You're listening to Financial Adviser Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]
James: Hey financial advisors, welcome to another episode of Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. I know I say it frequently when I have a guest that I've got a special treat for you, but this is someone that I really respect. He's got accolades on top of accolades on top of accolades. He's got San Diego magazine, top advisor investment news, Top 40 under 40. He's got young advisor to watch in 2017 and he's bold enough and generous enough to share what works and what doesn't work in his own words and his own, his own website, The Experiments in Advisor Marketing Podcast. And he's got another podcast on top of that. And I think I vibe well with this guy because he's a hard worker obviously, he does a lot of stuff and does a lot of cool things with marketing and with financial services. So, I'd like to welcome the man, the myth, the legend Taylor Schulte. How you doing, man? I'm so glad to like actually be here with you. [01:22.2]
Taylor: James, yeah, I'm doing really well. I appreciate all the kind words, the nice introduction. And I appreciate you having me on the show.
James: So, for the financial advisors who may be living under a rock and have no idea who you are, would you like to do like a brief introduction, who you are, how you got into the industry, why you like it? Just the basic intro stuff.
Taylor: Yeah, absolutely. I'll keep it high level and then you tell me what you want to dig into. I am a native San Diegan, which is actually kind of rare. It's a very transient city, a lot of people coming in and out, big military presence. We don't have a lot of different industries here, so it is rare. But I grew up here, went to school in Arizona, right out of school, 22 years old, got my first job as a financial advisor at a large brokerage firm here in San Diego. I always knew that I wanted to work in finance. I've told the story before that, you know, my grandfather gave me some shares of a stock for Christmas when I was about 12 years old. And I was really disappointed because he usually would give us 20 bucks or $50 in cash. And that year he gave all of his grandkids a stock certificate. And that just kind of, I think peaked my interest in the world of finance. He, he taught us how to look up the stock in a newspaper and what a dividend was and all that fun stuff. So, I knew that I wanted to work in the world of finance. I just didn't really know what that meant. Unlike a lot of students, I talked to today who, you know, know all about the fiduciary standard, fee only and RIA and they're graduating with their CFP is like, I just didn't know anything. [02:43.6]
And so, I had a few job offers out of school. I took the one from Morgan Stanley here in San Diego. And back then, so it was 2007, you were just thrown into the fire. It was just like, get your licenses, here's a desk, here's a phone and it was something like you bringing in $15 million in two years or something. And, you know, I was just young and naive and I didn't even know what any of that meant. So, I just took the challenge and you know, I battled through it. Shortly after obviously we had 08-09, so that threw a wrench in a lot of things, but it also gave me some extra flexibility with my sales goals. I forget what they did at the time, but obviously they had to adjust things, knowing that the market's down 50% Long story short yeah, I battled there for five or six years. I built up a, you know, a small book of clients. And I, I left, I kind of saw, I started reading Michael Kitces at the time about 2012 and started learning about the independent world and fee only and fiduciary and RIA and all that stuff. [03:41.4]
And so, I jumped ship. I went to the independent world, worked for an independent firm for a couple years. I had taken my clients with me and, you know, it was at that time, we just said, you know, I just, I was really interested in getting creative and doing different things. And I was so tired of asking for permission and being told no, and kind of climb my way to yes. And I just had all these like fun, creative ideas, a lot of stuff that I talk about today on the marketing podcast. And my wife was working, we didn't have kids. And I thought, you know, it's kind of now or never, if I'm going to go do my own thing. So, in 2014, I launched my firm. So about six years ago, I started with, you know, I don’t know, handful clients, about 15, $20 million in assets. We're approaching a hundred million now, so we've grown pretty substantially. And as I'm happy to dig into, most of our growth is purely organic. Meaning people are finding us, you know, we're not reaching out, soliciting them. [04:36.4]
So, you know, we put out really good content in a few different formats and use some unique marketing strategies to, again, really just, put good information out there and let consumers identify whether or not we're potential fit and then reach out to us. So, I've had a lot of fun, I've had a lot of success in marketing. I've also had a lot of failures and I try to share both, so advisors can, can learn from those failures and maybe shortcut some of the things that I've done. So that's, that's the short of it. [05:03.8]
James: Well, that's it, that's one of the things I like most about you is there, there are a lot of people out there who will share win after win, after win, after win. Like I that's cool. And yeah, it's nice to see people winning and doing well with marketing experiments, but what about all the stuff that didn't go so well? And I mean, that's why you have your show, Experiments in Advisor Marketing. Well, just out of my personal curiosity, what made you want to get involved in the wild and wacky world of podcasting? [05:29.6]
Taylor: Well, I don't really know. Three and a half, four years ago, it just seemed like podcasting, you know, was, was starting to get popular. I was listening to more and more podcasts and I was just like this weird, like, Hey, I'm gonna start a podcast. And I had found this podcast launch service, and this is one of the mistakes that I, that I've talked about actually and we can talk more about if you'd like. I found this podcast launch service where you pay them, I don't know, five or $6,000.
