Have a podcast in 30 days

Without headaches or hassles

Most financial advisors are great at their job, but they suck at marketing. I don’t say that to be cruel. But sometimes the truth hurts.

That’s the bad news.

The good news?

After listening to this episode, you will never be able to say you suck at marketing again.


Because I’m revealing the 50 things I wish financial advisors knew about marketing. A free podcast episode has never—and I mean never—been jam-packed with so much business-altering advice as the one you’re about to listen to.

In this episode, I share my top 50 marketing secrets for financial advisors across niche marketing, email marketing, prospecting, website marketing, content marketing, and business principles.

The 50 secrets revealed in this episode will make you a millionaire if you implement them. In fact, it’s a crime I’m giving it away for free.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The “N-word” which simplifies your marketing and skyrockets your return on investment across every marketing channel (1:43)
  • Why alienating and repelling people from working with you magnetizes your best clients to you (3:46)
  • How to verify your niche’s profitability in 30 seconds (or less) (8:40)
  • The “Grey’s Anatomy” secret for sending emails that make your target audience drool over the idea of working with you (15:17)
  • The counterintuitive reason referrals are the worst way to attract the wealthiest investors (and what to do to land them as clients instead) (26:53)
  • Why ugly-as-sin websites get more conversions than beautifully designed ones (29:26)
  • The “Show, Not Tell” technique which practically forces your prospects to trust you (32:02)
  • How to land more clients from LinkedIn by getting fewer impressions (41:55)
  • The writing trick for increasing your chances of becoming a millionaire financial advisor by 80% (55:23)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Coaching and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Want to transform yoru website into a client-getting machine? Go to https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/website to get The Client-Getting Website Guide.

Want a masterclass training in running effective Facebook Ads? Head to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/ads-training.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




Read Full Transcript

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: It's finally here, the 200th episode of the “Financial Advisor Marketing” podcast. It feels so cool to say that out loud and have it be real—200 episodes, wow. I am so thankful. I appreciate you for listening.
To celebrate, this week's episode is going to be longer than normal. I'm going to share 50 things I wish Financial Advisors knew about marketing. I originally wrote an article with the same title, and you can read it at TheAdvisorCoach.com/advisor-marketing. However, I wanted to record a podcast episode about it because audio allows me to emphasize certain things and to throw in additional commentary that can really help you. [00:01:10.6]

This will probably be one of the most valuable podcast episodes you've ever listened to if you're a financial advisor who wants to get more clients and become a better marketer, because these are 50 things that I found that work well through real-world scenarios, studies, research, and working hands on with financial advisors over years at this point, since 2015. You're getting the benefit of thousands of hours of work, plus millions of dollars of investments, all in one podcast episode.

I'm going to go through the list, starting with No. 1, which is having a niche makes your marketing more effective. I have this running joke with the “Financial Advisor Marketing” podcast. That is my legal obligation to say that niche marketing can help you in every single episode, and that's kinda sorta … it's not a legal obligation, but it is true, having a niche makes everything easier, makes your marketing more effective. [00:02:03.6]

Let's say you're a dentist and you're searching for a financial advisor. You see two financial advisors on LinkedIn with the following headlines. One advisor says, “Financial Advisor at XYZ Wealth Management,” and the other advisor says, “Financial Advisor Helping Dentists Retire with Confidence.” You are more likely to respond to the advisor with the niche-specific headline.

Here's another example. One of the ads that I absolutely love that has been crushing it is an ad for a book called Tax Secrets for Attorneys: Tax Strategies Attorneys Must Know to Reduce Taxes, and that was running on Facebook and targeting, you guessed it, attorneys. Attorneys are more likely to respond to that ad than ads from generalist financial advisors. That ad actually ran successfully for more than a year, and if you know anything about online advertising, you know that type of longevity is rare. [00:02:54.0]

Just as a little side note here, if you're studying marketing and you're paying attention to what ads are running, what content is working well, what articles keep getting shared, you want to pay attention to longevity, because the longer something is running, the more likely it is that it is a massive winner. The fact that this ad ran for a year, you could just look at it and see that it is a massive winner.

With things like Facebook Ads Library, you can go in, you can even search The Advisor Coach. You can search your competitors, it doesn't matter. You can see the ads that I'm running and you can see ads have been running since May 2021. You can see ads that I started running six months ago and they're still running. Sometimes I turn everything off. Sometimes I have dayparting where I only show ads on certain days at certain times, and that is just how it works. Having a niche makes everything easier. It makes your marketing more effective.

No. 2: Casting a wide net might feel good, but it hurts your conversions. Choosing a niche can be scary because it might feel like you're alienating people who otherwise might work with you. This fear was expressed by an advisor who sent me the following email. [00:04:01.7]

“Hey James, I've been listening to your podcast religiously for the past week since I discovered you and recommended that a colleague 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.”

My response was that his fear is a common one. Yet, here's the thing. The degree to which being specific increases conversions is almost always greater than the alienation which occurs. If you have a group of pediatricians and you work specifically with pediatricians, you may convert 10 of them into clients. On the other hand, if you're a generalist and you have a group of 100 random people, you may only convert five. This works with webinars, with seminars, with email marketing, with LinkedIn, with other social media websites. It's just that, yes, you're alienating people, but your conversion rate makes up for it. [00:05:04.0]

That advertisement that ran about tax secrets for attorneys and it's targeted specifically for attorneys, I guarantee you that if I just made tax secrets you should know, and ran that to people, it would not do as well as tax secrets for attorneys targeted specifically to attorneys. Obviously, you have to make sure you get your audience right, but assuming you have your targeting dialed in and you have an offer that your audience actually wants, it will work and work well.

No. 3: According to CEG Worldwide research, 70% of top financial advisors defined as those earning at least $1 million per year focus on a niche. I know I joke about fulfilling my legal obligation. I know you've heard “choose a niche” a million times. Just do it.

No. 4: According to Schwab's 2020 RIA Benchmarking Study, and I know that is a couple years old at this point, but I just want you to know this, firms with a documented ideal client persona gain 28% more new clients and 45% more new client assets than those without a documented ideal client persona. [00:06:08.6]

Even if you don't have a niche, where you say, “Okay, I'm only going to work with pediatricians,” “I'm only going to work with attorneys,” “I'm only going to work with this group,” at least have a persona of your ideal client, where you can think, Okay, if someone with X, Y and Z walks through this door—they have these personality traits. They have this background. They have this way of thinking—I am going to accept them as a client, if they want to work with me. Do that. If you get nothing else from this podcast episode, please just target a little better. Get a little more niche.

No. 5: You cannot be exclusive unless you exclude people. If you want to become a better marketer, I urge you to harness the power of exclusivity, because while I'm a big believer in attraction marketing, I'm an even bigger believer in repulsion marketing. I’ve found, if you can repel the wrong people from your life and your business, the right people become even more attracted to you. [00:07:06.8]

When you only work with a specific group of people, those people take pride in knowing that those outside the niche cannot work with you. That feeling cannot exist without exclusivity and exclusivity cannot exist without exclusion. You must exclude people if you want to be exclusive. I know that that's a little harsh when people think about it and it sounds kind of bad if you just take it for what it is. You say, “Hey, you’ve got to exclude people.” Excluding people sounds bad, okay, but it is the way to become exclusive.

