What You Can Learn for Free from a Company that Spends $4 Million on Ads - King Kong

What You Can Learn for Free from a Company that Spends $4 Million on Ads

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At King Kong, we attribute part of our success and the success of our clients to growth hacking.

There are many ways to growth hack, but one of our most tried and true methods is to looLook at what other companies are doing and then learn how to replicate faster and for cheaper.

We do this by analysing data from hundreds of companies from across a variety of demographics and industries. We take this data and we track what is working and what is not working. We then test it, assess it and see if it helps to deliver results.

Growth hacking is all about getting results fast, and hacking your way to the top rather than trying to politely do things step by step. Even though this is the way things were done in the past, it is not the way things are done today.

The online market is extremely competitive, so if you can find a way to get things done quicker and for cheaper, you are already miles ahead of the rest.

We have worked with some of the fastest growing companies in all of Australia for years, so we have a fair idea of what works and what doesn’t work. But in order to stay ahead of the game, we have to keep looking forward and stay up to date on the latest techniques and strategies.

It is always important to keep learning, which is why when we came across an American company called Fisher Investments we had to start paying attention.

Their landing pages and ads looked like they came from the 80’s and yet, it seemed as if the company was wildly successful.

Upon digging a little deeper, we discovered that Fisher Investments was a high level investment firm catering to those with oodles of cash and those seeking secure retirement accounts.

The owner of the company, Ken Fisher is also a billionaire and is ranked on the Forbes 400 list of richest American’s at number 225. He is also ranked number 663 on the global list of billionaires.

Besides running a super successful company, Fisher is also a New York Times Best Selling author and has monthly columns in some of the most prestigious financial magazines in the world including Forbes, Focus Money and UK’s Financial times.

Fisher has 10 books under his belt and his market forecasts have been dubbed some of the most accurate in the world.

There is no doubt, that when it comes to life in the financial industry, Ken Fisher appears to have it all sorted out.

When you look at the most successful companies in the financial or wealth building markets, Fisher Investments is one of the top and it is clear to see that the CEO knows what he is doing, which is why their advertising strategy became of particular interest to us.

After doing some digging, we discovered that they were spending at least $4 million dollars per year on online ads. This was not including their print ads which we discovered in Forbes and other magazines.

There is a lot that can be learned from a company spending $4 million a year on media buying, and we are excited to share with you what we discovered in this blog post.

By learning Fisher Investment’s strategy, we hope that you will get a glimpse into what truly works and what truly does not.

We also hope that this blog post will allow you to cherry pick the best of the best so you can put strategies to work for your business for less hassle and far less cost.

So, if you are curious what this company has been doing with $4 million in ad spending and how you can do it too, let’s get started-

Summary of their Strategy

Here is an overall summary of Fisher Investment’s strategy. Below, we will go into things with more detail and dissect things piece by piece.

Firstly, it is important to note that Fisher Investments has about a dozen websites. Each of these websites have a slightly different purpose. Some websites are more about informing the reader on market trends, while others are more retirement focused.

Having multiple websites can help to increase traffic and is common practice with larger corporations and companies.

While you don’t necessarily need to adopt this strategy to gain more traffic, what is interesting is that Fisher Investments seems to do this in order to keep things simple.

As an investment firm, there is a lot of information that people want and need to know.

People looking for a retirement fund versus people looking for a high risk investment to double their money for a weekend in Paris, are going to need two very different sets of information.

This is probably one of the main reasons why Fisher Investments decided to create many separate websites.

Of the websites we discovered, there were three that seemed to gain the most attention. We can only imagine that these are three of the highest performing websites that they have-

  • fisherinvestments.com
  • FI.com
  • marketminder.com

The company also uses landing pages. We found that they had four main landing pages that were used most frequently. One of these pages were focused on generating leads, the other three were focused on selling money management services for a flat fee.

These landing pages were linked to ads. Remember, this company has $4 million to throw around on advertising. Here is where they chose to spend it-

  • Google Display Network (majority)
  • Native Ads (outbrain.com)
  • Advertising.com
  • Direct Buy
  • Sponsored Listings

We also know that Fisher Investments were running print ads in magazines, but this has not been included in their $4 million ad spend that we are talking about here.

Now that you have an understanding of their overall strategy, let’s break it up by looking at their traffic, their landing pages and the type of ads that they are using in order to secure leads.

We will also touch on the all important conversion rates and how it is helping them to secure some of the most lucrative contracts around.

