Online vs “Off”line Prospects

Written By : Clifford Blodgett

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As a financial advisor, you’re no doubt familiar with the idea of gaining prospects through giving away something of value. You may frequently offer no obligation seminars on Social Security, for example, to help soon-to-be retirees understand their future benefits. You might even offer a no obligation dinner in order to entice more attendees.

The point, of course, is not to give away information or dinners for the sake of philanthropy. You’re locating your prospects and gathering them together in one place, where you can present yourself to them in person. After developing a rapport with your audience, many may become clients. This is the way you market yourself offline.

Online marketing is based upon the same concept. By offering your audience something of value, they may start to see your dedication and rely upon your guidance. The goal is the same:  turn prospects into clients.

Online versus offlineHowever, it’s important to remember that while the marketing concepts are similar, the mentality of online and offline prospects couldn’t be more different. Since one of the key principles of marketing is to understand your demographic, it’s important that you’re aware of the difference in psychology between these two audiences.

The type of prospect you attract to an in-person event is very different from the prospects you attract through online marketing.

Think of how you generally react to sales pitches. If you don’t want a new car, or aren’t yet sure you want it, you might actually become defensive and avoid interactions with car salesmen. On the other hand, if you’re relatively certain you want a new car, you’re much more comfortable speaking with the salesman. You go to the car lot and open yourself up for interaction.

The same principle applies to your online and offline prospects. Those who show up to your seminar are aware that you want to form a relationship with them. They actually want the personal interaction and they show up to get it.

Your online prospects operate under a very different mindset. They aren’t sure about you yet, or that they even need your services. They’re similar to a car buyer in the initial stages of researching different models; they’re checking you out online and reading your content, but they aren’t ready to commit. This is why it’s so important to consistently provide them with valuable content which demonstrates your expertise, but without confronting them directly with the pressure of a sales pitch.

The challenge you now face is to allow this relationship to grow over time. They aren’t ready to make contact with you yet, or they would have already picked up the phone to call you. If you make the wrong move and appear too pushy, you risk annoying the prospect and scaring them away.

In short, offline prospects are more often the prospects who are ready to make a commitment. Online prospects are the long game. But the potential return on your investment is vast, because you can reach thousands of prospects online. You have the opportunity to form a relationship with them early in their research phase.

Neither form of marketing is more important than the other. By doing both, you are covering your bases and reaching both types of prospects. Online marketing is an integral cog in your marketing wheel. Just remember the difference between the two types of prospects, and incorporate this knowledge into your sales approach.


Filed under: Financial Advisor Marketing

Written By :

Clifford Blodgett is the Director of Digital Marketing and Demand Generation at Creative One. He is integral in financial advisor interactive communications strategies, website management, social media, content marketing , and overall demand generation.

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