JULIE LITTLECHILD'S BLOG


A Missed Opportunity of Epic Proportions

Last week a flyer was pushed through my door. It featured a beaming real estate agent and a list of the houses she had sold in the neighborhood. It was quite aerodynamic, landing nicely in the garbage can, along with a few discarded pizza flyers.

I can’t tell you name of the agent or her firm. I can tell you that, if the time comes to buy a house, I won’t reach out – not only because I don’t remember her name but because she was committing several fundamental marketing sins. She was sending information out into the world but she was not:

  • Capturing any information her prospects,
  • Providing information that added any real value, or
  • Starting a conversation to build trust

I imagine that when she’s talking to her agent friends, back at the office, she bemoans the fact that her well-intentioned efforts aren’t leading to enough qualified leads. It’s the same thing many advisors are saying.

In fact, a lack of qualified leads was identified by a significant number of advisors when I posed this question in a recent study.  “What is the one challenge, in your business, you wish you could overcome today?” It seems that our big growth goals simply aren’t supported by a proportionately large pipeline.

The tragedy is this. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Today we have ways to execute on simple marketing campaigns that build trust, enhance our credibility and actively engage our prospective clients.

I want to talk to you about one of those strategies – using a lead magnet to build relationships with more prospective clients.

Opportunity Lost

The reality is that the real issue may not be number of prospects interested in what you have to say, but the lack of a process to capture information on, or engage with, those prospects.  Simply stated, the prospects are being introduced to your business but you don’t know who they are and they don’t feel a strong enough sense of connection to continue the conversation.

There’s a good chance that three things are happening that may be limiting your growth potential.

1. You aren’t capturing names of prospective clients.

Is it possible that people are visiting your website, liking what they see and then putting it to the back of their mind because it isn’t the right time to meet? If that’s the case and you don’t have a way to capture their names, those opportunities will disappear. They are like the ghosts – they stopped by and you didn’t even know they were there.  Even more importantly, are you sending information out into the world that will draw those prospective clients to your site in the first place?

The agent who sent that flyer had no way to know who read it and who threw it in the bin with the pizza leaflets.

2. You aren’t adding value for prospects you haven’t met personally.

Is it possible that your clients are telling friends and family about you and the only thing they have to share is a business card or a phone number? What if they could share an article or a link to a guidebook that, for example, helped them understand or communicate about money? Absent of real value, you may be missing an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way and those opportunities may also disappear.

The agent sent me information on how much she had sold. What if, instead, she had sent me a link to a fact sheet on house values in my neighborhood?Now you’ve got my attention and I’m thankful. The need for reciprocity is a powerful emotion.

3. You aren’t engaging with prospects over time.

Is it possible that you do, in fact, offer something of value to your prospects but then you live in hope that the simple act of downloading the information from your site will be enough to get them to reach out? What if, once I downloaded information from your website, it triggered a series of emails providing further valuable information over a period of time?

The agent sent me one piece of marketing material,  However, because she didn’t have my email and didn’t send me something of value, she didn’t earn the right to communicate with me over time. She didn’t start a conversation.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

But what if you could execute on one, relatively simple, strategy that would add more people to the funnel, capture meaningful information from those who have some level of interest and build trust and engagement over time? Executing on the first step in this process (or ideally all three) may be the answer.

  1. Create a lead magnet – something of value that you offer to prospective clients on your website in return for entering their email address.
  2. Put a link to that lead magnet on your home page, forward it to all of your clients and share it on social media (if you are so inclined).
  3. Build an automated communications process that sends a series of additional emails whenever someone downloads your lead magnet.

Online marketers know the power of some simple tools of the trade to engage with as many people as possible in a meaningful way. It strikes me that advisors could benefit from using some of those same strategies.

Using a Lead Magnet

Lead magnets are sometimes referred to as ethical bribes. I’m not fond of either reference but believe that the strategy not only adds significant value for your existing and prospective clients but can drive real growth. Examples of lead magnet might be:

  • A guidebook on helping your children make better financial decisions
  • A checklist to get your financial life in order
  • A video providing basic education on investments for those are starting from scratch
  • A report on using charitable giving to create a legacy

For more insights on lead magnets, you may want to check out Michael Hyatt’s blog and this article in particular.

Here’s a full example of the strategy in action. In this example, I’ll assume you want to work with families and that I’m the prospective client.

  1. I receive an email from a friend (who is one of your clients) who thought I might be interested in something you are offering based on the discussions we’ve had about our kids. The email includes a link to something called “5 Ways to Help Your Children Make Better Financial Decisions.”
  2. The link takes me to a form that asks only for my first name and email address, which I’m happy to enter.
  3. I immediately receive a personal email from you that includes a link to the guide and a few details on why you created it to help the families you work with who are struggling with this same issue.
  4. I click on the link and access a simple one-page report in which you share five ideas, which might be your own or may be links to other resources, articles or websites.
  5. A week later I receive an email that shares five ways to start a conversation about money with your children and invites me to contact you if I would like to learn more.

The beauty of all of this is that you created the workflow at the beginning and everything happens automatically, every time someone comes to your site and requests the guide. You’re adding real value, building a relationship and creating trust before we ever meet. And, because you are offering something of value, you are filling the pipeline with individuals who are interested in what you have to say.

The Tools You’ll Need

To do this well you’ll need to use some form of email distribution service. I use mailchimp and find it works really well. Here are some of the rather cool things you can do once you have it set up.

  • Create a simple form. Prospects can enter a name and email address (or more detailed information).
  • Build a list of prospective clients that you can use to send information over time using a series of simple and nicely designed email templates.
  • Track who opens your emails and who clicks on links within those emails.
  • Offer a simple way to unsubscribe, so you never send email to people who opt out.
  • Create automated workflows that send a series of additional emails to those who request the information you’ve offered. For example, you could send everyone a follow-up with access to additional information on the same topic. Or, if you want to get really fancy, you could send a different email to those who clicked through to your site based on their deeper level of engagement.

There are a few rules that ensure this strategy is as effective as possible.

  • Always add significant value. The information you are offering is purely educational. There will be time to share information on what you do later if the prospect is interested.
  • Put the offer front and center. Don’t make prospects hunt for information on your site.
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe. If you are using a service like mailchimp, this all happens in an automated way so you are never off-side.
  • Don’t ask for too much information.  The trend is to ask only for a first name and email address.  This allows you to communicate but doesn’t create a barrier for the prospect.
  • Keep it simple.  People are more likely to download something that suggests a quick win than something that feels like it will be more work (e.g. a checklist vs. and e-book)

How Did We Meet?

It’s possible that we met because you downloaded something from my site. If you did, I hope you agree that it’s authentic and aims to add meaningful value, but is efficient at the same time. It allowed us to connect based on shared interests and has opened up lines of communication that might not have existed before. It feels like a win-win (and if you disagree you probably unsubscribed a long time ago).

Thanks for stopping by,
Julie

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