You're listening to “Financial Advisor Marketing”—the best show on the planet for financial advisors 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 advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard.
James: If you're a regular listener here at the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast, you know that one of my hallmarks is my data-driven, fact-based approach to marketing. I don't care how you feel about certain things. I care about what works. I care about what is in your best interest, what gets results for you and your business. [00:50.4]
If your client came to you and said, “I feel like a life insurance policy won't pay out when I die,” you would explain how that is factually incorrect, that feelings have nothing to do with it—when that person dies, the life insurance pays out, assuming the policy is in force. Feelings have nothing to do with it—or if someone said, “I feel like I will make more money taking social security at 65 instead of 70, you would explain that. Again, that's factually incorrect. That's how I feel with a lot of marketing approaches, because there are so many things that sound good, but either don't work as well as people say they do, or even if they do work, they're not very practical. [01:36.4]
One of the examples I like to give to help people conceptualize this idea is this. Imagine I'm cutting my lawn with scissors. Yes, technically, it works. It will get the job done, but I would rather have a lawnmower.
Whenever I get the “actually”, financial advisors, that's what I think about when they say, “Actually, I cut my lawn with scissors all the time and I turned out just fine. My business is totally cool”—okay, yeah. It doesn't change the fact that I would like the lawnmower, though—or the financial advisors who give me the marketing equivalent of “My grandfather smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and never got lung cancer, so, obviously, it's okay.” Ugh. Understand, just because you made a bad decision and got a good outcome, it does not mean you made a good decision. It means you beat the odds instead of tilting them in your favor.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather have the odds in my favor. I don't like to swim upstream. I don't like to make things harder than they should be. I don't like to go against the odds. I want the odds in my favor. I want to get maximum results in minimum time. If you don't want that, then, hey, I'm not the person for you. I like to work as little as possible to get as much money, as much impact, as much stuff done, like efficiency, as possible—and in this episode, I'm going to talk about things people think work versus what actually works. I'm going to present my case for each and explain my reasoning. [03:09.7]
But first I want to share this awesome email I received from an Inner Circle member. It reads like this” “Your newsletter is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I enjoy how the issues thread together and I love how you bold the most important items.” Yeah, that's something that I do. In the newsletter, if I think something is important, I will go ahead and bold it, which makes it easy to skim and refresh my memory.
“I know the newsletter is written for financial advisors to make more money, but I’ve used it to reduce the number of hours I work on my business instead of in it. I’ve been able to spend more time with my kids, which is priceless to me.” Honestly, man, that's what it's all about anyway. Money and time, they're intimately related. If you get more time back, then it's pretty much the same thing as getting more money. If you get more money, you can use it to buy back time and/or make your life easier. But, yeah, family is where it's at. I am so, so, so glad to be able to help people like this. I love it. [04:03.0]
Let's get into the stuff people think works versus what actually works, and I'm going to kick this off with video marketing. I love video marketing. Here are some statistics in favor of video marketing. According to Insivia, “Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.”
According to WordStream, “Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users.” Now, of course, I want to point out that marketers who use video are also likely doing other things that are correlated with revenue growth, so video likely isn't the cause of the growth, but it is associated with, it is correlated with growth because the savvy marketers do savvy marketer stuff.
Also, according to WordStream, including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%. I've seen this to be true as well. Especially for things like webinar sign-up pages, a good video on there should be about telling people what the webinar will contain and encouraging them to sign up. I personally don't have a video on my webinar signup page over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar, but I have seen it win tests. I am going to give it credit where credit is due. [05:17.4]
The reason I want to bring up video marketing in “the things that don't work or don't work as well as people think they do” category is because, for many financial advisors, it's impractical or at least not very practical at all. The first thing you should consider is your personality.
One of my marketing philosophies is that you should try your best to align your marketing with your natural inclinations. If you do that, then things will be easier for you and you will be likelier to do the stuff. You will be likelier to fulfill your promises to yourself. You will be more likely to put in the work. [05:58.2]
For instance, trying to get a hardcore introvert to make cold calls or attend networking events is going to be like pulling teeth, but getting an extrovert to do those things won't be bad or as bad because it aligns with the extrovert's personality. If you're someone who naturally wants to do video and you like being in front of a camera, then video is probably a good fit for you, so consider your personality first.
