Finance related internet domain names

Hot on the heels of my recent post about the $125,000 sale of investmentproperty.com.au I thought I’d put together some more sales results of Australian domain names that relate to the finance industry.

It may surprise some of you to learn that most of these names have NOT been purchased by insurance companies or large advice firms.

Instead, many of them have been purchased by internet marketers and ‘domainers’ who develop these sites with the aim of generating leads for other financial professionals.

This has proven very lucrative for some internet marketers, many of whom simply work from home with a laptop, an internet connection, and the balls to spend big on domain names knowing that the returns can be even bigger.

$19,000 – HealthInsurer.com.au

$16,223 – PetInsurance.com.au

$15,001 – CreditCard.net.au

$15,000 – Claims.com.au

$12,500 – CreditReport.com.au

$12,001 – LifeInsuranceComparison.com.au

$7,900 – Insurance.net.au

$5,152 – FuneralInsurance.net.au

$3,106 – IncomeProtectionAustralia.net.au

$3,001 – LifeInsuranceComparisons.com.au

$2,050 – LifeInsurancePlans.com.au

Some of those figures are quite impressive, but keep in mind that most of the domains listed above are not premium domains.

Why not?  First of all many of them are the ‘.net.au’ version instead of the more commonly used ‘.com.au’ version.  Industry research suggests that a .net.au version may be worth as little as 10% of the value of the more fancied .com.au version.

The reason for this is simple.  If you went out and marketed funeralinsurance.net.au all over the local radio and billboards, what do you think most people would type into their computer?  That’s right, they’d type in funeralinsurance.com.au!

Another reason for many of the domains listed above not being premium name is due to the addition of third words, such as LifeInsuranceComparison.com.au and IncomeProtectionAustralia.net.au.

Even the highest valued domain on the list isn’t quite premium, since it uses the less commonly used term HealthInsurer.com.au.  If it was HealthInsurance.com.au you could probably increase the value by a factor of ten.

So why are these domains so valuable?

In the case of PetInsurance.com.au and CreditReport.com.au these are what are known as ‘category killer’ domains.  A bit like RealEstate.com.au is the category killer in the real estate industry.

For the rest of the domains, perhaps with the exception of claims.com.au, the reason for their value is due to Google’s love of domain names that match the users exact search term.

For example, if a user searches Google for “life insurance comparison”, the website at LifeInsuranceComparison.com.au is going to have a huge advantage in the rankings over other websites that don’t have those words in the domain name.

Furthmore, a user is more likely to click on one of the search results that contain their search term in the domain name, as they can be quite certain that that website will contain the information they are looking for.

So what can advisers do about this?

For starters, I recommend you start grabbing some domain names for yourself!

Sure some of the names aren’t cheap, but if you picked up LifeInsuranceComparisons.com.au for $3,001, how many cases would you have to write to cover your investment?  Makes sense doesn’t it…?

The sales results I’ve used in this post have come from Netfleet and Drop, two Australian companies that specialise in auctioning domain names.  If you have a spare moment, it may be worth your time checking out both sites and seeing what’s available.

Investment domain name sells for $125,000

Ever since I discovered the value of ‘exact match’ domain names I have been trying to snap them up for my business.

What is an exact match domain name?  Basically it’s a domain name that matches your product or service perfectly.  For example if you were selling life insurance, the perfect domain name would be lifeinsurance.com.au

The problem is that a lot of other people have caught the exact match bug too, and prices are starting to get fairly high.  Today though, they reached new heights…

The domain name www.investmentproperty.com.au sold for a whopping $125,000 on Netfleet.

This may seem like a ridiculous amount for something as basic as a domain name, but stop and think for a moment about the number of people who would search for the term “investment property”…

Need some help?  Well I can tell you that according to Google, there are 49,500 people who type the phrase “investment property” into Google Australia every month.  That’s over 1,500 people every single day!

Now think about the dollar figures involved in property investment, and all of a sudden $125k actually seems quite cheap.

I would encourage all financial advisers and planners to snap up any exact match name they can get their hands on, as this is really the way of the future.  Something like lifeinsurance.com.au is probably going to be way out of the ballpark for most firms, but keep your eye out as you never know what might pop up for a reasonable price.

Online Enquiry Forms

As a financial adviser, why do you have a website?  Some of you will say it’s about branding or profile building, but ultimately it is to attract leads.