Taylor: And they'll help you bring your podcast to life. They'll coach you on what equipment to buy, they'll help you with the branding and the show name and the editing for your first three episodes. And, and the, the cover art, you know, everything that you would need to launch a podcast. And so, at the time, I just kind of felt like podcasting was, I guess I should back up and say, you know, I've always been really involved in Fincon. [06:18.7]
So, Fincons a community of personal finance, you know, people around the world, whether you're a writer, an author, a blogger, you know, building courses, whatever kind of all walks of life there, and podcasting was starting to get more popular in the fincon crowd, I think, which is what kind of led me to it. And we were seeing just a lot of it, we still are seeing a lot of parallels between the podcasting world and the blogging world. And I have always struggled to sit down and write, and I thought, I'll give this podcasting thing a go so. Anyhow, I, you know, I paid this group to help me get this thing off the ground and that's where it all started. But, you know, I, I, I stumbled for probably a year and a half just trying to find my groove and figure out how this thing was going to work. And I say that it's one of my mistakes paying this, this group to launch the podcast because, you know, we, we all have these days have, you know, an iPhone in our pocket. And you know, all these phones have native recording apps on them. And I always tell people, you know, before you go spend $6,000 or even $1,000, or even 30 minutes of your time researching podcast equipment online, like go and record a few episodes into your phone and just see how it feels and I would even go as far as say, publish those. [07:26.9]
I mean, it's pretty easy these days to you know, to, to jump on one of these apps and, and publish a podcast, like just record three episodes into your phone and publish it and put it out there and just see how it feels. And if it feels like something that you enjoy and you're good at, and you're getting some initial good feedback from, then you can pour gasoline on it and go pay somebody five grand to take it to the next level. And you see this with a lot of great marketers in and out of our industry. You know, you think of somebody like Gary V who comes up in marketing conversations, you know, go back to his very first YouTube video. It's, it's not, it's not good, right. He didn't have a professional videographer following him around. He just started with, you know, what he had in his pocket or, you know, whatever camera he had in his closet. And, you know, he built on it from there. And I think too often, I'll just say, I'll pick on myself too often, like, I think I can just spend some money and it'll magically solve my problem. [08:18.9]
James: Oh you, yeah.
Taylor: Like, I don't need to do them.
James: You would need tons of advisers.
Taylor: Yeah. I don't, I don't need to do the hard work. I can just pay $6,000 and I'll have the best podcast in the world, which is really not the case. You really have to do that hard work first before, you know, you can start to pour gasoline on these things. So that's, that's where I'm at. I'll just say one last thing, you hear this, this number in the marketing world of three years, it takes three years for things to really start to work. And that's exactly what I experienced with my retirement podcasts. It, it took exactly three years to start to gain real traction and start to actually generate real revenue, my firm from the podcast. So, it just takes a while stay consistent, kind of find your voice, figure out, you know, who your audience is. But these things do take time. [09:04.7]
James: Yeah. There's so much wisdom in that. Especially like just ship the product to get whatever it is that you're doing recorded on your phone. A lot of people listening to this podcast right now may not know I used to have a show called The Advisor Coach Podcast and I did all that myself. So, I kind of like followed your advice unknowingly. I mean, I did it because I was a control freak quite honestly. And then I started paying a company like 40 episodes in, so I took way too long. I, I wish I had you telling me that, but yeah, I couldn't agree more with like, do the thing first, then hire it out. If it's something you like, if it's something you want to do, so that's awesome. And you create a lot of content, I know you're a busy person and I like watching your interviews online. And one of the favorites that I have is the one you did with Samantha Russell. I saw it on her YouTube channel, I don't know if she posted it elsewhere. And you talked about how you generate leads through SEO. And I kind of want to keep the show, I want to steer it in this direction cause I feel like I'm going to title this show, like, ‘How financial advisors can generate leads or set appointments with SEO. So, we'll talk about that. How did you get started learning about SEO? [10:13.5]
Taylor: I think it was just purely out of curiosity and, and kind of desperation. You know, I had started my firm in 2014 and I had this blank slate. And what felt like all the freedom in the world, you know, now I didn't have anybody really telling me no, except for my attorney. You know, so it was like time to get creative and try different things and one of the things I noticed is that financial advisors are not very visible online. And I compare it to somebody like a personal injury attorney who we have a few as clients and you know, it costs them tens of thousands of dollars per month just to get visibility online because every personal injury attorney out there is, you know, playing that game. And so, what I figured out is since advisers and very, very large successful firms are not, you know, are, are not doing that and not optimizing their websites appropriately, it just didn't really take much in order for me to nail down the basics of SEO and start to see some real results. [11:10.0]
I want to, since you want to dig in more to this topic, I want to back up and say that the first step in all of this, before you start nerding out on SEO and learning how to optimize your website and all that stuff is to make sure that your home base, your, your website is dialed in so that when these potential clients show up through your marketing efforts, through your SEO efforts, they have a journey like they know what to do. Once they land on your website, you could have the greatest visibility in the world and the best SEO optimized website in the world. But if they get to your website and they don't know if they're in the right place, they don't know if you're a good fit, they don't know what the first step is. They don't know what to do, if there's 10 things for them to do on your homepage, they're going to be paralyzed. And so, would encourage all advisors. You know, step one is to reevaluate your home base. This is your storefront. And I feel like so many advisors are afraid to spend money and time here, but this is your storefront. I spent over in the last six years; I've easily spent over $50,000 on our website because it pays the bills. Again, that's our storefront. [12:12.0]
