Are You Working Your Web Presence?

How many leads do you get from the web?

For most firms the answer is “not many.” Almost all advisers I know appear on web based search tools like Unbiased and Vouched For. Yet these same advisers constantly question the value of these marketing tools. I’m often asked the question:

“Do you think we should cancel our subscription to Unbiased?”
My answer is always an emphatic “No.”

Why?

Let’s put things into perspective: an annual membership to Unbiased costs a few hundred pounds. How many leads do you need to convert to break even? I’m thinking about one tenth of a lead. Yet firms still question the value they obtain because they often receive so few leads using these tools.

What’s the real problem here?

I have to be honest and say, I don’t think it’s anything to do with Unbiased (or any other search tool) as a product; it’s to do with the information you’ve entered (or not entered) in your profile.

Back to Basics

Let’s take a step-by-step look at your online profile on Unbiased and ask a few questions:

  • Are the words describing you and your service up-to-date?
    Are they the best descriptors of your business? Are they consistent with the words used on your website and in any other written marketing material? If not, update them.
  • Does you company logo appear on the front page when your firm is shortlisted in a search?
    You’d be amazed at how many don’t. Personally, I’d never consider a firm that presented that poorly on a search – I’d choose one of the other firms. Showing your logo makes you look professional.
  • On the front page (under your logo) do you have a clear one-liner that makes your firm stand out from your competitors?
    It should tell me exactly who you work with or why you are great. Otherwise I might never proceed to the rest of your profile.
  • If I click on your firm, have you completed the “What We Do Really Well” section with something compelling and sharp?
    This is a chance to make your firm stand out. Unfortunately, most of what I see in this area is generic, lacklustre and disengaging.
  • Under the “Advice Areas” have you chosen the areas you are best at, rather than just ticking everything?
    Having too many areas show up here makes you look non-specific and unexceptional. Only list the top three to five advice areas that you’d most like to deal with.
  • In the “About Us” tab have you included client testimonials as well as a short descriptor of what you do?
    Keep the descriptor text short and let the testimonials do the talking.
  • Are you making the most of your qualifications and accreditations in the “Our Advisers” tab?
    Include all your qualifications and any accreditation logos like CFP or Chartered, if you have them.
  • Is your preferred client level appropriate?
    It’s fine to have a high minimum enquiry threshold if that is what you are looking for. However, don’t be too aggressive in this area. As you know, some clients will enquire about one area of their affairs, whilst having considerable wealth in other areas. You don’t want to exclude an enquiry this early in the process. You can always exclude them after you make the initial phone call.

As an example, if you want clients with assets of £250K plus to invest, I would consider setting an entry guideline on the site of around £100K or £150K. Yes it risks letting in a few less-than-target leads, but it also allows you to pick up some that may not be considering their total wealth as they search.

Setting an entry level is important, and you want to get this right to attract maximum numbers of the right types of leads. Don’t set it too low or too high.

Filling your funnel

Marketing your business requires you to have as many leads as possible in your funnel. In a perfect world you’d have 5,000 people outside your office trying to get in to see you. If you couldn’t physically handle that many people, you could simply cherry pick the best leads from that group.

Web based search tools are likely to be used by a significant proportion of people looking for an adviser; it’s just what people do when they search for anything. While web based leads may not be enough to keep your funnel overflowing on their own, they can certainly help top up other marketing methods like email marketing, seminars, events, sponsorships, client referrals and professional referrals.

The effort is worth it. Taking a couple of hours to sharpen up your online profiles will pay you back. [click to tweet]

Michael Smith and Geoff Husaunndee at Chamberlyns went through this exercise last year and subsequently gained 19 leads within 7 months. Yes, they reject 2 out of 3 leads, but look at what’s been left over for them to deal with:

3 x £500K
1 x £1M
2 x £1.5M
1 x £2M
1 x £2.7M

Prior to the tweaks they made to their profile, they were not seeing anything like this number or quality of leads coming through.  As a growing business, clients of this level are vitally important.
(connect with Michael Smith from Chamberlyns on Twitter: @Chamberlyns_MS)

James Harvey of James Harvey Associates generates a couple of clients annually in the £250K – £500K range from Unbiased. While he does have to sort through some non-target leads, it is a very simple process over the telephone.

Even if this work secures you two extra clients per year it is still a very cost effective lead-generation tool.

Be consistent

I strongly recommend reviewing your online search profiles and ensuring they’re kept up-to-date. The words you use on one site should always be used on any other online search tools you subscribe to. This is important for consistency (in case I find you on two sites), as well as ensuring your best face is presented wherever you are shown. This is what gives you the greatest chance of generating a lead.

If you aren’t confident in your writing ability, get some professional help from a marketing expert. You only need to do the work involved once, but it will pay you back over years and years.

Don’t let the power of the web be wasted for you and your firm.

By Brett Davidson
Google

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