Once your website has gained the lead, then it’s your job to convert that lead into a happy – and profitable – client.

Getting prospective clients to your website is often the biggest hurdle, but in this article I’m going to skip that step and assume that the visitor has already made their way to your website.

There are many different styles of adviser websites out there, and just as many different styles of enquiry forms.

I’ve delved deeply into many financial advisers’ websites; firstly as part of my compliance role when I was approving adviser websites for a large dealer group, and more recently as part of my research for both my own websites and those of the advisers I partner with.

Many adviser websites use a very basic enquiry form that simply collects contact details and perhaps some brief details about the type of service the client is looking for.  This type of enquiry form often features prominently on the front page of the website.

Whilst I like the idea of having the enquiry form as a ‘call to action’ on the front page of the website, I do wonder about the effectiveness of such forms, and the large amount of front page real estate that is lost in making space for the enquiry form.

If someone is only providing their name and contact details, they know very well that all you’re going to do with that information is use it to call them back.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if the prospective client knows that will be the case, why wouldn’t they just call you themselves?

On the other hand you have the more complex enquiry forms.  These are generally far too large to place on the front page of the website, and will instead have their own dedicated page.  Obviously you would still be placing prominent links to this page from your front page, and every other page of your website.

I have had plenty of advisers – and so called web experts – tell me that the shorter enquiry forms are far more effective.  Their rational is that a prospective client is much more likely to complete a form that takes thirty seconds rather than one that takes ten minutes.

But I disagree.

My company owns a portfolio of websites that gather life insurance leads.  Over the years we have used short and long enquiry forms, placed in different sections of the websites, and the results have been very different.

We have found that short contact forms on the front page deliver far fewer leads than our more complex forms, and furthermore the leads from the complex forms convert into paying clients at a much higher rate.

One of our most successful websites actually features our most complex enquiry form.  Over the years we have continually added more questions to the form and made it more difficult to complete, yet the number of enquiries we receive continues to increase every month.

The form on this website is now so comprehensive that two dealer groups have accepted it as a fully completed fact finder.  That saves a huge amount of time, and also makes for an extremely good lead.  Not only do we know a lot about the client before the first phone call, but we also know how serious that person is due to the amount of time they have invested in completing our lengthy form.

You may be thinking that a lot of prospective clients will leave the form half-finished when they get tired of answering questions, but our statistics show that we have very few ‘dropouts’ with our forms.  If someone isn’t committed to filling out the form we probably don’t want the lead anyway.

I know that most web designers will keep telling advisers that short enquiry forms are better, but if you take that advice then I believe you are costing yourself business.  I have spoken to plenty of financial advisers who have spent thousands on their websites, only to receive not a single lead from it.

Now I’m not saying that a longer and more complex enquiry form will result in a flood of leads for any old website.  What I do believe is that a well designed website that ‘funnels’ visitors through to a comprehensive enquiry form will be more effective than one that expects the visitor to enter their contact details on the front page without having had a chance to read through the website.

Online strategy is all about experimentation.  If you currently use a short enquiry form on the front page of your website, try investing a few dollars in having your web designer implement a more detailed form, and use the saved space on your front page to further promote your services.  If it doesn’t work, little has been lost.  If it does work, you could have a lot to gain.

The future of advice models

Last night I read an interesting post on Linked in by Sean Graham (executive director at Millennium3) regarding future advice models and the way in which clients and advisers will interact.

Sean’s role at Millennium3 includes heading up the compliance team, and I must say it’s great to hear someone from compliance not only acknowledging the role of technology but actually promoting it.  I hope that the heads of compliance at other dealer groups can start to take a similar view in the near future.

Is Max Headroom the very modern model of the future financial adviser?

Most financial planners are wedded to the traditional, face-to-face storefront publisher model of financial advice but while this may have worked in the past, technological changes and consumer preferences suggest that wired/virtual/on line relationship (the Max Headroom model) might be the best model for the future.

Neuropsychological and consumer research shows peoples’ reducing need for complexity, strong preferences for on-line relationships and swift response and a distrust of “holistic” solutions? If this is the future what are we doing to prepare? (or are Ys, Zs and their successors of no interest to us?).

In my view, the future is wired client relationships, wiki advice models and lego-inspired strategies but I’m interested in understanding your view of the future and what are you doing (or what have you done) in your business to address the future of advice?