Rolex excludes people who cannot afford Rolexes. Fine dining restaurants exclude people who can't afford the fine dining, and I'm not necessarily talking about price. I'm just talking about serving certain groups of people. If you want to work with college students who don't have that much money and you want to serve the underserved demographics, then do that and exclude everyone else, but you have to be exclusive. [00:07:57.8]

No. 6: My favorite niches are occupation niches, and I try to sway or stray from giving specific advice where people say, “Oh, what niche should I choose?” I almost never say something like, Oh, you should choose this particular thing, but if I had to give you a category, it would be occupation niches, and one reason why I love them so much is because they're easy to find. You can buy direct mail lists. Not email lists. I'm talking direct mail list. Never ever, ever, ever buy an email list. It is dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb. Don't do it. You can buy mailing lists. You can find them on social media. You can target on Facebook. You can target on LinkedIn. You can target on Twitter. You can target on Google Ads. You can just do so much with occupation niches.

Once upon a time, I had a financial advisor from Cleveland, Ohio, tell me that there weren't enough teachers in his area, so I went to LinkedIn, typed in “teacher” and refined my search to Cleveland and the Greater Cleveland area on LinkedIn. It has Cleveland and then there's another little checkbox for the Greater Cleveland area. Guess what I found? Thirty thousand results. That means I validated his niche marketing idea in a few minutes. [00:09:08.8]

Occupational niches are also my favorite niches because you can easily find podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs, and more about specific occupations. These can be collaboration opportunities, where if you see a popular YouTuber who specializes in a certain niche, maybe you could do a guest video, maybe you could collab in some way. Same thing with blogs. You could do a guest post. It also shows you that there's a demand for content in that space, and it gives you some ideas of the content that you can create.

Continuing with the teacher niche, if you just did a quick Google search for the best teacher podcast, then you would find that there are dozens of podcasts geared towards teachers. All you have to do is send a message to the podcast host, explaining why you would make a good guest. The worst that can happen is they say no, while the best thing that can happen is you get in front of an audience of people in your niche, and the beautiful thing is these people already have an audience. [00:10:05.0]

You don't need to reinvent the wheel. You don't need to break your back trying to figure things out. These people literally already have audiences of teachers and they need help, and the people who want to work with the financial advisors will trickle down and they will end up working with you.

No. 7, this is going to be the last thing I'm going to say about niche marketing. If you don't know where to find people in your niche, and I can't believe I'm saying this right now because it should be obvious, but I have some financial advisors reach out to me about this. If you don't know where to find these people, then it's probably not a good niche for you.

This should be obvious, but I've heard from advisors who say they've chosen a niche and then ask me where to find those people. They should already know that answer. Do not choose a niche, if you don't know where to find them. It should be something you're already interested in. It should be something in which you have a space. Maybe your parents were both teachers. Maybe you're married to a teacher or maybe you used to be a teacher. I'm just thinking of the teacher idea, but that is how you want to do it. [00:11:00.7]

The next couple tips are going to be about email marketing, and depending on the study you read, email marketing has a return on investment ranging from 3,600% to 4,400%. Tip No. 8 is to look at the stats for email marketing, because where else can you get those numbers? If you're not harnessing the incredible power of email marketing, you're leaving money on the table.

Tip No. 9, according to McKinsey & Company, email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. Really, I guess I shouldn't be saying tip. These aren't tips. These are things I wish financial advisors knew about marketing, so I'll say, “Thing No. 9” in the future, “Thing No. 10.”

Here's a funny story. One day, an inebriated ice fisherman drilled a hole in the ice. He peered in the hole and a loud voice from above boomed, “There are no fish down here.” He walked several yards away and drilled another hole. He peered down his new hole and the voice boomed again, “There are no fish down here.” [00:12:01.5]

He then walked 20 more yards where he drilled yet another hole. Again, the voice proclaimed, “There are no fish here either.”

The fisherman looked up to the sky and asked, “God, Is that you?”

“No, you idiot. It's the rink manager.”

Moral of the story here, if you're trying to accomplish a goal, make sure you're in the right place to accomplish it, and if you want to get more clients, you should probably look at marketing strategies that have a huge return on investment, something that can work for you on autopilot, something that can nurture prospective clients because you know follow-up is super important, so look in the right place and email marketing is that right place.

Thing No. 10: According to OptinMonster, 58% of people check their email first thing in the morning. Guess which message is likely to get consumed? Email. Email is wonderful because it's an intimate medium. People are reading the email and they're not doing anything else. [00:12:57.5]

If you have an iPhone, for example, and you open the mail app and you open an email, nothing else comes on the screen. Nothing. You can't … I shouldn't really assume this, but I'm assuming that you can't do split screen on the iPhone. Maybe you can. I know some people wish you could, but, typically, it's just the email and nothing else, so people are spending 100% of their focus with you and that is something that you can't really get elsewhere.

On LinkedIn, for example, if people are scrolling through and seeing status update after status update, they're not giving you 100% of their attention. They can have other tabs. They could have split screens on the computer. It just doesn't work that well. Same thing with YouTube, with podcasts. You're probably doing something else right now while listening to this podcast. I don't have 100% of your attention, probably. You might be washing dishes, you might be on the treadmill, you might be driving, I don't know, but I'm assuming I don't have 100% of your attention. With email marketing, when people are opening that email, at that moment in time, they're giving you 100% of their attention and that is a wonderful thing. [00:14:00.4]

Thing 11: Stock market commentary emails suck. They just do. They do. Please don't do those. They also can only be used once most of the time. I prefer marketing assets that can be used again and again. Evergreen marketing assets such as entertainment stories, lessons, etc., they rarely go out of style.

The way that I do email marketing for financial advisors and the way that I recommend financial advisors do it is to have a heavy dose of evergreen content. This is stuff that they can use today, they can use a year from now, they can use three years from now, they can use 10 years from now, because it is an asset that continues to produce.

Thing No. 12: The most effective emails build rapport with your email list. I have sent and tested millions of emails and this is one of my biggest discoveries. Even with the advent of robo-advisors, many people still want a relationship with a human financial advisor, so advisors see better results when they relate to prospective clients on a human level. [00:15:01.6]

This is also true with social media. This is also true with your website. It's one of the reasons why I say to put personal photos in your “About Us” page, because these personal photos will increase your conversion rate because then people view you as a human being. People will see the human side of you, okay?

