How to Build a Lead Generation Engine as a Financial Advisor

July 4, 2024
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The fastest-growing advisory firms today are using online marketing to drive a significant portion of their business. Gone are the days of relying solely on referrals. Yet most financial advisors struggle with client acquisition and spend only 20% of their time meeting with clients! To remain competitive in financial services, you need to invest in digital growth.

In this article, we cover the key pillars to consider in creating a lead generation strategy. In future articles, we will expand on each of these areas to provide greater depth and more tactical advice.

Key Points:

  • It starts with understanding who you're ideal client is and narrowing in on them. Developing an Ideal Client Profile (ICP) is critical and will help you target and scale your efforts.
  • Building a distinct brand with a consistent message will help to build trust and nurture potential clients. This includes your website, social media channels, the content you produce, and more.
  • Aim to reach your clients where they are, add value, and remain top of mind. This means you'll likely use a variety of strategies such as paid media, content marketing, cold outreach, and more.
  • Invest in growth. This means using technology to automate manual work, enhance your marketing efforts, and improve the client experience. This can be an edge in itself, as most advisors spend surprisingly little time building their books.

Understanding Your Ideal Client

There are currently more financial advisors over 70 than there are under 30. There has never been more opportunity in financial services. It's not finding clients that's the challenge. It's standing out.

To truly set yourself apart, you need to first identify who you're target audience is. Crafting an Ideal Client Profile (ICP) is not just a concept taught by marketers pushing courses online. It’s a deliberate strategy designed to optimize the outcomes from investments made in marketing.

Your ICP should incorporate aspects such as:

  • demographic specifics
  • personal challenges
  • aspirational targets
  • preferred lifestyles

Having clarity about who you’re serving and what they want from you will help you create a tailored solution and minimize wasted effort.

Creating a tailored ICP also empowers you to:

  • Establish yourself within a niche where your unique experiences and expertise shine, ensuring that you stand out.
  • Improve the quality of leads generated, boosting efficiency in turning prospects into customers (higher conversion rate).
  • Refine prospecting techniques by drawing in clientele who naturally align with the specialized service offerings crafted by you.

Research Your Audience

Now that you know who you want to target, you need to research to understand them. Aim to get in their shoes to understand their life, their investment objectives, their comfort with risk, and how they make decisions. From this foundation, you can begin creating strategies and marketing materials that align with them.

Often, your own experience is pivotal in this process. The most compelling marketing comes from a genuine interest in the market you serve and the problems you're solving. Draw on your expertise to deeply resonate with your target audience and attract more clients.

Define Your Niche

Financial advisory is a crowded field, so carving out a specific niche will be your lighthouse among the competition. 'Niching down' will help you build a distinctive brand.

If you have identified athletes as your ICP, for example, then you could narrow in on athletes in the Southwest U.S. who are nearing retirement as your niche. The key point is that you want to carve out a clear segment of the market.

Building a Strong Online Presence

Any successful marketing strategy is going to be heavily dependent on establishing a strong online presence. This is particularly true for financial service firms, where trust is paramount.

Having identified your ICP and found your niche, this is where you build a distinct brand to distinguish yourself. Online reinforcement of what makes you unique can attract clients who are actively searching for what you have to offer.

Consider bringing yourself, or your brand, to life on the screen. This could mean using animated infographics or creating "day in the life” videos. In an attention economy, you want to entertain while building trust. Educational content, or infotainment, is a great strategy here.


A website or landing page should never be an afterthought in your marketing strategy. Your website is often the first impression people get of your company. The better your first impression, the better chance you get a client.

It starts with a well-structured website that provides simple navigation and easy-to-understand messaging. This is also where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play, which you can think of as the compass that directs users to your online presence. By incorporating targeted keywords, maintaining a blog with fresh content, and optimizing meta tags and descriptions, you enhance your visibility and climb the ranks in search results.