And here was my contribution to the discussion:

For risk insurance, online is clearly the way forward.  For many people, getting insurance cover online is not only a convenient option, but also a preferred option.  There are so many benefits such as the choice to deal with who you want when you want, no pushy salespeople trying to get you to sign up, and the feeling of empowerment that one gets by looking after their needs themselves.

On top of that, there will always be a perception (rightly or wrongly) that you can save money by getting your insurance online rather than dealing face-to-face with an adviser.

When I started as an adviser I was told that getting leads was going to be the most challenging aspect of going it alone.  I was also told that websites “don’t work for advisers”.  Well, my website brings me so many qualified leads that I’ve been selling the surplus leads to other advisers, so if anyone still thinks that online doesn’t work, they’re wrong.

Another benefit of building an online customer base is location diversity.  I am located in Brisbane, however the majority of my clients are located outside of Brisbane, and around half of them are located interstate.  This helps to give you exposure to booming areas outside of your own, and also provides protection if your own geographic area is experiencing a decline in activity.

When it comes to the investment side of things, particularly full financial planning, I think there will always be people who want to sit face to face with their adviser.  Increasingly though, there will be people who are happy to speak with an adviser remotely, and those who wish to bypass the adviser completely and handle their own affairs using online services.

Ultimately, the right model probably comes down to your target client and how they want (or don’t want) to deal with you.

If you’re not moving your business online and embracing technology, you will eventually be left behind.

Escape the office

I know a lot of advisers who make a lot of money.  If you’re not one of them, then I’m sure you know of one, and certainly plan to become one!

But despite the healthy incomes, I find that most advisers struggle to get away from the office for the weekend, let alone for a couple of weeks holiday.

Technology has tied us even closer to our work.  5pm on a Friday afternoon doesn’t have as much meaning today, since we spend all weekend on our smart phones checking email and catching up on work.

But it is the same technology that ties us to our work that can also free us from our offices.

I am writing today’s blog on the balcony of my holiday apartment, overlooking the beautiful pacific ocean.  Of course today isn’t like my usual Thursday in the office, but I’ve still been able to do pretty much everything that I would normally do.

Here’s a snapshot of the technology I’ve used today, and how it has allowed me to escape the office whilst remaining in complete control of my business:

  • Laptop:  Obviously required when not in the office
  • Mobile broadband:  Allows me to connect to the internet from virtually anywhere
  • iPhone:  Took the photo in this blog as well as uploading it.  Also handy for making phone calls…
  • WordPress:  The software my website uses, which allows me to post updates from anywhere
  • Paperless office:  Means my client files are stored electronically rather than stuck in my office
  • Dropbox:  Allows me to access my client files and documents from anywhere

Thanks to all of this great technology I’ve been able to speak with a few clients, setup two new policies, line up a meeting for next week, agreed to another joint venture and of course write and upload this latest blog.

If you’ve become trapped inside your office (including your home office) and feel like it’s impossible to escape for a few days, then you need to start embracing the technology that can set you free.

As always, I can help you with all of the issues I’ve spoken about above.  If you want to start integrating this technology into your business, simply contact me for a confidential and obligation free chat.

Lead generating websites

You probably don’t know it, but there is a huge subculture in Australia – and around the world – that revolves around internet domain names.

Some of the people are involved are just ‘cybersquaters’ who register trademark domains and misspellings, but there are many legitimate ‘domainers’ out there who register generic finance related terms and build lead generating websites.

It’s a system that works pretty well.  The domainers (effectively publishers) create content and attract visitors to their website.  Then they legitimately collect the client’s information, usually via a secure online enquiry or quote request form, and then they sell the lead to someone just like you.

They publisher gets money for their efforts, and you get a targeted warm lead without having to do much other than paying around $50 a pop.

But here’s my problem with this system – as an adviser you may be getting all of the golden eggs, but you’ll never get the goose.  Of course the goose is the lead generating website.

So how do you get your own lead generating website?  Many so-called online gurus will just tell you to build a better corporate website, but I disagree.  Yes of course a better corporate website won’t hurt, but you’ll never compete with the lead generating masters.

Why not you ask?  Well let’s start with your domain name.  If you were to search Google for “financial advice Brisbane”, which of the following two results would you be more likely to click on:

  1. www.equita.com.au
  2. www.financialadvicebrisbane.com.au

I know which one I’d be clicking on, because I’d know just from looking at the domain that it’s probably what I’m looking for.