Traffic Strategy

To make it easier, we are going to break down their traffic strategy for each of the three websites mentioned above. This will show you how they are using each website as part of their overall strategy.

1.) fisherinvestments.com

Their main site, fisherinvestments.com earns a lot of organic search traffic. This is probably due to the fact that it is an established name and also because the CEO has columns in some top publications.

Even though around 74 percent of the traffic to this page is from search traffic, we don’t believe that they are putting a huge focus on SEO for this page. The reason we say this is that they keywords they are ranking for are branded keywords and not generic search terms like “money management firm” and so on.

For this website, which generates around 140,000 views, we discovered that the average user was spending around 6 minutes on the site and the bounce rates were also extremely low (42 percent). In fact, the average visitor clicked on three pages during their time on the site.

We realised that this was due to the valuable information that was offered and the very clean layout of the site. Make no mistakes, this site has no frills, bells or whistles, but whatever they are doing seems to be working.

Through our research, we also found that they were spending a good chunk of change on native advertising-around $24k on Outbrain. They were also spending around $6k on sponsored listings.

This was helping them to generate some traffic – we estimate around 17 percent. It seems that the real winner with this page however, is the content that they have chosen to include and the easy to navigate layout of their page.

2.) fi.com

The FI website is where majority of their ad spending is being made. This site receives over 230,000 visitors, however the average time on site is just over 1 minute and the bounce rate is around 64 percent.

To earn these traffic figures, the company is spending around $210k on Google ads, $40k on advertising.com, $5.8k on Adhere, $1.7k on Direct Buy and around $1.1k on sponsored listings.

This ad spend is helping the website to earn floods of direct traffic and is keeping visitors engaged for a decent length of time.

Again, the website leaves much to be desired, but we can’t help wondering if this low-brow approach is what is keeping them so successful.

In this case, low visual designs on their website keeps their pages loading fast and also focuses the viewer on the copy. Their copy is bold, direct and to the point, and their pages load fast, which all contributes to excellent conversions.

3.) marketminder.com

Market minder is the company’s blog and receives the least amount of traffic. It generates around 40k views, however the average time spent on the site is just over 2 minutes. The bounce rate is also pretty low at 69 percent.

When we assessed this page, it was a bit of a mystery to us what they were doing. The site doesn’t get much traffic and it appeared the pages were also grossly under monetized. Their SEO was also definitely not up to scratch and left a lot to be desired.

One thing that this website did have working for them however, was the sheer amount of information. This website obviously generates a lot of value for customers and would-be customers, which is probably why they have it in the first place.

Having a blog is super important and even though they could tweak things a bit here for maximum performance, they are on the right track when it comes to offering lots and lots of value.

In terms of ad spending on this site, the stats are unremarkable. We discovered they were spending roughly $715 on outbrain and $120 on direct buy, but without knowing their conversion rates, it is hard to say if this is a worthwhile strategy for them or not.

By focusing their time and attention on these three pages, it is clear to see that Fisher Investments is increasing their potential for traffic, which thereby increases their potential for leads and sales.

The different websites will also help to funnel their leads into the appropriate segments so they can better market and cater to them as they move through the rest of the sales funnel.

Landing Pages

fisher-landing-page

The first thing that stood out to us about Fisher Investment’s landing pages were the size. They were much smaller than a regular page and very narrow. There are a few reasons why they may have adopted this strategy.

Firstly, having a narrow landing page helps to cater to all different screen types and styles. it also helps to cater to different browser sizes as well. The biggest advantage of having a smaller landing page however, is a faster loading time. It also helps the copy to stand out and for readers to stay focused on what is being offered.

All of the landing pages we discovered lead the visitor to putting in their name, email, phone and address after clicking through. They were also asked if they would like a free consultation.

The reason that Fisher Investments can get away with asking for so much information is because they have an established reputation. They also offer a lead magnet that is backed by the CEO, who is known to be one of the top in his field. All of this helps with the success of their landing pages.

There is no doubt that by asking for all of this personal information that they probably lose some of the conversions, but what they get in return may be far more valuable.

Not only are their leads more likely to be highly qualified and ready to buy, but the company now has multiple ways of contacting them. They can send emails, they can call and they can send snail mail.

By getting all of this information they can maximise every single member that comes to their landing page.

You may be wondering how you can take a leaf out of Fisher’s book and make this work for yourself and your brand. The answer to this would be “Personal Branding”.

