7 Must-Know Google Ads Tips for Financial Advisors
NOTE: If you’re a new financial advisor, make sure you check out Your First Year As A Financial Advisor, where I reveal several things every new financial advisor ought to know.
People are using search engines now more than ever and financial advisors stand to benefit.
The numbers are constantly increasing, but Google gets something like 4.5 BILLION searches per day.
Yes… that’s billion….
I mention Google because as far as search engines go, they still maintain an unbelievably lopsided market share.
If you’re someone who uses the Bing or Yahoo search engines, you’re one of the rare ones.
I also mention Google because Google Ads is something that financial advisors can use to market their services.
In case you don’t know about Google Ads, it’s essentially Google’s version of “pay to play”.
If you’ve ever done a search on Google, you’ve probably seen the ads at the top (and the side) of the results. That’s Ads. It’s a system that allows you to advertise your services within Google search.
There are two big reasons why this is cool:
Those two points are pretty attractive. If you’re a financial advisor looking to get more results, Google Ads seems like a nice little addition to your marketing mix.
Here are some tips intended to help financial advisors with their Google Ads marketing.
1. Don't Depend On It Too Much
I want you to notice how I said “addition to your marketing mix”, not your entire marketing strategy. If you’re banking on Google Ads to build your business better than cold calling, social media, direct mail, etc. you are going to be disappointed.
Running Google Ads is like putting on cologne after taking a shower. You should already smell nice, but cologne is a nice addition to make you smell even better. You can’t smell like trash and expect cologne to fix everything.
Ads shouldn’t be your sole marketing campaign because the search volumes just aren’t big enough. Sure, if you could thousands and thousands of website visitors every month then Google Ads might be your biggest strategy. But that’s not the case.
I literally threw some darts at a map of the United States and researched some data on the places I hit. Here’s what I found:
“Financial advisor Orlando” gets 110 searches per month.
“Financial advisor Chicago” gets 260 searches per month.
“Financial advisor Minneapolis” gets 50 searches per month.
“Financial advisor Fort Worth” gets 20 searches per month.
Whoa! Stop everything! 20 searches per month?!? We’re going to be rich…
Said no one ever.
I want you to notice that all of these are fairly large cities. Orlando is the smallest of the bunch and it still has 277,000 people. The population matters because the more people who live in an area, the more people there are that should be looking for a financial advisor.
To put all this in perspective, I’m from Delaware, where the largest city is Wilmington. Wilmington has a population of around 71,000 people.
But let’s say that you’re one of the lucky ones from a large city. You’re a financial advisor from Chicago and you want to get a chunk of those juicy 260 searches.
According to the online ad network Chitika, the top Google result gets 33% of the search traffic. Ignoring the ad blindness we’re developing as a society and the fact that your competition could be willing to pay a lot more than you, that means you’ll still get around 85 clicks a month.
Note: this number is the average for the top organic search result. People tend to skip right over the ads. The real CTR (clickthrough rate) of Ads ads is around 2%.
Of course, that’s assuming that 100% of all searches actually click on a result. Which, oddly enough, isn’t true. I never understood that… why search for something and not click? Anyway…
So imagine everything works in your favor and you end up getting the 85 clicks per month. Let’s also assume that you’re one of the top marketers on the planet (or you hire me) and 5% of all the people who visit your site enter their contact information.
That’s literally four leads a month.
Does it help? Sure, but it’s nothing to build a business on.
2. Know your cost-per-lead.
Let me start off by saying that your most valuable asset is your time. You can set Google Ads up and, aside from the routine optimization and maintenance, it’s relatively hands-free.
Any system that can deliver leads straight to you, with minimal time investment, is a winner in my book. Even if it’s only four leads a month.
But you have to figure out how much it will cost to generate a lead via Google Ads.
I can’t give you an exact price per lead, because it varies from market to market. If you want to get some good information on CPC (cost-per click) in your market, use a tool like SEMrush.
However, I want you to follow my thinking here, so you can plug the numbers in for yourself.
The average CPC on Google is between $1 and $2. That’s across all advertisers and all industries. The financial services industry tends to have a much higher CPC, so let’s say each click costs you $4.
If 5% of all your website visitors end up giving your their contact information, that means you will pay $80 to collect a lead. Crunch your own numbers to figure out if that’s a good figure for you.