You know, there's a lot to unpack with how to properly design your website and your home base so that people take action once they land there. My buy is just for, for this show today is to go read the book, StoryBrand if you've never read the book, StoryBrand by Donald Miller, you know, go, go pick up that book, read it. They have tons of resources on their website. They have a podcast. You can just go deep into the world of StoryBrand and start to learn about how to create a proper website and a proper user journey so that when people land on it, they actually take action. So, I just want to make sure that we really highlight that and drill that in, before we start talking about some of the tactical stuff. [12:47.9]
James: So, producer Jonathan, the, the person who is usually here when it's not just me flying solo with a guest, he loves that book and he, its required reading for his team. So financial advisors, if you're listening to this, like at the gym or driving, if you're driving anywhere now Taylor's website to Define Financial, the first thing you see when you get there is Retirement Planning for Individuals over age, 50. Brilliant. And then you got Reduced Taxes, Invest Smarter, Optimize Income, again, brilliant. You're telling people who you work with and how you help them. Now, when I first wanted to get Taylor on the show, a lot of times when I have guests on the show, it starts with like a little thought that just one day I'm like, Hey, I want this guy on the show and then like six months later, it finally happens. So, when I first decided that I wanted him on the show, his call-to-action button was start here. But when I finally reached out to him and I was like, Hey, do you want to get on this show? I noticed it was changed to get your free assessment. And I don't want to really want to make any assumptions about that. Can you explain why you changed it? Or if this is just another experiment, I mean, what's going on here? [13:52.0]
Taylor: Yeah. Well, let's, let's back up first and acknowledge that on your website, on your homepage, you should have one single clear, clear call to action. Not five, not 10, not three, one single clear call to action. If a user lands on your website, if a potential client lands on your website, there should be one thing that you want them to do. And it could simply be, I want them to join my mailing list, right? My email list. It doesn't have to be scheduled call and become a client, but whatever that one thing is, that's what we want our one call to action to be. We want to make that really easy for that user to take that action, if they feel like they're in the right place. Most websites, not just advisor websites, most advisor websites, the call to action is something like learn more or contact us or schedule a call. It's, it's something either a little bit too daunting or something that's not descriptive. It's not enticing. They see it on every other website. So just kind of like they gloss over it. And so, I've talked about before that, the magic of the start here, button, these, these words start here to seem to be magical because they just stand out. They're just different. It's not learn more or contact us or meet the team or something, it’s start here. [15:01.1]
So, if somebody lands on your website, they feel like they're potentially in the right place, they've got this big call to action button that says start here. And for whatever reason, you don't know enough about psychology and messaging users love to click on a button that says, start here. Now that doesn't just mean you're ready to go. And all of a sudden people are going to start scheduling calls with you, but that's a really good starting point to have a call to action that people actually click. I went through, you know, always trying to get better. I'm always trying to improve; I'm always trying to trying to think outside of the box. And so, I went through a website audit during COVID. When COVID hit and things kind of, you know, people were paralyzed and we didn't see a lot of action here at the firm. I thought, well, I'm going to work on kind of the boring behind the scenes stuff that often gets neglected. And so, I went through a, I hired somebody to do a website audit, a user experience, audit somebody with a fresh pair of eyes outside of our industry to come to our website and provide some feedback and some recommendations for how we can improve things. [15:56.0]
And one of the things that they noted was, Hey, we understand that start here is a great call to action. We know that it, it works and it captures attention, we feel like you could make it more descriptive. So, when somebody clicks on that start here button, they don't really know what's behind that button. They don't know what's going to happen. So, once they go to that next page, it's going to kind of surprise them a little bit. Well, on that page, it's essentially offering a free retirement assessment. That's what we offer potential clients. It's essentially a light financial plan. We don't charge for. It's a way for them to see our value, the types of recommendations we make, our philosophy, our approach, all that stuff. It's a way for them to evaluate our firm. So, it's a, it's a free assessment. And so, we thought, well, why don't we just tell them that on the button. Why don’t we just tell them, so they're not surprised like once they get to that page, they're not surprised and taken back by anything. And so we just made it more descriptive, also it has an element of what's in it for them built into it, right. They're getting something out of it. It's not, you know, again, start here is great, but they don't really know what what's in it for them. They don't know what's again, behind that button. [17:01.7]
I'm offering them something of value that makes it even more enticing. It also kind of weeds people out too, because if they don't want a free assessment, if they're not interested in hiring us or evaluating us, then they're probably not going to click that button. And that's totally fine. So, it just seemed to kind of optimize things a little bit further. I just, I’ll acknowledge that the start here page, the page that you're led to by clicking that button has always been the second most visited page on our website. So even swapping out, start here versus free retirement assessment, I'm not seeing much of a difference. It's still the second most visited page on our website. It would be really challenging for me to kind of AB test it and see what works better. There's a lot of kind of moving parts and data to sort through. I would just say, I just think it feels better, it's more, more descriptive. So, it just kind of feels better to me, but I, I think either call to action would work. [17:54.9]