As visitors come to your website, you need to convert them to either have a conversation or nurture them. Clearly outlining your services and transparently displaying your fees can significantly influence a prospective client's decision-making process here. "Lead magnets" (tools that get visitors to take action in return for something) can help to increase conversions as well. Financial calculators or risk assessments/questionnaires are examples of common lead magnets, which can often increase conversions by >80%.

Social Media

Social media is table stakes in today's world. If done correctly, it can unlock an incredible amount of growth and catapult your brand. But its constantly evolving nature can make it difficult to keep up.

Your opportunity here is to connect with your target audience at scale and build a brand that people love and want to follow. This often means making content that is engaging but also human. Generally speaking, people want to follow people. They crave genuine connection. And to build connection, you should try to create content that creates emotional moments. Whether it's something funny or something that prompts deeper reflection, this is where connections are made.

Which channels you post to will depend on who your target audience is and where they hang out. You will have found this out in creating your ICP. The underlying theme throughout good marketing is meeting your audience where they are and connecting with them consistently. Since consistency is key (you want to remain top of mind and build a regular following), you should plan carefully around your bandwidth. If you are just starting and limited in resources, this means you should consider dedicating your efforts to one or two channels. This could be LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or some other channel that your audience lives on.

Nate Hoskin and Nick Meyer are great examples of advisors doing this successfully in recent years. They focus on short-form content on TikTok to build large followings and a lead generation machine.

By tracking engagement metrics and monitoring follower growth, you will gain valuable insights into post performance and audience interest. Tools like AdvisorStream automate content distribution, increasing efficiency and ensuring your message reaches the right audience at the right time.

Leveraging Content Marketing

Content is king. But where do you start? And what do you do if creativity isn't necessarily your thing?

Luckily, you don't have to do much heavy lifting. This is because your clients come to you for expertise in areas like investing and financial planning. While these concepts can be confusing or overwhelming, they are relatively old, straightforward, and unchanging - and you already know them. This means that all of the content you could want to create probably already exists. Your job is to package it up into new formats to make it entertaining and accessible.

To make it even easier, AI-driven content marketing platforms like Jasper AI and Surfer SEO can help you create and distribute this content much faster and much more personalized than ever before.


One of the oldest forms of content marketing on the internet, blogging is a great way to build your reputation as a thought leader, enhance the visibility of your website (tying into SEO), and demonstrate your expertise in the eyes of potential clients. Sharing information that tackles essential financial planning subjects, for example, helps keep your readers hooked and reinforces your role as an authoritative resource.

Blogging can take up a lot of time, but it does not have to. You can still engage with regular, compelling articles by leaving thoughtful comments on other content pieces or leveraging blog post idea generators to let AI do the heavy lifting. By crafting a planned approach to content creation, pinpointing topics ahead of time, and employing calendar tools to schedule when each post goes live, blogging becomes an efficient component woven seamlessly into your overall marketing strategy.

Podcasts and Videos

Podcasting is an intimate medium that allows financial advisors to:

  • Build trust and credibility
  • Establish a personal connection with listeners
  • Stay top of mind for clients
  • Showcase expertise and services regularly

Consistent podcast episodes are key to achieving these goals.

Videos, too, offer a dynamic way to engage with your audience. They can take many forms, including educational videos and personal introductions, and can be repurposed across various platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram, maximizing your content creation efforts. With voice search optimization becoming increasingly important, optimizing your podcasts and videos for this technology can help attract a wider audience through natural language and long-tail keywords.

Direct Lead Generation Techniques

It's well-known that lead generation is the lifeblood of any financial advisory firm's growth. However, most firms struggle with effective lead-generation practices. As with everything we have been discussing, it starts with deeply understanding your target audience and creating an effective strategy to reach them. This will often include a mix of both warm and cold prospecting methods.

Cold Outreach

"Cold outreach" refers to reaching out to someone who doesn't know you to build a relationship and eventually do business with them. When you're strapped for cash, you can put your time into cold outreach and secure clients that give you the cash flow to get off the ground.

