Lead generation has never been easy for most financial advisors, but since the widespread adoption of the internet, it has gotten even harder. People don’t have to call you or meet you in person any more to learn about their options. Instead, they can simply look for you and your competitors on the internet, anonymously, from the comfort of their home. And if your website doesn’t capture their attention, they simply move on the next one.
So how can you capture a visitor’s interest among all the other advisors? In today’s digital world, one way you can stand out from the crowd is by offering something free before asking for their business. Many advisors do offer a free consultation, but that’s a big commitment. People are concerned that once they talk with you they will be barraged with phone calls and emails.
How about offering something free that doesn’t require them to lift a finger? Enter the eBook. Short for ‘electronic book’, an eBook is simply an educational piece on one topic. Fortunately, it is not a 150-page novel or something that needs to be exhaustive. Instead, it’s usually somewhere between 12 to 30 pages. The subject should be something your firm has expertise on that directly concerns your ideal client.
Educate, don’t sell.
In today’s world of inbound marketing, people expect free stuff from the internet. So in today’s world, we need to educate, not sell. Fortunately the e-book provides a cost-effective way to do just that, while building trust. Instead of printing brochures, cold calling and offering free seminars, we create digital tools that help us attract those who are in need of our services.
What’s in an eBook?
For financial advisors, it can really be anything related to how you help your clients. Here are some examples:
If you’re an advisor who focuses on helping widows and widowers:
Top 10 financial mistakes to avoid after you’ve lost your spouse
If you are targeting younger professionals just getting started in their careers:
How to save for your future and pay off debt at the same time
Or you can get far more specialized, if it relates to your specific clientele. Regardless, the topic should be something that is a big pain point for your target market.
Then, the E-book should obviously position your services, indirectly, as the solution to the problems outlined in the book. Since you’re the author and are providing it free, be sure to include information at the end about your firm and services. This can also be a great place to offer a free consultation phone call or some other follow up step related to the book’s contents. Once you’ve provided some value, no charge, you’ll find that prospects will be far more likely to contact you.
But be careful to keep the book itself very neutral…it should not sound like any kind of sales pitch. Remember, you’re the expert, so the key is, you should provide real advice. If your entire book just implies “hire us” that will be counterproductive. However, it is perfectly acceptable to recommend that they contact an experienced professional for help on certain issues. In fact, giving out tips on how to hire the right professional can be a powerful way to build trust with readers.
How extensive should the E-book be?
While you do want to provide value, you don’t want to provide a complete do-it-yourself guide with every answer. Instead, you want to educate just enough so the prospect gains awareness along with some useful information. Then, when they need more help on that topic, hopefully, they’ll think of your firm. After all, you literally wrote the book.
Require contact information for access
Remember that your main purpose for the E-book is to provide something of value in exchange for contact information. So you will want to require a user to submit contact information to download it. Because trust is a big concern for all of us on the internet, be clear on the offer page that their content information will be kept private and not shared. It’s best to be totally transparent on what you are going to do with it, as people fear spam or unwanted phone calls from financial advisors.
A great multi-tasker
So, E-Books are a tool that can help you generate leads by offering something free in exchange for contact information. What else is great about an E-book?
Builds your credibility as an expert
An E-book with your firm’s name on it helps position you as an expert. This is a great differentiator, as not many advisors are using e-Books or regular books. Given that prospects want their advisors to be experts, this is an extremely valuable aspect of publishing E-books.
Helps boost your visibility
E-books can help boost your search engine rankings which make your firm more visible. How? First, google and the other search engines like websites that put out a lot of fresh, quality content. By adding content like E-books, you’re going to get search engines updating their information more often, which usually helps your website rank higher.
Also, many times E-books encourage visitors to return, as they begin to see your website as a valuable resource. This increased traffic can lead to more visits, which can improve your search ranking.
It’s a flexible tool that can be used in a variety of ways
Another great aspect of E-books is the number of ways you can put it to work for you:
- You can, and should, list it prominently on your home page as a free offer
- You can extend the free E-book offer to your existing email list to inspire some activity from older contacts
- You can promote your E-book offer on social media to attract more prospects
- You can create a custom landing page specifically for your E-book, to generate traffic from search engines
- Unless your E-book is time-sensitive, it can be reused (or updated) so should remain a viable offering in the future as well.
- You can later take excerpts of the E-Book and repurpose it as individual blog articles
- You can use it as a valuable follow up offer for seminars and speaking engagements
Display it prominently
Once you’ve got your e-book written and had it professionally formatted, time to get it working for you. To do that, display it prominently on your website, social media and blog. Make it easy to see. Keep experimenting with colors and placement, if possible, to get the best results possible.
If you don’t have that time or interest to create an E-book in-house, you can have one ghost-written for you. This is a great option for most busy advisors, but just be careful to buy from a provider who understands the industry and who can match the tone and personality of your firm.
But for a very small investment today, you can get a tool that can generate a return on investment many times over in the form of high quality leads for your firm.
Jeanne Klimowski is the founder of Wavelength Financial Content Inc. Wavelength is a provider of financial wellness programs and affordable financial content, including e-books, for the financial industry.