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Most email marketing advice you find on Google is dead wrong. Articles preach things like give value to your list, avoid talking about touchy subjects, and don’t send more than a couple emails per week.

But this is the worst way to set up your email strategy.


Well, it causes you to attract freeloaders while repelling the people who want to pay you for your financial services.

But by breaking these rules, and by implementing some of the unconventional email marketing advice I reveal in this episode, you’ll land more high-quality appointments and clients.

In this episode, you’ll discover a few of the most effective (and unconventional) ways to make more money from every email you send.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • Why financial advisors who use AI will be more productive than those who don’t (even if AI can’t replace your job) (2:32)
  • The “Philosophical Divide” email secret that boosts both unsubscribes and paid clients (3:20)
  • How expressing your personal religious beliefs can magnetize the right clients while repelling the wrong ones (7:49)
  • The “Celebrate Unsubscribes” mindset tweak that makes every email you send more profitable (11:00)
  • How to land more high-quality appointments on your calendar by creating a “Nightmare Client Avatar” (14:08)
  • Why making your clients pay more for your services actually “forces’: them to get better results (15:49)

If you’d like to connect with Anna, you can find her LinkedIn page here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anna-kareis/ or visit her website here: https://www.ameripriseadvisors.com/anna.kareis

Need help getting more clients as a financial advisor? I created a free, 47-minute video outlining the steps to my “CLIENT Method,” which helps financial advisors land more clients. Watch the video before I take it down here: https://www.theadvisorcoach.com/theclientmethod.html

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 your 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: Financial advisors, what's going on? Hope you're doing well. This episode is scheduled to drop May 29, which means you only have today, tomorrow, and the next day to lock in your spot for the June Inner Circle Newsletter issue. The deadline is May 31 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Standard Time—and, yes, that's Eastern Time, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, the cities on the Eastern Seaboard. [00:58.2]

I get emails from people in Oregon and California who have tried to subscribe at 11:00 or so the Pacific Time only to realize that the clock has stopped ticking and they missed the deadline. So, make sure you lock in your spot before the 11:59 p.m., Eastern Standard Time deadline, because you don't want to miss it. You can subscribe at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching.

Speaking of the Inner Circle Newsletter, this week's episode is about how I promoted one of the issues through email and some lessons I can share with you as a result. Here's the story. Every month, I send a few promotional emails to my email list about the upcoming newsletter issue. For example, I am sending emails about the June issue to my email list right now, because the deadline is coming up. I do this every month. I love doing it because it allows me to flex my email muscles and it forces me to talk about something different every 30 days. [01:54.0]

But something unique happened in February, because, in the last seven days of February, I received more unsubscribes from my email list than ever before. So, what did I do differently? Honestly, I'm not sure. I can only make educated guesses. The first educated guess I have is that some financial advisors were turned off by the content itself.

The March Inner Circle Newsletter had a heaping helping of artificial-intelligence information and I know that some financial advisors didn't like it because they thought I was essentially saying that A.I. was going to take their jobs, or as South Park would say, they're going to “terk ’er jerbs.”

The funny thing is, I clearly stated in multiple emails that I did not think artificial intelligence was going to replace human financial advisors. However, I also said that I thought financial advisors who used artificial-intelligence tools are going to be more productive than those who don't. Why is that such a foreign concept? It's like me saying that house-cleaners who vacuum are going to be far more productive than house cleaners who have to pick up dirt by hand—of course, they're going to be more productive. This is not new. This is not new stuff—or people who send emails can communicate more effectively than people who rely on couriers to deliver messages by hand. [03:12.2]

This isn't strange, or, at least, it shouldn't be. But I think people see A.I. and they get scared, because, oh, they think it’s coming to “terk ’er jerbs.” Whenever I mentioned artificial intelligence and how it will make advisors more productive, my unsubscribes spiked, and people unsubscribed in droves. But you know what else is interesting? I also got more newsletter subscribers. These are paid newsletter subscribers, by the way, not free email-list subscribers. These are paid newsletter subscribers than ever before.

The more I thought about why this happened, the more I realized that I created a philosophical divide between financial advisors who are forward-looking and those who aren't. I created a divide between financial advisors who embrace change and advisors who are resistant to change. I created a divide between advisors who are looking for ways to become more productive and those who want to stick to the way they've always done things. [04:10.4]

Change is scary and, as far as I can tell, a lot of financial advisors got scared and they bury their heads in the sand by unsubscribing. They didn't want to see this stuff anymore. They didn't want to hear about artificial intelligence. They didn't want to hear about the way the world is changing. I wouldn't say that the industry is changing, but the truth is the entire world is changing.

