Case Study: How Advisor Jeff Rose Built Good Financial Cents (💰 $1.7M in Monthly Traffic)

Today we’re diving deep to dissect a content marketing phenomenon, known as Jeff Rose!

Jeff runs a Financial Advisory practice in Carbondale, Illinois called Alliance Wealth Management.

And he’s also built goodfinancialcents.com, which is consistently rated one of the top personal finance blogs in the world. 

In my opinion, Jeff is THE advisor others should be looking to model when it comes to content marketing. 

His results are staggering (we’ll get to those in a sec). 

But best of all: 

You’re about to discover the strategies he’s using, which of those are performing best, and how you can implement them for yourself. 

Here’s what’s inside:

Let’s talk results (have a look at the numbers he’s hitting)

Ok, time to get excited!

Because you’re about to see some laaaaarge numbers. 

Here’s a domain level snapshot (data courtesy of Ahrefs) of traffic across his website: 

Yes, you read that right: monthly traffic value of $1.7M!

So his little old blog…

(Which he started in 2011 to help differentiate himself from other advisors)… 

Has grown into a serious beast: 

  • 482,000 organic visits per month
  • Ranking in Google’s top 100 results for 296,000 keywords
  • 6,210 referring domains with 2,530,000 backlinks
  • A staggering monthly traffic value of $1,700,000
  • With a healthy Domain Rating (DR) of 72

I’ve also pulled a snapshot from SEMRush, to give you a fuller picture of site-wide traffic (Ahrefs is reporting only on SEO traffic): 

  • 1,500,000 visits per month from 1.3M unique visitors
  • Average 1.38 pages per visit
  • Healthy visit duration of 5 minutes 10 seconds
  • Bounce rate of 73.72%

And to give you an idea of where all this traffic comes from: 

  • When you have over 50% of your traffic coming direct to your website, you know you’ve done an awesome job building your brand!
  • Then over 40% of his traffic is from search
  • Minimal social
  • No paid ads

And just to set the context, here’s the user device breakdown:

Now, we can all agree these are huge numbers (and we’ll get into what’s driving this volume below)…

But you’re probably starting to think: 

What sort of business results is this driving??

Well, no-one has a crystal bowl into Jeff business, but he was kind enough to share some valuable insights in an interview with Michael Kitces: 

Click here to have a listen.

Now, on this podcast Jeff shared that his blog was driving $100,000 in revenue, per month (with a range of ads, sponsorships and affiliate offers – we’ll get into this more below)

Note: that interview was recorded in 2017.

Here’s how the site has grown since then: 

Conservative growth: at least 60%

So it’s likely that the annual revenue attached to the site is in the range of $1.2M to $2M.

That’s not the only thing that should get your eyebrows raised.

In a recent email, Jeff shared that his blog gets him 35-50 new leads per day!

That’s 35-50 new leads per day!

So if you’d like to start working towards these sorts of results, read on because we’re about to break it all down. 

First up, let’s check out the topics he’s ranking for and the content that’s attracting visitors:

Keywords and content driving the results

In this section we’re going to review Jeff’s most popular content and topics to see what we can learn. 

I’ve used Ahrefs to compile Good Financial Cent’s top traffic driving keywords, and top content (by traffic, traffic value and backinks). 

Let’s have a look at the keywords: 

👉Click here for the spreadsheet 👈

You’ll see here that Jeff’s been pretty smart about some of the topics he’s focussed on.

For example:

  • share builder (volume 103,000), keyword difficulty: 17
  • survey junkie (volume 240,000), keyword difficulty: 20
  • compass bank (volume 229,000), keyword difficulty: 10

What do you see here?

Yep, they’re low difficulty keywords (less intense competition), yet have MASSIVE search volume. 

In fact this strategy has worked so well that:

  • His top 20 keywords (out of 296,000 keywords he ranks for)
  • Account for roughly 84,000 monthly visits

Which is over 17% of his search traffic as reported by Ahrefs.

Quick side note here: 

The importance of your blog post URL:

I want to point out an important strategy when optimising your page to a target keyword. 

I’ve sorted Jeff’s top ranked pages, so you can see the position #1 ranked pages here:

Notice how optimised the blog URL is to the keyword being ranked for. 

In many cases it’s a complete ‘exact match’. 

In general, you want to include the target keyword in the blog post URL and make the URL as short as possible (while still being logical to read). 

Now let’s look at Jeff’s top content by the backlinks he’s getting:   

👉Go to the tab ‘Top Pages by Backlinks’ 👈

Now we’re looking at Jeff’s most shared content. 

Creating content that gets shared by your audience is essential to the success of your website long-term, because each ‘share’ is a backlink (or referring domain), which Google sees as a ‘vote’ of popularity for your website. 

 

If you want more background on the importance of backlinks and how it impacts your Domain Rating (DR), check out my article on Financial Advice SEO.

