The top of your marketing funnel is that magical place where a potential client first discovers your business. You’ve set up the appropriate content marketing channels for your firm, such as social media and blogs, but are they working to drive clients into your RIA? If it seems like your marketing machine is not clicking, you could be making one of these common mistakes at the top of your funnel.
Simply put, it’s not enough to just show up. We know social media is a great tool to keep businesses top-of-mind. However, if staying top-of-mind is your sole social media strategy, you’re probably not gaining traction. Simply tweeting occasionally just to remind everyone you’re there is not enough. The same holds true for your blog. If you aren’t putting in the effort to post useful content, you’re wallflowering.
Wallflowering, in short, means you’re there, but you’re not really contributing.
We’ve all seen this approach before. A well-intentioned local business posts a stock photo or a headshot with a caption like, “call me for your financial planning needs!” The trouble is, nobody beyond very close friends and family (who may already give their business) will follow simply for a reminder someone exists. They will follow, however, if the content is interesting or useful.
Think of the top of the funnel like a party. The party is filled with friends of friends that you’d like to get to know better. If you’re a wallflower in the corner and don’t contribute anything interesting to the party, you probably won’t make any new friends. Similarly, if you offer little of interest at the top of the funnel, you likely won’t gain any new customers through those channels.
Don’t be a wallflower at the top of your funnel. Get out there and dance.
How do you do that? Provide content that is interesting or useful to your intended audience. The most important part: to your audience. I can’t stress this point enough. Posting a meaningful financial tip that could help people will do a lot more for your business than a photo from a conference you attended yesterday.
This brings me to an objection I sometimes hear from struggling DIY marketers: “If I give away too much free advice, nobody will pay me!”
Withholding your expertise is not going to do your business any favors. Here’s why: customers, in nearly every industry, pay to address their unique situation.
A great way to prove your ability to help them with their specific situation is to showcase your knowledge. Impress them. Earn their trust.
To illustrate this point, let’s look at another industry. A local interior designer posts great tips and decorating ideas. You take note. You become a follower. You might even try an idea or two on your own. If you find yourself in a position to hire an interior designer, who is your first choice?
This same strategy works great in financial planning. Your expertise is a big asset at the top of your funnel.
You’re creating informative content, but it still feels like a painfully slow grind to get your funnel churning. Are you “one-way streeting”?
You may have heard this term regarding relationships; specifically, troubled relationships. One-way streeting is the habit of taking, taking, taking and not giving back in relationships. This is a problem in real-world relationships and it’s a mistake in relationships with your social media following.
Do: engage with others’ content. “Like” their posts. Comment. Compliment. Take interest.
Don’t: sit back and wait for potential clients to flock to you.
Make the most out of your top-of-funnel channels by building genuine relationships. Give and you shall receive.
Asking for someone’s business at the top of the funnel is akin to proposing marriage before the first date. There is a time and a place to convert prospects into clients, but the top of the funnel is not the place.
Have you had this experience on LinkedIn? You accept someone’s offer to connect, then a message comes into your inbox. “Thanks for connecting! Are you happy with your ____ (personal banker/insurance company/mortgage lender/pet groomer/etc)? Call me to schedule a consultation!”
Many of us are averse to pushy sales people. We avoid them like the plague. I’d be surprised if this tactic EVER works. Surely, if it does work occasionally, it’s not nearly as effective as quality content marketing would be.
Provide useful content at the top of the funnel. Earn goodwill. Drive leads into your funnel. When the time is right, closing the deal will be much easier. Repeat.
Dead-ending is the misstep of not offering your followers a path to the middle of the funnel. Putting out great content is a huge step in the right direction, but we also need to offer a way for your content consumers to find their way to you when they’re ready to do business.
How does that work? Getting someone to move through your funnel can be an art form, but, rest assured, you don’t need to be Van Gogh. Just follow a couple basic rules.
1. When you distribute any sort of content, put yourself in the consumers’ shoes. Ask yourself what the next step is.
2. Provide a link for more information. Be specific. Rather than suggesting the reader simply visit your website, recommend specific content. “Now that you know more about the FAFSA, read 5 Interesting Ways to Pay for College.” Or, “Was this article about retirement helpful? Take our free retirement assessment.”
3. Make sure the reader encounters opportunities to become a customer as they peruse more information. Again, being specific is helpful. “Join our upcoming webinar” or “Schedule a 15-minute phone consultation” or “Join us on Wednesdays for Investor’s Club.”
The idea is to not hit them over the head with a sales pitch right out of the gate (see: proposing marriage). The better tactic is to provide something useful and light the path for them to come to you. And that is why it’s called inbound marketing.
About Jennifer Mastrud
Jennifer Mastrud is tasked with sharing the movement at XYPN. Her expertise is in branding, marketing, and public relations. She’s as passionate about the XYPN message as she is about innovating new ways to share it. Before joining XYPN, Jen accumulated several years of experience representing national brands in diverse sectors including technology, gaming, TV, and education. She’s based in Minnesota, but travels frequently to warm up.