When you establish a personal brand and establish yourself as an authority in your field, people are more likely to offer over personal information and are more likely to trust your brand and your products and services.

Creating a personal brand is so much easier in this day and age thanks to social media and all of the live platforms that you have at your fingertips.

To begin creating a personal brand, we highly recommend starting a blog, doing videos or sharing content across social media. We also recommend reaching out to top publications and writing for them or having their authors write about you.

There are infinite ways to develop your personal brand and hands down, this is always going to help your business to thrive and flourish.

When there is a face behind your brand that people trust, your conversions will always soar.

Again, every landing page that we dissected of Fisher Investments was extremely plain and simple and without fanfare. While this may not work for every brand, it definitely seems to work for their target audience.

Here are the 10 top points we took away from their landing pages and how you can also use them for your own landing pages-

  1. They had an image of the lead magnet they were offering (eg. image of the ebook)- including an image increases the desire for the item
  2. They put an emphasis on the fact that the ebook was free
  3. They included a catchy headline that instantly peaked the audience’s attention and clearly stated what they would be receiving
  4. They included a sub-headline which highlighted the reputation of the brand and that it was featured on top platforms like “Forbes”.
  5. They used text links along with a button- research is now showing that text links are converting better than buttons
  6. They listed the benefits of their lead magnet in bullet points making it easy to read and understand
  7. The copy was centered around the many benefits the reader would be receiving rather than on “facts” or accolades
  8. A time limit was placed on the offer, creating a sense of urgency and need to act sooner rather than later
  9. Contact information was added to the landing page to help ease concerns that it could be a scam
  10. They added a privacy policy outlining that all information collected was protected

Use this checklist to assess the health of your own landing pages and see if you can tweak or make changes to improve your conversion rates.

Display Ads

Like everything to do with Fisher Investments, their ads were definitely not the most glamorous or modern looking designs in town. Again, they were somewhat old-fashioned and seemed to be slightly outdated.

These ads are definitely not the typical ads you would expect to see for such a high profile company, but perhaps this is why they work.

As part of our experiment, we decided to copy one of their ad designs and see what type of response they would generate. To our surprise, in our study they outperformed even the coolest, high-tech animated banners that are now on offer.

This definitely made us sit up and take notice. Perhaps even with all these modern bells and whistles at our disposal, simple works best.

One thing that really stood out in their ads was the copy and perhaps the simple design really allows the copy to be the shining star.

All of their ads rely heavily on catchy headlines and aggressive questions that instantly engage the readers and make them want to click through.

The text-heavy ads also mimic more of an “article” layout, which may also contribute to their success.

Copy like “4 ways to avoid running out of money in retirement” also prays on a common fear and hooks people in to learning more. The ads also cleverly target common questions in regards to investing such as, “Should you be buying stock right now?”

This text heavy formatting of their ads helps to drawn in audience members and makes them feel like their most pressing questions could be answered by clicking through.

One ad that Fisher Investments used also contained an image of an elderly man surfing. This image helps to subconsciously convey the lifestyle of your dreams and helps to evoke feelings of freedom.

All of this helps to add to the effectiveness of their advertising and is what makes their company stand out above the rest.

Another thing of interest with their display ads was the size of the ad unit. The most common ad unit they used were wide vertical ads- 300×600.

Again, this helps to convey more of an “article” style ad and may even lead people to believe that they are not viewing an ad at all.

Bigger ads like this are being shown to yield higher click through rates than the traditional ad sizes. More research still needs to be done to affirm this, but currently larger ad sizes are outperforming the more traditional ad sizes.

When it comes to the keywords Fisher Investment’s are bidding on, we found roughly 477. Some of their keywords included their brand name and others were more generic like “the truth about annuities” or “you bought an annuity?”

Upon looking at their data, it was clear to see that they had been running ads for a very long time. They had a lot of data at their fingertips, which probably also helps them to make conscious choices about the type of keywords to bid on.

This is a helpful strategy to remember when running your own ads- the more data you can collect, the better off you will be in the long run.

The best takeaways we found from Fisher Investment’s advertising strategies were-

  1. The content: consider creating ads that ask common questions or play on common insecurities that your product or service could solve.
  2. The simplicity: don’t worry about creating flashy ads and banners and instead opt for something plain and simple.

Every brand has their own style and way of doing things, but adopting some of these suggestions may just help you to take your ads to that next level.

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