The Fisher Formula

I think you’ll agree with me that there is a direct relationship between the amount of traffic to your website and the number of prospects.

The number one reason you’re not generating new prospects is lack of traffic.

If you have the right traffic and you’re still not generating prospects then you have the wrong offer for that audience.

No traffic, no prospects.

No prospects, no clients.

No clients, no profit.

Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free PDF with examples of Fisher Investments Facebook Ads, Display Ads, Native Ads, Lead Magnets and Google Adwords Ads incuding keywords they are bidding on.

As you’re about to see, Fisher Investments focus on a range of paid advertising that generates monthly traffic of:

  • 46,125 visits from Display Ads
  • 113,418 visits from Native Ads
  • 13,931 visits from Google Adwords
  • 65,000 visits from Facebook Ads

All of this targeted traffic is driven to specific landing pages that convert visitors into prospects.

You can utilise the exact same strategies on a smaller scale and limited budget to generate new prospects.

And today I’m going to show you the exact process, ads, lead magnets, and landing pages they use (step by step).

Our American readers will probably be familiar with Fisher Investments or at least seen their ads across the web.

They are the second largest RIA in the US with $83 billion in funds under management, 40,000 clients and 2,300 employees.  They are a fee-only Investment Advisor.  The Firm was founded by Ken Fisher who writes for Forbes, The Financial Times and has also written 11 books.

 

Ken_Fisher_150Ken Fisher, Fisher Investments

“I started a practice, then turned it into a business…The practice [mindset] makes you a slave. You’re dependent on your own labor and a few employees.
My [practice] revenue was down, so I decided, ‘Now I’ll hire some people to sell and I’ll learn how to delegate. I learned that a successful founder-CEO is a ‘quitter,’ or delegator” (via Investment News)

You always need to innovate to keep growing your business.

Channels that used to drive clients will decay.

New ones will eventually become saturated and it will be harder to get results.

This is the nature of business and also why so many Advisors give up on marketing and find it difficult to scale their business.

I’m constantly questioning why there are so few advice businesses that scale and have consistent growth.

 

Successfully Scaling An Advice Business

On a recent podcast of “Masters in Business Podcast” with Barry Ritholtz, Ken gave a glimpse of why they are successful:

Barry: “That’s sounds like you’ve figured out how to scale something that most other people are having a hard time scaling?”

Ken: “Trying to figure out how I could get what I wanted in the face of superior competition.

I’ve also been prepared to operate by trial and error, and trying this and it doesn’t work, and you can do a huge amount of things on a small scale, and test them and see if they work, and if they work do them on a bigger scale, and if they don’t work move on to the next one.

We’ve just done a lot of things that people in our realm of endeavor thought were stuff you couldn’t do or shouldn’t do.  We started off doing direct mail and then we moved into direct email and then we moved into internet banners and we just kept rolling in marketing tests over time.”

So many Advisors I talk to will dismiss a marketing strategy because they tried a version of it once and it didn’t work, very rarely are they open to testing a different angle and that’s the main reason why they can’t scale.

In order to scale a Financial Advice business organically you need a sales funnel in place that produces a consistent flow of leads.

 

The Fisher Formula: ALMNAC

Fisher follows a proven formula for generating leads.

 

A > L > M > N > A = C

 

Ads (Traffic) > Landing Page > Magnet (Guide) > Nurture > Appointment = Client

 

For those who read our previous article, you will be familiar with this structure as it is similar to the Conversion Matrix.

The success comes down to the fact that they are not trying to sell the client their services straight away. They are selling the value of a low commitment next step. In this case, an easy to consume guide.

Let’s dig a little deeper into their online presence.

There are two main websites associated with Fisher: www.fi.com is an education centre and www.fisherinvestments.com is their standard website.  

There is no real benefit to having these two sites separate and it looks to be a legacy issue.  If you are looking to implement a similar strategy you can do it all on one website.  

There are also two other sites: www.marketminder.com which is dedicated to market news and financial commentary and www.fisher401k.com but they receive little traffic compared to the others.

Let’s break down the traffic to the two main sites.

 

FI.COM – Traffic Sources

The main traffic drivers for fi.com are Display Ads and Email.

27,951 visits from display ads and 10,459 from email (These are desktop visits)

(“Direct” generally refers to someone typing in the exact website address.)

 

Where are the Display ads showing up?

The majority of Display Advertising is done through the Google Display Network.  These are the ads that you see generally in the right-hand column of news sites or sometimes across the top header.

They are consistent with their advertising volumes: June 29,260; July 29,544; Aug 27,951.

The display ads will show up on a range of news sites that have been specifically targeted for their demographic of a client.

Sites like:

  • foxnews.com
  • forbes.com
  • wsj.com (The Wall Street Journal)
  • marketwatch.com

 

Display Ad Design that Qualifies and Stands Out

The style of ads Fisher run are very basic.