One of the most successful emails I've ever seen was an email about Grey's Anatomy. Yeah, the television show, and it was sent to an email list of nurses. The email discussed all the mistakes that the financial advisors spotted in the show, like, “Oh, the IV doesn't go there,” or “That's not how you perform CPR. We would never do that, train nurses know not to do that.” The email proved not only that the advisor specialized in working with nurses because he spoke their language, but that he watched the same television show, too, that they watch the same content, they can relate to each other. That is how this works. This is what winning emails look like. [00:15:56.4]

I see this effect in my emails, too. When I talk about popular books like Atomic Habits or movies like the Avengers, financial advisors typically respond back with their input and we bond over liking the same things. When I share, I could say something like, Oh, I'm listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd right now, and people would be like, Oh, hell yeah, dude, I love Lynyrd Skynyrd, or I'm listening to the Wu-Tang Clan, and people are like, Oh, I love the Wu-Tang Clan, too, or I just watched … I don't really watch TV that much, so I can't even think of any popular shows. Let me think of a teen sitcom, maybe Dawson’s Creek from a long time ago. I watched that with my wife. She loves Dawson's Creek. If I share something about Dawson's Creek, people come back and say, “Are you Team Dawson or Team Pacey?” I'll be like, None of your business.

Thing No. 13: Plain text emails typically work better than fancy HTML and scripts, and they're faster, too. They're easier to use. They’re easier to read. They’re faster to create. It's just test it for yourself. If you don't believe me, just do plain text and compare that to your other emails and let me know how it works out for you. [00:17:01.1]

Thing No. 14: Daily emails work best. In my experience, daily emails have higher conversion rates than monthly, biweekly, or weekly emails. If you don't believe me, again, I'm not asking you to take my report. You can just test it for yourself and you can see, and I don't mean that you have to sit down and write a new email every day either.

An awesome feature of email marketing is that you can use an autoresponder sequence to send out emails in a predetermined order and sequence. With an autoresponder sequence, your prospective clients should go through this same series of emails, whether they subscribe today or whether they subscribe three weeks from now.

Another reason why daily emails work best is because they allow you to follow up several times in a row in a short period of time. Most sales studies have found that most conversions happen after the fifth touchpoint, and my anecdotal evidence confirms this as well, which is why I recommend that financial advisors have at least five emails in their autoresponder sequences.

I mentioned this at the end of last week's podcast episode, too, and I pointed out that you could have multiple touches before a person even gets into your email autoresponder sequence and you could get to 12 fairly quickly. You could get to five very quickly. [00:18:09.1]

Let's say that somebody connects with you on LinkedIn. They go to your website and they listen to your podcast and they read a blog article. Right there, that's four contact points, four touches, and then when they join your email list and they get the first email, that's five. They get the second one, that's six and seven, and then, boom, they could set an appointment. That is literally how this works.

At 15, making more calls is not the answer, so I'm going to shift gears here. We talked about niche marketing. Then we talked about email marketing. I want to talk about prospecting now. In the prospecting realm, one of the dumbest things I catch people telling struggling financial advisors is to make more calls, and this is not a cold calling thing, so I want you to substitute calls for whatever you want, mailings, messages, emails, whatever. This is terrible advice because if a financial advisor is struggling, it is a symptom of a broken process, and trying to expand a broken process is a recipe for disaster. [00:19:02.6]

I want you to imagine biting into a spoiled sandwich and feeling sick. Eating the rest of the sandwich is not the answer. The answer is to go back and fix the process, aka get a new sandwich. For example, if you're saying the wrong things or you're targeting the wrong prospects, more calls isn't the answer. You have to fix the root because, Thing 16, the key to successful prospecting is increasing volume and effectiveness.

Continuing with the make more calls example, I want you to imagine that a financial advisor has a website that has never converted a single prospect into a booked appointment. That conversion rate is just a big fat 0%. Should the financial advisor send more traffic to the site? No. No, no, no. Yet that's precisely what happens when financial advisors fall into the “make more calls” trap or when advisors get taught that prospecting is merely a numbers game, because without a solid foundation increasing your volume won't make a difference at all. [00:20:01.0]

I talked about that in the previous podcast episode, too, about how you should get or how you can get more clients from existing web traffic. There are people out there who try to get more web traffic without fixing the website first, without having any strong foundation. It is a goofy mistake.

No. 17: When it comes to prospecting, video messages work well. If you want to increase your message conversions, send a video using a service like Loom or BombBomb. You can even get higher conversions by having your recipients' LinkedIn profiles or websites as the background so they know the video was made specifically for them.

If I'm reaching out to Bill Smith and I put Bill Smith's LinkedIn profile as the background of my video, Bill Smith knows that I'm not just sending that to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the LinkedIn universe. I am sending it specifically to him. I want him to see it. It is a video that is custom-made and he's going to watch it. [00:20:52.4]

Another way you can use video messages is by recording a personalized happy birthday video for your LinkedIn connections. I've done this in the past. It works really well. I'm not lazily copying and pasting happy birthday as text. I send my connections or send them a video where I personally wish them a happy birthday, wearing a big goofy hat with candles on top—and I still have that hat, it's in my gym. Sometimes I put that on while I'm doing squats, while I'm doing deadlifts, and I just say, “Happy birthday, big 315. Happy birthday, 225,” as I'm ripping it out.

No. 18: The idea of a natural market is a crock. I'm about to dispel one of the biggest myths new financial advisors struggle with. Let me read you this email.

“I have recently entered the financial services field. I have over 250 people in my natural market with the majority of them being in the 100k income level. However, since I'm only 25 and the major portion of my natural market is under 30 years old, I can't imagine gathering huge assets from them.”

And that's a problem right there, if you're thinking about gathering assets instead of helping people, but I digress.

“Should I approach them with insurance or investments?”

Also, I know the problem. But my answer here was that the idea of a natural market is a complete crock. [00:22:05.3]

I want you to imagine that you're a doctor and you just opened a practice. Would you look for a natural market? No. You would look for sick people. Let's try another one. Imagine you went into the roofing business. Would you approach your, quote-unquote, “natural market” and expect them to do business with you? No. You'd look for people who need new roofs. Why in the world would this concept be any different from financial advisors?

I have a product called “Your First Year as a Financial Advisor” and you can find that over TheAdvisorCoach.com. There's a tab which says, For New Advisors. You click on that. In that product, I explain how trying to do business with family and friends, the natural market, is one of the worst things you can do as a financial advisor.

Don't get me wrong, the idea of a natural market makes sense on paper. After all, these are people who already know you. They already like you, they already trust you, and they probably need money management, insurance, a financial plan, financial advice. It's a pretty attractive idea, but it can set you up for long-term failure. [00:23:06.3]

Thing No. 19: Consistency is the key to prospecting success. If you want to succeed as a prospector, you need to pick something you can do every day and do it. A mediocre prospector who works every day will beat a superstar prospector who doesn't work, and that is yet another reason why email marketing is so freaking awesome. It’s because the autoresponder works for you, no matter what. Your LinkedIn profile works for you, no matter what. Your website works for you, no matter what. It forces you to be consistent, but if you're going to do something like direct mail or cold-calling, or seminars or networking, then you need to make sure you put in your effort every single day.

Thing 20: Focus on your inputs more than your outputs. The bottom line with this is that you can't directly control how many clients you get, but you can control your behavior and your behavior influences how many clients you get. You can't have direct control. You can't just wake up and you put in the work and guarantee that you'll get five clients, that you'll get 10 clients. [00:24:05.2]

But you can guarantee that you'll do the work which may or may not lead to the clients, and you can adjust along the way, where if you see that certain behaviors lead to better results, then you can do more of those behaviors. You have complete control over your marketing strategies and your activities, and you can improve them along the way.

