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: From 2017 to 2020, I offered a website review service where I would record a 10-minute video critiquing financial advisors websites for $497 each. This ended up being one of the most popular services I’ve ever offered and it did well for two reasons. [00:48.4]
First was because each review provided specific actionable advice financial advisors could use to improve their websites. Second was because I delivered them quickly. You probably hate waiting as much as I do, so if you got the website review from me, I wanted to make sure you received it as quickly as I could. The promise was that I would deliver these website reviews in 48 hours or fewer and I had a 100 percent success rate with this. Whenever a website review would come in, I would do it and get it to the financial advisor as soon as possible.
I stopped doing them because I started traveling. Last year, I went to a bunch of places and a lot of states so far. This year, I’ve been to a lot of states, too. I've been to Las Vegas, New Orleans, Biloxi, Naples, Newport, New York, and a whole bunch more. When I'm traveling, I'm out enjoying myself. I'm seeing the sites and having fun and eating the food, and as much as I enjoy doing website reviews, I'm not going to drop everything and stay in a hotel room to do them. Yet, when I was traveling, I kept getting emails from financial advisors, asking me if I would critique their websites. A few of them even offered to pay me more than the $497 to do it, and I said no to all of them. [02:00.5]
I got back home in early August, and in the second week of August, I offered those website reviews again, a 10-minute website review delivered in 48 hours or fewer. I blocked out three hours per day to do these. I figured since it would take me some time to record, upload and send each video to each financial advisor, that I could only do about 15 per day, so that's what I offered. I capped it at 15.
People got upset, especially on the last day when there was no way they could just bump to the next morning, but people got really upset on the last day, for sure. They were like, Oh, it's over. Why didn't I sign up? Oh, it sure is a shame that I couldn't do this, and I'm like, Hmm, well, you only had three days and you got an email on the first day. You got an email on the second day. You got an email on the third day. Your procrastination is not my emergency.
But, anyway, I created a webpage, which was basically a video and a payment link, and I told financial advisors I was doing them. I figured I didn't need to create a fancy sales page or anything because, a) I could only do 15 per day, and b) this was going to be a limited-time offer. [03:06.0]
Anyway, I ended up maxing out every single day, which is a blessing that's not lost on me. I am incredibly thankful to everyone who had their websites reviewed. My goal with all of them was to deliver at least $1,000 of value so they could double their investments in themselves. If it was $497, I want to deliver at least $1,000 worth of value, and that's very easy for me to do because a few tweaks and changes can make all the difference on a website.
Financial advisors also loved these reviews because I told them what they were doing well and how they could improve. In this podcast episode today, I'm going to share some common mistakes I saw. I'm not going to give away any proprietary information because that will be a disservice to people who paid for these reviews. However, I will tell you about the general themes I noticed so you can prevent yourself from making the same mistakes. [03:56.8]
The first mistake theme was having no clarity and a lack of clarity was probably the most common mistake, and it's an easy one to make because there are so many ways to make it. For example, one way a financial advisor's website can lack clarity is by not having a niche. If you want to immediately improve your marketing materials, not just your website, then you should be extremely clear about what you do and who you help.
I saw so much vague language like, “achieve financial freedom,” but what does that mean? We're not trying to sell personal finance books here. We're trying to set appointments. I want you to take a step back and think about the term “financial planning”. What exactly does “financial planning” mean? Can you give me a step-by-step description of what it includes? Is it tax planning, plus, life insurance, plus, budgeting? Hmm. Is it retirement planning, plus, college planning, plus, estate planning? What exactly is it? Can you produce a definition? Can you produce a list? [04:56.4]
Furthermore, can your list match someone else’s? Meaning, if I got 10 financial advisors, financial planners, whatever, in a room and I gave them each a pad of paper, I said, “You cannot talk to each other. You cannot talk to your neighbor. You cannot share ideas. I want each of you to write a definition of financial planning,” would all of the definitions match? If I ask them, “Can you please list the contents of a good financial plan,” would all of their contents match?
Even if you say you do something like, “financial planning for millennials,” which is a fantastic start, don't get me wrong, your average person doesn't have a clue what financial planning is or what it entails. They have this big idea and there may be some overlap between people, but it is still confusing.
Let me give you an example that I think can help you. Financial planning is like improving your home. In fact, if you study economics, you realize that economics is really the management of resources, specifically within a household, so if I told you, I am improving my home, what would you think? Really think about this. What do you think? I am improving my home. What comes to mind? [06:05.7]
Some people would think new paint. Others would think remodeling the kitchen or the bathroom. You might think I'm refinishing the floors. The point is that home improvement means different things to different people and there are lots of professionals who can help with home improvement. There are plumbers, electricians, floor refinishers—I don't even know if that's the correct term. Is that what they're called, floor refinishers? I don't know—and so on. All of these people operate under the home-improvement umbrella, the same way that retirement planning, budgeting, insurance, taxes, college planning, estate planning, and debt management exist under the financial planning umbrella.