When I record video, I typically do it to save time and video takes a long time to record for most advisors. I do it to save time. For example, sometimes I’ll record videos to answer Inner Circle member questions. Instead of spending four or five minutes to type out a long, detailed email response, I can shoot a two-minute video telling financial advisors exactly what to do, where to go, which buttons to click, that sort of thing, and then send them the link. It is a lot faster for me. [06:50.7]
The same is true with financial advisors who want to create video. If they use it in a way to save time, then that's cool, but most of the time, it doesn't save any time. If I run an online ad, for example, and I run a lot of online ads, I can create five or six different combinations of text and image in the same time that it takes me to record one video, and that's just recording the video. That's not modifying it, adding captions or anything else.
When it comes to the sheer volume of content I'm able to create and test, I'm able to run, video isn't very practical. When it comes to video marketing, I want you to consider your personality and then consider if it's actually saving you time. If you have any other time left over, I would rather have you put it towards more effective marketing strategies.
The second thing I want to talk about is content marketing. Content marketing is becoming necessary, but not sufficient to get more clients. I want to say that again because it's very important. Content marketing is becoming necessary, but not sufficient to get more clients. [08:03.0]
Let's think about something like your LinkedIn profile. This means if people look at your profile and they don't see content, they're probably not going to go any further, so content is necessary. However, just because they see content doesn't mean they will do business with you, so it's not sufficient either.
I know I bring up this statistic all the time, but I want to make sure that new listeners know this. According to the Putnam Social Advisor Survey, 94% of financial advisors seeing success on social media are using direct messages, a.k.a. they are having real conversations with real people instead of merely posting content and sending it out into the great big world. [08:46.0]
Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.
The one criticism I get from financial advisors is that my advice is too simple and I think that's a fair criticism. I will take that. I will get out my too simple page and I will sign it, right? I am giving simple advice. I have no weird urge to complicate things. Why would I want to make things harder on myself and fight what works? If having real conversations with real people is what gets financial advisors more clients, why would I try to work hard to get around that? Again, it would be like cutting my lawn with scissors. If I used a lawnmower, critics would say, Oh, that's too simple. Too simple. Don't do that. Get those scissors out.
Just like video marketing, I love content marketing. I have a ton of content. I have this podcast. I have my blog over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/blog. I have webinars that I’ve done. I have my emails. I have my monthly Inner Circle newsletter. I produced a lot of content. But I know that creation alone doesn't lead to consumption. I have to do something to get people to consume that content. Creation won't do it or creation alone will not do it. [10:16.2]
I'm recording this episode in early June and, in the past two weeks, my ads have gotten more than 10,000 clicks to my content. I am sending people there. I'm not depending on search traffic, social traffic or referral traffic alone. Those are like the icing on the cake. I am taking charge of my situation. Some of my ads send people to articles. The idea is that they read the articles and opt into my email list or somehow get involved in my world. Those ads, they can get expensive, so I have to keep a close eye on them, but when I have a winner with content like an article, it's usually a big winner.
If you are going to become a content creator, and I think, again, I love content marketing and I think that you should pursue content marketing, but realize that creation alone isn't enough. Content is necessary, but it is not sufficient or it's becoming necessary. I urge you, have a way to integrate your content with the rest of your marketing machine. [11:14.6]
I want you to begin with the end in mind. Before you sit down and create something, have an idea of why you are creating it and how it will fit into everything else that you're doing. For example, my articles, they link to other articles. Those articles lead to my email list, this podcast, and so on.
Successful financial advisors have their articles segue to appointments with them or at least get them to the “About Us” page, which then leads to an appointment. They do that because it works. They know that they're not just producing content for content's sake. I mean, yes, they are good people. They're wonderful people. They're moral. They're upstanding. I mean this in the nicest way possible that they're not just sending people to this content or creating this content out of the goodness of their heart. They are running a business and they know that the best way for them to help people is to have those people become clients so they can provide the most value possible. They're not trying to just, quote-unquote, “give value” or provide value through some little rinky-dink article online. The article leads to the real value. The content leads to the real value. [12:16.3]
I get crucified for saying this, but the data does not lie. I'm not going to change my position on this. I'm not going to just say something to make you feel good. I'm going to say the stuff that gets financial advisors results because I genuinely, for real, honestly, from the bottom of my heart, love financial advisors and want to see them win. I don't care about trying to appease them or to tell them something that doesn't work as well. I'm going to give you the real stuff, no matter what.