James: Yeah. I agree with you. And I actually do have a psychology background, like that's what I went to school for. And I can see that that's what works. And the other thing I like when people get to the assessment page, your copy is on point because, and I mean, for financial advisors, listening to the show, they know also know that I come from the copywriting world, like that's my bread and butter. That's what it is. Your copy is really on point because you say certain things such as, how do I know if I'm a good fit? And you say individuals over age 50 good, who are retired or want to know they have the ability to retire one day. That's amazing from my point of view, because that's like psychological reassurance and that's something a lot of financial advisors completely missed. It's just cut and dry. Yours is like reassuring to these people. [18:41.8]
Taylor: Yeah. I'll also say too, there is this trend and you can kind of capitalize on this trend through your messaging. And there's this trend with consumers that they don't want to just work for 30 years and retire and do nothing. So, you know, we've used the phrase work optional and consumers seem to really latch onto that phrase, work optional. They just want to know that they have the ability to retire one day, that work can become optional. Again, gone are the days they're like I'm going to retire at age 60 and I just want to know that I can be done and quit work and then do nothing. It just doesn't seem to resonate, at least not with the types of people that we're talking about. So that's what we're trying to capture there, is somebody who absolutely loves their job and they can't ever see themselves not working out at all. I don't want to scare those people away. And so just a little, you know, little bit of information there from marketing perspective. [19:29.4]
James: And I think there's a book called Work Optional. I mean, I read a lot of books in the fire movement and I'm in like fat fire groups. Cause like I personally, that's what I'm at going after is fat fire. The next thing that I see you have is Diligent savers who have accumulated investment and retirement assets of $750,000 or more, pretty standard stuff, but then you throw in this Excluding Real Estate. And as a good example of a qualifying sentence, cause I know a lot of people will say, yeah, I've got $750,000 in assets. It's like, Oh, but not your house and not your vacation property or your rental property. So, I really liked that too. [20:05.1]
Taylor: Great. Yeah. You know, we worked really hard on that messaging, you know, the goal is we don't want to waste anyone's time and we don't want to waste our team's time. And so, we just want to be really clear about everything, so when they actually schedule that phone call, you know, we're just talking, you know, personality fit, answering a few basic questions, we're not having to go through all these things on, on the phone. Also, I don't want my office manager to get stuck answering these questions. I don't want her to get stuck, having to answer our minimums and what's excluded and include, I, it doesn't shouldn't fall on her shoulders. So, try to get, you know, all, all potential questions answered on that page. So then when they schedule that phone call, that's all out of the way. [20:43.7]
James: I didn’t even think about that. That's really smart. [20:46.1]
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James: So back to the SEO thing. Are you diverse in doing the work and building the back links and optimizing the headers? Do you hire it out? Do you have like a task list? Like what is, the help me visualize that and explain it like I'm five.
Taylor: Sure. Well to answer your first question I do it all. I've done it all since day one. I've I've taught myself. It's really not overly complicated. You said, explain it to you, like you're five, which is great because that really all you need to do is nail down the, the basics of SEO. The analogy that, that I've given to kind of start this conversation is, you know, when you save a file to your computer, you give it a name, right? So that you can find that file later on, either through a search tool or some organization method that you have, and the same can be applied to your website, we need to give it some sort of description so that Google and the search engines know who you are, what you do, and when to put your website in front of other people that are going to the search box and entering different keywords. [22:09.2]
So those are called meta descriptions and meta titles or broadly referred to as meta-tags. Meta-tags are really just like words and descriptions so that Google and search engines know what the heck you're doing and when to put you in front of search users. So that's kind of the first step is just make sure that your website has proper titling and proper descriptions on the backend. This has nothing to do with like the front end of your website. These are just little things on the backend that you just got to type in that most people miss, so that Google just knows who you, who you are and what you do. You know, just, just the words Define Financial, like those are meaningless. Google doesn't know if I'm a, if I'm a bank or where I'm at, they don't know if I'm in San Diego or, you know, in the UK or whatever. Like they just don't know anything about me. [22:54.2]
Now, I say that like, Google is pretty smart, right? They have a lot of data points on us, so they probably know more than we think that they know, but we still want to help Google connect those dots. So, kind of the first step in the world of SEO is just give your site a title. That title should include, you know, your firm name, of course; it should also include kind of what you do. So, ours says something like Defined Financial - Certified Financial Planner in San Diego, right. So, they know that we're financial planners, we're in San Diego, sometimes search users will use certified financial planners, so we've kind of put that keyword in there. And then giving, you know, each, each page and your site, a description. Now that might sound like a lot and daunting and how do I even do that on my website? There's a simple, free tool out there that you can install on your website called a Yoast SEO. It is very easy to use. Anybody can use it. And once you launch Yoast, SEO, it'll guide you Step-By-Step on how to add these titles and descriptions to each of your, your webpages. So, I'll just stop there and see what else you want to talk about in terms of descriptions and titles. [23:56.9]
James: So, I haven't had a WordPress website in a long time. Is Yoast still only for WordPress? I just want to be sure.