Thing 21: You don't have to be an extrovert to be an effective prospector. Harvard Business School did a study that found that introverted leaders are typically more effective than extroverted leaders. This is because a quieter, calmer leader is more likely to listen carefully, stay focused, and not be afraid to work for long stretches of time without interrupting, or getting interrupted, without interruption.

These are all characteristics that make up some of the most successful financial advisors. That's why I wish that the financial services industry would ditch this myth that you need to be some gregarious extrovert in order to succeed, because it's just not true. [00:25:00.4]

Introversion and extroversion both exist on a spectrum. You're never either/or. I don't want you to think to yourself, Oh, I'm an introvert and that's all I can ever be, or, I'm an extrovert and that's all I can ever be. No, no, no, you can be more introverted than extroverted. It's a spectrum. Personally, I'm pretty evenly split between the two. I like my alone time, but I have no problem mixing it up with other people, but introverts, on average, those who are on the introverted end of the spectrum, they tend to make better financial advisors because they're better listeners. Now, that's just a generalization. It's not always true. They just tend to make better financial advisors.

Any financial advisor who listens carefully to prospective clients and truly understands them is more likely to get those prospective clients to say yes to working with them. Good listeners build trust and trust is necessary to earn cooperation from people. It is that simple. [00:25:55.3]

Thing 22: Embrace outbound marketing strategies while building your inbound marketing machine. Outbound marketing is when you initiate a conversation. It includes things like cold calling, messaging, direct mail, and so on. It involves pushing out into the marketplace and making your voice heard. Inbound marketing is when prospective clients find you. It includes things like blogs, podcasts, opt-in emails, and more. It involves pulling people in to hear your message.

Sadly, many financial advisors approach these two marketing schools as either/or. For example, one financial advisor might tell his colleagues to just pick up the phone and dial, which is outbound marketing. Another financial advisor might brag that he's built his business primarily through referrals, which is inbound marketing, people coming to him. My marketing philosophy is built around the idea that you should do both, because the person who does nothing but outbound marketing can benefit from adding inbound marketing strategies and vice versa. [00:26:52.3]

No. 23: Wealthy investors, defined as those with a net worth of over $1 million are less likely to consider a friend's recommendation when searching for a financial advisor. This finding comes from research published in Financial Advisor Magazine, specifically in an article titled, How Consumer Choices Differ. You could literally just fact-check everything. I'm telling you, I'm giving you 100% verifiable information and I'm telling you where it came from. It states that wealthy investors rely on trusted professionals such as CPAs and attorneys. They're not going to go to their friends.

Another interesting tidbit about wealthy investors is they are less likely to make a referral, so if you're targeting these people, you should focus on building strategic alliances with other professionals. That is a whole topic unto itself and I'm not going to get into that here. I have 51 referral marketing tips for financial advisors. One of the bonuses that comes with that is how financial advisors can get referrals from CPAs. It's got some good stuff in there. [00:27:50.2]

Thing 24: Business owners care about your first impression. Another finding from the research mentions that 23.1% of business owners cited the impression the advisor made during the first meeting as “the” decisive factor in the selection process, 23%, 23.1, really. Only 11.5% of business owners reported being influenced by family members or friends. This means, if you want to work with business owners, you should put extra effort into making a good first impression.

Also, only 15.4% of business owners said they have never made a referral, compared to 30.8% of employees and 34% of retirees, so business owners are more likely to make a referral.

Finally, 30.8% of business owners consider themselves raving fans of their financial advisors, compared to only 19.6% of employees and 14% of retirees. Isn't that sad? Isn't that sad? Only 19.6% of employees consider themselves raving fans of their financial advisors. You're working with these people, they don't even like you. What are you doing? If you work with business owners, you're more likely to get referrals without much effort. [00:29:03.3]

We're going to move on to the next topic here, which is website marketing.

Thing No. 25 that I wish financial advisors knew about marketing is that you should ditch the photos of lighthouses, compasses, and couples jogging on the beach. Please don't have those on your website. They're so common, it's becoming a running joke. Nobody wants to see a lighthouse on a financial advisor website.

No. 26: Ugly websites tend to get more conversions. This shocks a lot of people, but it is true. Here's one of my favorite quotes. “The ugly thing in a world of beauty stands out,” and that's from Eugene Schwartz.

Most financial advisors try to make their websites pretty. They want it to match their brand and stuff it full of big logos and slideshows, or worse, they take the advice of a web designer whose only objective is to make the website look good. The problem with this is that good looks are often in direct opposition to good marketing, because, at least in my experience, ugly websites tend to have higher conversion rates than pretty ones. [00:30:02.7]

My belief is that your website should make you money. I don't care about looks or designs, because you're running a business, not a fashion show. In my opinion, the purpose of a website is to maximize the chances of turning a web visitor into a lead and then into a client, nothing more, nothing less.

No. 27: Not all stock images are bad. Self-proclaimed experts and marketing agencies, they love to hate on stock images, but let me tell you a secret. I have conducted split tests where stock images have been massive winners, so don't write them off entirely. I've also seen stock images being losers, but I have seen some be winners, because let's face it, stock images can catch your eye. They can work well.

Big companies understand this well. The next time you see an online ad from Walmart, Amazon, Target, or one of these big companies, I want you to pay attention to the type of image being used. Chances are it is a stock image and these companies are not dumb. They're doing it for a reason. [00:30:57.6]

No. 28: Include photos of you. Here's a little tidbit here that can really help you. A/B testing company, VWO, ran a split test on one of its users' blogs to see if replacing a generic contact icon, which was like an orange circle with a phone on it with his photo, would lead to more people contacting him. They found that using his face as the contact icon increased conversions by 48%, so that's a massive winner. If you just do that right now, you pause the episode and you replace your contact icon with your face, then you can get a win.

No. 29: If you have a niche, make it known on your homepage. Please just put it front and center. Many financial advisor websites can be improved with this one thing. You load the website, you're on the home page and you don't want to see a slideshow with some generic “Holistic Planning for Ambitious Professionals.” Who's the ambitious professional? Everyone. Who would say, “Oh yeah, no, I'm not ambitious.” It's dumb. Just say who it is that you want to work with. Okay, please just put it there. Don't try to just make this complicated. [00:32:02.8]

No. 30: Show, don't tell. People sometimes believe what they're told, but they never doubt what they conclude. To illustrate this concept, I want to share a story I once read about Ted Turner, the billionaire media mogul. In this story, there was a brief account of him riding, or driving, really. He was driving his truck down the road. There was the story’s author in the passenger seat, and along the way, Turner unexpectedly stopped the car or the truck, and without saying a word, he walked over to a soda can on the ground. He picked up that soda can and threw it in the truck bed and he continued driving.