The other thing, another thing I want to talk about is casting a wide net. This is something that sounds good, too, but it's not as effective as it sounds. If your goal is to get clients, you might think that trying to attract as many people as possible will improve your odds, but it won't. Your odds improve when you niche down. [13:04.6]
Again, this is simple, simple advice, but I have no desire to complicate it for you. If you want complexity, go elsewhere. My results speak for themselves. I've been very fortunate to help advisors and I don't do it by making things harder than they need to be.
Once upon a time I had a financial advisor send me this email. Let me get this email for you. Okay. “Hey, James. I’ve been listening to your podcast religiously for the past week since I discovered you and recommended that a colleague who is also new read and listen to your content. I totally agree with your take on having a specific niche market. As a former pediatric physical therapist, I want to work with pediatric healthcare professionals. Do you think I should narrow that down to only pediatricians? I don't want to be so specific that I alienate all of the other healthcare professions.”
I told him that his fear is super common. Many financial advisors are afraid to choose a niche for this reason. They're afraid of alienating people. This is because they don't understand that the degree to which being specific increases conversions is almost always greater than the alienation which occurs. [14:14.2]
For example, if you take an article, like “10 Ways to Save Money on Taxes This Year” and that's your article, you're going to run with that, and I create an article titled, “10 Ways Attorneys Can Save Money on Taxes This Year”. I'm going to do better than you, period, because I could go where attorneys hang out and I can put that content in front of them.
Let's do another one. Let's say you are a dentist. You're not the financial advisor anymore. You are a dentist and you are searching for a financial advisor. You see two advisors on LinkedIn with the following headlines. Advisor No. 1 has “Financial advisor at XYZ Wealth Management” and Advisor No. 2 has “financial advisor, helping dentist retire with confidence.”
You are more likely to respond to the advisor with the niche-specific headline. And guess what? When they both pop up in your feed, you can see their headlines. If you see the niche-specific headline, you are more likely to engage with the advisor who has that. You are more likely to go to that financial advisor because that advisor helps people just like you. This is not rocket science, but it works. [15:19.5]
The final thing advisors think works very well, but doesn't work as well as they think is being able to spend as little money as possible on marketing and/or investing in themselves. The data does not support this. According to Broadridge's Driving Client Acquisition Study—here I'm giving you my sources. I'm giving you the data and I'm telling you exactly where to find it. You don't have to believe me. You can verify this for yourself. I am giving you the stuff—43% of growth-focused financial advisors successfully acquired 20 or more clients over the last year, whereas only 16% of other advisors onboarded at this rate. [16:01.3]
They defined “growth-focused” as spending at least $5,000 per year on marketing, which I honestly think is a little low. I would just be honest with you. I think that's very low. Those are the numbers. Only 16% of financial advisors who spent less than $5,000 in a year got more than 20 clients. If that's you, if you are listening to me right now and you're thinking, I get clients and I don't spend that much money, you are the equivalent of the person smoking two packs a day who hasn't gotten cancer. Say it with me, just because you have a good outcome from a bad decision does not make it a good decision.
Many financial advisors aren't seeing the growth they want because they refuse to invest in themselves and their businesses. News flash: businesses require investments. I'm not even talking about spending money with me either. I don't care if it's with me or not, because I genuinely want to help you either way. I want you to realize the data. It is what it is. [17:02.9]
It reminds me of one of my favorite books, which is The Outsiders by William Thorndike. It profiles eight of the most successful CEOs of all time, based on actual returns, not press, not media appearances, not goodwill, [but] real money in the bank.
The book explained that the most successful CEOs were capital allocators above everything else. They actively looked for places to put their money and they put it in the best places. They didn't hoard cash. They weren't afraid of making investments. They were capital allocators. Of course, this doesn't mean that they spent money wildly either. They didn't just have money burning a hole in the pocket, but they did put their money to work. They put their money to work intelligently. If you are a financial advisor and you think you can invest as little as possible into yourself and your business and still get phenomenal results, you are playing with fire. [18:00.0]
With that said, that's it for this week's episode. I hope you enjoyed it. If you haven't subscribed to my email list yet, make sure you do so by opting in over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/57. That is the number 5 and the number 7. TheAdvisorCoach.com/57. Thank you so much, and I will catch you next week.
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