I’m not a fan of the US investment analyst Ken Fisher. To be honest, I’ve not been able to take him seriously since he wrote in the FT, back in 2014, that advocates of index investing like myself are “deliverers of drivel.. communists at heart, (who) disbelieve in markets and will surely rot in hell”. But that’s another story!
The fact is that Fisher runs a very successful company called Fisher Investments, a fee-only financial advice firm based in California. The second largest advice business in the US, it has around 40,000 clients, $83 billion under management across and almost 2,300 employees across the US and around the world.
But one thing I have to concede to Ken Fisher is this: here is a business that does marketing very well indeed. Over the years, it has built and refined an inbound marketing model that systematically drives traffic and converts prospects into paying clients.
So, what exactly is the secret? Well, Michael Donavan at AdvisorAdvance, a specialist business development consultancy for the the financial advice sector, has outlined what he calls The Fisher Formula. For any advice firm interested in how to attract clients and generate growth, it really is an informative read.
Essentially, the formula goes like this:
A > L > M > N > A = C
Ads (Traffic) > Landing Page > Magnet (Guide) > Nurture > Appointment = Client
The company has two principal websites — the main Fisher Investments website, and an educational site called the Fisher Investments Education Centre. The sites combined attract around 240,000 visitors every month. Although the firm makes some use of Google Adwords, most of the traffic is generated by advertising — principally display and native advertising, but also Facebook Ads. The adverts themselves are simple, and they focus on particular issues or problems that potential clients may be facing.
The purpose of the adverts is to attract attention and direct people to a series of landing pages. Again, these pages simply designed, and they are also easy to navigate. They have only one objective, and that is to persuade the prospect to provide their email address.
Of course, people don’t part with their email address lightly these days. They want to receive something of value in return. That's where "gated content" comes in. In the case of Fisher Investments, the content on offer is a series of guides; you could alternatively provide prospects with access to a video series of min-documentary, or perhaps an audio podcast.
The adverts and landing pages are designed to pre-qualify the leads they generate. For example, there are specific guides for those with at least $500,000 to invest, for pre-retirees and for those already in retirement. So, once Fisher Investments has his or her email address, it’s simply of matter of nurturing the client and arranging an initial appointment.
The Fisher Formula isn’t necessarily the right approach for every firm. For a start, Fisher Investments’ marketing budget undoubtedly dwarfs that of a typical advice business. Remember, too, that Ken Fisher already has an established reputation in the US investing industry, mainly through his work as an author and newspaper columnist. Lesser known firms will also need to invest time and effort in establishing though leadership through regular content and social media marketing.
However, in my experience, combining advertising with landing pages and, most importantly, high-quality gated content, is the single most effective way for a larger firm to generate large numbers of leads.
I can highly recommend reading Michael Donovan’s entire article. Here it is:
The Fisher Formula
ROBIN POWELL is the founder of the content marketing company Ember Regis Group, and specialises in helping financial advice businesses to attract, retain and educate clients.
Regis Media, which produces Adviser 2.0, has a range of pre-produced content that firms can use as gated content. We also produce bespoke videos, podcasts and articles for firms that want original content. For more information, visit our website or YouTube channel. If you still have any queries, my colleague Sam Willet will be happy to help you.