With that single action, which got told in the story by the author, the author painted a picture of an environmentally-friendly and conscientious man. Had the author said, “Ted Turner is environmentally-friendly,” it would've been unnoticed. It would have been met with skepticism, but the author allowed me and the other readers to form conclusions by showing instead of telling. This is powerful stuff. [00:33:03.0]

Now, let's apply it to financial advisors. I used to offer a service where I would review financial advisor websites and give specific actionable advice they could use to make them better. I noticed most websites told people what to think. They told visitors why the financial advisors were awesome, why people should do business with them and so on.

This was a mistake because it's far more effective to let people come to their own conclusions. It's also why website visitors view phrases like “We operate with integrity” or “We are honest and hardworking” as red flags. If you want to get more clients from your website, you need to structure it in such a way so people naturally conclude what you want them to conclude.

That's it for website marketing. I'm going to go into the next category here, which is content marketing. Thing 31 that I wish financial advisors knew about marketing is that content should advance the conversation with prospective clients. [00:34:00.0]

A big mistake I see financial advisors making with content marketing is making content for content's sake, especially if they get onto a schedule where they say, “Okay, I'm going to set a goal to have a new blog post every two weeks,” and they start off, they have a good one, then they have another good one, and then, eventually, they get into this rut of just creating content for content’s sake.

Many times they think that all they have to do is just create the content and clients will roll in. This isn't the case. Content should always have a clear next step, too. People need to be told exactly what to do after consuming your content. Don't get people all dressed up with no place to go, because even if you have an amazing piece of content, it should lead to something else. It should not just be “Oh, that was a great blog article. See ya.” It should be “Wow, that was a great blog article. Now, where can I set an appointment with you?”

Thing 32: Pay attention to what people do instead of what they say. What people say and what they do are two different things. People say they want the lowest price. Yet what phones do these people have? Probably iPhones, which are not the cheapest phones on the market, so they be lyin’, yo. [00:35:06.2]

People say they'd rather watch a documentary instead of reality television. However, some of the most popular television shows of all time are The Real World, The Bachelor, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Flavor of Love. People say they want information, yet based on what I've seen, purely informational content, aka hard teaching, has some of the lowest conversion rates, especially when you compare it to entertaining and engaging content.

Allow me to give you an example from the advisor coach. I once conducted a webinar with an audience of 300 financial advisors and I gave them nothing but pure information. No entertainment. I just said, “Do this, do this, do this, do this,” just like, Here you go, here you go, here you go, and it converted to zero.

Then I did a webinar with another audience of roughly 300 financial advisors and I gave the same general presentation, but I added more entertainment, more humor, more engagement, and had several people convert. Is that a coincidence? I don't think so. [00:35:59.0]

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.

No. 33: Content marketing makes you or can make you lazy. This happens when people mistakenly believe that content marketing is free. They think it costs nothing to publish a podcast episode or share a blog article, or create a lead magnet.

I consider myself fortunate because I cut my teeth on studying direct mail marketers. That's an entirely different ball game because it costs real money to send stuff through the mail. For example, a single direct mail promotion might cost $2 or $3 per recipient by the time you have the printing cost. Do you fill it with something to make it lumpy mail? You put some postage on there. If it's FedEx and you do it overnight, and you really, really want someone, that can be like $10, $20, $30. [00:37:02.2]

Imagine if it costs you $10 to get in front of each of your website visitors. Would you approach content marketing differently? Start getting into that mindset. It'll transform the way you market your business, I guarantee it.

No. 34: The best content connects to other content. This is one of the best tips I can give you. Most people are probably going to ignore it because it's on a free podcast and people quite literally don't value what they get for free, but I can hope that you're not like most people, that you'll actually use this.

Let's say you've written some articles for your blog. Those articles should link to other pieces of content from you. If people are consuming your content, they obviously like it. Give them more of it. Give them more opportunities to take you up on what you offer.

The most successful companies in the world follow this principle. Spotify does it when it does what? It suggests music for you. You listen to one song, they say, “Hey, you're going to like this one.” They give you playlists. They create playlists. They literally do. They create playlists for you. YouTube also creates playlists. YouTube gives you video recommendations. Amazon does it with product recommendations. [00:38:07.0]

These companies don't just give you whatever you're consuming and call it a day. They don't say, “Okay, here's the song you like. Okay, no more songs.” They go on to the next one. They give you more opportunities to engage with them. This is not a coincidence. These people are not dumb. Pay attention. Open your eyes. Learn from these big, big companies. They have millions and millions of dollars riding on the line and brilliant people, dozens and dozens, hundreds, if you combine the companies together, of people who have spent their entire lives trying to maximize profitability. This is an incredible gift and you can learn from it.
No. 35: Data should inform your decisions. This tip can really apply to everything, but I'm putting it in the content marketing category, because your most successful content pieces should influence the content you create going forward. Why? Because you'll look at the data, you'll see what did well, what didn't do well, and you're going to do more of the stuff that did well. You're going to do less of the stuff that didn't do well. [00:39:02.8]

One of the podcast episodes I did not too long ago, if you go back and scroll through the episode history, you'll see “How Financial Advisors Can Become More Organized: Part 2.” The reason I did a Part 2 was because Part 1 did really well and I was like, Hmm, I should probably do more of that. Why? Because data informed my decision.

If you find that a blog post about a particular topic is generating 50% of all your website traffic, you have a proof of concept and you should create more content about that topic. Likewise, if you have content that falls flat on its face, you should take it in stride. Everybody makes mistakes. We don't have winners all the time. It is okay, keep going. But avoid making the same mistake in the future.

So, that’s content marketing. I'm going to move on to the next category I have here, which is in LinkedIn marketing.

Thing 36 I wish financial advisors knew about marketing, and while we're talking about data should inform your decisions, this is very important. Tracking your metrics is critical for LinkedIn's success. What I'm about to say may seem painfully obvious to some people, but I’m amazed at how many financial advisors still don't get it. [00:40:08.0]

Maybe you've been on LinkedIn for the past couple years and you're not tracking anything. You need to start tracking stuff, and here's why. Marketing is math. The name of the game is to put one unit in, a unit of time, a unit of money, a unit of energy, whatever, and get more than one unit back. You do that by knowing your numbers, just as if you wouldn't create a budget or a savings plan without knowing certain numbers. You should never, never approach any marketing strategy without some sense of how the numbers are going to work in your favor, especially on LinkedIn.

For example, here are some important numbers to know. Your connection acceptance rate. If you send 100 connection requests to people in your niche, how many of those people accept your request? I've shared these metrics in previous shows and previous episodes. If you've heard them before, here's a good refresher. You want to know your connection acceptance rate. You want to know your appointment setting rate. If you engage 100 people in your niche, how many of them set appointments with you? Then you want to know your client conversion rate. If you set 100 appointments, how many of those people become clients? [00:41:09.2]

Once you know the answers to those questions, LinkedIn becomes a game. It's a fun game. It's a game where you can practically get clients on command. The only limit is how consistent you're willing to be, because if you know your metrics, you can exploit them.

Again, just like I said with the content marketing, you can increase the stuff that works well. You can decrease the stuff that doesn't work well. If you send five messages according to the 80-20, one of those messages is going to get 80% of your results. You can take that one message and you can extrapolate it out to the next 100 people, and you can see how well it does.

