The Anatomy of a Proven [Bad Ass] Online Marketing Campaign for Advisors

Back in June at our MM1 Method Live Conference we talked quite a bit about online marketing for financial advisors.  While there’s not a huge amount of advisors who are crushing it online, there are a few, and they are absolutely knocking the cover off the ball.

In this post I’m going to dissect one that is kind of like a step-child to our industry, but the people behind it are making more money than 99.9% of all financial advisors.  And they’re doing it without:

  • Ever having to meet with a client in person
  • Ever having to talk to a client over the phone
  • Ever having to make a trade
  • Ever having to do paperwork

What I’m talking about is Porter Stansberry and his company Stansberry Investment Research (SIR for simplicity this point forward).  For those not familiar, SIR is a financial newsletter company with over 100,000 subscribers all over the world.  For some perspective on what that means revenue wise, consider their cheapest newsletter service is $99/year and they go up to $5,000/year.  Here’s their product lineup per the SIR website:

Stansberry Investment Research ProductsSo doing a little third grade math, I would venture they have revenue in the neighborhood of $20 million per year (100,000 subscribers at an average rate of $200/year) as a somewhat conservative estimate.  I could be wrong here, but if what they publish regarding their subscriber base is accurate – they could be pulling in much more than that.

Now what can we learn from how they built that business and how close is it to what we do as advisors?

The latest marketing effort by SIR is their “End of America” campaign.  And it is pretty sweet when you break it down.

First, they pull in leads to a simple video only webpage (you can see it at www.endofamerica2011.com).  The video is about an hour long and you’ll notice the video is pretty much text only with a voiceover.  It could easily have been made with just PowerPoint and Camtasia with a total cost of less than $100.  The webpage itself is also super simple and could have been put online for less than $100 too.

To get the leads they have a few lead generation ads that show up on sites like CNBC.com, Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, StockCharts.com, etc.  Basically places where investors might “hang out” online.  The text ads are pretty simple and basically offer a free video that explains there will be a catastrophic collapse of the US economy in 2011 and give free tips on how to prepare for it.

They also have been running ads on CNBC television.  The ads, to say the least, are brilliant.  You can check one out by searching for “End of America Ad” on Youtube.

Now whether or not you agree with the message of the ads or the video, it is pulling like gangbusters.  In fact, in a recent survey I did of all my regular blog readers (of individual investors) the biggest fears they have is Government spending, massive deficits, and a potential stock market collapse.  So I’d say SIR has done their research and knows precisely what is motivating investors to take action.

The SIR Offer

For any marketing campaign to be profitable and get you (or a newsletter company like SIR) new clients you need to have an Irresistible Offer.  In the case of SIR their offer is a 1 year membership to one of their $99/yr newsletters for just $49.95 along with 4 “bonus” reports.  He also includes a 4 month free trial so if you’re not happy you get your money back but keep the bonuses.

All of that is pretty standard for good direct marketers and online marketers, but not so standard for financial advisors.

So How Can You Copy the SIR Offer and Get New Clients?

It’s actually quite easy and something I’m testing heavily in my own practice right now.  Like most things I write about, it’s important you understand the framework to his winning client getting approach (scientific wording, I know).  I encourage you to take a look at the whole sequence, but here’s how I break it down:

  1. Target the right market.  In SIR’s case, he’s going where the his potential customers are – all the websites and the TV channel I shared above.
  2. Make a bold, painful, timely prediction/statement and offer a free solution.  For SIR it is…”End of America – This year economic events will unfold that will change the lives of Americans forever.”  Sort of hard to ignore that.
  3. Identify yourself as an authority.  For SIR this is hundreds of thousands of subscribers, called 2008 correctly, 3rd party verification.
  4. Massive, convincing backing to claims.  This is the data and stories shared in the video.
  5. Offer a partial solution.  For SIR he offers some very general advice on things that will help some and is pretty honest about it only being a partial solution.
  6. Warnings about things you could mess up if you try to fix things on your own.  Porter covers what could go wrong if you take his general advice but buy things from the wrong places; or just don’t know how to implement his suggestions with 100% confidence.
  7. Irresistible offer.  In the SIR offer you actually become a customer, but for a very reduced fee and with no risk (the 4 month free trial).  He also throws in the bonuses, and assures the viewer that the partial solutions become whole.  Although his offer today is just 1/2 off, he used to do 2 years for $49.95.  My guess is he needed a little more upfront to break even on the marketing so after testing moved it to 1 year.
  8. Back-end up-sell.  For SIR they have a bunch of newsletters that are much, much more than $49.95.  So once you become an initial customer you get solicited to check out the additional services of their company.  Also, since his service is a subscription I’m sure many of his customers stay for multiple years – and in those subsequent years the cost goes up by 100%.

To recap

This guy (and his company) are targeting our clients and getting them to buy.  I’ve already had 3 clients subscribe and then ask me about the newsletter.  It’s also shown up on my facebook a bunch of times with people asking others about the video – so it’s gone viral.

One of the cool things about his marketing campaign is it is likely paying for itself.  In other words, because he’s making a small amount on each sale he knows exactly what he can spend to keep his funnel going with zero risk perpetually.  Imagine if you could generate customers for no net cost.  How fast could you grow your business if you knew it cost you $50 to get a customer that would be worth $100 next year?  Would you dump $100,000 on marketing knowing you would make it up in 30 days and then have $200,000 on the books for next year?  I know I would.

At the end of the day this is just one example of how simple it really is to get new clients using modern technology.  The framework hasn’t changed from years ago when newsletter companies would just do tons of direct mail knowing they would get some type of return on the dollars by having a strong marketing message – just the mediums used to get the message out.  And this new medium is faster, easier to track; and has a much, much broader reach.

If you’d like to see how I’m using this framework to generate leads/clients online I’ll be covering it en masse via MM1 Method.  If you’re not familiar with MM1 Method – it’s the training program I created for advisors that shows them how to make as much money as they want, work whatever schedule they want, and love the lifestyle they’re able to create by helping clients they enjoy working with.  You can learn more at www.MM1Method.com; where I actually have a few really good free video lessons for financial advisors on marketing, time management, sales process, etc.

I hope you enjoyed this post.  If so, please help get the word out to advisors you know in this business by sharing it.

Cheers,

JW

Written by jwenk