Furthermore, Google will also treat the second domain much more favourably as it contains the specific words the user was searching for.  This means result number 2 will come up much higher and therefore be more likely to be clicked on.

Now you might be thinking that option 2 (financialadvicebrisbane.com.au) doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue too well, nor is it particularly good for memorable branding.

But that’s the trick – you wouldn’t use financialadvicebrisbane.com.au as your corporate website, it would simply be a doorway for people to find your business more easily.  You could either have an enquiry form on the website, or could just direct visitors from this feeder site to your main corporate site.

I used this exact strategy with great success in my own advice business, and was able to gain so many extra leads that I had to sell them to other advisers myself!

So yes, get yourself a great corporate site to impress your existing and prospective clients, but to really drive the lead generation side you need to get some generic feeder websites in place.

Of course I can help you with all aspects of this process, so if you’d like more information please contact me.

Defining Your Perfect Client

Defining your perfect client should be easy.  He or she would will have lots of money to invest and a burning desire to insure themselves against every risk possible!

Unfortunately these types of clients are few and far between.

Rather than defining your perfect client, we should really focus on your ideal client.  Your ideal client should be someone who meets the following criteria:

Accessible

Unless you have great contacts, there is no point nominating movie stars as your ideal client.  You should look for clients who know are accessible to you.

Connection

Some of the best clients are those that you can really connect with.  This may be through joint interests, similar age group, social and/or financial standing, ethnic background or perhaps experience in the same industry.  A good example of this is the ex-carpenter who now deals exclusively with trades clients.

Interest and or Experience

This one is a little similar to the connection point listed above.  If you have an interest or experience in a certain niche, this will give you a great advantage over others advisers who don’t share the same passion for the niche.

Comfort

There is no point trying to attract company directors and CEOs as clients if you don’t feel comfortable with them.  Your ideal client should be someone that you feel totally comfortable dealing with, as there is a good chance that they will also feel comfortable with you.

Above all, your ideal client should just ‘feel right’.

If you would like assistance with determining your ideal client please contact me for an obligation free chat.

Niche Marketing for Financial Advisers and Planners

When I first started my financial planning business I had a dream of being all things to all people.

I thought I’d be helping a carpenter on Monday with his income protection and a doctor on Tuesday with his investment portfolio.

I set up a fantastic website which contained loads of articles and plenty of information on how we could help people.

But pretty soon reality set in – it just wasn’t happening!

So I quickly identified that I needed to target individual niches at a micro level.  To do this I set up a number of websites targeting specific occupational areas such as doctors, tradies, lawyers etc with specific information relating to those people and their individual problems that needed solving.

The result?  After a few weeks I started to get some traffic trickling though.  Then after a month or two I started to get an enquiry or two each week, and within a year I was getting so many qualified leads that I had to start selling them to other advisers!

What I discovered is that trying to be everything to all people is fine if you have a huge existing client base, but if you’re trying to establish yourself from a small base you simply have to specialise in order to give yourself a point of difference.

How do you do this?  Well first you need determine your ideal target customer, which I’ll talk about in my next post.

Your email address should not end with Hotmail or Bigpond!

I am amazed how many financial advisers still have email addresses like johnsmith1979@hotmail.com for their business.

I realise it does not impact on an adviser’s ability to provide good advice, but it just looks so unprofessional!

Come on, we are trying to portray ourselves as serious professionals, not backyard operators.  Having an email address that ends with hotmail or bigpond or whatever just screams amateurism, as any idiot can anonymously register with these email services.

Having a more professional email address such as john@smithfinancial.com.au not only makes you and your business look more professional, but it also reinforces your brand every time you send an email.  It also adds trust to your messages, as people can see that it has come from a real business rather than a scammer in Nigeria.

Even if you’re not interested in setting up a website (although you definitely should be!) I still recommend registering your domain name so you can have a professionally branded email address for yourself and your staff.

And here’s another very good reason:  What if Hotmail or Yahoo or whoever suddenly go broke or decide to change their name?  I know it’s very unlikely, but if that happens you will have to change all of your business cards and stationary, not to mention updating all your various contacts and logins that use your email address.

When you have an email address which uses your own domain name (i.e. smithfinancial.com.au) you are in control at all times.  If your email provider goes bust it doesn’t matter, as you own your name and can move it wherever you want.

The best part?  Setting up professional email is very easy and seriously cheap.