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Many financial advisors are, to put it bluntly, terrible at marketing, which means I give the same marketing advice to advisors again and again and again.

That’s why I gathered the most common—and most effective—marketing advice I give to advisors and put it into a single episode.

If your marketing doesn’t keep your sales pipeline filled to the brim or help you unlock financial freedom, you’re probably making one of the several mistakes I reveal in this episode.

Want to grow your business so rapidly it doesn't seem real?

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • The insidious “Marketing Sugar Crashes” trap financial advisors fall into which makes it almost impossible to achieve true financial freedom (0:54)
  • How being busy prevents you from being productive and building real wealth through your business (2:07)
  • Why blindly believing marketing gurus enslaves you to your business (and how to make your business work for your lifestyle instead) (5:42)
  • The single most important piece of marketing advice I can give to financial advisors (6:27)
  • How adding several marketing strategies to your marketing plan actually saves you time (even if you’re dreading more marketing mediums) (6:58)
  • The easiest way to give yourself a pay raise by the end of this week (8:25)
  • Why “Probabilistic Thinking” can double, triple, or quadruple your conversion rates overnight (without changing anything else in your marketing strategy) (14:53)
  • How to set a cascade of abundance that you never thought possible into motion from your marketing within the next 7 days (17:47)

Need help crafting an email marketing strategy for your business that keeps your calendar full and your wallet fuller? I'm offering one-on-one intensives for financial advisors where I’ll help you build your email marketing from scratch. But it’s not cheap. If you're interested, you can book your spot here: https://theadvisorcoach.com/intensive.

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.

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: Welcome back to the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. This week's episode is going to be a great one, especially if you're relatively new around here, because I'm going to give a brief summary of the most common marketing advice I give to financial advisors. These are the things that I find myself saying again and again, because they are so critical. These are some of “the” most important things I can share with financial advisors. [00:54.3]

I want to start off with understanding the difference between strategies and tactics. Tactics are the specific actions, techniques or methods used to achieve an immediate or short-term goal. You should remember that it's short term. These are the things that you do in pursuit of those short-term goals. They're usually narrowly focused. They're shorter in duration. For example, in marketing, a tactic might be a specific social media campaign. It might be the way you structure a direct mail headline. It might be the button you use in a pay-per-click campaign, and so on.
Strategies are the overarching plans or approaches designed to achieve long-term goals. These are long term. I do my best work with financial advisors who can think long term. These advisors don't get what I like to call marketing sugar rushes, where they get all excited and then crash. People who get all hopped up on tactics typically either crash after executing a tactic or when the tactic stops working, because they don't think long term.
The more you depend on tactics, the more you become like an addict where you need your next fix, you need another tactic and another one and another one and it's never enough, then before you know it, you're on the street corner and you're asking people, “Hey, got any more of those tactics?” [02:07.2]

It's like the difference between being busy and being productive. People who are busy are those who check off a bunch of different items and never really get anything done that moves the needle, because they're so addicted to just doing stuff, right? That is their identity. They are doers. They're not accomplishers, if that makes sense.
This type of thinking is really a way of life, too. I’ve mentioned that I work roughly 15 or so hours per week. Some weeks, it's 10 hours. Others, it's 20 or more. It fluctuates between 10, 15 and 20, honestly, but the reason I’ve been able to achieve that in my life is because I focus on productivity instead of busy work. My work time is spent solely on the activities that generate massive leverage and/or scale in my business. For instance, right now I'm offering 90-minute email intensives for financial advisors for $5,500. If you're interested in booking one of those, then you can book your spot over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/intensive. [03:06.7]
That is an example of leverage. You can go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/intensive. You can spend 90 minutes with me, and you can extract a ton of value that you can use over and over and over in your business. That is leverage and we're going to talk a little bit about that later on in the episode.
In the financial-advice world, a tactic might be an IRA rollover. You wouldn't just go out and blindly tell people that they should do rollovers and you would probably laugh at anyone who did rollovers willy-nilly, and that's how I feel about people who blindly chase tactics. You need context. You need a strategy behind what you're doing. You need to sit down and say, “Okay, the reason why I'm doing this rollover is because I want to eliminate traditional IRAs so I can do a clean backdoor Roth every single year.” Then you have purpose and you have meaning behind the rollover, and it becomes more than just a to-do list item. [04:03.0]

