Before I started writing this article, I did a very simple Google search: “Best Financial Adviser near me.”
The first sites listed were of course the sponsored sites, where their owners had run successful Google Ads campaigns to rank higher than their competition.
When I got to the organic results, I was faced with a list of financial firms to consider and clicked on the first three. They all had one thing in common: a decent amount of content on their website in the form of a blog, news section or insights section.
They had all used some form of content marketing relevant to financial advisers to enable Google to find their websites and serve them up for me when I was looking for the best financial adviser near me.
Helping Google and the other search engines match the best websites to a particular search enquiry is the first job that content marketing has to do for a website.
The second job is to persuade prospective clients to become new clients by demonstrating that this financial adviser has the answers to the questions that prospective clients may have. Content marketing is a way of showing your prospective client that you have the expertise to help them with the financial advice that they need.
The first part of ensuring that your financial content marketing brings you more business is being found through one, or indeed all, of the search engines. It doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody reads it. This is where search engine optimisation comes into play.
If that’s something you want to learn more about, you’ll find various SEO resources on this website, including some tips on how to achieve higher search engine rankings for local searches (the “best financial adviser near me” type of searches).
And if you prefer video to text, you'll find a helpful video on SEO for mortgage brokers and financial advisers on my YouTube channel.
As I cover search engine optimisation and how to achieve better search engine rankings elsewhere, I will focus in this blog article on the second aspect of content marketing, which is creating the content itself.
Why is content marketing important for financial advisers?
You might get all of your business through referrals. Or you might prefer to pay Google and/or the other search engines to rank you at the top of page one.
But, as the saying goes, you can drag a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.
If you pay Google enough to get you to the top of the search engine rankings, you still have to persuade the searcher to read what is on your website and to click through to make the appointment to speak to you.
Just telling the client that you are trustworthy, an expert and that your fees are reasonable (or free) is not enough, because that is what the other two sites that Google have listed are also saying. So, how is the searcher supposed to know which financial adviser to approach.
You have to show, not tell, the prospective clients that you are the best person to give them the advice that they need. And you do this through the content you provide for them, be that through blog articles, videos, infographics, email marketing, social media posts, and of course in physical events such as networking.
If you get your content marketing strategy right, working as an effective part of your digital marketing, you can expect prospective clients to approach you, rather than you having to go out and prospect for clients.
This is what we call inbound marketing, attracting clients to you, rather than outbound where you go out and look for clients.
Both inbound and outbound marketing should form part of your overall marketing strategy, but I believe that content marketing is just as relevant to your outbound marketing efforts as well as inbound. If you meet someone networking, make a cold call or are referred, the chances are that your prospective client will still check your website, and these days, your LinkedIn profile as well.
Do you want to tell the prospective client that you are an expert, like everyone one else, or do you want to show them that you are and stand out from the competition?
Content marketing strategy for financial advisers
As with all marketing, you need to have a strategy to ensure you make the most of your content marketing efforts. If you simply “post and hope”, you are unlikely to have much success.
You will need to identify some goals for your content strategy. You want to demonstrate to your prospect that you are the best person to help them deal with whatever financial question or issue they have.
You will want to show your prospect that you have experience, expertise, that you are an authority in your field, and that you can be trusted.
I use these words, Experience, Expertise, Authority, Trust, deliberately. Google has said that it specifically rewards sites with E-E-A-T with higher search engine rankings, which means that sites that achieve these characteristics will be ranked higher and seen by more people.
These are also exactly the characteristics that you will want to show (not just tell) your readers that you possess.
And most importantly of all, you will need to demonstrate that your content is relevant to the needs of the reader.
What sort of content can you publish?
Content should either educate, inform or entertain, and most importantly it should be relevant to your target audience.
If you were simply to create content about financial products, you are probably going to struggle to generate much engagement, grow your audience and convert the reader into a customer.
Financial products are just not sexy enough! Not many of us will wake up in the morning and decide that we want to read a generic post about life insurance with our cornflakes.
If instead you were to write about some of the problems that a new life insurance product will solve for the over 50s, it is more likely that anyone over 50 is going to take a look at your content. So too would anyone who is approaching 50.
Let’s take another example. If you are on Linked In, you will almost certainly see posts from people saying that they are attending this conference or that event.
It’s good to have a bit of variety in your content rather than simply talking about pensions and mortgages and life insurance.
But why would your target audience be interested in a picture of you at a conference in Milton Keynes?
And the answer is because you are now going to tell them something that is going to be of interest to them. “I was really interested to meet with so-and-so, and learn about their new financial product which helps people with this problem.”