So what can we learn from Jeff’s top content?

Have a look at the page titles: 

Numbers and lists

  • Top 9 Best (and Free) Online Budgeting Tools – Good Financial Cents®
  • 23 Passive Income Ideas You Can Start Today [Make Money 24/7]
  • 15 Ways To Invest Small Amounts Of Money (and turn it into a large amount of money) – Good Financial Cents®
  • The Top 10 Good Financial Goals That Everyone Should Have For 2020 – Good Financial Cents®
  • 25 Top Highest Paying Jobs with NO College Degree in 2019
People love sharing content that’s actionable and valuable. List based posts which have already done the hard ‘research’ work, trigger that perception in readers minds. 

 

How To’s and Guides

  • Federal Income Tax Guide For 2020 | Tax Brackets, Tax Deductions, More!
  • Multiple Streams of Income: How to Earn Extra Money In Your Spare Time
  • How To Become A Certified Financial Planner | The Complete Walkthrough
  • How to Get Out of Debt – Good Financial Cents®
  • Roth IRA Rules – 7 Things You MUST Know (Updated 2020)
People love to get ‘credit’ for sharing something useful. If you put out a ‘how to’ guide that really helps the reader, people will naturally want to share it. 

 

Reviews

  • Best Life Insurance Companies for 2020 [65+ Reviewed]
  • Best Places to Open a Roth IRA in 2020
  • 11 Best Short Term Investments In 2019 | Keep Or Grow Money Safely
  • Best Car Insurance Companies for 2020 | Good Financial Cents®
  • 10 Awesome Websites Who Let You Check Your Home’s Value For Free
Like the list posts format above, when you publish review type content, you’ve effectively done the hard work for the reader, and are telling them what they need to know. It’s also a great strategy because it proves your expertise. 

 

Ok so now you have some high performing blog post title templates to model, but you should also check out these top performing posts to model them for yourself. 

Jeff’s content mix 

Now let’s look at Jeff’s content mix, because while he started off blogging, he’s pivoted into other mediums. 

Jeff’s what you’d call a content machine!

In addition to his wildly successful blog (we covered in detail above), he’s also publishing a podcast and videos to his YouTube channel. 

Let’s take a look at each.

The Podcast

Jeff started off podcasting around the end of 2013, and has published just over 100 podcasts. 

He was publishing roughly every fortnight, however as you can see above, he only released one podcast in 2018 (and the 2019 podcast looks to be a rehash of an older episode).   

With 2 podcasts in the last 2 years, I think it’s fair to say he’s switched his attention to the YouTube channel. 

So for this reason, I’m heading straight to the YouTube channel to dive deeper (if you want to take a closer look at his podcast, you can do that here). 

The Wealth Hacker YouTube Channel

Now, Jeff’s doing an awesome job with his YouTube channel, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this becomes a major traffic source for him in the future. 

  • 475 videos published
  • 288,000 subscribers on YouTube

YouTube is all about AIDA: 

  1. You need to capture attention: with effective video titles and video thumbnails
  2. You need to create interest: with a compelling introduction which convinces the user to watch
  3. You need to keep desire to watch: with awesome, valuable, entertaining content
  4. You need to drive action: with well optimised video descriptions and call to actions in (and at the end of) your video

Jeff’s definitely been learning, check out the evolution of his video thumbnails over the years. 

Early years:

Middle years:

And lately: 

Lesson here: create Video Titles and Thumbnails that capture attention and make people click on them!

Next, you need to create interest. 

Check out this video and watch Jeff’s introduction:

Straight from the intro: 

“So you think you know what passive income is? I’m willing to bet you don’t. So we’re going to find out what passive income really is, and we’re going to debunk some of the misconceptions. I’m also going to share my top 10 passive income sources that paid me $134,846.40 in passive income in 1 month.”

Pretty great reasons to watch the video, right!

Now Jeff delivers solid content throughout, and he wraps it all with an amazingly well optimised video description:

  • Overview of what you’ll learn
  • Section-by-section breakdown
  • Links to other videos
  • Links to resources
  • Links, links, links!

So of course video (if done well) is an incredible format to build trust with a new audience. 

As Jeff is doing here, video can be really effective at the Top of the Funnel, to attract and build a relationship with new audiences. 

And if you take the time to optimise the video and description with relevant Call to Actions, it can drive users down your Client Journey to your Lead Magnets, Intro Offers, and more. 

Ok, now we’re switching it up to look at his homepage and show you some cool things he’s doing there. 

What we can learn from his homepage

Ok so here’s a look at the homepage, and below I’ll outline a number of important takeaways:

Link to Get Started in header

A ‘Get Started’ page is a great strategy to use to ‘indoctrinate’ new users to your principles. Especially if you have a range of incredible content to share, this is a great way to move new users through your best stuff and quickly build a relationship with them.

