As I said in my earlier post, some advisors are running on empty—and don’t even know it yet. They might be cruising smoothly for now. But if they aren’t adding enough prospects to the top of their sales funnels, they won’t be able to fuel their businesses over the long run.

I don’t want that to happen to you. So I am going to share a few ideas for keeping your sales funnel filled—automatically.

If you remember, I introduced the concept of a sales funnel in my last post. Each part of the funnel focuses on a different part of the buyer’s journey. At the top, the challenge is to build awareness. The middle is the evaluation phase. The bottom represents the purchase decision. Ultimately, your goal is to move people from perfect strangers to committed advocates for your brand. You need a lot of bodies entering the top of the funnel, because only a small fraction emerge as signed clients. And the faster you want to grow, the more fresh faces you need.

Until recently, advisors filled the top of the funnel by pressing the flesh. You, or your rainmaker, would head out to meet new people. Host dinner seminars. Ask for introductions. Get referrals. Once you collected some names and numbers, you simply stayed in touch from time to time.

The trouble is, that model doesn’t work anymore. It’s expensive and inefficient. It doesn’t scale. And it doesn’t suit changing investor behavior.

In the last few years, a host of automation solutions have come on the market, promising to make the engagement process more efficient. Problem is, most of those technologies target the middle and bottom phases of the sales funnel. They replace the old dog-and-pony show at the dinner seminar—but not the mailing lists you rented when you invited people in the first place. Syndicated content doesn’t help if you have nowhere to send it.

Here’s are three ways to automate the upper half of your sales funnel:

  1. Build a more interactive website. Your website is your digital storefront—the hub of all of your interactions with your target audience. Start by auditing your current site. Have you paid attention to SEO and meta tags? If not, your site may not be easily discoverable. What kind of experience greets a prospect once they arrive? Is your website mostly a static brochure? Or is it interactive? Can people easily engage, ask questions, and follow up? If not, your site needs an overhaul.
  2. Create more engaging, unique content. You can find syndicated content of very high quality—perfect as engagement tools for existing prospects. But why would a stranger choose to visit your site for content they could get elsewhere? People are looking for unique opinions, insights, education, resources, and data—things they can’t find anywhere else online.
  3. Go wherever your target audience is searching. People who aren’t aware of you aren’t looking for you. Instead, they’re searching for answers to their problems. How do I provide for kids who don’t want to be involved in my business? If the market tanks two years before my retirement date, what impact will that have on my portfolio? How can I invest in a more socially responsible manner? When they look for answers, your name needs to pop up. The way to do that is through social media, content marketing, and a strong PR program promoting you as an expert resource.

A new website, custom content, social media, PR—I know, it sounds like a lot of work. But the fact is, automating your funnel actually takes less time and money in the long run than relying on person-to-person contact to scrounge up every lead. If you want to grow, automating your funnel is the way forward.