As financial professionals, we spend so much time living in our own world of industry news, trends and even jargon that it can be hard to distinguish what we know as everyday language from what our customers likely understand. It’s no wonder that our efforts to grow our existing business and prospect for new opportunities can often lead to some head scratching – “I’ve tried everything” or “I’ve used the same tactics year after year, now what?”
Haven’t you wondered what subjects, topics or words will help you break through the clutter and connect more quickly with clients and prospects based on what’s on their minds? Understanding consumer interests and behaviors can seem as hopeless as finding the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. However, there are online tools available to help not only gauge “what’s hot” at a high level, but also what specific topics consumers are looking for online as it relates to financial services, insurance and retirement products.
A Quick Example Using Google Trends
The goal is to get a better grasp of consumer interests in a topic, in this case, annuities, using Google Trends. Google Trends is a free online tool that allows a user to enter search terms related to topics consumers may be researching. The key here is to put yourself in the mind of everyday consumers. As a financial professional, you know the terms used in the industry, but it’s important to shelve that perspective and approach it as though you were the consumer.
In this example, search on the word “annuity” in Google Trends. The tool provides several filters that allow you to base your search geographically, and over a time period you deem relevant. The results are displayed in a graph that shows an interest over the timeframe selected. Additionally, you will see a regional breakdown based on the geography selected. And finally, most importantly, are lists of the related topics and queries associated with the term annuity. You can sort these topics to learn more – such as the comparative popularity of terms, or which ones are rising in popularity over time.
Or you can compare one search term against another to see if there is greater interest in one versus the other, such as “What is an annuity” compared with “What is life insurance?” (Not surprisingly, “What is life insurance?” is searched much more frequently then “What is an annuity?” In this case I would venture to guess that’s because fewer people are even familiar enough with the term annuity to know to search on it.
How Can Financial Professionals Use This Information?
You can use the topics and filter in order to narrow down to those most important to you and your marketing and sales plans. Financial professionals can leverage this data to:
Gain insights into how frequently consumers are researching applicable topics in designated locations and over specified time frames.
Understand what typical customers search for when it comes to products you offer that can help better position messaging – written or spoken – to best meet customer needs.
Remind us of the importance of asking questions and assessing base information levels before assuming people understand the topics.
Provide content ideas to use in your outreach to clients and prospects – email, web, social, blog, webinars, seminars.
Support search engine optimization of your website to drive traffic to you.
Realize potential sales opportunities that align with your business goals.
The simple example above provides a glimpse into just one online tool and one product search. Digging in deeper with these tools can be a powerful resource into better understanding consumer online search behaviors and ultimately improve prospecting techniques for financial professionals to help grow their business.
Ron Bernas is digital content manager, marketing at Crump Life Insurance Services. He may be contacted at [email protected].