There are several different ways you can use cold outreach to connect with prospects, including:

  • Email
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Physical mail
  • Cold calling

Regardless of which channel(s) you choose, creating a cold outreach strategy typically follows a similar process:

  • Generate a prospect list
  • Connect with the prospects (this could be inviting them to a call or a webinar, or simply starting a conversation)
  • Address their objections and entice them to work with you
  • Negotiate and close the contract

Connecting with prospects is the most challenging step in the process. It's hard to cut through the noise amidst all of the spam mail and cold calls we all receive. Because of this, it's critical to stand out and show that you're human. This is easier said than done, but it starts with being very intentional, adding value, and tailoring your communication to the channel. Generally speaking, writing/speaking concisely and naturally (that is, not sales-y) is best.

Paid Media

Paid media is an essential component of a comprehensive lead-generation strategy for financial advisors. It encompasses various forms of advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, display ads, and social media advertisements, all designed to increase visibility and drive targeted traffic to your services.

To effectively utilize paid media, each advertisement must be part of a cohesive strategy. This means ensuring that the targeting, messaging, and offer are all aligned with the needs and interests of your ICP. Your ads should speak directly to the challenges and aspirations of your potential clients, presenting a compelling offer that resonates with them.

The journey doesn't end with a click on the ad; it's just the beginning. Each ad should lead to a landing page that continues the narrative established by the ad. This landing page must be optimized for conversions, with a clear value proposition and a straightforward call-to-action, such as a form fill to capture lead information. The transition from ad to landing page to form fill should be seamless, guiding the prospect through the funnel logically and persuasively.

By integrating paid media into your lead generation strategy and ensuring that each step of the funnel is carefully crafted, you can attract high-quality leads ready to engage with your financial advisory services.

Lead Nurturing

Lead nurturing is about cultivating relationships built on trust with potential clients. Some key strategies for effective lead nurturing include:

  • Personalized communication across multiple channels, including phone, email, and social media
  • Scoring leads based on their interactions and demographics
  • Concentrating efforts on the most promising prospects

By implementing these strategies, advisors can make the nurturing process more effective and meaningful.

Incorporating automation into your lead nurturing process can save time while ensuring that personal touchpoints are not lost. Monitoring key metrics like email open rates and social media interactions helps gauge the effectiveness of your nurturing efforts, guiding you to make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

Tracking and Refining Your Marketing Efforts

The final, yet essential step in your marketing strategy should be the assessment of its success. To achieve this, financial advisors need to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) like:

  • The cost incurred for each lead generated
  • The rate at which sales are made from leads
  • The total expense required to acquire a new customer
  • The projected revenue that a customer will generate over time

These numbers empower you with the capacity to gauge how effective your marketing efforts have been. By tracking and analyzing these metrics, you can make informed choices about where to allocate your marketing budget to ensure continued profitability.

Tracking the conversion rate is particularly valuable. It offers an insight into how many visitors on a website go on to become prospective clients or active customers. Monitoring various activities such as inquiries received, and visitor traffic numbers on websites and assessing both time and dollar investment gives you a good picture of your campaign’s impact. This enables you not only to hone current strategies but also to ensure you stay up-to-date with changing client demands and market shifts for ongoing iterations to your approach.

Assessing Performance Metrics

Evaluating performance metrics like Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL), Sales Qualified Leads (SQL), Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) offers insights into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in generating interested leads and the financial efficiency of marketing expenditures. Using analytics to track social media and video performance can help identify successful strategies and areas that require improvement to boost engagement and conversion rates.

Financial advisors must have a solid financial advisor marketing plan, which includes:

  • Developing and adjusting strategies before and during marketing campaigns to use budget effectively and respond to the performance of different marketing tactics
  • Having lead nurturing proficiency, as it contributes to generating more sales-ready leads at a lower cost (this can include retargeting campaigns, which are a component of paid media)
  • Highlighting the importance of meaningful engagement with leads

Wrapping It All Up

To achieve success in the digital world, you need to start by knowing your audience well, creating a digital persona that builds trust, sharing informative and entertaining content, and mastering the art of lead generation. These are the key factors that will help you achieve your goals. Always let the data guide your efforts and keep iterating consistently to achieve the desired results.

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