It really is so silly to me to see people just constantly check an item off, check an item off, chase a tactic, chase a tactic, because it's like doing a rollover and then doing a rollover again and then doing a rollover again. You have to have context. What is the purpose? What are you trying to achieve? That is the strategy. I have never ever ever seen a financial advisor succeed using tactics alone. Tactics are necessary. I will give them that. I understand that tactics are necessary. But they are not sufficient.
Tactics are really like water, right? You need water to live, but water alone is not enough. Also, there is such a thing as too much water. There's water intoxication, also known as water poisoning, and it can be fatal. Chasing too many tactics can truly be fatal to your business. You can get tactic intoxication. [04:49.4]

I highly recommend that you begin with strategy and then let strategy inform your tactics. A lot of that comes from knowing yourself and knowing your personality, which is another piece of marketing advice that I give quite a bit. I just did a two-part podcast series about the HEXACO personality test and what I think a hypothetical perfect financial advisor would be like. But it goes above and beyond your personality. This is something that you have to come up with yourself. There is no silver bullet. There is no magic button that you could just hit and fix all of your problems.
That's why I'm not the type of person who sits here and tells you, “Oh, you must do this. You absolutely must do this. This is the only way.” That doesn't exist. That is not a realistic approach. I tell you to tailor your marketing based on your specific situation, your context, your strengths, your personality, because then you have the best probability of success—and we're going to talk more about probabilities, too. You can see where all of this is going to weave together.
Let's say that your goal is to spend more time with your family. You will need a strategy to get there to accomplish that goal. You might need marketing and business-building activities that can be done from the comfort of your home and maybe in the early morning or the late evening hours. If that's the case, then inbound marketing informs your strategy. Inbound marketing becomes your friend, because you can create content. You can engage on social media. You can do all of those things. [06:11.6]

Networking events, on the other hand, would be difficult for you specifically to implement. If you chased after networking events as a tactic, simply because someone said you should do them, then you wouldn't be able to live your ideal life. You wouldn't be able to accomplish your goal of spending more time with your family.
Moving on, another piece of advice that I give a lot is to have multiple marketing strategies. That is the Holy Grail. It is the most important thing I can give to financial advisors. It is so, so important. Having multiple marketing strategies and multiple marketing channels has been around forever in other industries, but I was the one who pioneered this approach for financial advisors, specifically, back in 2015. I was “the” first one to really start hammering this idea, and it has been a game changer for many advisors. [06:59.0]

If you think you don't have time for more marketing strategies, that is a symptom of a larger problem, because it's about working smarter, not harder. Multiple marketing strategies should make your life easier, because it should increase your conversion rates. It should give you time. It should not take away time.
Let's say that you engage with 100 people on LinkedIn and two of them book appointments with you. LinkedIn is one marketing strategy, right? Now assume that you give people the option to go somewhere else, so that's a website or a landing page. You're putting another marketing strategy on top of that. When they engage with you there, they build rapport with you. They begin to trust you. Maybe two more out of the 100 book appointments with you. That means you have doubled your conversion rate. So, now the question becomes, was it double the work to have two marketing strategies instead of one? No, almost certainly not.
This works with outbound prospecting, too. If you call 100 people and only 10 of them answer, you could move on with life. You could forget about the other 90. You could do nothing with them. You could have that effort pretty much be wasted. So, you email the other 90. You send them a message online. You do something, right? For easy math, let's say that 10 of them get back to you. If that's the case, again, you have doubled your conversion rate. Is it really double the work? Again, I don't think so. [08:18.4]

Another piece of marketing advice I give a lot to financial advisors is to choose and market to a specific niche. Financial advisors, if you hear my voice right now, please niche down. There is pretty much nothing else that can increase your conversion rates across the board like this. It's like increasing your expected rate of return from an investment without taking any additional risks. It is so awesome. Because you're already going to do whatever marketing strategies you're going to do, you're already going to do the work. But you're going to do it in a focused manner when you have a niche. You're going to talk to a specific group of people and they're going to respond in greater numbers, because they see that you work with people like them. [09:03.5]

