Earlier this year, Google published a research document detailing how investors are using digital to research their options.
An understanding of this behaviour can help financial services and wealth management companies refine their marketing strategies.
Understanding the customer
As with any ‘considered purchase’, the first place that people look for information is online. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new car or a new investment opportunity. Although the person is not necessarily thinking of buying online, they will still be looking for relevant information to narrow down their choices.
Even though you may consider yourself an ‘offline business’ where you deliver your value and expertise in a face-to-face situation, are you missing out by not fully embracing digital? According to the research, you certainly could be if you only have a small token website giving brief details of your company and services.
How people search for financial services information
The key takeaway from the research published by Google, was that the customers of wealth management companies were using the Internet heavily to influence their decision making, even if they didn’t sign up to an account online.
They were surprised to find that people turned to digital very early in their decision-making process. Essentially, they were looking for advice and guidance on the products and services available.
Interestingly, over 50% of people did not have a brand in mind while researching. This means that that they would be open to working with companies that they find in the early stages of their research.
Google revealed some of the basic answers people were seeking at the beginning of their research. They found that searches including the words “should I ______” have grown over 65% in the past two years. This includes searches such as “what should I invest in” and “should I invest in ___”
They also found that mobile searches for ‘retirement calculator’ were up 115% in 2 years and ‘financial advisor’ were up 75% in the same time period.
How to use this information
The concept of the marketing funnel is useful to consider in this context. You can think of the funnel as a set of steps that a client could go through in the decision-making process before making an investment.
- Top of funnel – General queries – e.g. “How to invest for the future”
- Middle of funnel – More specific queries e.g. “What shares should I buy”
- Bottom of funnel – Ready to buy queries e.g. “Financial advisors near me”
As clients move through the marketing funnel, there are less people at each stage, but they are getting closer to making the all-important buying decision.
Many financial services companies will be targeting those investors that are at the bottom of the funnel. And indeed, it makes sense to do so, after all they are ready to buy.
But the research from Google also suggests that there are potential clients higher up the funnel that are also looking for advice on digital channels. As they have no brand loyalty, they are principally looking for a knowledgeable expert that can guide them to making the right investment decisions for their future.
Could that expert be you? With the right marketing, it certainly could.
Digital Marketing Strategy
A good to place to start is to focus on your ideal customer and think what questions they will be asking themselves when making investment decisions. You can also use your experience of what questions you have been asked by clients. It is also possible to find out what are the popular queries that people have been searching for on Google.
Once you know the type of information your clients want, you can start building your digital assets. There are many different types you could use, but I will mention 3 here:
- Articles – writing articles on your blog is one of the easiest ways to show your expertise and directly answer a common query. It gives you a chance of ranking on Google for the query as well.
- Infographics – these are graphical representations of complex data. They work well for the more complicated investment vehicles, as they are easier to understand than words alone. As an example, it’s easier to demonstrate the benefits of compound interest graphically, compared to written text.
- Calculators – having a calculator on your website is a simple way to make your site more interactive so people stay on it longer. An example could be a retirement calculator, that shows how much a person needs to save for their retirement, if they want a certain level of income.
The best way to optimise the return on your digital assets is to promote them. This is like pouring fuel in the engine.
You can use Facebook advertising, Google AdWords or email marketing to get your assets in front of people. The exact promotion channel is not critical, what does matter is that you’re getting in front of the right people.
If you would like more information on how to set up this marketing system for your financial services business, contact us or phone 01865 595260.