If you’re not using inbound marketing to help build your book of business, you’re missing out on a tremendous opportunity. For the past decade it’s been the most effective marketing method for conducting business online. Inbound marketing is an inexpensive and nonintrusive way of using educational content and social media to develop your clientele. It delivers what your prospective client wants, where they want to find it, right when they need it.

Give Them What They Want

And give it to them for free. Let me repeat that. Free. Although it feels counterintuitive, giving people free, relevant content is at the heart of inbound marketing, which starts with a single blog. Does blogging really makes a difference? Yes, it does. Businesses that consistently blog draw in 55% more web traffic than those that don’t. What’s more, they produce 70% more leads.

Your first posting should provide an answer to a need, challenge or question facing the prospect at that point in their life. Perhaps they’ve become aware they have enough money set aside that they need help investing it and planning for retirement. At this stage of awareness, they’re strangers who recognize they don’t know much about financial advisors or advising. They know they need to find out more. While surfing their preferred social media, they come across your blog posting. It grabs their attention. They read it. The blog addresses part or all of their current need. Interested, they click on a link that takes them to your website.

Once drawn to your website, they discover even more free, value-added material like white papers, eBooks and webinars. The former stranger becomes a return visitor. At each stage of their information journey, you provide just the right content to answer their question. You’re not selling them anything. You’re providing information. This helps establish your expertise and your brand, and builds a relationship of trust between you and the prospective client.

Before you start your inbound marketing campaign, be sure to have a library of at least eight publish-ready postings. While some advisors enjoy writing their own content, this does take a bit of time. Your broker-dealer should have a library of compliance-ready content for your use.

Where They Want to Find It

Social media platforms provide a convenient, online gathering place to shop, socialize, communicate — and self-educate. It’s where they want to be. It’s also where you want to be. Fifty-eight percent of millennials use the internet to not only socialize, but find answers and solutions to their problems. Nearly half of Gen Xers and baby boomers use search engines like Google to find websites that answer their questions.

Along with content, social media use drives inbound marketing — and prospective clients to your website. It provides you with platforms to post content and links to your website. Sites used most often by financial advisors include Facebook, which has more than 1 billion active users, LinkedIn and Twitter. Each platform caters to different forms of communication.

LinkedIn is the preferred channel or platform for financial services. It lets you share professional and personal insights and connect with your niche audience. You can also join or create groups with your connections to expand your reach. Facebook is often described as a virtual storefront. Posts can range from business to casual, which helps your prospect get to know you on a more personal level. It also gives them a window to look in on your practice and what types of services you provide.

Instant gratification drives Twitter, where your voice and message can be heard and retweeted at the speed of light.

It’s best to concentrate on one social platform rather than spread yourself and your time too thinly. Develop a picture of your ideal client. Find out what their preferred social platform would be, and give yourself a presence there.

When They Want to Find It

When a prospect is actively seeking the material you’re providing, there’s no worry about finding the right time — it finds you. The fact that the prospect wants the relevant educational content you’re producing provides natural timing. You’re not selling them anything. You’re providing useful content to them on their preferred platform when they are most receptive to it. They’re drawn to your website or will seek you out when they’re ready for it. That allows you to continue providing relevant material at every stage of their journey, building your brand, authentic relationships and your book of business. You want to be at the top of your prospect’s mind when the time comes for them to hire an advisor. Inbound marketing keeps you there until they’re ready.

Takeaways

Inbound marketing is a proven tool for building your book. To use it most effectively, make sure you have a good, user-friendly website and a library of ready-to-publish content that addresses questions or problems facing your prospective buyer. Identify the social media your ideal client is most likely to use, and make yourself visible on that channel. A good inbound marketing campaign draws in ideal prospects to build your book, while still allowing valuable time to spend with current clients.