Often with a simple benefit or problem orientated headline, a brief explanation and call to action.

The ads drive traffic to a number of specific landing pages with different guides and topics.

Our US readers will no doubt be familiar with these ads as they have been running for some time.  

With display ads it essential to try and qualify the prospect in the ad itself otherwise you will be paying for a lot of traffic that is not your ideal client.  

Obviously, there will be a big portion of tyre kickers with display ads but it comes down to a numbers game and how your funnel qualifies prospects.

The main qualifiers in these examples are “Retirement” and “$500,000 portfolio”.  They are not looking for the “get rich quick” crowd or those in a lot of debt.

A few different images are used in the ads. It is generally an old guy surfing or sometimes on a motorbike.

It is best to test different images based on what you know about your own demographic.

Here are some examples of their Display Ads:

 

As you can see the ads are very basic and won’t win any design competitions but this is part of their appeal – they stand out on the page.

The simplicity of the ads flows through to the landing page where the main offer is a guide as described in the ad: Example “The 15-Minute Retirement Plan”

Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free PDF with examples of Fisher Investments Facebook Ads, Display Ads, Native Ads, Lead Magnets and Google Adwords Ads incuding keywords they are bidding on.

 

Design Your Landing Page for Conversions

All the traffic from paid advertising is sent to specifically designed landing pages like this one:  

There are certain design elements of this page that help increase the chances of someone downloading the guide:

  1. No menu navigation – a menu is great to help people find information on your website but when you’re paying for advertising you want the visitor to take the action that made them click on the ad. In this case get more information and go on to your database for follow-up.  A menu would allow them to click off elsewhere and they could completely forget why they were there in the first place and not find their way back to the guide.
  2. The page headline matches the headline in the ad – this helps with the flow of congruencey so that people know they are in the right place.
  3. The button copy “Get My Free Guide” is benefit oriented and tells them exactly what they will get.  This wording will be more effective than something like “Submit” or “Download”
  4. Social Proof below the button “Over 1.3 million downloads” – that’s a lot of leads!
  5. A picture of the man behind it, Ken Fisher, brings some credibility to the page.
  6. Limited links in the footer – same reason as no menu navigation.

A very basic page design with the sole purpose of getting people to download the guide and provide their details.

The guide itself is quite informative with a lot of graphics and different scenarios on how to retire but it is not exhaustive at only 11 pages.

Another similar style landing page on “Annuity Insights” has over 265,732 downloads and counting.

You don’t need to write a novel, just provide value.

The details required in the form to get the download are comprehensive.

This is likely to move into a sequence of emails (providing more educational value), phone calls, and mail to get an initial appointment with the prospect.

 

FisherInvestments.com – Traffic Sources

Now we move on to the main site FisherInvestments.com, which receives 560,000 visits per month with a large portion coming from Display Ads in a different format to what we just looked at.

One interesting point to note from the stats is the percentage of Desktop and Mobile visitors. 56% of visitors are on a mobile device. If you don’t have a responsive website, one that looks good on a mobile device, you will be turning away a large portion of visitors.

 

Where does the traffic come from (desktop)

131,607 visits per month from display ads and 86% of that traffic is coming from Outbrain and Taboola.

Outbrain and Taboola are a subset of display advertising often referred to as Native Ads.  These ads will show up on news sites and often look like a news article headline or snippet.

We can see in the example below that CNN have a sidebar dedicated to “Paid Content” “by Outbrain”.

The Fisher Investments ad is the third one down.

There is also another two sections at the bottom of the page dedicated to these ads “Recommended by Outbrain”.  

Because readers are on a news site you want the title of your native ad to read like a news headline and then send them to a page on your site that has a news-style article.  Within that article, you will mention a guide or your service to generate leads.

Below is one of their landing pages.  As you can see there is more content on this page than the style we looked at above.

And here are few more examples of the Native Ads showing up on news websites.

 

 

We can see in the table below a selection of websites that they are showing the native ads on.

Most of these would be targeted to the finance section of those sites.

The remainder of the display traffic shows some of the standard ads we looked at for fi.com and they have similar landing pages set up on fisherinvestments.com.

Fisher has expanded to a number countries and advertising is directed to websites set up off the main domain, like the UK version https://www.fisherinvestments.com/en-gb/

 

Generate Traffic from Facebook

Social traffic is an area where Fisher looks to have been testing a lot lately, with the majority being in the form of Facebook ads.  

The way Facebook is structured now days you are not going to get much traffic at all by simply adding posts for your followers.

You need to promote/pay for ads to drive significant traffic.

Even with a sizeable following of over 122,000 likes, the Fisher posts get very little to no engagement with that size audience.  

