New tool aims to help firms promote advisors on Facebook

Offering incentives can be a powerful way to generate leads online.

“Incentives motivate prospects to take action on something you are trying to promote,” says Nadira Lawrence-Selan, marketing and communications consultant with Hathleigh Consulting in Woodbridge, Ont.

For example, she says, you might be promoting an e-book or whitepaper as a bonus for those who join your email list. “If the incentive is of some value to the lead, they will likely sign up.”

The incentive must be designed to attract leads who fit your desired profile of potential clients, Lawrence-Selan says. “You should not offer a Starbucks card, which would encourage just about anyone to subscribe to your e-mail list.”

Instead, offer something specifically relevant to your target audience, Lawrence-Selan says. “[If you offer] a white paper on tax minimization strategies or enhancing risk-adjusted returns,” she says, “you are more likely to attract leads whose interests are more closely aligned to the products or services you offer.

“The more specific and relevant your incentive,” she adds, “the greater your chances of getting the attention of the potential lead.”

One caveat: you may be restricted in the type and value of incentives you can offer, says Terry Kirby, senior vice president with Franklin Templeton Investments Corp. in Toronto. Check with your firm or your governing regulatory body before offering an incentive.

Here are some steps to take in offering incentives to generate leads:

> Determine your lead profile
Identify the type of lead you would like to attract, Lawrence-Selan says. This decision would be based on the objective of your practice.

For example, you might want to attract clients who are saving for retirement, or retirees. Or you might want to promote a specific investment strategy.

> Choose an appropriate incentive
The incentive must be of value to your targeted leads, Lawrence-Selan says. That is the only way they will sign up to receive it.

Incentives can vary widely, Kirby says, and may include relevant white papers, research on various investment strategies or products, or other materials. The incentive should be something special, Kirby says. For example, you can offer the opportunity to meet a portfolio manager in person.

> Promote the incentive
You can promote your incentive on your website using one of several methods, such as a static banner or pop-up ad, says Lawrence-Selan.

You can also use social media or third-party websites. She suggests writing a catchy description of the incentive. “Make it easy for someone to click to subscribe,” she adds.

> Ask for sufficient information
There are no set rules on how much personal information you should require from subscribers, Lawrence Selan says.

The value of the incentive usually dictates how much information you should ask for. Be careful not to ask for too much, as potential subscribers can be turned off.

Says Lawrence-Selan: “You want to get sufficient identifying information so that you can follow up with the lead.”

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