Marketing Funnels for Financial Advisors

by | Oct 3, 2017

Marketing funnels describe how potential customers move from looking to buying. Advisors can and should use that concept. In this multi-part series, I will explain how advisors can gain more control over the funneling process.

In this first part, I will define a funnel and why it is essential to your marketing strategy.

What is a funnel?

A marketing funnel is the journey from prospect to client you create within your marketing strategy. It is a carefully structured set of steps or actions a person has to go through. It’s called a funnel because many may start the process, but only a few will complete it. A funnel is mostly a self-selecting process, as it’s the client’s choice to move through, but it is the firm’s job to set things up in the most beneficial and informative way possible.

While a marketing funnel is used in all industries and is especially important in the financial advisory world. It is not about making a sale, but rather MANAGING the client journey and creating value.


While the idea of marketing funnels is a common one, it is also associated with misconceptions.

Misunderstood. When speaking with my financial advisor clients about setting up funnels as a part of their marketing strategy, I often hear that funnels are viewed as pushy or too sales-driven for this industry. This is not true if you keep the focus on building and nurturing relationships, and less about making the sale.

Not static. People do not behave in a linear way. While you may think that the ideal way to get from point A to point B is a straight line, it is not always the path chosen by your clients. As long as you take that into account when developing your marketing funnels, you will understand the process more clearly and have a better understanding of your results.

Situational. Aside from your client’s unique behavior, you have to take into consideration the uniqueness of your business. Funnels are customized to your business. There is no standard marketing funnel and there are things you need to consider when thinking about your process.

While funnels cannot fix poor targeting, lack of focus or low-quality service they can make sure that you are doing everything possible to create the best experience possible for potential clients.

Why do I need this?

When a potential client comes to your office, what do you do? You greet them warmly, offer them something to drink, show them to the conference room and guide them through the meeting agenda. Why not do this for online visitors? You would never let someone into your office to just wander around and figure things out; they would leave and never come back. You don’t want to leave online visitors to figure it out own their own either.  You are missing opportunities to show people what you are about (know you), what it would be like to work with you (like you), and what your values are (trust you).

Using marketing funnels has become an integral part of a successful marketing strategy. Without funnels, you are leaving people to figure things out on their own. You are losing opportunities to chance in the hopes that they will make the choice to do what you want them to do – to read your mind.

It is about setting your business up to be found, again and again. But it doesn’t stop there. You must attract prospects, interact with them and then track them to gauge how you are doing.

Once someone goes through the funnel and becomes a client, that relationship must continue to be engaged and nurtured. The ultimate result is a happy, referable client.

How can financial advisers use this?

In today’s online world this process is mostly driven by email. You move prospective clients through stages to get them to know, like and trust you. It is about building relationships, showing that you are for their best interest, and a thought leader in your industry.

There are many aspects that are unique to the advisory industry.

Relationship building. You are not selling a tangible product; you are selling yourself or your firm. Not every person needs your services, so your potential client base is smaller and more limited than that of someone selling televisions. This means that your marketing should be as effective and efficient as possible. You not only need to reach the right, people but you also need to get these people to choose you, through building relationships and engagement.

 Establish likeability. Providing financial advisory services is very personal and clients don’t make the decision quickly. They have to know you and feel like they have (or could have) a strong relationship with you. It is your job to build their trust in you. People have all of the information they want at their fingertips; most people do not want to make quick decisions, but educated ones.

 Create trust. The great thing about funnels is that each firm’s is unique, set up just for your business and target client. There are no cookie-cutter financial advisers, and there are no cookie-cutter funnels. Give significant consideration when thinking about your process to the following factors:

  • Your brand values
  • Target market’s needs
  • How you deliver value
  • Your personality
  • Your goals

How do I start?

The most important thing is to start. You need to understand the general strategy and then begin. It is a process, and it requires ongoing evaluation and adjustment. The benefit to this is that once it is set up, it is generally an automated system that will save you time in the long run. You won’t have to answer the same questions over and over. You won’t have to “hand-hold” potential clients through the process. It will already be in place, and it will be well thought out and efficient.

There are multiple types of funnels for different purposes and various services. For my financial advisory clients and this series, since it is focused on the financial industry, the marketing funnel I will focus on is the nurturing funnel.


Marketing funnels can be a difficult process to understand, and even more difficult for financial advisors because of the unique nature of the industry and services offered. If you position yourself correctly and have a clear plan of action for your marketing efforts, you can capture the maximum number of visitors and convert those qualified to clients.

In this series, Funnels for Financial Advisors, I will go over each step within the process and give you examples and actionable items that you can implement into your marketing strategy to gain the most benefit from your efforts. Keep your eye out for the next article on the first step of the funnel: Attract.

Meet Crystal

Crystal Lee Butler, MBA
Crystal Lee Butler, MBA is a creative marketer and results-oriented business consultant with over a decade of experience collaborating with independent advisors. At Crystal Marketing Solutions, she delivers exceptional insights for financial professionals enabling them to create a consistent marketing presence so they can focus on the things that matter most to them.
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