This is partly due to the fact that most of their posts are just regurgitating news articles from other sources.  Original thought pieces will generate more engagement.

Including mobile, we are looking at around 65,000 visits per month from Facebook.

They look to be testing a lot of images and wording to work out what people are going to respond to.

There are quite a few variations to drive traffic to the UK site at the moment.

Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free PDF with examples of Fisher Investments Facebook Ads, Display Ads, Native Ads, Lead Magnets and Google Adwords Ads incuding keywords they are bidding on.

Similar to the display ads they try to qualify the traffic in the ad text ie. “$1,000,000 portfolio” or “$500,000 portfolio”.

The traffic is sent to the exact same style of landing pages as the display ads to convert into prospects.

One critical factor in making Facebook ads work is the targeting.

What we can’t see from these ads are what settings they have for the targeting of the ads.

For example, the picture with a woman would only be targeting women, of a similar age, and include certain interests.

Once the offer, wording and images are right you need to test your demographic and interest targeting consistently.

 

Google Organic Traffic (Search Engine)

Organic traffic from Google is one area where Fisher Investments have completely dropped the ball.

Up until around March 2015, they had a reasonable amount of traffic coming in from organic search reaching nearly 100,000 visits per month and now it is down to 3,000. Quite a drop!  

The most likely reason for this gradual decline in traffic is a change in website structure or possible penalty from a Google update around this time.

Often when the structure of a website is changed content will be dropped.  Those old pages would have ranked for numerous keywords and when they were deleted they dropped out of the rankings.

There are ways to prevent this from happening even if you are creating new content and change pages by implementing 301 redirects, mapped out for every page that was changing.  

Unfortunately for Fisher Investments, they have lost a significant amount of traffic.

 

Google Adwords

We can also dive into the keywords that Fisher are bidding on with their text ads.

These are generally the ads that show up in the top 3-4 places when someone searches Google.

Nearly a year ago they were spending up big on Adwords.  They look to have culled this back probably to bid only the keywords that were driving leads for the business.

They are currently bidding on 538 keywords with an estimated cost of $21,800 per month.

The top 15 keywords, search volume (US) and cost per click they are bidding on are:

Keyword Search Volume CPC
future value calculator 22,200 $1.68
fisher investments 18,100 $6.33
ken fisher 9,900 $9.62
best mutual funds 9,900 $8.1
index fund 5,400 $4.51
best index funds 4,400 $10.15
top mutual funds 3,600 $10.01
how to retire early 3,600 $1.6
when can i retire 3,600 $0.56
money market mutual funds 2,400 $16.36
no load mutual funds 2,400 $13.98
fisher investment 1,900 $6.48
best performing mutual funds 1,900 $10.13
ken fisher books 1,600 $21.4
ken fisher forbes 1,600 $8.59

There is a mixture of brand keywords (like “Fisher Investments” and “Ken Fisher”) as well as mutual fund, index fund, retirement keywords.

You might find it strange to bid on your own brand name when you are likely to show up first in the organic Google results anyway… but doing this is an extra protection against someone clicking on a competitors ad and going off to their website.

Even if Google has enforced trademark restriction for bidding on “fisher investments” there will be a range of competitors bidding on a broad match of “investments” as a keyword and their ad would show up.  So it’s best to bid on your own brand terms to make sure you get the traffic.

As Ken writes for a lot of news websites they tend to out rank his own site for searches of his name… this is the reason why they would be bidding on “Ken Fisher” to show ads.

All of the Adwords ads are directed to similar landing pages to the display ad traffic.

 

Now it’s over to you.

Start building out at least one traffic source and test your results.

Your options are:

  • Google Display Ads
  • Google Adwords (text ads)
  • Native Ads (Outbrain)
  • Facebook Ads

Remember the formula ALMNAC.

Sending traffic to your home page will not convert many visitors into prospects.

Setup dedicated landing pages for each piece of content.

If you skip one of the steps your results will suffer.

 

Ken_Fisher_150Ken Fisher, “The Ten Roads to Riches” (Book)

“When my firm started doing direct-mail marketing for high-net-worth investors, industry experts said we were nuts. Ditto when we started Internet direct marketing—wouldn’t, couldn’t work! No one would respond to advertising like that and become clients! Next came radio, print ads, and TV. They all worked, which is a part of how we built my firm. But most everyone “in the know” thought we were daft. When we started doing it in other countries, their pundits said, “Maybe it will work in America, but never here.” Just examples. Whatever you do, if it really works, everyone will think you’re crazy until you’re a proven success.”

Takeaways

Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free PDF with examples of Fisher Investments Facebook Ads, Display Ads, Native Ads, Lead Magnets and Google Adwords Ads incuding keywords they are bidding on.

Now It’s Your Turn…

Start building those traffic sources!

How many do you have set up at the moment?

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