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One of the key struggles faced by the financial and investment services industries is creating compelling content that converts a site browser into a sales qualified lead. This is of course even more important than ever in the current environment. Comscore reported traffic to investment-specific websites is up 43% since stay-at-home orders were put in place in March 2020.
Form submissions on a landing page or a lack of understanding of the complexities of creating an effective give-and-take lead generation program are the pitfalls that could be limiting your marketing effectiveness. Whether you are targeting B2B intermediaries or creating content that is meant for direct investor consumption, making the most of your marketing can build your brand awareness and ultimately, drive new leads.
We have made it a goal to help solve the conversion rate crisis by focusing on the user’s journey, from introduction to acquisition. Ultimately, helping clients create firm-specific content that differentiates, but incentive-driven investment-based marketing automation strategies that streamline the conversion process and captures new leads.
In this article, we will provide you with a strong lead generation framework by walking through our 5-step process for a successful lead generation campaign within the financial services industries.
5 Steps to Lead Generation Success in the FinServ Industry
Step 1: Use Content to Connect
According to HubSpot, 96% of B2B customers are looking for quality content from industry leaders to inform their buying decisions.
In other words, creating compelling content is the key to establishing your firm as the ‘go-to’ in your industry, giving readers more and more reason to conduct business with you, or at the very least, show interest.
It all starts with your homepage. Your lead generation strategy should begin with the content on your site’s most prominent page, because this is where most users make those all-important initial judgments. If there is no clearly labeled call-to-action (CTA) for an offering, users will more than likely bounce from your site.
A ‘bounce’ is counted by google when a user visits one page and within a certain time leaves that page but does not visit another page within your site. If your lead generating content (such as forms, white papers or email captures) is buried somewhere that is difficult to find, then your web marketing structure will lead to rapidly diminishing returns.
Step 2. LinkedIn Geo-Targeted B2B Lead Generation Tools
LinkedIn’s B2B targeted lead generation is easier than ever. For financial services, this is extremely valuable and although broad-based advertising can be expensive, firms can take a more strategic approach to advertising while spending less through geo-targeted tools. If used effectively, geo-targeting can eliminate spending errors while focusing on a more relevant audience.
Through A/B testing, we have found a strong correlation between intelligent geo-targeting and lead quality. The best campaigns find captive audiences who see the location and criteria-based relevance as a uniquely compelling value driver for firms they would like to do business with. Think of the ability to target financial advisors that work at a specific firm, in a specific location or that are at a particular conference. It can be a great way to reach the right people with a limited amount of spend if you have intriguing content to trade.
The geo-targeting options are extensive and you can help increase your lead generation numbers and improve the quality by qualifying leads by asking the right questions and then providing those answers in the form of a targeted marketing campaign.
Our client, STRATA Trust Company, has seen tremendous success with B2B advertising on LinkedIn. Being able to target specific geographic locations allows them to minimize risk and spend while reaching their target market much easier. Ultimately, driving leads and saving both time and money for their business development team with lead scoring strategies in place. We will touch ion lead scoring later on.
This has been supported further by LinkedIn’s user-friendly ad features, such as eliminating the extra click needed to go to an offsite landing page and optimizing their platforms to sync with your existing CRM and gather leads for you directly on the LinkedIn platform.
Process: Your leads will answer a set of custom pre-qualifying questions, submit the form and receive your offering. Your leads will both populate in your LinkedIn dashboard along with your synced CRM platform. Your offering of an exclusive whitepaper or webinar can thus be seamlessly promoted on the platform
Step 3: Incentive-based Lead Generation
The goal for any lead generation campaign is for users to say yes to an offer. That is easier said than done.
Your attractive ad and offer could quickly be dismissed due in part to the volume of offers people see online on a daily basis. The biggest driver of underperforming lead generation programs is your offer not being compelling enough.
By nature, humans are drawn to a good incentive, which is especially true in the digital space within financial and investment services, where firms and businesses are constantly fighting to create the perception of value in their offers. This means find targeted ways to incentivize potential clients with content that will provide a value-added experience that they won’t find anywhere else.
In financial services, the offer may be as simple as a free 30-minute consultation with a financial advisor, or access to an educational piece such as a whitepaper.
Other incentive-based materials are:
- Training videos
- Interview or roundtable with experts
Our client, Cambiar Investors, has recently discovered the give and take lead generation strategies and have been having great success with this strategy on LinkedIn as well. Their thought capital and training videos have been instrumental during COVID-19 to keep investors informed and in front of materials. These incentives drive decision making and ultimately help turn visitors into leads. The digital world we live in provides a unique setting for advertising, and we have developed a very simple equation to help understand how we interact and incentivize these online audiences:
High value offer + persuasion = irresistible
Step 4. Forms and Landing Page Optimization
While there are a few types of landing pages, there is one in particular that works well in the financial services space: the Give-and-Take.
The term for this type of landing page is quite literal, essentially “giving” something to the user in exchange for “taking” their information. For example, an investment firm will provide access to an upcoming webinar on something very topical, while asking visitors for their info. This “give before you ask” relationship-based landing page behavior is crucial to the user experience, and the content being given out has to live up to the hype or consider that lead a dead end.
Efficiently converting landing page visitors involves A/B testing different elements. Meaning, headlines, subtitles, CTAs, and bullet points need to be tested more than just once. For example, consider your landing pages and forms as a prime piece of real estate in the lead generation strategy, and the more time you tend to and cultivate this piece of the digital space that people want to experience, you will be rewarded in the form of form submissions.
In the image above, the visitor already expressed interest in the content, so we can afford to ask a wider variety of questions to better assist the client with targeted materials moving forward. All of this combines to create a differentiated and enjoyable user journey and experience. This creates more engaged leads that will be more receptive to that sales call.
Step 5. Score the Leads
Gathering leads through an effective advertising campaign will be the bulk of the marketing challenge. In many cases, this is enough to generate results, but if you want to maximize the reliability and effectiveness of lead generation over the long-term, then you need to also score those leads to help your internal team understand who these leads really are and who they should reach out to. Scoring helps better prioritize their levels of engagement with your inbound marketing content in order to provide a more accurate determination of who is actually ready to purchase.
If your landing pages and forms are set up correctly, meaning, your leads are scored accurately, you will remove a substantial amount of guesswork, saving your business development teams’ time and money, as they will already know a lead’s interests or habits.
In terms of how leads are actually scored, the process relates to quantifying the interactions of your leads with your marketing materials, web pages, and forms by assigning points based on behavior.
Here are some common interactions and their point values we use in financial services with our clients and their lead generation and CRM platforms:
- Subscribe to insights — 5pts
- Download a whitepaper – 10pts
- Attend a webinar – 15pts
- Webpages visited – 2pts each
Take the Lead
The conversion rate crisis is real, especially in financial services as the sales process can be long and strenuous, as many touchpoints are required to educate intermediaries on sophisticated investment processes and philosophy. Yet, good content marketing coupled with intelligent planning and implementation can help support the efficacy of an investment lead generation program. Best practices will include systematic strategies that integrate incentive-based marketing that make sense on each digital platform.