Let me tell you a little story about an Inner Circle member who emailed me, and thank goodness he did, because if he didn't, he would have likely spent a lot of time and a lot of money trying to make his marketing strategy work. I'll explain.
Inner Circle members, by the way, they get exclusive email access to me for their marketing and their business building questions. They're the only people who get this type of access and for only $99 per month. It is an unbelievable deal.
Anyway, this guy asked me to review his landing page. He wasn't asking for in-depth consulting. He wasn't asking me to record a video for him or hop on a call, or anything like that. He just wanted me to take a quick look and give him my thoughts. Just three or four thoughts, right? Before I tell you what I saw, I'd like to say how proud I am that this advisor asked for help, because I’ve met so many advisors who never asked for any help whatsoever. They stay stuck despite having amazing resources available to them. Maybe they're afraid of success. Maybe they believe they don't deserve help. Maybe something happened to them and home as a child and now they are warped to believe that they don't deserve any of this. Who knows? I don't know. I'm not a psychologist. [10:06.5]

Either way, I applaud this financial advisor for his behavior. I am grateful to have him as a newsletter subscriber, especially because my life's work is helping financial advisors and I genuinely want to do it, so let me. Let me have more of my life's work. It really does make me happy. All right, are you ready for me to tell you what I saw? Get ready.

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.

I clicked on his landing page. It loaded pretty quickly. That's good. You want to have a fast-loading landing page. He had a very clear headline. That's also good. He had a big call-to-action button. That's good, and it had contrast with everything else on the page. If you have a white landing page, you have a red button, that's good. If you have a lot of blues, then your button might want to be orange. You don't want to have it be the same shade of color. You want to have it to contrast. That's just a general marketing rule of thumb. [11:17.1]

He was offering a video training about retirement planning. That could be better, but it's not a deal breaker. It all comes down to knowing his market. I would have to dig into his goals to give him a recommendation, so I didn't really want to jump the gun there.
But as I kept scrolling, I noticed something awful. He said the video training on his landing page was for—and this is real, I'm telling you exactly what it said—farmers, business owners, high-net-worth individuals, employees, people in retirement, and people who have not started retirement planning yet. That is from a real financial advisor. That is a real landing page and that is really what he said, and I'm like, Wow, that is not targeted at all. [11:59.5]

So, I emailed him back and I told him to pick one target market for each landing page, and that meant creating separate landing pages, by the way. In other words, if he wanted to target farmers, then he should create a landing page solely for farmers, nobody else. That way, he could create a farmer-specific headline with farmer-specific images, and so on. It's made solely for them so they can get the information that they want so they are more attracted to it than anybody else out there. Doing it this way will likely lead to higher conversion rates. It should also lead to more opt-ins, and as a result, more appointments. Such is the power of having an itch.
Again, I want to commend this advisor for reaching out to me and asking for help. It's more than many people do. I'm so glad he did because this one change where he just chooses farmers and then creates a landing page for them, and chooses business owners and makes a landing page for them, it can make all the difference. Everything can improve when you have a niche. [12:57.7]

I mean, let's say this guy ended up going all in on farmers as his niche. He could go directly to farmers and ask them for their biggest problems. If they tell him that they worry about leaving the farm to their children, then that can inform his entire marketing campaign. He can make the headlines something like “How to avoid a tax nightmare when leaving your farm to your children.” That is a headline that speaks to farmers who have the problem he can solve and it is much better than a generic headline.
Not only could he tighten up the headline, but he could tighten up the body copy. He could tighten up the call to action. He could tighten up the follow-up emails, the ads that point to the landing page, the social media posts that point in the landing page. Everything else in his marketing could be improved because of this. Choosing a niche and adjusting your marketing accordingly is like giving yourself a pay raise.
I also talk a lot about thinking in terms of probabilities. I've seen many financial advisors adopt binary decision-making models. They think they should invest their time in social media “or” email marketing. They think they should do SEO “or” direct mail. But that type of thinking leads people astray because it doesn't emphasize the probability of any one strategy working. [14:05.8]

No single marketing strategy is a silver bullet. No one thing can fix all of your problems. So, thinking in terms of probabilities allows you to weigh your options based on the likelihood of achieving your goals, your outcomes. I don't care what Bob down the street wants. I don't care what Joe in Wichita, Kansas, wants. He's in another part of the country, unless you are Joe in Wichita, Kansas.
If you're marketing to Gen Z and another financial advisor is marketing to retirees, then the probability of a TikTok or Instagram campaign working for you is likely higher. If you're marketing primarily to people in your local area and another advisor works virtually, then the probability of in-person events working for you is higher. Does that mean in person events can work just as well for everyone? No, of course not. [14:53.2]