Then you can split test it against something else and you can track how well that does, and if you have something that works even better, then you can extrapolate that. Then you can do it with your connection request. You can do it with your message. You can do it with every part of your process, and before you know it, you have a machine that is unbeatable.

Thing No. 37: Vanity metrics are nice, but they're not correlated with more clients. Once upon a time, I did a post on LinkedIn about how I spent the weekend in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, and I got the pizza there. The pizza is incredible. I loved the pizza, and, specifically, the restaurant was Arcaro and Genell. It was the bomb and it was … I can't even tell you how good it was. [00:42:19.0]

It got, like, 100,000-plus impressions, and guess how many financial advisors I helped as a result of those 100,000 impressions? Zero. But I've had posts that had 3,000 impressions that led to multi-thousand-dollar business engagements.

Don't worry too much if your posts aren't getting thousands of impressions, hundreds of likes and all that good stuff. Trust me, people are seeing you. People are noticing your content. LinkedIn is a wonderful platform because it allows you to put your beautiful face and your headline in front of hundreds of people with a click of a button.

Besides, Thing No. 38 I wish financial advisors knew about marketing is that the money is in the inbox. I don't really care about likes. I don't care about the impressions. I want the impressions, but I don't want the impressions with no inbox. [00:43:10.0]

So many financial advisors have hopped on the LinkedIn bandwagon, especially in 2020. They’re following influencers, engaging with prospective clients, posting tons of content. None of that stuff is bad in and of itself, but these advisors often leave out a critical element: direct messaging. Put simply, financial advisors who succeed on LinkedIn are heavy users of its direct messaging capabilities.

I've said this so many times in the “Financial Advisor Marketing” podcast and I'm going to say it again here. You don't even have to take my word for this, because according to Putnam Social Advisor Survey, 94% of advisors seeing success on social media, which is getting new clients, they're using direct messaging capabilities, 94%.

This means if you've been sold the idea that all you need to do is post endless pieces of content, you've been sold a lie. It is not true. The right way to get clients with LinkedIn is to use your content to strengthen your direct messages, to engage with people to what? Drive direct messages. And to use other people's content to what? Drive direct messages, because the money is in the mailbox. [00:44:12.3]

As far as I know my system, okay, shameless plug, the “How to Get Clients with LinkedIn”, if you go to TheAdvisorCoach.com and you click the Get Clients With LinkedIn tab, that system is the only system in the entire world with that in mind as it was being created. Everything you do should either increase the chances of having a conversation or make the conversation better when it happens. Most LinkedIn training and most LinkedIn programs, they fail because they're not designed to foster this critical component. The only thing that matters is talking with prospective clients. All roads should lead to that happening.

No. 39: You don't need LinkedIn Premium, but it helps. I went years without using LinkedIn's premium plan. I’ve also taught tens of thousands of financial advisors how to get clients with LinkedIn using nothing but LinkedIn's free features. [00:45:03.4]

However, I'll be the first to admit, having a premium plan helps for a few reasons. First, having the premium badge on your profile makes it likelier that people will accept your connection requests. I have tested this with the same photo, with the same profile, with the same connection-request message. People are more likely to accept connection requests from the person with the premium badge on the profile. If you're regularly sending connection requests, this conversion boost can pay, cause premium to pay for itself.

Second, if you get Sales Navigator, if you're going to get any premium plan, go ahead and get Sales navigator. It's awesome. The advanced searches help you find exactly who you want. You can create a list of prospects. You can integrate it with your CRM. You can add notes within LinkedIn, and so much more. You don't need Premium. It does help. If you're going to get Premium, get Sales Navigator.

Thing 40: Talk like a human being. All too often I see financial advisors sabotaging themselves by appearing robotic online, and I mean using code standoffish language that doesn't seem like anything a live human being would use. [00:46:02.7]

I see it all the time on LinkedIn when financial advisors send messages like, “Good evening. I would like to express my gratitude for connecting. I am a fee-only financial advisor who assists pre-retirees with--” See, I can't even say it. I can't even say it here. I can't even talk robotically, but I'm going to try to get through this. “--who assist pre-retirees with financial planning to ensure maximum retirement satisfaction. Is there a time at which you are available to converse about this subject?” Blargh, gross. If you wouldn't talk like this in person, don't talk like that online.

By the way, that's it for the LinkedIn category, but if you want to connect with me all on LinkedIn, go to LinkedIn.com and search for James Pollard. I should come up. If I don't, then bad on me, but go ahead and follow me on LinkedIn, connect with me on LinkedIn. I love to hang out with advisors there.

The final category I have here in the “50 Things I wish Financial Advisors Knew About Marketing” is business philosophy. These are just general catch-all tips that can make you a better business person, a better entrepreneur, a better thinker, and a better person, and these are some of the most important things I've learned. [00:47:07.2]

Thing 41 is to strive to be a doer, not a viewer. There are two types of people in this world, viewers and doers. Viewers are people who view information and never use it. They're not bad people by any means. They're just regular people with employee mindsets who can't wait to go home to binge watch Netflix and eat Cheetos, and many of them can't apply the information because of a deep rooted fear of success.

Yes, a fear of success is a real thing. I've seen it many times. People are literally afraid of making more money, having more time off, having a better relationship with their kids, having a better relationship with their spouse. People are afraid of this.

Doers are the opposites. Here are two examples of doers. The first one is a financial advisor named Sam from Northwestern Mutual. I'm not revealing his last name or his profile picture in the article that I have here for privacy reasons, but he says, “I'm dropping you a quick note to say thank you. As an Inner Circle member, you literally saved my business in January. I'll be writing you an Inner Circle question tomorrow afternoon with more, but thank you for what you do.” That guy is a doer, not a viewer. [00:48:14.6]

Then I have another one from a financial advisor named Doug who told me he literally can't handle any new business. He'll hit 3 million GDC this year and cannot get enough trained staff to grow any faster—and I don't work with just advisors in these companies. I don't want to give you the impression that I work only with people from Edward Jones and Northwestern Mutual. That is not the case at all. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the successful Inner Circle members are independent RIAs who call their own marketing shots, because they can use most of what I tell them to do so.

But these are just two examples of doers, even though they're in a situation where they cannot use some of the information I talk about. If you're at one of these companies and your hands are tied behind your back, you can't run a webinar marketing funnel the way that I tell you, but they're still listening and they're still applying the strategies because they are doers. [00:48:59.5]

Thing 42: Don't be a dopamine junkie. Now, I'm notorious for blacklisting financial advisors who cancel my “Inner Circle Newsletter”. If they're not willing to stay committed, I don't want them back. When we get a cancellation, which is rare, I will tell you, we block the IP address and we block the email address, and we put the person on a black list, which we cross reference every time someone joins.

Am I being a jerk about that? Am I losing money? No and no, because anyone who joins any high-quality newsletter, not just mine, I want you to buy stuff from anyone who can help you. I want you to buy stuff from Nick Murray. Literally, buy everything Nick Murray offers, everything, and I mean everything. If you only have $1,000 in your bank account, use almost all of it to get everything from him. Go to zero, go hard, and I mean that. Anyone who can't stay subscribed to a high-quality newsletter, they just don't have the right mindset and they should have never subscribed.