If your reader is in the market for that product, they will be interested. And if they’re not ready to buy just yet, this kind of post is still good for letting them know that you are keeping up to date and that you have expertise in your field.
Where do you get ideas for content for?
Perhaps the godfather of content marketing is Marcus Sheridan who runs a fibre glass swimming pool company in Florida. Some years back his company was in desperate financial trouble, almost insolvent, and so he radically changed his marketing strategy.
Instead of talking about his company business, he started looking at the sorts of questions that customers had when considering whether to buy a fibre glass swimming pool, and answering them on his blog. He wasn’t trying to sell, he was simply answering questions, and as he answered those questions, he began to build up experience, expertise, authority and trust in the eyes of his readers and potential customers.
If you ask someone a question and they answer without trying to sell to you, you are going to trust them, aren’t you? And if you trust them, and you are looking for a swimming pool, you are going to buy.
He then wrote a book, They Ask, You Answer, in which he describes this process. If you’ve not read it, go and order it… after you’ve finished reading this article!
Sheridan’s swimming pool company is now one of the biggest swimming pool companies in the world. You will see a number of companies taking this approach to content marketing. Have a look at www.hubspot.com or www.neilpatel.com and you will see a huge library of helpful articles and information on marketing and only a few invitations to buy from them.
I don’t have the same resources as they do, but you will have seen that my website features a number of free resources, from blog posts to links to videos, as well as content that I do want people to buy.
The free resources will help you with your content marketing efforts as a financial adviser, and then if you feel that you need some additional help, there are various paid-for options available to you. But I hope that you will agree that it’s not a hard sell. It’s there if you want it, and if not, there are the free resources to help you.
Two possible objections to this sort of content marketing
There are two commonly raised objections to content marketing that I want to deal with before we dive into the details of content marketing.
Why would someone pay you to help them when the information you offer is also free?
The answer to this question is fundamental to your content marketing strategy. The goal of this content creation is to show that you know what you are talking about and that you are the right person to be trusted with their problem. Content marketing is rarely written with the aim of an immediate sale.
If someone is simply browsing the internet, looking for free information so that they can solve their problem themselves, are they really your ideal client? The chances are that they were never going to consult you anyway. But they might the next time the “free” answer doesn’t help them. You’ve established yourself in their eyes as the expert that they can trust.
The people who are going to consult you can see that you are the best person to help them because you understand their problems and know how to solve them.
But doesn’t all this content take a long time to write and it won’t produce any quick leads?
Yes, it does, and no, it won’t. If you want quick results, paid ads through Google and/or other social media will be more effective. Content marketing does take time.
But consider this. You pay Google to put your website in front of people looking for the sorts of solutions you provide. Those people will see some sponsored businesses, and some organic results. How do you persuade them that you are the right fit? It is the content on your website that converts the enquiry into a customer.
More importantly, the goal of your content marketing strategy is to build up a pipeline of clients who will want to use you when they are ready.
Paid ads find your current customers, content marketing is your future customers.
How do you know what to write about?
We’ve established that the purpose of your content marketing strategy is to build up E-E-A-T by answering the sorts of questions that your target audience may have about the services you offer.
But how do you find out what those questions are?
These approaches should give you a wide range of content to write about, but remember to keep it relevant to your potential customer.
Where to post your content
There is such a wide variety of platforms on which to post your content that it might be hard to know where to post it.
Your website is of course the obvious starting point. This is where you set out who you are, where you are, what you do, who you help and how people can contact you.
But there are a number of other channels you can use to help generate business, such as social media and email marketing.
The first point I would make that you, as a financial adviser, will not have time to post everywhere. Some channels are better suited for your products than others. So it is better to focus on those channels that are likely to work best for you and do them well.
The best channels for you as a financial adviser are going to be those which your ideal customers use regularly. But don’t make any assumptions here.
You might not think, for example, that the typical Pinterest user would be concerned with financial products. Quite possibly your competitors will think the same.
But there will be many users of Pinterest who are also looking at furniture and design for their homes, so mortgages and life insurance could be extremely relevant to a Pinterest consumer. There will be considerably less competition on Pinterest than there will be on Facebook so if it is a good area for the types of business you want to attract, this could be a good option for you.
The growth of TikTok is something that cannot be ignored, so keep an open mind on the various options open to you.
Analysing the Data
It is important to analyse the data behind your content, whether that is through Google Analytics on your website, or through the insight tools on your social media channels. What is working, what is not working? Not every post or article is going to be successful, and some of it will be trial and error. Analysing what is working will help you to post the right content on the best channels for your business.