This is why I talk about being clear with your service specialties, if you have any. If you help with a lot of stuff, make that clear, too. I want to know if I'm hiring a handyman or a plumber, because a handyman can probably clean my gutters and fix a leaky faucet, but a plumber will not clean my gutters. If I need my gutters cleaned and my faucet fixed, I would always hesitate, unless someone specifically said they did both, or I would hire two separate people. [07:09.8]
Now, that's not ideal. I would want to have the gutters cleaned and the faucet fixed by the same person at the same time so it would be efficient and effective, but it is possible for me to hire two different people. This is why people have accountants and attorneys, and financial planners. They don't have them all under the same roof. Another example would be you're not going to have heart surgery and lung surgery and brain surgery done by the same person, okay?
But I really want you to think about this when you're putting together your website. Be very clear about what you do, because I would hesitate, if I was in the home-improvement umbrella, I would hesitate hiring someone, if that person wasn't extremely clear about what he or she does. If you've seen any of my online ads, you've seen how they're super clear. In most of my ads, I am telling you exactly what you're getting. I don't try to get cute. I don't try to get clever. This is the pepperoni pizza rule. If you're offering pepperoni pizza, let people know that you have pepperoni pizza. Don't go off on some weird tangent about Italian history or Wisconsin cheese. Get straight to the point. [08:10.0]
For example, I have a 42-minute video completely free about how financial advisors can run profitable online ads. If you want to watch it, the link is TheAdvisorCoach.com/ads-training, and my online ads training, very meta I know, to have an online ad about online ads training, but in that ad itself, I explain that it is a video that will help financial advisors run better ads and that's pretty much it.
Since I'm running an ad—I’ve got to stay on top of this, like online ads for ads and so on and so forth, it’s getting kind of confusing to me—but since I'm running an ad to get people's attention to watch the video about running online ads, there is built-in proof that it works, because basically I can say, “You click this ad. You are on this landing page. Obviously, online ads work, so you should watch it.” [09:07.4]
By the way, if you are running an online ad to something like a lead magnet or a webinar and you are not getting conversions, it's because either your offer sucks or your audience sucks. You cannot just slap something together and expect to get results. Sometimes financial advisors will complain to me that their ads aren't working, but then when I look at what they're offering and some goofy little checklist or something, no wonder the ads don't work because the offer sucks.
Think about what I just told you. I'm running an ad for a 42-minute video about a topic, not some little cheat sheet, not a little guide, a video where I walk people through several high-level secrets they can use to run better online advertisements. I did not throw it together for the sake of building my email list. I did not throw it together so I could just check something off my to-do list. I started with the goal of genuinely helping financial advisors and making a good offer. Then I put that offer in front of the right audience. If I advertise that to a different audience, it wouldn't work as well. Again, if your ads aren't working, it's because your offer sucks or your audience sucks. I'm just going to stop that, because this is not an online ads episode. [10:18.0]
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 other way the financial advisor websites lacked clarity was they had too much stuff on the homepage. I saw homepages that had, oh my goodness, so much stuff, information about the advisor, his or her background, videos, images, email signups, calendars, and more text on top of text and buttons. It's just so much stuff. [11:02.3]
Taken by themselves, none of these things are wrong. For example, having a calendar is a great thing. I encourage people to have a calendar. Credibility boosters are also great. I did an entire podcast episode about them. Videos can also be helpful. Heck, I just talked about how I did a sales page with a video, but that's the point, too.
My sales page only had a headline, a video and a payment link, that's it. I didn't throw a whole bunch of stuff on that page. People got to the page, read the headline about how I can help financial advisors with the websites, watched the video, and then either paid or bounced. The best websites make it very clear what they do, who they help, and they give very specific instructions about what to do next. Nearly 100 percent of the time, this involves setting an appointment. If someone doesn't want to set an appointment with you, then guess what? That person can select another page in your navigation menu. That's one of the reasons why navigation menus exist, so people can use them. You don't have to throw everything on the homepage. [12:06.7]
By the way, I didn't encounter any of these when I was doing website reviews for those four days, but if you're someone who has a one-page website that is just one of those long scrolling deals, I strongly urge you to reconsider. There are several reasons why and I will give you a few here.
One reason the long scrolling pages don't work well is because they don't create a natural flow for addressing objections and/or having someone engage. An advisor's homepage should give the opportunity for someone to set an appointment. That is what you're trying to do. You're trying to get people to set appointments with you. I have an entire program, the email marketing system called Appointments on Autopilot, because the goal is to set appointments and is to do it in such a way where you can basically work on other stuff, or go golfing or spend time with your family, I don't care, but your goal is to set appointments. [12:57.0]
Assuming that doesn't happen, where does the visitor go? Is he or she supposed to keep scrolling? It makes much more sense to create a journey through different pages, to address objections, to eventually get to an appointment. If someone doesn't set an appointment, they go somewhere else. Their objections are handled. Their skepticism is reduced. Their faith in you is boosted. Their trust in you is boosted, and they eventually set an appointment.
