How would you like a salesperson who works for free?
If you have a financial planning business, your blog is the perfect way to attract and influence prospects to become clients. It’s like having a salesperson working for free 24/7 giving readers a test-drive of your best solutions and helping them to take the first step in hiring you.
Even better, they can answer any question your prospect might have about financial planning, whether it’s succession planning, investments, insurance, or updating a will.
Before I explain HOW to use a blog for your financial advisor firm, let’s talk about WHY a blog.
After all, aren’t you supposed to be building your Instagram following, posting on Facebook or messing around in Canva to create meme’s you slap on Pinterest with the hope someone comes to your site, joins your list and eventually buys from you?
Sure, social media is great. At BlogWorks, we use social media to stay top-of-mind, but we definitely don’t expect the phone to ring because somebody read one of our tweets or saw a video on YouTube.
That’s where your blog comes in.
If your clients typically have lots of questions before they buy, then your blog is even more important.
Unlike social media or advertising, your blog can be used to answer questions, share market studies, deliver case studies – even explain how to solve complicated financial decisions.
It’s like a test-drive of your business.
1. Your blog is like a test-drive
With a little forethought and planning, your blog topics can address most of the questions a prospect might have before they pick up the phone and call for a meeting.
You can share your investment philosophies, thoughts on the current housing market, models for calculating retirement needs. You are demonstrating your expertise and experience and moving a reader from a passive visitor to an engaged prospect.
And your blog works all day, all week, all year, while you are busy running your company and taking care of clients.
Betty-Anne Howard is an expert on estate planning and charitable giving and uses her blog to influence readers to start considering what she calls ‘legacy giving’.
2. Your blog attracts an audience
One of the common misperceptions about a blog is that it’s passive—sitting on your site waiting for people to find it.
The majority (often over 80%) of traffic to your site will be new traffic. These are people who were searching for an answer and found you. They are called ‘organic’ traffic. And we love organic traffic—it means your blog is working to attract new people to your site.
Sure, some will not be prospects, either because they don’t live in the area you serve, or they aren’t ready to buy. But, wouldn’t it be nice to have lots of attention and then choose the ones that are a fit?
And your blog articles keep on working long after they are published. Unlike a tweet that disappears after a few minutes, blog articles will keep pulling in traffic years after they are published.
In fact, it’s not unusual for us to discover with new clients that some of their old posts – sometimes posts that are 4-5 years old – are hauling in a big percent of their traffic.
Note – one of the fastest ways to boost your traffic is to update old posts with new optimized keywords and then republish them. Learn more about how our “2XRePub” strategy gets an average traffic increase of 200% within 90 days.
3. Your blog builds your list
Does your financial planning business have a list? I mean a mailing list you’re actively growing, nurturing, and turning into sales?
In fact, I’m amazed when I speak with 20 plus year veterans in the financial planning industry who don’t have a list.
“I didn’t think it was that important.” one told me recently. “My business has always come from word of mouth.” said another one.
Really! Where have you been for the last 20 years?
When a prospect reaches out with questions about estate planning, investments, charitable giving, or annuities, you follow up. Right?
When a prospect is attracted to your article about financial decision making, like this one by financial advisory James Wilson it means they have a need. Now, you need to be able to follow up.
Unless you have a list, you have no way to follow up with the hundreds and thousands of visitors to your website. They just disappear.
Your mailing list is one of the most valuable and under-recognized business assets. It represents all the people who value what you are sharing and put their hand up and agreed to receive your information.
These aren’t exactly “warm leads” but they are a lot more valuable than followers on Twitter or Likes on Facebook. If you are new to list-building, start by reading about the 5 questions you should be asking first.
How to put your blog to work
Now that we talked about why your blog is actually a valuable lead generator, let’s look at how to turn it on and put it to work.
A successful blog has three design ingredients:
- Consistent delivery
- Relevant topics
- Engage, not entertain
Let’s jump into each in a bit more detail…
1. Consistent delivery
Publishing your blog on a consistent basis will help build a loyal following. At BlogWorks we recommend starting with one or two posts per month, then increasing your frequency as you build systems into your publishing routine.
2. Relevant topics
Just as you wouldn’t read a news article if it didn’t interest you, your financial planning prospects won’t read blog articles if they aren’t relevant. But what is ‘relevant’?
There are 4 ways to be relevant (and valuable) for your readers. Any of these formats work, but it’s best to mix them up throughout the month to add a bit of variety to your blog:
- Solve problems – this is the easy one: write a “How to” article about common issues your clients struggle with. How to articles never go out of style and entice readers to get a quick solution to a nagging question.
- Supply resources – mix up your blog posts with a book review, online tools (like retirement calculators, or apps that track spending) or recommendations for related services (like writing Wills, realtors, etc.)
- Share expert solutions – now you get to show off your unique models, templates, calculators, or frameworks that you might take for granted, but a reader will love.
- Save the reader’s time – all your blog posts will save the reader’s time and you can write ones that are specifically designed to cut to the chase and answer a question.
3. Engage, don’t entertain
It’s surprising how many blogs provide great information…and that’s all. The job of a business blog is to engage readers to take one, first action.
When a reader arrives at your blog page, it’s like they’ve just stepped into a store in a mall they’ve never been in before. If they don’t see something relevant to what they need – they move onto the next store.
The job of your blog is to get them to make one decision – like to learn more about your service or product. Or join your list, complete a survey, watch a video, read an infographic or reach out to contact you.
Want to learn more about putting your blog to work? Here are 3 of our most popular articles:
Why you need an SOP for your blog
The ultimate list: 7 reasons why you (yes, you) need a blog today
How to hire an awesome writer for your blog