Huge labyrinthHow does an individual go from stranger to prospect to client? There isn’t one single answer. It’s a unique journey for each client. While we may not be able to predict the exact journey each of your prospects will take, it’s still helpful to map out a general client journey. This not only adds clarity to your marketing strategies, but can also help you trim any fat and keep your marketing efforts lean.

As we’ve written about before, the general flow of a client’s journey is to become aware of, evaluate, and then purchase a service. There are several ways you can map out your ideal client’s journey, depending on your business’ goals, needs, and process. For an advisor, we’ve found that there is one model in particular that works well. Here are the steps an investor would likely take to transition from prospect to client, and how you can encourage the continuation of these steps through your marketing.

Step 1

In this first step, individuals must recognize the need for a financial advisor and some serious money concerns they should address sooner than later. The question is, how can you encourage this? On social media, in guest blogs, or at community events, talk about:

  • The importance of a financial advisor (including what role an advisor plays and what they do)
  • The common financial blunders people don’t realize they’re making
  • Money concerns that can be addressed through financial planning
  • What can potentially be accomplished by working with an advisor

However you choose to market at this stage, your goal should revolve around helping individuals recognize problems and concerns.

Step 2

Once an individual or prospect understands problems they face and why they must be addressed, they transition to step two, which is focused on comparing and differentiating their options. They’ll want to know who can provide them the best service according to their needs and personality preference. This is where the creation of whitepapers can help. Consider crafting a case study that discusses the common types of clients with whom you work and how you’ve helped them. Alternatively, you could create a flyer or handout, or update your website content to reflect these questions prospects have. However you choose to highlight this information, make sure you answer:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Why you do what you do
  • Your specialties/niche
  • What makes you unique

Addressing these common questions will help prospects evaluate their options and determine whether or not you’re the right fit for them.

Step 3

As we know from marketing research, consumers need validation and confirmation before making a decision. On average, 74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision, 68% trust online opinions from other consumers, and 72% say reading a positive customer reviews increase their trust in a business. This is where step three comes into play. At this stage, consumers need to resolve any concerns they may have about you or your firm. To accomplish this, they’ll seek confirmation from their peers, Google, and other consumers who share their needs.

While most broker-dealers prohibit the use of testimonials, there are other ways to prove your clout and legitimacy. For one, make sure you’re consistently posting on social media and keeping your website up-to-date. Nothing concerns a consumer more than an abandoned Facebook page or website from the 1990s. An active online presence helps validate that your business is successful. Additionally, it’s important that you’re easy to find online. Try out this free business listing scan to see what prospects find when they search for you online.

Step three is also where your strategic partners come into play. If you’ve formed alliances with estate lawyers, property and casualty insurance agents, and CPAs, you can highlight your work with them.

Step 4

Finally, your prospects will reach the final step: reinforcing their decisions and connecting with you to start working together. This is your opportunity to provide a complimentary consultation or portfolio review, and offer information on how simple it can to get started working with an advisor. On your website, make sure you thoroughly outline your process and fees, so prospects know what to expect when they work with you. The more transparent and thorough, the more comfortable they’ll feel reaching out and scheduling an appointment.

While this client model is by no means bulletproof, it can help you think through the process individuals take as they shift from stranger to interested prospect to client. By outlining your client journey, you’ll have a stronger grasp on the type of marketing materials and content that will best resonate with your ideal clients.