That's also why I go back to personality-driven marketing. If you're an introvert and you're shy, and it takes a lot of work and a lot of effort for you to open up to people, then networking events will simply have a lower probability of success for you. You can still consider them. You can still weigh them against your other options, because they might have better odds than other things you're considering. But you should be honest with yourself when assessing those odds.
Another reason why I like probabilistic thinking is because market conditions and clients’ preferences, what they want, it changes all the time. This year is an election year, so the probability of marketing materials based around election cycles will work is so much higher than it usually is. I've seen this in my business. I’ve seen in the Advisor Coach. I’ve sent in emails about bear markets and market declines throughout the years. But when we're actually facing a decline or we're in one, those emails do so much better, because I'm entering the conversation in the financial advisors heads. Probabilities change, and you need to recognize that. It's also why a reliance on tactics can hurt you, because a tactic that works today might not work well or work at all tomorrow. [16:00.0]

I also talk a lot about leverageable marketing strategies. As I often emphasize in this podcast, in my emails, in my Inner Circle Newsletter, basically everywhere, scalability and leverage is a phenomenal way to create wealth for yourself. Now, what do I mean by leverage? I mean, creating scenarios for yourself where you get more results for the same amount of effort. It’s like a lever you can pull.
It takes the same amount of time for me to write and send an email to 1,000 people as it does for me to send it to 25,000 people. That is leverage. It takes me no more effort to write a direct mail campaign and send it to the printer, no matter if I'm sending it to 10 people or 100. Of course, in that case, it might cost me more money, but I'm talking about the time invested. It takes the same amount of time, which means I can get better results through leverage and I can still have the same amount of time left over to invest in other parts of my business. [16:52.4]

You can get leveraged in other ways, too. I like marketing strategies that revolve around creating something once and letting it work. That's why I love email marketing so much, because I show financial advisors how to create an email autoresponder sequence one time. That's it, one time. You can get it done in a day if you're super hardworking and ambitious. Otherwise, you can usually get it done within a week. But that autoresponder sequence works for financial advisors again and again and again, no matter what they are doing.
You can write your social media posts once. Track to see which ones perform better, and then reuse the best-performing ones. That is leveraged, too. Leverage could also be asking your clients for referrals or facilitating referrals as I like to do. I mean, I appreciate financial advisors who ask directly, but it is much better to create a scenario in which people are likely to refer. But that's a topic for another podcast episode. But you are leveraging your clients to meet new people.
Leveraging your efforts is so, so important. It's like planting a single seed and nurturing that seed into a tree that produces season after season of fruit. Each piece of fruit carries the potential for a forest. The initial effort might seem small. It might take a lot of time to grow. You might think, Oh, this is so hard. But it can set into motion a cascade of abundance that you never thought possible and you will be so glad you started. [18:12.3]

The final common piece of marketing advice I give to financial advisors is to embrace simplicity. I used to say this a lot in the early days of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast, but I haven't said it in a long time. Here it is. People think they have complex problems, so they tend to seek complex solutions. That is a mistake.
Something like email marketing might seem complex to you, but it's simple to me. It's really all perception. Investing in tax-deferred vehicles might seem so simple to you, but it's complex to prospective clients. Therefore, I think it's important to at least accept that there might be a simple solution out there that you don't know about. If you're struggling with something and you're really banging your head against the wall, sit back and think, Hmm, is it at least possible that there is a simple solution to this problem that I perceive as complex? [19:02.6]

A lot of good marketing can be boiled down to this, giving people compelling enough reasons to do the things you want them to do. You're communicating that message to them. People have not done business with you because they don't have compelling enough reasons to do so. Even in my business, I face this challenge every day. If you're listening to this podcast and you are not subscribed to the Inner Circle Newsletter over at TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching, it is my fault. I have not given you compelling enough reasons to do so. That is a hundred percent my bad and I accept full responsibility.
But that's simple enough, isn't it? You could get a piece of paper and write at the top, “Reasons why people should work with me,” and then begin making a list. Then once you're done with the list, go through each of the items you've listed and ask, “Does my target market actually care about this thing?” If you don't know the answer, then you need to ask them. If they don't care about it at all, cross it off. Don't communicate that in your message. Only communicate the things that people care about. Could it really be that simple? You'd be surprised. That doesn't mean it's easy, though. Simple does not always mean easy, so don't get it twisted. [20:10.7]

Anyway, that's enough for this week. I am very glad I recorded this episode, because there are a lot of new listeners who have been tuning in. If that's you, welcome, I'm glad to have you here. I've got a lot of great stuff coming up in the next few episodes, and with that said, I will catch you next week.

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