If I haven't mentioned this already, the actual structure of the newsletter, like the style, the send time, the length, the promotional language, the bullet points, things like that, all of that stuff was pretty much the same and it looked like the way it's always looked. The only thing that was different was the content, and when financial advisors saw this big scary change coming down the pike, some of them scurried away. That's fantastic news for financial advisors who embrace change, because it means they will be so much more productive than their counterparts. [05:06.5]

The analogy I use multiple times in my emails was that of a farmer plowing a field by hand, trying to compete with a farmer who has a fleet of tractors, and that's what's happening with artificial-intelligence tools. I even shared an example of something I accomplished in six hours that normally would have taken me 60 hours to complete. That is a 10x improvement. And I get that that's scary for some people, and it's coming down the pike and people are like, Oh, no, what am I going to do? I have to learn new skills. I have to think about my business. I have to think independently. I get that that's scary.

But, anyway, back to the emails. One of the things I like to do on the last day of the month is send two emails in a single day, and I know, I know, some of you will already be having panic attacks when I talk about sending daily emails, so sending two in a day is downright terrifying to you. But I do it because it works. [05:57.7]
The first email goes out in the morning and the second email goes out in the evening. The second email is one final kick in the pants, one final push for the fence-sitters to take action. These are people who are like, I don't know if I want to. Do I really want to? Should I do it? They just say, “Yes, I'm committing. I'm taking action. I'm going to invest in myself and my business,” and it just works very well.

I figured, since I was already getting a ton of unsubscribes, I would crank it up a notch and talk about something you're not supposed to talk about in business: religion—gasp, religion, James. Why would you talk about religion? Specifically, I mentioned how Proverbs 11:26 helps me run my business. It says, and I quote, “The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.”

I explained that I sell so hard because I want to be blessed, and I mean this. This is not like a marketing gimmick. This is not like me talking as a business person, trying to convince you or whatever. This is James speaking. I'm just a regular dude. I'm telling you right now, I believe this deep down to my core with everything that I have, I sell so hard because I want to be blessed. [07:04.4]

And let me tell you, people really unsubscribe from that one, because I'm telling people about a philosophy. My philosophy is that selling is all about serving people and helping them, and improving their lives. That is a core belief of mine. I'm creating another philosophical divide with the religion email, and if I ever talk about religion in certain emails, that is essentially what I'm doing. I'm creating a philosophical divide.

If you're someone who believes that selling is a disservice to people and that selling something is nasty, disgusting behavior, then we're not going to jive together, and that's okay. There's enough room in this world for both of us. But that email also got a ton of Inner Circle subscribers, too, because people could see how I think.

And it's not necessarily a religion thing, okay? I don't want you to get it twisted and think that I'm basically saying, “Oh, you should only subscribe if you have this religious belief.” That's absolutely, one hundred percent not what I'm saying. I would not do that at all. I don't espouse people who think that way. That behavior is not cool with me either. I am accepting everyone. I'm super-tolerant. [08:09.1]

What's interesting is when I started being more open about my personal religious beliefs and certain things like that, I got so many crazy emails and messages from people who claim to be super-tolerant and open-minded and understanding, and they were the ones that just . . . . Oh, my goodness, I don't even want to go there. It was so shocking to me.

But here's another belief of mine. I believe in free markets. I believe that entrepreneurs providing goods and services for people who are willing to pay for them, I believe that they do more good than politicians and all of their promises. I believe the profit motive is one of the most beautiful things in the world, because it creates win-win scenarios everywhere it goes.

Think about this. Take a look around you right now. Maybe you're at home and you see your countertops, your blender, your lightbulbs, and all sorts of gadgets that you have. Maybe you're in your car. Look at your interior. Look at your seats, your electronics, your steering wheel. Think about all the work that went into your vehicle, creating it. [09:11.2]

And, by the way, that car, the car you're driving right now, came from someone's imagination. There was a point in time where that did not exist. Someone sat down and had an idea, wrote it out, and it just blossomed. Isn't it amazing how that works? There's a period of time where it didn't exist. It came from someone's imagination. I think that's so awesome. People put it together. They made it safe. They delivered it to you. They maintained it for you. Other human beings did that voluntarily. Nobody forced them to do it. They gladly did it for you because of the profit motive. Isn't that incredible? That just gets me excited. I love that.

Even better, the profit motive encourages them to think of ways to better serve you so they can make more money. There are people out there right now, if you have glasses, they're thinking about how to make better glasses for you. If you have to take certain medications, they're thinking about how to make the medication better, make it more effective, make it safer. There are people who are thinking of this for you to improve your life, because of the profit motive. [10:08.5]

Businesses in free markets are constantly looking for ways to provide higher-quality goods and services at lower costs. That benefits you, the consumer. If you're someone who doesn't think this way, that's okay. If you don't believe that entrepreneurship is a beautiful thing that helps people, then you and I simply have different worldviews. And it doesn't make you a bad person. It just makes you wrong.
Anyway, back to the emails. Here are a few of the lessons I want to share with you. [10:37.5]

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.

