Offering financial services to businesses means actively working to generate and convert leads, typically through digital marketing. At the same time, digital marketing means operating on a scale and marketplace where you face a great deal of competition, including from national and international financial services companies. Whether you’re operating as a bank, credit union, financial advisor, RIA firm CFP, wealth manager – or any other financial service – mastering your online presence and generating leads through creating relationships and targeting your efforts on the people and businesses who really matter will help you to generate and convert more leads for your financial organization.

These 5 tips for financial services lead generation will get you started.

 

1. Aim For Local Leads

While digital marketing allows you to target anyone who is interested in your financial services and able to use them remotely, marketing to local consumers offers a number of advantages. For example, by targeting a smaller market, you actively work to reduce competition. You’ll also be able to utilize local resources like events, community outreach programs, and reputation management to directly connect with local leads. For example, you can attend local and relevant business and networking events, can host your own to draw in potential leads and can create outreach programs at a local level to meet potential leads. While all of these things take time and money, they are much more personal and convincing than most digital marketing tactics allow you to be.

Outreach programs, like hosting one-on-one free consultations at your local bank, offering mortgage calculations and assistance at an event, or just talking to people at a networking event, will help you to meet people who are generally interested in and who need your services.

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To stay relevant and competitive in this new economy, your financial institution must be part of the digital conversation, but where do you start?

 

2. Offer Free Tools & Outreach

While personal and in-person outreach can be valuable, offering free tools, information and consultations online can be a cost-effective way to build trust, generate leads, and draw customers into your funnel. Depending on your service, you can create anything from courses to video to simple blogs and articles that help people understand the often-complex world of financial services. Following up with an offer of a free consultation to help consumers understand their own personal situation could then function as an easy way to generate qualified leads for your financial services. However, if you are short on time, it is a good idea to limit the number of free consultations you can do per week and offer them on a first-come-first-serve basis.

You can also offer webinars, video, email training, and even Skype or phone calls to generate leads. The key here is that many users won’t move through to become paying customers because they are looking for a free solution and not a premium one. You can work to filter out unwanted users by asking customers to opt in if they are interested in a follow up regarding your specific services and how you can help.

3. Don’t Forget LinkedIn!

LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool for financial services providers, simply because many business owners and individuals use it as a tool to look for financial services. If your financial services company has associates, encourage individual participation, encourage everyone to spend at least 30 minutes on LinkedIn per day, and carefully make connections that are real and personal. Spending additional time here will help you to identify leads, categorize them, and connect with them in person.

For example, if you recognize that a new LinkedIn connection is likely a good lead, you could offer to meet them for coffee and follow through immediately to see if you or they could benefit from the relationship. It’s also important to ensure your profile is offering a pitch, that you stay active on the platform and in relevant groups, and to individually connect with new people so that you understand what they’re looking for and why.

 

4. Differentiate From Other Financial Services

If you can’t find anything that makes you stand out from your nearest competitors, your prospective customers won’t either. Find something that differentiates you and makes it work as part of your digital marketing and in-person pitch. For example, if you’re running an accounting and payrolling service, you could make yourself stand out by including QuickBooks (or similar software) integration free as part of your initial setup services with a year-long contract. If customers know what value you bring to the table and why, and it’s clearly apparent on your website and in your pitch, they’re much more likely to connect with you.

Of course, differentiating yourself with specific or free services isn’t always possible or even smart. But, you can still differentiate yourself by being genuine, trustworthy, and personal, or more than “just” a financial services provider. If you can connect with someone and genuinely talk to them, remember their name and details about them, that’s also an added value for many.

 

5. Personalization

Whether you’re reaching out to potential consumers on social media, through email, or with SEO and web content, it’s important that you take time to connect on an individual level. Many financial services struggle with doing so, simply because they try to target a broad audience and don’t tailor content enough for specific users. Switching focus and identifying a specific audience when creating any content will allow you to develop a more personalized approach.

You should also take this into account when contacting and connecting with people, when talking to them in person, and when following up on social media. For example, you can check a new connection’s LinkedIn page and possibly website before replying to them, ask what they want or need upfront, and be genuinely interested in them rather than sending a copy-paste message. Making digital connections real also makes them more personal. For example, having coffee with your new connection or sending them a paper brochure or information to their physical office or address (providing they’ve given you the address).

Financial services make up more than 7.5% of the total commercial services economy, your competition will always be stiff, and you’ll always have to work to generate leads. While there are many tools you can use to do so (email, websites, social media, live events, snail mail), you will have to make yourself stand out, either by offering added value or personalization to convince most consumers to connect.