Another reason long scrolling pages are terrible is because they are nightmares for tracking and retargeting. If you're doing any type of retargeting whatsoever, having a one-page website is the kiss of death because you can't retarget people based on their activity. You're stuck with one massive audience of homepage visitors and that's it. You can't do anything cool, like retarget people who visited your contact page, but didn't set an appointment, or people who visited your About Us page and already know about you, because the advertisements you can show to people who already know about you are different than the people who don't know anything about you at all, aka cold audiences. [13:57.0]
You cannot form a really warm audience if you have just one long page, because you need to know who has read your biography and who hasn't. Does that make sense? I hope it does. If you have just one of these long, long pages, then nothing else, you're limited to one massive audience. You can't parse the people out. You can't make it more specific, and by definition, you can't make your retargeting ads more effective.
Since I brought up the journey idea, I want to make it clear that not having a journey was another mistake theme I saw. The goal of a website is to take a visitor and turn that visitor into a lead, turn that lead into a prospective client, then take that prospective client, turn that person into a client, okay? You're taking people on a journey.
I am the only person in the entire world on this planet who has a) done hundreds of website reviews for financial advisors, specifically, b) is neck-deep in the research of what prospective clients want and what they're looking for when they get to a financial advisory website, and c) has the Inner Circle newsletter, which allows me to see who is successful versus who isn't. I've been able to see behind the scenes of advisors’ websites, and I know what works and what doesn't, and the stuff that works is based on a journey. [15:10.4]
One overwhelming pattern that has made itself clear is that visitors will bounce around between the homepage, the About Us page, and the contact page. Knowing this, you would be a fool not to tie these pages together and create some sort of cohesive journey. Now, you can try to do that and figure everything out by yourself or you can go through a video training I have called the “Client-Getting Website”, which spells out exactly what to do and why. You can get that over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/website. One more time, TheAdvisorCoach.com/website. This happens even if people get to your website some other way.
Let's say you're a blogger and you have a bunch of blog content, you have articles. Track your visitor's activity, you don't even have to take my word for it, and see that people still go to your homepage, your About Us page, and your contact page, even when they arrive through a blog post. If you're doing SEO and you pride yourself on ranking number one, number two, number three in Google, still track your activity and see. You'll see for yourself. They go to your homepage, About Us page, and contact page. [16:20.0]
Set up these little goals. Let the data speak to you. Don't just listen to James because James said something, okay? Get the data for yourself and then you'll say, Oh, wow, that guy kinda sorta knows what he's talking about. But when people do that, when they bounce around from these pages, it's because they want to learn more about you. They want to gain confidence that reaching out to you is the right thing to do, so it's so important. I wish more people knew this. Again, go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/website, if you want to learn more. It is such a big deal.
The final common mistake I saw was having no way to interact with the advisor outside of doing business with him or her. This is a high-level strategy that only a few people understand. I'm bringing it up because I just mentioned blog posts and it's fresh on my mind. Having a blog is a good example of this. Assuming someone likes you, but doesn't want to set an appointment right away, what can that person do? Do you have any way for that person to stay involved in your world? [17:21.0]
Let's say that the person is on your homepage. You work specifically with dentists in Minneapolis and a dentist from, wouldn't you know, Minneapolis gets on your website and likes you, wants to stay involved in your world, but does not want to set an appointment yet because the dentist is skeptical. He doesn't want to move forward, for whatever reason, you don't know.
But the dentist sees that you have a blog. He looks at the navigation menu and he sees Home, About Us, maybe something else, Blog, and then the contact page. “Ooh, blog, let me click on that,” and he starts reading. He's like, Wow, this financial advisor has written a lot about people just like me and financial situations that apply to me or content that I'm curious about. Hmm, I kind of like this financial advisor. I'm not going to work with him right away, at least not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but, wow, I'll be darned if this blog isn't an incredible resource for people like me. [18:17.7]
So, he bookmarks it. Maybe he puts it on his phone. Maybe he puts it on his Notes app or Evernote, or whatever he uses, and eventually makes his way back to you. There are many ways to do this. Connecting on social media is a way to do it. Having a webinar is another way to do it. Having some sort of online event, having a book, whatever. Even this podcast is a way for people to stay in touch with me outside of doing business with me directly.
There are some of you listening to this podcast right now who have never bought anything from me, never done anything with me, and haven't even connected with me online, sent me an email on social media, whatever, but you're here. I'm grateful for you. I appreciate you. I want you here, but I want you to think about it like this, too. I'm obviously doing something right. Think about how many more clients you would have if you were able to get just a fraction, a fraction of the people who visited your website over the years, but did not become clients. It would be astonishing. [19:13.5]
I'm going to stop right there. I've given you a ton of awesome information and I want you to implement it. That is all for right now, and I will catch you next week.
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