How Brands and Agencies Reach Financial Advisors Wherever they Are Online

September 18, 2013

With only 316,000 financial advisors estimated to be working in the United States (Forbes)—a number that is expected to drop below 300,000 by 2016—it’s harder than ever for marketers to precisely target their marketing communications towards this high-profile audience. The demand for access to financial advisors online is so strong in fact that from our own experience, marketers targeting this audience lock in their media plans much earlier in advance than B2B marketers of other industries, just to ensure that they aren't left hanging out to dry.

Another challenge for marketers needing to reach this audience is that financial advisors are busy doing everything but learning more about the wealth management, investment planning, and other services that these marketers promote. The 2010 RIA Benchmarking Study from Charles Schwab revealed not having “time for business development” as the top concern for advisors, and found that up to 30% of advisors’ time is spent on business operations, cutting out of time that would otherwise be spent serving clients, meeting prospects, etc.

Where then, does this leave the marketers who need to reach this high-in-demand, low-in-supply, very busy audience of financial advisors? Leading marketers use display advertising to not only target their ads to this exact audience wherever they are online, but also to achieve marketing objectives all along the marketing funnel: scale their reach to new audiences to build brand awareness, further educate the audience and increase engagement, and drive conversions and sales. Take a look at the examples below to see how marketers are using distinct display advertising strategies at each stage of the marketing funnel:

Building Brand Awareness | Top-Funnel | T. Rowe Price

The objective of top-funnel strategies should be to reach as much of your target audience as possible, and measure its impact on increasing their awareness of the brand and differentiating it from competitors.


T. Rowe Prices’ video advertisement and non-corresponding display ad fit this top-funnel model by sticking to a high-level agenda: help the audience discover and become comfortable with the brand and start to become familiar with its core offerings.

Increase Audience Engagement and Education | Mid-Funnel | PayChex

Mid-funnel strategies aim to engage target audiences, typically by providing access to offers such as whitepapers, case studies, free trials, etc., to help guide prospects further down the marketing funnel and closer to sales. The scale and business audience targeting available through social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn have proven to be very effective in this regard, and in fact a 2012 study from FTI Consulting and LinkedIn found that 7 out of 10 financial advisors actively use LinkedIn.

PayChex’s LinkedIn text ad and landing page compels the audience with valuable content, yet requires a form fillout, which would give PayChex the ability to continue their communication via email. At this stage of the funnel marketers start to look at engagement metrics such as new visitors, lift in page views per visit, lift in branded search, and more to gauge display advertising’s effect on driving more engagement and content consumption.

Drive Conversions and Sales | Bottom-Funnel | RBC Wealth Management

Once prospects have become more familiar with your brand and have already engaged with your website, you can deploy sophisticated retargeting strategies that retarget lost visitors anywhere online with display ads based on their site behavior. Using ads that call for clear, conversion-oriented actions remind the audience that you’re there to help them.

RBC Wealth Management’s use of the “contact us” call to action suggests that the audience has already engaged with their brand at some level (higher up in the funnel) and that the prospect seeing this ad has been deemed ready to have a conversation with a real person. Success at this stage of the funnel is often measured by new leads, lead quality, conversion lift, and more.

To reach an audience as elusive as financial advisors, it’s critical that marketers not only reach as many of them as possible wherever they are online, but also deploy distinct strategies at each stage of the marketing funnel to impact marketing objectives throughout the buyer’s journey.

To learn more about how to use and measure display advertising at each stage of the marketing funnel, download our free whitepaper, “Metrics That Matter: A Guide to Measuring the Impact of Display Advertising in B2B.”

This post was originally published on the Bizo blog. In July 2014, LinkedIn + Bizo joined forces to build the most robust B2B marketing platform available to marketers. To learn more, check out David Thacker, VP of Product at LinkedIn’s announcement blog post.

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