Lesson No. 1 is don't fear unsubscribes. Fear not helping people you're meant to help. I was put on the planet to help people. That is my reason for existing. I want to leave the world a better place than I found it. I do that by, again, offering goods and services that improve other people's lives, because not only can I improve their lives when they purchase something from me, but I can take the money that I got from that purchase and use it for other things, other businesses, other services. I can donate it to charity. I can do whatever. I can put it in free markets and help people. There are so many things that I can do when I just create a product that helps people.

Seeing the direct correlation between unsubscribes and paid-newsletter subscribers, that gave me a great feeling. I loved it so much. It let me know I was speaking directly to the financial advisors I can help while repelling the ones who wouldn't even help themselves, and since then, I have tried even harder to get the wrong people to unsubscribe. [12:00.3]

I take great pride in being exclusive. I'm fully aware that my approach is not for everyone. I don't make big claims or promises, even though I could probably make a lot more money if I did. But if I made these big claims and promises, I would have disappointed financial advisors and a bunch of customer-service headaches, and that is just not worth it to me. I would rather under-promise and over-deliver. That has served me well so far and it has kept headaches to a minimum.

It's hard for financial advisors to complain when their expectations are exceeded, after all, and sometimes I will write out exactly who should not subscribe. Some people might think this is crass. Some people might think this is a little too extreme. But remember, I'm trying to repel the wrong people, and I'm going to explain to you exactly why it works, but let me give you some of the exact language that I use. This is directly from one of my emails.

“Don't subscribe if you think $99 per month is a lot of money for what the newsletter contains. You will only agonize about how much the $3.26 per day cost instead of the tremendous value you're getting.” [13:02.8]

“Don't subscribe if you're the type of person who jumps from one bright, shiny object to the next. The reason why newsletter subscribers have been so successful is because they embrace proven marketing principles based on human psychology.

“Don't subscribe. If you're looking for a quick fix to all your marketing problems. This ain't it. This is a slow and steady drip of marketing wisdom that gets delivered to your mailbox every month.”

I'll give you two more.

“Don't subscribe if you haven't opened a self-help book in the past 10 years. I can't help people more than they want to help themselves. Amen.”
You'd be amazed. If people aren't willing to help themselves, then I totally can’t help them. One more.

“Don't subscribe if you can't fathom the thought of reading 15 to 20 pages per month. This is a physical paper-and-ink newsletter. I haven't figured out how to beam information directly into someone's brain yet, so reading is required.”

Now, let's pause for a second. Some people are going to think, Wow, that is too harsh. And, yes, it is too harsh. That's the point. The big takeaway for you is that you want to turn off the wrong people, because a byproduct of turning off the wrong people is simultaneously pulling the right people toward you. [14:18.3]

Here's the takeaway for you. Describe the person who is not a good fit for you. What are some characteristics of people you don't want to work with? Because let's be real, you wouldn't take these people on as clients anyway. Maybe they're always late. Maybe they ghost your meetings. Maybe they pester you with a hundred different phone calls and emails.

You could model my approach. Don't copy and paste. Don't swipe. I can't stand people who do that. These are just low-class people who steal. But you could model my approach. You could say something like, “Don't set an appointment with me unless you plan on showing up on time.” You could say, “Don't become a client of mine if you're someone who likes to fire off a dozen random questions per week.” [14:59.5]

Again, I want to emphasize that this should not hurt your business, because you weren't going to work with those people anyway. Yet, you will still reap the benefits of drawing the right people closer to you. Punctual people are going to think to themselves, Yes, someone like me who values being on time, and that's priceless.
Lesson No. 2 is that your marketing should have some way to get rid of freebie-seekers and tire-kickers. I offer a lot of free content. I have my email list. I have my blog, my social media channels. I have this podcast. This means attracting a bunch of people who want information for free is my fault. I take complete responsibility for it. I knew what I was getting into when I did this, so I am not this little innocent lamb. I understand, I'm giving free content away.

The problem is that free information can only take you so far, and it's not because free information is bad or anything. There's a lot of free information out there that's better than paid content, objectively better. It gets people better results. I've had dozens of financial advisors tell me that this podcast alone is better than some of the courses they've taken. [16:09.2]

However, there is a psychological shift. That happens when people pay for information and it increases the likelihood that they will implement it. There have been so many studies on this. People given a placebo pill were twice as likely to have their pain disappear when they were told the pill was expensive. People who paid more for tickets, like concert tickets, sports-event tickets, they were more likely to attend than people who got tickets for free or people who paid very little for tickets. People think expensive wines taste better. People think expensive headphones sound better. I could go on and on.