Taylor: That's a good question. Yeah. My expertise is on WordPress, so I'm not sure. I, I do think that they integrate with Squarespace and maybe Wix. I'm not sure, but some of the more user-friendly website platforms like Wix and Squarespace, they often make it easier for you to update titles and descriptions is my understanding. So, they might just have a, a tool built in to, to prompt you to do that. You may not need Yoast, I'm not sure, but.
Taylor: Now I also want to say, look, I love this stuff, right? Like I love learning about it. I love, you know, trying and experimenting, however, you know, us as financial advisors, like most of us really shouldn't be spending our time trying to figure out how to add meta titles and meta descriptions to our website. And so, you know, I would encourage advisors to find a good web developer. I have a few different websites. And on my firm website, I pay about $120 a month just for regular maintenance with my web developer. But just a relationship like that allows me to email my team there and say, Hey, can you update this, this meta title or this meta-description, there are some other providers that can do it for a lower cost, 30 or 40 bucks a month. I guess what I'm getting at is you shouldn't have to figure this out. You should have somebody that you can email and say, Hey, I'd like to improve my, my titles and descriptions on my website for SEO purposes. Can you help me do that? And let them let them tackle that, like, you know, we shouldn't really be getting lost in this stuff and distracted we have work to do for our clients. So, I do want to acknowledge that too, that not everyone has to figure this out on their own. [25:33.2]
James: Yeah. It's important to have people like you leading the way. And I see a parallel in content marketing too, where a lot of advisors are like, Oh, I've got to create this and do this podcast and do this video and do this status update. All that’s well and good, especially if it suits your personality and you like it and you want to do it, but you got a business to run. I know one objection that is probably coming up in people's minds right now is they're thinking, well, Taylor, you're in San Diego, that's a big city. A lot of people are searching financial planner in San Diego or financial advisor San Diego, but I'm in Podunk, Iowa or someplace and, or in some little town in Arkansas, how is that going to help me? Should I still look at SEO? And what is your response to that? [26:15.6]
Taylor: Yeah, there's kind of two ways that you can go about, about SEO. One is going after this local aspect, right, the San Diego financial advisor, San Diego, financial planner. Even in a, in a city like ours, where we have three and a half million people, we only see about 200 people per month searching those keywords. So, it's not as, not a lot of volume there, but those are like very targeted keywords. Somebody going to Google and typing that in means they are looking for a financial advisor. It's not somebody casually scrolling Facebook and me putting an ad in front of them, right. It's somebody like really serious. So, 200, 200, 300 is a pretty good number. If you don't have that kind of search traffic and you can easily do some keyword research to find out, you know, the volume, there's some great free tools out there. I mean, Google analytics, will, will give you all that too. If you don't have that kind of search volume, there's, there's two solutions. One is you can broaden it a little bit. My good friend, Jeff Rose, he owns the, or used to own the site, Goodfinancialsense.com. He's no longer. [27:13.9]
James: Oh yeah.