Quitters are dopamine junkies, and it sounds kind of cruel when I say it this way, but I mean this in the nicest way possible, I mean from the bottom of my heart—these people get a hit of dopamine when they subscribe because they feel good about investing in themselves. They think they're doing something. They think they're doing something good. In reality, nothing happens until they implement the information. [00:50:13.5]

It's like people who buy a treadmill and they get this rush, and they say, “Yeah, I'm taking these steps to get healthier and to improve my cardio,” but nothing happens until they actually take steps on the treadmill. Buying the treadmill does nothing for your health. Pick something that works and stick with it until you get results. If you're interested in checking out the newsletter, it’s TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching.

No. 43: Litmus tests allow you to separate good prospects from bad ones. Here's a concept very few people understand and even fewer people implement and it is the concept of using litmus tests within your business. For example, I once attended a webinar with a group of 44 business owners who were all crushing it in their respective spaces. Merely to attend the webinar, you had to deposit $1,000, and when I saw the deposit requirement, I knew I had to attend. Why? Because that was a litmus test. That litmus test separated the serious people from everyone else. [00:51:14.4]

Let me tell you who was there. Someone making 230 grand a month from a lead magnet to an email marketing sequence. Hmm, it's almost as if email marketing works. Maybe you should do it. Someone making 100 grand per month helping new moms lose baby weight, and someone making a million bucks per month helping attorneys get more cases. Doesn't that sound like a group of people you want to be associated with?
Lots of people were whining and complaining about the deposit requirement when it was put up and it said, “Hey, you got $1,000.” You have to put $1,000 to even get into the room. Their thinking was that the webinars should have been free. These are the same people who throw hissy fits when they're asked to pay for a product or service, and I'm glad they didn't attend.

I want the litmus test because I don't want to be associated with those people. It's one of the best things that you can have in business. Just have a litmus test. Put a line in the sand and say, “Here's who I help. Here's who I don't help. If you're in the group of people that I can't help, please don't talk to me. Please don't do business with me. Please leave me alone.” That's freedom. It's so freeing. It sounds harsh to some people and they're like, Oh, that sounds mean, I don't know why you would do that. But it is incredible. [00:52:17.0]

Guess what the attendance rate was for this webinar? 100%. Every single person who put down a thousand bucks showed up. That's incredible because the average webinar attendance rate is 40%. It is just amazing to see what can happen when a litmus test is used.

How can you use this as a financial advisor? Let’s brainstorm.

You could include varying instructions for contacting you through your website. Anyone who ignores those instructions should get ignored by you.

You could create a policy to avoid doing business with anyone who ghosts your initial meeting without an explanation. In my experience, people who no-show meetings without a valid reason almost always end up causing headaches and you shouldn't do business with them anyway. [00:53:00.2]

You could create a lead magnet or some sort of deliverable for prospective clients to read before meeting with you. People who don't read it will reveal themselves as not being 100% sold, not being 100% committed, and you can adjust accordingly. You could tailor your approach to get them on board. I could go on.

In any case, having litmus tests sprinkled throughout your business is a great idea because it helps separate the good prospects from the bad ones. Having a litmus test is one of the greatest things I've ever done in the Advisor Coach and some of the other businesses I've been involved with. It is incredible.

Thing 44, and this is going to shock a lot of people, too, but focusing solely on best practices can hurt you. The term “best practices” gets thrown around a lot in the financial-advice industry. There are magazines, blog articles, YouTube videos and podcasts dedicated to this concept. But what if those best practices are hurting you? [00:53:57.1]

There was some research done which wanted to see if certain types of training programs are more effective than others at minimizing errors and judgment on the job. The basis of the research was basically trying to figure out if focusing on past errors others have made would provide better training than focusing on how others made good decisions in the past, so best practices.

The research was tested with firefighters, and in the research, a training and development session that contained several case studies was given to the firefighters. One group learned from case studies that describe real-life situations in which other firefighters made poor decisions that led to negative consequences. The other group learned from case studies in which firefighters avoided negative consequences through good decision making, so those are the best practices.

The research concluded that the firefighters who underwent the error-based training showed improved judgment and were able to think more adaptively than those who underwent the error-free training. So, the science is clear. Any form of training that focuses exclusively on best practices is not as effective. You want to learn from the mistakes. [00:55:07.7]

It's one reason why I talk about mistakes all the time in my Inner Circle Newsletter. I have several episodes with mistakes financial advisors make with email marketing, mistakes financial advisors make with their websites, because that, scientifically speaking, helps people more than just best practices.

No. 45: Written marketing plans are correlated with success. Succeeding as a financial advisor involves a lot of moving parts. There's prospecting, choosing a niche, gaining technical expertise, and so on. We've talked a lot about these things so far in this podcast episode. But there's still one thing that instantly separates the top 20% of financial advisors from everyone else, and it's a plan. I think Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said, “If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail.”

Think about this. According to CEG worldwide, 80% of financial advisors producing $1 million or more have written plans. Those making 75% or less have written plans only 7% of the time. So, have a written plan, please. You make these plans, these financial plans, for other people. Make a plan for your business. [00:56:13.4]

No. 46: Sometimes you need to shut up and follow directions. Back in 2015, I bought a book called Video Poker: Optimum Play by Dan Paymar. I studied it from start to finish and I took pages of notes. It told me exactly how to play perfect video poker, including which machines to look for to find a better edge. If you're thinking about trying that today, don't bother. Only certain machines give players an edge when played perfectly and only a handful of casinos had those machines back in 2015. Today they're virtually non-existent.

After reading that book and, most importantly, implementing the material, I made decent money. I started off slowly, and when I started, I must have averaged $5 or $10 an hour in winnings. Then, of course, I had the comps. I had free food, free hotel stays. As I increased my bank roll, I probably earned $50 an hour, and that might not sound like much, but remember I got those free rooms, the free meals, free drinks, free show tickets. My wife and I had some amazing date nights in Atlantic City. [00:57:12.8]

Why am I telling you about that? Because I didn't think I was smarter than the system. I didn't second guess the book. I didn't just read the book for fun and put it on the shelf and say, “Oh yeah, that's a good idea, good idea. I see how people can make money with that, but not me.” I used the information. I dog-eared the pages. I highlighted it. I studied. I got better. I benefited. I help financial advisors for a living and I wish more advisors thought this way. Follow the freaking directions.

When I tell you, “Email marketing can make you your next $100,000 per year, if you do these 10 things,” and I give you the 10 things and you don't freaking do them, you're not serious about yourself. Just be honest, look at yourself in the mirror. Look yourself in the eyes and say, “I am not serious about myself. I do not care about myself. I do not care about my family because I'm not serious. I'm not going to put in the work.” People say, “Oh, well, I want to make more money, but I don't want to work more hours.”