 

Jeff’s photo front and centre 

This is super important for all services professionals who are essentially selling themselves. People love to connect to a person, rather than a brand. I believe all financial advice firms should feature the principle and/or team above the fold on the homepage. 

 

Above the fold button ‘Get Started Here’

This button is sitting above the fold, in prime real estate. So usually we’ll put the most important Call to Action (CTA) here. In this case, Jeff links this button to the ‘Most Popular Article’ section of the page. This highlights the importance of having amazing quality content to allow users to consume. It’s about putting the best foot forward. And because Jeff’s most likely monetising these articles with affiliate offers, he’s probably featuring hisd top earning article in this section. Nice funnel!

 

As featured on logos 

These logos quickly build trust and establish credibility. The ability to feature these logos on your website is one benefit of getting articles published in major publications. Two other benefits are the backlinks back to your website in each article, and the exposure to a new audience. It’s definitely worth seeking out guest blogging opportunities!

 

Where to start 

Again, this page is all about directing users to the best piece of content that will help them. The actual articles are doing all the heavy lifting by being relevant, valuable and actionable. 

Alright so now let’s dive a bit deeper into the site and talk about what Jeff’s doing to drive leads…

Lead Magnets and Intro Offers

Here’s an example of one of his article pages: 

Notice the sidebar. 

The sidebar is a perfect place to feature your top Call to Actions. 

In Jeff’s case, we’ve got: 

  • A newsletter signup box (lead)
  • Link to the Get Started page
  • Link to Dominate Your Money (Lead Magnet)
  • Ask Jeff a Question (lead)

Now check out what he does when you’re looking at an insurance focused article: 

Here we’ve got an insurance lead-gen offer. 

In this case, Jeff’s generating the lead on his site, then selling that lead to an insurance lead buyer. 

Pretty smart, huh? 

Let’s have a look at his main Lead Magnet, the Dominate Your Money toolkit: 

What I like about this Lead Magnet offer: 

  • Great benefit driven bullets that are actionable
  • Tools, worksheets, reports, checklists = massive value!
  • Image brings the toolkit to life

Here’s what happens when the form is submitted: 

The ‘Thank You’ page is actually an up-sell – of sorts. 

Here he’s asking the user to share his ‘Passive Income’ post on Facebook to unlock an extra guide. 

Imo, this could be done better, but it’s a pretty cool idea to drive viral growth!

His Book as an Intro Offer

A book is an incredible tool as an Introductory offer, especially for financial advice providers. 

What’s a great Introductory Offer again? 

It’s one that: 

  • Changes the relationship from being a prospect… to becoming a customer (a huge change in mindset)
  • It’s low cost so the prospect doesn’t experience friction (nothing like signing up for you managing their entire financial life)
  • It conveys your expertise, builds trust and delivers value

 

You use an Introductory Offer to convert prospects into clients, with the lowest possible friction. 

When done right, an Intro Offer can also be used to offset the cost of lead-generation advertising campaigns. 

Also, notice in the green box above: 

He’s giving away 2 free chapters of the book, in exchange for your email address. 

So this becomes both an Intro Offer and a Lead Magnet, at the same time. 

Nice! 

Jeff’s email marketing strategies

Since Jeff is a sophisticated marketer on all the surface levels (blog, YouTube, podcasts), I was expecting his email marketing to be on point…

And he didn’t disappoint. 

Immediately after subscribing, this is the first email I received: 

Yes this is his welcome email. 

Notice: the subject line (Important Action Required). 

Including this sets the expectation that the reader actually has to do something. 

And inside this email, we’re presented an option:

So when the reader clicks on one of those links, his marketing automation software ‘tags’ them. 

This is a really great way to segment your users so that you can deliver the best possible content, that’s most relevant to their needs. 

(Btw, this is definitely a strategy I recommend using if you have multiple Ideal Client Personas which have unique needs).

So what happens next?

Well, based on the link you click, you would be enrolled into a specific series of emails that’s customised to your needs. 

I clicked #3, and this is what Jeff sent back a few minutes later: 

This email informed me that he’s going to send a 5-part email series covering everything I need to know about planning for my retirement.

Now, aside from these ‘marketing automations’ Jeff has setup (which market to prospects on autopilot), he’s also sending out regular content via email. 

Here’s a recent example: 

This is what I’d call a ‘new content’ email. 

It could either be a broadcast campaign to the entire list, or setup as another large automation that new prospects move through. 

In this example, we can see that Jeff is sharing a new video he released on YouTube.  

The idea behind this strategy is to nurture the relationship with new prospects overtime, by continually delivering value. 

You deliver value by sharing your top content. 

So when it comes time for one of Jeff’s subscribers to work with a financial adviser, who do you think they’ll turn to?

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