Lots of financial advisors and planners describe themselves as SEO as a cure-all for their marketing ailments.
Unfortunately, most of those who swallow SEO pills will be disappointed, confused, and worse.
Hear me explain why it shouldn’t be this way and why SEO is the wrong tactic for most consultants/planners who want to ask for levels of inquiry.
Correct diagnosis: further inquiries
Over the past few months, we have seen an increase in the number of consultants/planners requesting SEO help. In other words, they want to be on the first page of Google.
Dig deeper and they all have the same need – they want more inquiries. They also think that SEO is the way to solve it.
This is equivalent to having someone set up a VCT for me. If I do, will I walk out of their office as I sign the forms? of course not. Instead, we’ll start with a discussion about what I want to achieve, followed by a thorough fact-finding process. Only then will a plan be proposed, and solutions recommended (which may or may not include a VCT).
We need to follow the same process when it comes to marketing. Define goals/objectives, review existing judgments, develop strategy, recommend tactics and then implement them.
To put it succinctly, self-description SEO puts the cart before the horse.
The wrong recipe: SEO
There is no doubt that SEO can be a valuable tool. However, for most consultants/planners, their new inquiry goal can be achieved through other tactics that are more cost-effective, operate faster, and are less affected by external influences.
At the top of this list should be recommendations from existing clients. We all know recommendations have the lowest acquisition cost and highest conversion rate. This means that creating a plan to maximize the chances of a recommendation should be the first tactical advisors/planners included in their marketing strategy.
There is no doubt that SEO can be a valuable tool. However, the goal of the new investigation can be achieved through other tactics.
However, many companies cannot meet the new inquiry requirements through recommendations alone. This means that they need to use other methods.
So this is where SEO comes in?
No, not yet.
There are still many other approaches that will generate new queries faster, more sustainable and cost effective than SEO.
Work hard with big competitors
There are many problems facing consultants and planners who set out to gain prominence for their chosen keywords.
First, it is expensive and can take months or years to achieve results. Even so, there is no guarantee of success. #
Many people think being on the front page is all they need to achieve. it’s not like that.
Second, there is the “first page myth”. Many people think being on the front page is all they need to achieve. it’s not like that. Research shows that the first link in regular search results gets 10 times as many clicks as the last link on the first page. Now, look at who occupies the top spot for phrases like “financial advisor near me.” There is a good chance that he is unbiased or foolproof. If you think you’ll knock either of them out of 1st and 2nd place, I hope you have a lot of patience!
Finally, you compete with ads, guides, and organizations With much larger marketing budgets. This makes it very difficult to break through the noise of the search results page.
Taken together, these reasons mean that, for most companies, there are much easier ways to generate the new queries they need rather than relying on SEO.
Three reasons why consultants/planners want SEO
So, why do so many consultants/planners think SEO is the cure for their marketing problems?
First, there is a widespread misunderstanding about SEO, in terms of both the elements involved and the expected costs and results.
Second, social media and the web are bypassed by snake oil sellers who are happy to pray for those who misunderstand SEO, its benefits, and opportunity cost.
Finally, for the minority, I fear vanity plays a role. They simply want to see their company on the first page of Google for key search terms. If that’s your goal, that’s fine. Just don’t be disappointed when the phone doesn’t start ringing.
There is no doubt that SEO has a place, but only for a minority of companies.
Instead, most consultants/planners can reach their goals by developing a recommendation-based marketing strategy complemented by other tactics that are more cost-effective, faster, and more sustainable.
Phil Bray is the founder and CEO of Yardstick Agency