Taylor: Yeah, he's no longer an advisor, but Jeff was an early mentor, a marketing mentor of mine. And he was in a small town in Illinois called Carbondale, Illinois. And I don't know where Carbondale is. I don't think many people do. I think he told me one time, it's like, you know, 50 miles to the closest grocery store or something. I don’t know. So, to combat that he targeted the keyword Illinois. So, he was Illinois financial advisor, Illinois financial advisor. He may have even targeted Chicago since I don't know that Chicago is that far from him. So, there are certain States and certain regions where that works and California could actually be one of them too. A lot of people do search like California attorney or California advisor. So, depending on where you're located, you can take that approach instead of like a really hyper-local approach. [28:02.2]
The second solution to combat the issue is to have a really strong niche, right? And this is a growing, this is growing in popularity, consumers, aren't fully understanding that they can go search for a financial advisor that only works with optometrists, right. But we're getting there slowly but surely. And it's not all that different from the legal world where you would go type in divorce attorney or personal injury attorney, you would never go type in attorney San Diego. You would never do that, right? Like you would go find a specific attorney that you're looking for. And I think that's where our business is headed. You know, I have a good friend out in Florida, he only works a speech language pathologist. He's a financial advisor, that’s all he works with. And I did a lot of SEO work with him actually, and we're able to target really specific things regarding speech language pathology, in order to get traction and visibility online. So a little bit different of an angle there, but if you have a strong niche, you know, you can go after that niche and the keywords associated with that niche instead of being focused on on the local aspect, which makes sense too, because Craig works works with speech language pathologists. His clients are all around the country, not just in Florida, like he has such a tight niche that, you know, someone could be in North Dakota and if he's somebody that, that can help them, like they're going to reach out. So, it allows you to kind of cast a wider net around the country, but also be really specific in your keywords. [29:28.0]
James: That's something that I, as like a little secret, we were going to give it away on the show, of course, because why not? But sometimes I'll have advisors put like the keywords they want to target and like the local keywords into like H rush or SEM rush. And they'll see like which ones have the lowest keyword difficulty and which areas do like Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, whatever. And they will, if they're virtual, this doesn't work if they're geographically restricted, but if they're virtual, they'll just target whatever and take those searches from people. That, with the speech pathology thing, so you're saying that he goes after speech pathology terms and then within the content, he's like, Oh, by the way, I help these people with their finances. Is that correct? [30:10.0]
Taylor: Yeah. It's a little bit different of a marketing strategy and it's definitely longer-term kind of phase one of that project is just to simply position him as a, as a thought leader in the industry. Right. Just like build trust with that audience and just become a financial expert to SLPs’. And so, it wasn't so much about, let's try to find people, let's try to find speech language pathologists that are searching for an advisor. Let's just try to, to again, gain visibility in that industry. Because again, consumers just, aren't smart enough to know that there are financial advisors out there that only work with dentists. They just, that they're not aware of that yet. So, the more visibility you can build and the more trust you can build in that niche community, I think will just naturally start to lead towards some, you know, some other some, some marketing success that that was kind of strategy there. Now I do think eventually, and I think this has happened in some niches in dentistry. It's probably a good example. I do think there is some search volume for, you know, financial advisor for dentists or financial advisor for airline pilots. [31:13.3]
So, I think you can start to get more granular there. But yeah, you know, if you only work with, yeah, I would just say optometrists, like think about, or do keyword research around optometry and what kind of information people are looking for and what type of keywords they're searching for. And again, my goal would just be like, add as much value as possible and just become a financial expert and kind of a go-to resource and then you can start to get more tactical with your marketing from there. [31:39.9]
James: Yeah. That's a really good strategy. And that's kind of what I do personally, like would the advisor coach as a business. Financial advisor search, financial advisor terms, you know, the site comes up. What if someone, I guess has multiple niches or doesn't want to choose a niche? They can't go after terms like Roth IRA or traditional IRA, because those are going to get eaten alive because like Merrill Lynch and Amex, they will rank for those terms. Do you see any, like, I don't know how to phrase this question? This is not very, I'm not being a good podcast host right now, but are there any like super specific un-targeted unearthed financial keywords that you've seen advisors go after and like capitalize on? [32:22.6]
Taylor: Gosh I don't know. I think, you know, you can always think about current events too, right? If there are certain things going on, you know, for example, we had a blog post, it was titled something like, ‘Is the stock market going to crash?’ And so, you know, whenever we go through these periods, volatility and people get worried that blog posts starts to climb in the rankings for is the stock market going to crash. So, I don't necessarily suggest that you go out and chase headlines and try to rank for, for current events. But that's one way to maybe get clever with it, especially if there are law changes, right. You know, cares act, secure act type stuff. So, if you keep your finger on the polls and you know, Michael Kitces does a good job of this too, you know, you might be able to capitalize on some of those more unique keywords that, you know, haven't been swallowed up by now. So yeah, that, that that'd be one example, I was going to go somewhere else too, but I kind of lost my train of thought there. [33:15.2]
James: Well, that's a good idea. And I've seen a few advisors now that you mentioned it. I've seen some do really well on YouTube with that, because a lot of people, if there's current events, they won't watch videos about it.
James: And they just go there. PPP loan was, Oh my goodness. It was hot on YouTube. When it first came out, everybody was looking like, how do I get the PPP loan? Do I qualify? Is it two paychecks cycles the two months like, they were looking?