Tony Robbins started charging $1 million for personal consultation. His reasoning was that his goal was to help people improve their lives, and his biggest problem was that people were not doing the necessary work after coming to see him. So, if someone spends a million bucks, that person is far more likely to put in the work afterwards. That's also one reason why my newsletter has had such a high success rate. If for no other reason, investing $99 per month is a little nudge to have you actually use the information to make your money back. [17:17.2]

So, how can you apply this to your business? I want to help you financial advisors. I want to give you a takeaway. You can be clear about your intentions. Let people know exactly what you want them to do. A lot of times financial advisors will tell me that their goal for email marketing is to give a bunch of information, and if people want to become clients, they can. No, don't do that. That's goofy.

People are on your email list. You didn't subscribe to their email list. They're on yours. Tell them what you want them to do. You will be surprised at how effective a direct approach can be. Even in your first email in your autoresponder sequence, you can say, “You haven't set an appointment for a reason. My goal with these emails is to get you comfortable enough to set an appointment with me. If you have any questions or if there's anything I can do to help you, let me know.” [18:07.0]
And guess what? People appreciate that and it sets more appointments, because you're letting people know directly that you want them to set appointments with you, and you're acknowledging that they haven't set an appointment for a reason and that your goal is to get them comfortable enough to set an appointment. Hmm, isn't it awesome how that works?

Lesson No. 3. I want you to brace yourself for this because this is a shocker. Here it is. Are you ready? The emails that got the most paid-newsletter subscribers were the ones that provided the least amount of value in the form of hard teaching and information. So, if anyone tells you that your emails need to, quote-unquote, “give value,” then you know that person has no idea what he or she is talking about. [18:54.4]

You see, freeloaders, people—“freeloaders,” that's a little harsh. But then again, this is the point, you want to be harsh—freeloaders love value emails. They gobble them up. They beg you to send more. They respond back. These are the reply guys who say, “Great email, learned a lot.” “Loved this content, great content.” But they never ever do anything. They bleed you dry for as much value as they can get, as long as they don't have to shell out a single dime.

And, by the way, maybe you're listening to this podcast right now. And I'm 200-plus episodes deep, okay? So, if you've listened to more than a couple dozen episodes and you're just addicted to this free content, there is something wrong. I'm not necessarily saying this is like some Jedi mind trick or whatever. Absolutely not. I'm just telling you, psychologically speaking, there is something wrong if you are addicted to free content and you are holding yourself back. Remember the placebo, the wine, and the sports. You are causing yourself harm by not paying for information. [19:53.4]

But back to financial advisors using this in their own emails. People who are willing to pay you for your services, they want something different. They want entertainment, not information. And, sure, you can sprinkle a statistic or two in every email, but the fact remains, the more hard teaching and information your emails provide, the likelier it is that you're turning off people who actually work with you.

You'll get a lot of feedback from the freebie-seekers, people who just want “Gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme more information, more information, more information,” they will love your emails. But the people who actually work with you, who want to give you money in exchange for your goods and services will not like it.

I've had so many people try to fight me on this and I don't even respond to it, because the data doesn't lie. I trust the data. I trust the metrics. I've seen it in my emails, financial advisors’ emails, and even emails from other industries. Generally speaking, the more, quote-unquote, “value” an email has, the less effective it is, and since this is the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast, I will explain the marketing reason behind this. [21:02.1]

When you give a bunch of value, people feel satisfied. They're I don't want to say happy, but they're content with what they have. Yet most of the world's most effective copywriting is built around agitating a problem and providing a solution. If you have something valuable to offer the marketplace, you should focus on getting it out there.

Can you imagine if you were starving and you went to a steakhouse and the server started talking to you about all the cuts of meat and how they process them, and maybe even the history of meatpacking in America, you wouldn't be confused. You're there for steak. You're willing to pay for steak and you're starving. You're the best customer. You're ready to roll. You're ready to chop it up, eat, put some sauce on that bad boy. All you need is a menu, something to help you decide which steak you want. You want to know what they're offering and what you want to get. That's pretty much what happens in email. People who give value, talk about the metaphorical history of meatpacking in the United States when they should be handing over a menu. [22:04.4]

I plan on talking about this more in a future podcast episode, but I'm looking at the clock here and I'm running out of time. Once again, the deadline to subscribe to the June Inner Circle Newsletter issue is May 31 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. I strongly suggest locking in your spot, which you can do at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching.

Thank you for listening to this episode, and I will catch you next week.

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