Keep in mind that $4 per click, even though it may seem expensive, is actually pretty reasonable. After all, some quick research on SEMrush shows me that the average CPC to rank for “financial advisor Orlando” is about $15.
That means you’re paying $15 just for someone to click on your ad.
The average CPC for “financial advisor Minneapolis” is $32, so if you’re a financial advisor from Minneapolis and you want to use Ads to send 100 people to your website, be prepared to spend an average of $3,200.
Can you get your ad cost cheaper? Sure, you can shave a dollar or two from the click cost but if the average CPC is that high, paying a few dollars is a pipe dream. Besides, if your bid is too low, Google won’t even show your ad.
3. Make sure you measure your results.
If you decide to run Google Ads, don’t neglect to track what it’s actually doing for you.
You should be taking a look to see which keywords are giving you the most results and how much you’re paying to get those results. From there, you can improve your marketing to make your advertising dollars stretch even more.
You should be tracking your clickthrough rate, quality score, and conversion rate.
Your clickthrough rate is a key metric to use when measuring ad performance because it measures a percentage of how often people click on your ad after seeing it. If your CTR is less than 1%, it usually means that the ad isn’t working for some reason. Your CTR is also important because it helps determine the Quality Score.
The Quality Score is a score that Google assigns to each of your ads and uses it to determine how much you will pay per click. To put it simply, a very relevant ad should get a higher percentage of clicks, which leads to a higher Quality Score. If you have a low Quality Score or clickthrough rate, it means that your ad isn’t resonating with your audience, so they aren’t clicking on it.
By far the most important metric you should be measuring is your conversion rate. This is how often someone’s click on your ad resulted in a conversion. A conversion is just a desired action that you want a visitor to take - this could be entering their email address, filling out a form, or giving you a call.
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You want to figure out how much money a conversion is worth to you and do whatever it takes to spend less than that dollar amount on ads. It’s really that simple.
4. Set up negative keywords.
Not setting up negative keywords is the biggest “do-it-yourself” type mistake I see people make. I applaud people for running their own advertising campaigns, but if you’re going to do it please make sure that you build a negative keyword list.
A negative keyword is a keyword used by an uninterested audience that will trigger your ad.
For example, if you’re selling hard copy calendars that you have to mail to someone’s home, you want to make sure that keywords like “Mayan calendar” and “online calendar” don’t trigger your ad. Someone searching for “Mayan calendar” probably isn’t likely to buy your hard copy calendar, so don’t bother showing your ad to him/her.
5. Use ad extensions to increase your CTR.
This is an awesome tip that you can implement right away. Not many people are using extensions in their Ads campaigns, so if you use them you will stand out from your competition.
Ads extensions allow you to add more information to your ad than the headline, URL, and ad copy that you’re used to seeing. Have you ever seen an ad with a phone number or multiple website URLs? Those are ad extensions.
The extra information provided by these ad extensions helps your ad stand out from the rest and get clicked more often, which increases your Quality Score and lowers your cost-per-click.
Here are some different types of extensions you can use:
6. Target your ads to a local geographic area.
Most financial advisors will only want to advertise within a particular area - usually 50 miles or so from their location. To do this, Ads has geolocation settings.
You can set up your ads to appear only to people in a certain area or a set of locations that you specify. If you’re targeting “financial advisor Orlando” this isn’t such a big deal, but you definitely want to set up location settings when you target “financial advisor near me”, which is a very popular search for people shopping around for a financial advisor.
The simple act of setting up your ad to show only to a particular area can save you a lot of money. It prevents you from losing your ad budget to wasted clicks from people who are outside of your target area.
7. If you want people to call you, use dayparting.
Dayparting (also called ad scheduling) is when you arrange your ads to show at a certain time. Imagine that you are spending money on Google Ads, compete with a call extension, to get people to call your office. If your office is only open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., it is a waste of money for you to show your ad at any other time. After all, nobody is there to answer the phone.
So if you’re running Ads with the intention of getting someone to call your office, which a lot of financial advisors are, make sure that you only run your ads when you’re actually able to take phone calls.
Also, if you analyze your data and find that a particular time of day is more profitable for you, you can use dayparting to only show ads during that time.
P.S. If you're a financial advisor who wants to get more clients from LinkedIn, make sure you check out How to Get Clients With LinkedIn: How Financial Advisors Can Set Appointments and Convert Prospects With LinkedIn