James: So I really, really liked that advice. Aside from SEO, I guess are there any other marketing strategies that have been working for you I guess like in the past year or so? [33:45.2]
Taylor: Yeah, really quick, I just want to go back to your previous question. I remembered where I was going to go. You had asked about, you know, somebody with multiple niches and this question often comes up when it's a larger firm and there's, you know, 10 different advisors there and they do work with multiple demographics. And I think one potential solution there to consider is to have to have a home base, to have a website for the firm, of course, that's a little bit more broad in nature, but still has a user journey for prospective clients and encourage and help those advisors that you have kind of own a particular niche and develop a personal brand and their own personal website around that niche. So, we've seen some larger firms start starting to do this. So, let them go out, have their own website that's just targeted towards dentists or millennials or retirees and all roads should lead back to that main website that has that clear journey. But those different advisors are able to, you know, again, get really tactical and just target a particular niche with that website and that personal brand. [34:49.5]
So, you know, if I was a larger firm and I had multiple advisors to, you know, to, to handle it, that's the approach I would probably take. It gets a little confusing when someone lands on your website and it's like, Hey, we work with these 10 different demographics, so that's just one, one way to consider it. In terms of other marketing strategies, I thought you know I would share one thing that I'm seeing working right now, but before like something, you know, tactical and tangible, people can take home and, and go and try to implement. Before I do that, I just want to really kind of highlight that if you're, if you're struggling to find success in the digital marketing world, if you're like, I've tried SEO, doesn't work, I've tried a podcast, doesn't work. I’ve tried, you know whatever. I would say to hit the brakes on all of your marketing and I would go back and I would just pick one single thing that you enjoy that comes natural to you, that feels authentic to you. And I would just obsess over that one single thing and only do that one thing, like stop searching for a magical solution, you know, stop trying to find the thing that's trending just because everyone else is starting a podcast doesn't mean you have to start a podcast. [35:57.2]
So, if you're, if you're struggling in the digital marketing side of things, just like hit the brakes and really think about what do you enjoy doing? And it could be, I really love writing. Okay, great. Like that's what I want you to, all I want you to do is just to write, write, and just obsess over writing, you know, become a student of, of that, that side of marketing, like study other people that are good at writing study, other blogs go to blogging conferences by blogging courses, whatever, just like obsess over that one single thing, it could be writing. It could be public speaking. It could be doing webinars. It could be a podcast. You know, I always joke like it could be, you know, handwriting letters and mailing them to your target demographic. I really don't care what it is, but I promise you that if you just pick one thing and it has to come natural to you, you have to enjoy doing it; it has to give you energy. If you obsess over that one thing and you just figure out, how can I add more value? How can I get better at this thing? And you're constantly learning and improving and you give it time and you give it that, that, that two to three years you will find success with it. [36:57.3]
The problem I see is advisors say, Oh, I want to start social media marketing, and they go start a Twitter and a Facebook and LinkedIn and a TikTok and all these things where like, you can't, you can't be good at all those things. Also, your target demographic probably doesn't live on all those different platforms. So, I would find one social media platform, the one where your target market lives, the one that you enjoy spending time on and just obsess over that one channel and own it. Once you find success there and you've got a good process, then you can start to stack other things on top, like, okay, I've mastered podcasting. Like, what else can I do? What else can I add to my, what I call your marketing wheel? We want to have five to six different marketing activities that we're doing consistently, that we do them well again, they give us energy, they come natural to us. And those five or six things all kind of work together to contribute to our marketing success. [37:47.0]
I was sharing the other day, how, you know, local SEO for a while had been the sole producer for a lot of our new clients. Last year in 2020, it just kind of dried up. And I don't really know why I'm sure COVID had a big part in that, but those, those prospects coming from local SEO really kind of dried up, but I've got a retirement podcast and that picked up the slack. And most of our new clients last year came directly from the retirement podcast, people that were not in San Diego. I think almost all of our new clients last year came from out-of-state. And so that's a really good example of having multiple marketing activities that are working together and, you know, these things ebb and flow. So that's just kinda my rant there. I just really like to drill that home. One tactical kind of marketing strategy that I spent a lot of on last year that I've seen a lot of success with is what I call like a content cleanup. And I'll just use blogging as an example, since blogging has been very popular for a long time now. [38:45.4]
Maybe you've, you know, chaotically written on your blog for the last several years, Google these days, I'll back up and say in the early days of SEO, it was quantity over quality is. Like, if you just wrote every single day, just the quantity, the volume, Google would reward you for it and you would have visibility and show up online. Now there's so much content out there that it's been flipped on its head and Google is like, okay, right now it's quality over quantity. I don't care how long something is or how many blogs you publish it's quality over quantity. So, you could have, you know, if you're in a retirement planning expert, you could have 10 of the very best blog posts on retirement planning topics, just like the absolute, very best Kitces style, you know, 4,000 words and Google is going to reward you for it. [39:33.9]
