing your ads to these users. This functionality is also available on Twitter and Instagram. You can also set up the Facebook remarketing pixel on your financial website, so your ads appear in the news feeds of people who visited your website a few days / weeks ago.
Once these campaigns have been running for a bit, the platforms’ algorithms should start to notice a higher engagement on your adverts. This should encourage them to drive the cost per click down, meaning you can more plausibly start to expand your campaigns and budgets to a wider audience.