Many small and medium-sized businesses mistakenly expect lead-generation strategies to land immediate sales. Instead, the aim of a lead-generation activity, such as writing a consistent customer-focused blog or hosting a client seminar, is to build a pipeline of sales for the future. 

Nurturing leads

In today’s market, through targeted content and digital marketing, we can reach a far wider audience than ever before, which presents massive opportunities for nurturing leads and building a pipeline.

Recent research from Roy Morgan shows that 1.96 million Australians 14 or older (9.7 per cent) have used a financial planner to purchase superannuation or managed funds. This figure means many millions of Australians still might be interested in financial advice but don’t see it as a priority today.

That said, they still might be attentive to targeted content from a thought leader such as a financial planner who plays to their financial and lifestyle goals.

Certainly, they can read financial publications. However, in the digital era, they can also obtain information from a broad variety of sources, including your firm’s blogs, videos and websites. A combination of thought leadership, content and a robust online/digital presence is essential to holding a pipeline of leads.

Moreover, thanks to digital technology, savvier clients and leads will know plenty about your business before they even speak to you. This level of financial vigilance is why your marketing program must focus on future buyers as much as current clients.

Understand the buying cycle

Once a prospective client is drawn into your pipeline, you need to understand where they sit on the buying cycle, which has five primary phases:

  1. Awareness: This phase might sound obvious, but a client at some point needs to recognise your financial planning firm exists.
  2. Education: The next step involves teaching potential clients about your services and how you can solve their pain points.
  3. Preference: At this stage, a prospective client evaluates your offerings and whether your firm is the right fit.
  4. Purchase: Now armed with the information, it’s decision time! Closing a client is where many SMEs become unstuck.
  5. Retention: The onboarding process for a new client is critical – it’s the first step towards re-signing a client. How will you maintain the relationship?

Ultimately, recognising where each of your prospects is in the cycle is critical to successful lead generation.

 

Anthony O'Brien is a principal of corporate marketing and communications firm Corpwrite. He is a business and personal finance writer with experience extending over 20 years in the communication industry.
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