Guess what? Email marketing, setting up an autoresponder, guess how much time you're going to put into it after it's set up? Zero hours. Would you like to work zero hours to set additional appointments? Hmm, hmm, hmm, really, you think about that. [00:58:15.8]

No. 47: Your culture is influencing you. I did some traveling around the Gulf Coast in the summer and a lot of my time was spent in Louisiana and Mississippi, and I love those two states, by the way, and I've written and talked a lot about how cultures vary across the country and those states are perfect examples.

For example, I was in Nevada before that and locals described the heat there as dry heat, because Nevada has some of the lowest humidity levels in the country. The heat in the bayou is definitely not dry. It is humid AF. And I learned that Nevada is one of the least educated states in America. So is Mississippi. My wife and I started googling these things. We searched stuff like states with the worst traffic, states with the best nightlife, states with the best beaches. [00:59:03.2]

For kicks and giggles, we googled states with the most alcoholics. I don't know how we got on that, but we googled it. Guess which state has the most drinkers? According to a 2020 study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it's Wisconsin. Wisconsin has got a lot of alcoholics. The state with the fewest drinkers is Utah. That doesn't surprise me. It's followed by West Virginia and then good old Mississippi. Even though Wisconsinites might have a better education than the Mississippians, at least the fine folks down there in Mississippi aren't hitting the bottle every night.

Again, this is all about culture. I mean, I joke. I joke about these things. Different states have different massive differences between them. And you know what I've discovered? I've discovered that success has a culture, too. Imagine living in Wisconsin your whole life where nearly a quarter of adults—that's true, you can google it. Google how many adults in Wisconsin drink excessively. Nearly a quarter—drink excessively. You would think that's normal when it's not, and the same thing happens when attaining success. [01:00:04.5]

If you hang around people who have never accomplished much, it becomes your culture. If you hang around people who are growing their net worths, who are becoming better, who are excellent fathers, excellent mothers, you're going to turn into those people. Most people would do better if they knew better. Success has a culture, so get around that culture.

No. 48: Most people are too busy earning a living to make any money. Here's one of my favorite quotes. “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room.” Every so often, I'll sit with a pen and paper, my phone in airplane mode, to think about my life. I'll think about my personal goals, my business goals, and the progress I've made so far. I think about things I can add, things I can eliminate, and things I can delegate.

The highest and best use of your magnificent mind is to aim it at a specific goal or purpose. Chatter is not thinking. Neither is replaying the same tired thoughts again and again. “Why doesn't Daddy like me?” “Why does my wife do this?” “Why does my child do this?” “Why can't I make more money?” “I'm a terrible human being.” [01:01:10.4]

You don't want to do that. You don't want to run through those same thoughts over and over and over and over. Your thinking time should be used to consciously move closer to your goals. The sad truth is that most people are too busy earning a living to make any money.

Look, I get it. I really do. The world is engineered to keep us busy. You have client meetings, paperwork to shuffle, emails to send, phone calls to make. You've got a lot of stuff to do and, on top of that, you might have a spouse to keep happy, kids to keep fed, and all the stuff that comes with it. Sports, please, music lessons, and so on, and don't even get me started about keeping your spouse entertained. Time for myself. Don't make me laugh, you might be thinking. Again, most people are too busy earning a living to make any money. They're too distracted to sit alone and do nothing but think.

But you don't have to do that for two hours. You can start with five minutes. You can find a quiet spot, set a timer on your phone, then pick one challenge you'd like to solve in your business and work through it in your mind. Maybe you find a solution, maybe you don't. Either way you will make progress because you will have worked on it. [01:02:12.8]

If you're not willing to put in the time to get what you want out of life, then you should reconsider how badly you want it. I'll say it one more time because it changed my life. I hope it can change yours, too. Most people are too busy earning a living to make money.

No. 49: Simplicity is better than complexity. I'm no stranger to criticism because I have a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners approach to marketing. But I've never understood when people criticize me for having simple marketing advice. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think simplicity is a wonderful thing. I've always thought that it was strange that some people have these urges to make things harder for themselves. They overthink, overanalyze, and over-engineered, even the most basic problems in their businesses.

One theory I have is that, deep down, these people believe they don't deserve success unless they struggle for it. They make things difficult so they feel worthy if and when they accomplish their goals. [01:03:07.4]

Another theory is that complication provides people with excuses for their mistakes and their subpar performances. They create these fictitious win-win situations where they feel excused if they do poorly and praised if they do well. If something works out, then they'll take all the credit. They're like, Yeah, I worked towards my goal and I accomplished it. But if things don't work out, they can say, “Oh, I was sick anyway,” or, “Oh, I had other things to do,” or, “Oh, this thing came up.”

Another theory says that they're addicted to the fight or flight mechanism, which comes from facing a challenge. In previous centuries, the fight or flight response, it was useful, because it allowed us to take instant action whenever we were in mortal peril. Since modern lifestyles rarely provide needs for the fight or flight mechanism, people create excess stress to trigger it because they just want to feel it. They want to get this response.

No matter the theory, I have no desire to make things more complicated than necessary. If I can get maximum results with a simple approach, so be it. Let everyone else chase complexity. Simplicity is a way of life. I have fully embraced it. I like to keep things simple. [01:04:11.8]

Then, finally, No. 50, the 50th thing I wish financial advisors knew about marketing is that strategy wins the game, not tactics. Strategy is what you do. Tactics are how you do it. I liken it to an employee versus an owner mindset. The employee wants to be told what to do. He or she wants a list of tactics on which to execute. The owner, on the other hand, is the one making the list. As such, the owner is responsible for the strategy. You want to be the list builder. You are building the strategy for your business. You're not just spinning your wheels, trying to find tactic after tactic after tactic.

Let’s tie this back to financial advisors getting more clients. There are tons of coaches, consultants, and marketing agencies out there who can give you tactics. Tactics are a dime a dozen. For example, I saw an article about how financial advisors can improve their blogging results. The article for it was all about tactics, like formatting, font size, white space, and so on. [01:05:11.7]

Changing these things is like digging faster, and before I dig faster, I want to ask, “Am I digging in the right place? Does a blog make sense for me in the first place?” Tacticians never ask that question. They never ask, “Am I digging in the right place?” They just go from tactic to tactic to tactic to tactic, which means they're gambling. They're crossing their fingers and hoping that they're doing the right things at the right time.

If tactics are individual chess pieces, strategy is how you move them across the board. This means strategy is what wins the game. Focus on strategy, not tactics. Can tactics be helpful, if you have your strategy in place? Absolutely, which is why I share strategy and tactics inside of the Inner Circle Newsletter, because those advisors have demonstrated that they are ready and that they will implement the tactics and get results. But until then, get your strategy right before you focus on tactics. [01:06:09.8]

That is it. Those are 50 things I wish financial advisors knew about marketing. Thank you so much for listening to the 200th episode of the “Financial Advisor Marketing” podcast. If you like this content, leave a review. Share it online. Reach out to me. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Follow me on LinkedIn. Go to TheAdvisorCoach.com, look at all the resources I have available for you.

I am just so grateful for you. I'm thankful for you. I appreciate you, and I will catch you next week.

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