What content to post
I’ve mentioned blog articles, video, email, and infographics. There are many different types of content to suit the various channels you could use. Content can of course be reused across different channels. The video you produce for YouTube can be used on your website, and on your Facebook or Instagram channels. You will provide links between your various channels. You can announce your new blog article on your Facebook channel to help drive your Facebook audience towards your website.
There is no disputing that video content drives the most engagement whether you are producing content for cat food or for the financial services industry. It is easier for the audience to consume video content than a text based post. And creating videos doesn't need to be complicated.
It does not matter if your video does not appear to be very polished. Indeed, a very polished video might seem as if it were not produced by you and may therefore lack authenticity. You can produce perfectly acceptable videos on the average smartphone, provided you get your sound and lighting right. If need be, invest in a decent microphone and a suitable light.
Videos should be kept relatively short. Your audience’s attention span is short and if they are scrolling through their feed on whatever channel they are using, they may spend a few minutes at most on your video. Three 60 second clips are likely to be better received than one 3 minute or 5 minute video.
Client testimonials, reviews or success stories can make for great content because they reinforce the perception that you are an expert, an authority and can be trusted. A video testimonial can be very effective on a website or on your social media.
Blog posts or articles
The most commonly recognised form of content marketing is blog articles on your website. These are likely to range in length from 500 to 3,000 words or even more, and so considerable thought needs to go into your content creation strategy.
Why are you posting this content? Who do you want to read it and what action do you want them to take?
One important reason for putting this content onto your website is that you own the website, and have better control over it. You can organise it so that it can be found easily by someone landing on your website.
Content marketing is something of a long game. Your blog article could last forever, so you want your readers to be able to find it easily through an effective navigation panel, and through linking to relevant articles on your website. That internal linking will also help with your search engine optimisation.
Content marketing is not limited to lengthy blog articles on your website. That two-line post on your Facebook page saying that you were at a conference is content.
If you comment on someone else’s post on LinkedIn, that can be content within a content marketing strategy if the purpose behind the comment is to show that you are someone interesting or who knows what they are talking about to that audience. Of course, commenting on someone else’s post is introducing yourself to the audience of that other person, so you need to be respectful of that person’s post. An intelligent comment relating to the post, yes; promoting yourself, most definitely not.
Social media posts are an opportunity to engage with your readers who are also your prospective clients. You can make your posts more engaging by posing questions, inviting readers to answer and engage with the post. You of course will reply. Social media posts are an opportunity to demonstrate your E-E-A-T to prospective clients.
Posting regularly on social media improves your visibility on the platforms that you are posting on. You can also use social media posts to link to content on your website, and thus drive interested traffic to your website.
The purpose of content marketing is to persuade someone discovering you, whether it is on your website, your social media, or via your email marketing, that you are the financial adviser that they are looking for to help them with their need for financial advice.
Your blog articles on your website will be competing with millions of other posts published daily and so will take time to be ranked by the search engines. That competition might sound daunting, but a little search engine optimisation goes a long way. Many of your competitors will be simply posting and hoping, and not using search engine optimisation techniques and will not have a solid content creation strategy behind them.
Regular posting on your social media and an effective email marketing strategy can help drive traffic to the blog articles on your website.
Content marketing will not produce instant results. That’s what you use paid advertising on Google Ads or on social media for. It does, however, provide constant results.
The blog article you write today will remain available until you close the website, whereas a paid ad’s lifetime tends to be until you stop paying for its visibility. This longevity is one of the great advantages of content marketing over paid advertising.
Although content marketing does take time, it does mean that you can take your time to build up a library of good content that is useful to your prospective clients. You probably couldn’t sit down and write twelve blog articles this weekend, and even if you could, the search engines would take some time to rank them.
But you could manage one blog article a month, couldn’t you? And then in 12 months, you have 12 articles, perhaps 12 more than some of your competitors.
If you are still of the mindset that you are a financial adviser and not a content creator, but recognise the value that content marketing can bring to your business, you can employ someone to create content for you.
But what are the things you should look for in a content creator?
I always advise financial advisers to niche down their services, to do less but to do it better. I would give the same advice to content marketers, and of course I would advise you to look for someone who specialises in content marketing for financial advisers rather than someone who covers every area.
The purpose of content marketing is to demonstrate your expertise, and if your content marketer doesn’t have that expertise both in terms of the content itself and the strategy behind it, your content marketing efforts may be less effective.