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5 Keys to Setting Up Effective Google Ads for Financial Advisors

Date: June 21, 2023

Google is the most visited website in the world thanks to its dominance in the search engine market, where it accounts for a whopping 92% of global searches. An organic search engine optimization strategy for your website can make a serious impact but it takes time to build up the authority needed to really rank in the top results. As a result, over 90% of websites receive zero organic traffic and another 5% receive fewer than 10 organic visits per month. 

That’s where Google Ads come in. With businesses averaging $2 in revenue for every $1 on Google ads, they offer one of the best ROIs of any platform. Implementing even a comparatively low-budget Google ads strategy is one of the easiest moves you can make to generate more leads for your advisory practice. Here’s everything you need to know to start using Google ads for financial advisors. 

How to Use Google Ads for Financial Advisors

The good news is Google makes the process of setting up a Google Ad campaign incredibly intuitive and streamlined. As soon as you set up an account and click on “New Campaign,” it will essentially walk you through the process step by step. So instead of a how-to, this blog will focus more on tips for setting up a campaign that does what you want it to do.  

Choose Your Target Audience

With Google, you have the option to target audiences based on region as well as the following segment types:

  • Affinity segments. This lets you target users based on their habits and interests.
  • Life events. Target users based on which life milestone they’re in the midst of.
  • In-market. Target users based on their recent purchase intent.
  • Your data segments. Target users who have interacted with your business in some way in the past or target users who are similar to the audience who has already interacted with your business.
  • Custom segments. Here you can input keywords, URLs and other information that tells Google who your ideal audience is. 
  • Demographic targeting. The demographics Google lets you define your target audience with include age, gender, household income, and parental status. 

Set these parameters based on the types of clients you hope to bring into your practice. What stage of life are they in? Do they have children? What kinds of topics or questions are they searching for information about on Google?

Use a Keyword Planner

The most important piece of your Google Ads strategy is choosing the right keywords to target for your campaign. Not only do you need these so Google knows which searches you want your ad to appear in, but you also need to craft ad copy that’s relevant to the audience searching those keywords.

Google offers its own free keyword planner where you can type in words or phrases and it will generate a list of keywords along with search volume, bid estimates, and other useful insights. You can also just plug in your website’s URL and the planner will generate keyword ideas based on the content of your website. From there, you can filter the results based on your preferred criteria (like higher search volume or lower competition) to quickly pull up a list of keywords that meet your marketing goals.

Craft Your Ad Copy

Using your keywords and what you know about your target audience, write a short and engaging ad that will entice users to click. As a rule of thumb, your ad should identify a problem the user can relate to and then offer a solution. However, as a financial advisor, keep in mind that all of your marketing messaging needs to comply with FINRA’s advertising regulations so always review the language carefully before launching the campaign. 

Choose How You Spend Your Advertising Budget

When you launch an ad campaign to target a specific keyword, you have three options for how your budget is used:

  • Cost-per-click (CPC). You set a maximum bid for how much you’re willing to pay for a click. If your maximum bid is $4 per click and Google determines that the cost per click for your target keyword is $3, your ad gets placed. If it determines the cost is higher than $4, your ad doesn’t get placed. 
  • Cost-per-mille (CPM). You bid on how much you’re willing to pay per 1,000 ad impressions (how many times your ad is seen). This option guarantees that your ad will be shown to a wider audience, but you run the risk of paying for ads that generate zero clicks. 
  • Cost-per-engagement (CPE). The third option is specifically for Google’s new engagement ads and it lets you tie your spending to more meaningful engagements with your ads, like paying per complete view of a short video ad. 

Figuring out which payment model to use mainly comes down to your goals for the campaign. If you’re simply trying to raise more awareness about your practice, CPM might make the most sense because it ensures your ad is getting in front of as many eyes as possible—even if they aren’t clicking or engaging. 

If you’re trying to generate more leads, however, CPM is less useful, because impressions don’t necessarily convert into leads. It doesn’t matter if 1,000 people scrolled past your ad if nobody actually clicked through. Instead, CPC would ensure that you’re only paying for an actual click-through to your landing page.

Consider Using Automated Bidding

The reason Google uses bids rather than fees is that ad space is limited and competition can be fierce for certain keywords. If you’re trying to get your ad placed for a popular keyword, like “financial advisor” or “financial planning,” you need to offer to pay more than your competitors if you want Google to place your ad.

While you can manually set your maximum bid for each individual keyword, ad group, or placement, the process can be time-consuming and tedious. Fortunately, Google now offers a maximize clicks feature that automates much of the process. 

This lets you set a daily budget and a list of target keywords for your campaign without having to spend time setting individual bids. Instead, Google will automatically adjust individual bids up or down in order to get the most clicks (or other performance metric) possible within your daily budget. 

Similar to automated investing, users just set the parameters of how much you’re willing to spend (your maximum daily budget) and what your performance goals (clicks, conversions, impressions, signups for your email newsletter, etc.) are. Then, the Google algorithm figures out the best allocation of your budget to achieve that goal.  

It’s a useful option for busy financial advisors who need their marketing strategy to be as hands off as possible so they can focus on serving their clients. However, you sacrifice some of the control you have when you manually set your bids. 

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