Most financial advisers are interested in using digital marketing to gain new clients. One big question which often comes up in this area concerns using “SEO” and “PPC”.
SEO (search engine optimisation) and PPC (pay per click) are two broadly different approaches to using the internet to gain more brand visibility, engagement and leads. They operate different ways and have their own respective pros and cons.
In this article, we’re going to explore SEO and PPC for financial advisers in more detail and attempt to give an answer concerning which is the best option.
First of all, let’s quickly go over what SEO and PPC are and often look like in financial marketing:
Search optimisation refers to the practice of making your financial website rank higher, organically, in search engines like Google.
In other words, these are the “natural” links you see in your search results after you enter a keyword into the search bar and press “enter”. The paid-for ads that you see on your page are not counted under the term “search engine optimisation”.
Pros of Financial SEO
#1 Free traffic
Unlike Google AdWords and other paid-for digital marketing channels, your financial firm will not be charged for clicks on organic links in search engines.
Of course, you might still need to pay for the services of a financial marketing agency in order to the SEO work needed to get you higher in the search engines. But this still eliminates an extra expenses.
#2 Higher quality traffic
In general, the traffic you receive from organic clicks tends to be of a higher quality than the traffic you get from PPC channels.
Indeed, the latter can bring in some great leads and enquiries but often carries a lot of garbage with it. People who are more serious about exploring your financial services often going gloss over the paid ads in search results in order to find a credible organic link.
#3 Real estate
Once you attain the top rankings in Google search, it is very hard for competitors to knock you out of the way. In other words, you have secured some very valuable search engine real estate for the future.
Cons of Financial SEO
Most of the time, it takes a while to build up your search engine rankings naturally.
Google wants to prioritise websites which have proven their reputation as a secure, valuable source of relevant information so it usually takes a while to build up the search engine’s trust.
This makes SEO less of an attractive option to financial marketers who want a “quick win”.
Whilst it is true that it is hard for competitors to knock you off the top search engine spots once you reach them, you are still at the mercy of Google for these positions.
It isn’t unusual, for instance, for Google to release an update to the algorithm which causes your search engine rankings to decline. Quite often, these changes come unannounced which makes them hard to anticipate and plan for.
Financial SEO is unfortunately not a matter of “set it and forget it”. You need to constantly work at maintaining and improving your search engine rankings.
There are many moving parts to SEO including content creation, backlink building and user experience optimisation which are needed. Quite often, the workload involved is simply unmanageable for financial advisers to do in-house.
As a result, they typically will need to turn to the expertise of a financial marketing agency to do the work for them. This can be a great decision, but it is an extra expense which you need to justify.
Pay per click marketing refers to digital marketing channels, such as Bing Ads or Google Ads, which generate website traffic and leads for your financial firm on a “cost per click” basis.
This means that you typically pay the search engine each time a user clicks on one of your ads.
You can show your ads either directly within relevant search engine results (e.g. Google’s Search Network) and on other websites within their advertising banners (e.g. the Google Display Network).
Pros of Financial PPC
#1 Quick results
Many financial marketers are attracted to PPC marketing because it gives them the chance to get clicks to their websites very quickly. It does not take a long time to appear in search engines like it does when you are building up your organic search presence.
#2 Budget management
Most PPC platforms give you the ability to set a daily, weekly or monthly budget. This allows you to easily control your marketing spend, provided you keep a close eye on your budget.
Google AdWords is quite good for this. Essentially, the platform allows you to easily see important performance metrics such as ad impressions, keyword performance and conversions.
This allows you to take a very scientific approach to your financial marketing. You can identify the areas of your campaign which are weak and need improving. You can also see what’s working and divert more of your budget into those areas. You can also run split tests of your ads to make things work even better.
Cons of Financial PPC
As mentioned above, unfortunately, PPC channels do have a reputation for bringing in lower quality traffic and leads compared to organic channels.
This is not to say that you cannot get good results from PPC, but you do need to be prepared to put up with a fair amount of dross coming into your sales pipeline.
Some PPC platforms are actually quite hideously expensive within specific markets. For financial services firms, it isn’t uncommon to come across keywords which cost £5+ per click.
This often prices smaller financial firms out of the PPC game or requires them to bid on lower competition keywords which they can afford – but which bring in even fewer results.
Platforms like Google AdWords are quite difficult to use effectively for those with no or limited experience in their use. This means that it is easy for financial advisers to make costly mistakes.
Which is better – SEO or PPC?
Hopefully, this article has demonstrated that there is no straightforward answer to this question. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages which you need to consider in light of your unique marketing goals, available investment, needs, competition and target market.
Quite often, we find that financial advisers and other firms benefit from a combination of the two approaches within their overall marketing strategy. A bit like an investment portfolio, the precise mix of the two will depend on a range of factors and it is usually best to get the assistance of an experienced financial marketing agency to put a effective campaign together.
If you are interested in discussing a digital marketing campaign with us, please get in touch to arrange a free, no-commitment marketing consultation with one of our specialists.