If you’re buying ads online in the financial or wealth building markets, you can’t help but to bump into Ken Fisher’s ads.
With our tools we are able to estimate that they are spending a little more than $4 million dollars per year online. This doesn’t include the print ads I see in Forbes and other magazines. They are a major player in the financial/wealth building market.
It is my hope in this new “spotlight series” to show you what’s truly working online by giving you a glimpse into the strategies and tactics of the Internet’s biggest players.
What you see below is not conjecture or theory. This is the real facts behind a major online advertiser, the marketing strategies they use, and the tactics used.
About Ken Fisher
Ken is the founder, CEO and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Fisher Investments, a multi-billion dollar money management firm serving large institutions and high net worth individuals throughout most of the developed world.
Perhaps best known for his prestigious Forbes “Portfolio Strategy” column, Ken’s 30 years of high-profile market calls make him the third-longest running columnist in Forbes history. His Forbes market forecasts are among America’s most accurate as measured by independent third-party CXO Advisory Group.
Ken has also been published, interviewed and/or written about in numerous publications globally. He writes a weekly column for Germany’s Focus Money magazine and monthly columns in the UK’s Financial Times.
From 1984 through 2012 Ken wrote 10 books, including four New York Times bestsellers.
Lastly, he is ranked #225 on the 2014 Forbes 400 list of Richest Americans and #663 on the 2015 list of Global Billionaires.
Summary of Their Strategy
While they have about a dozen sites that I could find, it appears that only 3 are critical to their U.S. online ad strategy.
The bulk of their advertising spend is on display ads, primarily through Google Display Network. However, they are are also spending money on native ads. Their display ads are very plain in design with focus on the ad copy. Their ads are driven to landing pages with very basic level visual design and using a 2-step opt-in process.
On their landing pages they offer 1 of 4 different lead gen incentives in exchange for a full lead. Beyond the lead they sell money management services for a flat fee based on their customers portfolio size.
Traffic Profile For FisherInvestments.com
This is their public facing main site. It gets a very decent amount of organic (earned) traffic from the search engines, however, I don’t believe they put much focus on SEO.
The reason I say that is when I look at the keywords they are ranking for and which ones are sending them the most traffic, they are all branded key phrases. If they were putting a lot of focus into SEO they would be ranking for things like “Money Management Firm” more than branded phrases like “Fisher Investment Books.”
As you can see they are spending a moderate amount of money each month on native ads though. When I investigated their native ad strategy it was primarily advertising their 401k calculator, which leads them to taking one of their lead gen incentives.
There is also a lot of valuable content accessible from this site which I believe is contributing to their low bounce rate and high time on site.
Traffic Profile For FI.com
Don’t be fooled by the high direct and referral traffic, this site is primarily driven by paid ads. With over $4 million dollars of display and paid search traffic being driven to this site it makes sense that they have a very high amount of direct traffic.
This is what I try to explain to my clients, because I see it in the stats, but no one ever wants to attribute direct traffic to a specific budget. They think it’s just magical free traffic they won in the big marketing lottery in the sky.
To the untrained eye this site looks like a dinosaur, and frankly they would be right. However, the low visual design helps their page load speeds and also focuses the viewer on the ad copy. Great ad copy, great offers, and fast loading pages = BIG CONVERSIONS!
They were smart to include a lot of highly valuable information on this domain even though most of the traffic is driven to dedicated landing pages with little to no navigation. The reason being, that it’s common for someone to land on a landing page and click the logo or delete the URL tail to visit the home page.
When they visit your home page and find nothing but tons more value = BIG CONVERSIONS!
Traffic Profile For MarketMinder.com
This site is a bit of a conundrum to me.
It doesn’t get a whole lot of traffic, the pages are grossly under monetized, and the titles would be horrible for SEO or Social benefit.
I think this site is a great way for them to add value to their subscribers and keep in touch with them daily. As well as to showcase their viewpoint on timely news. I also think that they are using this site to try and figure out the content marketing game and eventually create their own media asset (smart).
It is obvious that they do care a great deal about this site though because they are spending a little money in all the popular ad channels to give it a boost. Also, suggesting that it might be the new child.
Top Performing Display Ads
Their ads aren’t the type you would typically see for sale on banner design websites or even fiverr gigs.
These “ugly banners” are the types of banners that perform best though.
After having seen their banners all over the place I started testing out their designs on my own ads and they outperformed even the animated banners we were using.
In the ones with a picture they almost always use a guy dressed in surf gear. This puts the target audiences dream in visual form and makes them subconciously desire what they are offering even more (so they can be like the guy who gets to surf).
Lastly, you might be wondering what size those wide vertical ads are, those are 300×600 half-page ad units. There are also other bigger sizes and formats now available with the rising star ad formats released by the IAB in 2011. These newer ad sizes have been shown to outperform traditional sizes.
Top Performing Paid Search Ads
They have 477 keywords that they are bidding on, but almost all of their ads were a version of the above.
There were a couple of other ads like one with the headline “Complaints About Fisher” which were probably spot targeted ads for a different purpose. However, the majority of the ads were what you see above and drove to this landing page.
I’m guessing that this is a very mature account and the data I’m seeing in the tool doesn’t represent where they started. They have probably pruned all but the most profitable keywords and segments over the years. Either that or they are grossly under-utilizing one of the best ad platforms on the Internet (not likely).
Landing Page Breakdown
It’s important that you know that I did not shrink their landing page. I believe it’s very smart of them to keep their landing pages to a very narrow and short size.
The reason for this is you never know the window size, browser size, etc for the computer your ad is about to be shown on. It also helps with page load speed and there’s that saying “less is more.” All of their landing pages lead the visitor to a full lead (name, email, phone, address) form after clicking through.
In addition to asking for the full lead they also offer a checkbox to receive a free consultation.
By getting the full lead instead of just name and email, they lose a little on the conversion rate but gain everything on the backend. Now they are able to follow up via email, phone, and offline making that lead 100x more valuable.
Everything they need to convert their user and comply with the networks is on this page…
- An image of the “thing” they are offering helps increase desire for that “thing”
- Emphasis of their headline is that they “thing” is free and then secondary focus is on the benefit
- Sub-headline increases credibility and increased credibility leads to increased desire
- It’s been proven over and over again that text links get clicked on more than buttons – use them
- Nothing increases your opt-in rate more than increasing the desire for the gift and nothing does that better than bullet points
- Adding that the information is timely helps to increase the urgency
- Adding contact info to your landing pages helps ease the visitors fears about this being a scam (networks LOVE this)
If you are in the same market as Fisher Investment, you certainly have your work cut out for you. However, I hope this brief has helped you to see what areas they are strong in and where they might be weak.
If you are not in the market you should be thinking about how you can apply what they are doing to YOUR market. You should not be thinking my business is different so none of this applies. Trust me after having run over 5,000 campaigns in 50+ verticals – no business is that different. These strategies work in all markets.
Also, take notice as to what is not here. The strategies they are and aren’t using is important to identify.
What strategies and tactics are not showing up here that some experts say you MUST be doing. I find it much more effective to learn from what’s actually in play and working with the biggest players, than to learn from how to courses.