Almost every financial services business wants more leads – good ones. Lead generation refers to the process of generating interest or inquiries into your products, services or wider financial brand. Leads can be generated for a variety of reasons including for making sales, building e-newsletter subscribers or growing another type of list (applications to a product waiting list).
Generating financial leads is challenging – as any small business owner will tell you. Financial planners looking for pension leads, for instance, are often under great pressure to find them quickly as they seek to grow their local client bases. Entire businesses are built to try and meet this need, acting as a source of ready-to-buy email lists and/or websites which can funnel inquiries in the financial planner’s direction when they come through.
Many types of financial lead generation exist in 2021. Each has their own respective advantages, disadvantages and unique features which need to be considered carefully by a business seeking to engage any of them. In this guide, we outline the main types of lead generation in financial services, how they work and some benefits/pitfalls to look out for.
We hope you find value in this content and invite you to get in touch if you want to discuss your own marketing or lead generation campaign with us.
Types of financial lead generation
Lead generation comes in many forms within financial services. Below, we list seven of the most common in 2021:
This is the traditional way many financial services used to market themselves – by calling a list of prospects and offering them a solution to a problem which you “hoped” they had (so you could help). As a lead generation approach, this has become much more difficult in recent years due to increased data protection restrictions and the UK government’s ban on pension cold calling. Regardless, it is very labour-intensive and a “scatter gun” approach to lead generation, requiring you to slog through a lot of unqualified/disinterested people before you reach a possible lead.
This is the approach we prefer here at MarketingAdviser. Here, you set up your website and digital assets so that they attract traffic from your target audience. Given enough time and traffic volume, you can aim to realistically generate a decent stream of inbound inquiries. The drawback to this approach is that it requires a lot of digital marketing “know-how” to get it right, and it often takes time to see results.
As mentioned above, there are many companies which exist to provide leads to financial services firms who are willing to buy them. This may involve selling you an email list, or offering you access to a “pay per lead” service where the vendor will funnel an inquiry to you which they believe may be relevant. This latter approach can work quite well – although it can lead to resentment when a financial firm pays for leads which look good on the surface, but turn out to be unqualified in some way. The former (buying an email list) is rarely a good idea, since the subscribers have likely already been emailed 100s or 1000s of times already by other businesses which bought the same list.
A very good way to target certain high-net-worth individuals (e.g. company directors) with your value proposition. Direct mail could involve sending your brochure, leaflet or a gift box to your ideal target client. You can always follow up the gesture later with a phone call. The advantage of this approach is that it can be very memorable for the recipients if done well, leading you making an impression that leads you to stick in their minds – if not a direct response. Drawbacks include the considerable time, effort and expense that needs to go into developing the idea, producing it and then distributing. It can also be hard to measure the results.
Here, you could run your own event and invite prospects to it (e.g. a local seminar on pensions or retirement planning). Or, you could attend a trade show and run a stand/stall, where you can give attendees marketing collateral (e.g. branded pens and flyers) as well as “taster sessions” of what you can offer them. This can be a good wy to build relationships and generate some interest in your business. Yet it can involve a lot of time and money to put into action.
Looking to get in front of someone else’s audience? Guest writing and public relations campaigns can be a good way to do it. Writing a quest blog for a prominent financial publication which has more website traffic than you can be a powerful way to achieve this. However, the challenge here lies in building up the networks and reputation to get these kinds of opportunities. You may need to send out a lot of emails to different website owners with a proposition which is compelling enough that they want to consider the idea of featuring you.
Getting an existing client to refer a friend, family member or colleague to you can be one of the most sure ways to gain new business. The prospect has the endorsement of someone they trust, which removes a significant barrier for you at the beginning of your sales process. The drawback to this approach is that it is very slow-drip. You cannot make existing clients refer you. Moreover, their family and friendship bases will largely remain highly static over time. This means that a particular client will likely only be able to refer a tiny number of people they know within a given timeframe, even if they wanted to push more business in your direction.