And so what we did, we had, I don't know how many blog posts on our website 50, a 100. I'm not sure, but we went through this blog cleanup process and we got rid of content that just was just not good, it didn't speak to our target demographic. So, we just simply just deleted that content out of the blog; we cleaned it out of there. Blog posts that were still fitting, we improved. So, we looked at them and we had, you know, some independent contractors that helped with this process, but you know, how can we make this blog post even better? How can we improve the title? Can we add some new media elements to this? Can we inject a, can we embed a podcast into it? Can we record a short video to add, can we include a table of contents, whatever, like how can we make this blog post even more valuable than it is today? [40:21.0]
And we would go through that process and we would republish that post with a new published date. So even if it was published in 2016, we would republish it with a new date. So, you know, July 1st, 2020, or whatever, and basically signaling to Google, Hey, Google, I've updated this blog post. I've added more value to it and we've republished it. And Google likes to see things being improved and things being republished. A lot of times, too, these blog posts, they are outdated. They've got contribution limits that are, you know, three years old and those have changed or they're referencing tax laws that don't exist anymore. You know, one of the blog posts we had about Bitcoin was talking about Bitcoin being at like 8,000, well it's at 40,000 today. You know, it's just totally irrelevant. So, Google really appreciates you, keeping this stuff up, updated, and really cleaned up and adding more value. And we went through the entire blog and just cleaned everything up. [41:16.2]
The last part of all that was consolidating some of the content. So, we had like three or four blog posts on improving your, your credit score and what a credit score is and what a credit freeze is. And, and basically what we did is we leaned on our, our writer to take those four blog posts and just turn them into one really awesome blog post on all things, credit score, credit, freeze related. So, consolidating content and improving content at the same time is, is, you know, what we're finding is really, really helpful, you know, especially from SEO and, and online visibility standpoint. So, I know that was a lot, but you know, you asked for it and that is one strategy that I'm really seeing working right now. And it's something that you can outsource a lot of it too. You don't have to do it yourself. [42:00.0]
James: Well, I think a lot of financial advisors don't realize that they're cannibalizing their own content, or they've been sold this idea that they need to write blog posts every single week. And they write one about, like you just said, credit score this, credit score that, credit score this, and they're just cannibalizing it. And it hurts the rankings that way. And personally, like when I'm, when, if I help a financial advisor and they talk about this and they see their so-called competitors, I don't believe in that there's really competition, but they'll say, Oh, well, Bob down the street is publishing this, this, this, this it's like, let him do it. You don't realize that these sabotaging himself, so the people who understand what you just said, where you're putting all the content together, you're doing the clean-up and you're just quality over quantity. That is so true. And, from a business perspective, like being an entrepreneur, that's a heck of a lot easier to manage. [42:48.5]
James: And hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of posts.
James: So, I like that, a lot.
Taylor: Yeah, you know, you bring up a really good point that I think a lot about, which is, I think as advisors, we do, we see what somebody else does and we figure, Oh, if they're doing that, I should do that. Oh, they have a pop-up on their blog. I should put a pop up on my blog. Right. Or, Hey, they've got a scheduling link on their homepage, I'm going to put a scheduling link on my homepage. And that's the extent of the thought that they put into it. And what I often think about is, okay, they have a scheduling link front and center on their home page. Like how, how does that make me feel if I'm the consumer? I have no idea who James is. I just landed on James’s website and just front and center, he's asking me to schedule a phone call, like kind of a bit of a turnoff to me. Like it's kind of a big ask for a total stranger. So, I have to think like, how does something feel to me on the other end? And it doesn't have to be in our industry either I'll flip through a magazine and an ad will jump out to me and say, wow, why, why did that ad jump out to me? Why did it stop me? Why did I, why did that billboard really get me thinking? Or why do I remember that billboard from a year ago? So just be careful about just because somebody else is doing it means you should do it. And that's me included. Like you could copy and paste my website. There are advisors that have done that unfortunately. [44:00.6]
Taylor: You can copy and paste my website. I promise you; you're not going to have the same success or any success at all. You need to make this stuff your own. There needs to be intention behind it. There needs to be processes behind it. So just be really, really careful about falling into that trap.
James: They don't hear, you know. They they, they want to, they want a copy, copy, copy. But you've been super generous with your time. This has been awesome. I have a feeling, this is probably going to be like top five, top 10 episodes that gets downloaded. I know you do a lot of stuff. You've got to Stay Wealthy podcast, Experiments in Advisor Marketing, you've got Define Financial. If somebody wants to get in touch with you, or maybe learn more, ask you questions, how can they do that? [44:36.4]
Taylor: The, the best place to just go to my personal website, TaylorSchulte.com. You can basically find everything that I'm up to there. There's a contact form there, if you want to shoot me a message. These days I spend most of my time inside the AGC. AGC is a private community for financial advisors. You know, think Facebook meets Twitter, meets LinkedIn, just all in a private space online. And that's really where I'm engaging with other advisors, these days. We have about 140 advisors around the country, and that's where I love to answer questions and learn from other advisors and really engage in dialogue. So again, I would, I would just go to TaylorSchulte.com if you liked today's episode the Experiments in Advisor Marketing Podcast has a lot more of it. And you can go back and listen to the 24 -5 episodes that have been published. [45:21.1]
James: It is a good podcast, financial advisors. I recommend that you listen to it. So, thank you for your time financial advisors. I am going to catch you next week. [45:30.5]
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