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There are downright shocking statistics about how much debt the average person has… and you’d be mistaken if you think this also doesn’t apply to financial advisors.

It's the height of hypocrisy when you’re teaching others how to manage their money, but can’t manage your own. And yet, I see advisors’ credit cards declining almost every day when they try to buy my Inner Circle Newsletter.

But here’s the silver lining if you’re a financial advisor up to your ears in debt:

It’s never been easier to get more clients from social media. Especially when you implement what I reveal in today’s episode.

Want to turn your social media posts into client-getting machines?

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • How simply knowing your audience can triple your webinar attendees almost overnight (6:23)
  • This weird “Open Rate” trick for email marketing can help you land more clients by trying to get lower open rates (9:11)
  • The single biggest social media mistake financial advisors make which makes your ideal clients physically nauseous (9:49)
  • Why disobeying this “law of marketing” on social media magnetizes your ideal clients to your calendar (11:24)
  • Most financial advisors completely neglect this obvious approach to marketing… Here’s how to avoid making this costly mistake (12:10)
  • The “Two-Way Street” secret for posting engaging social media posts that actually fill up your calendar (14:32)
  • How to make LinkedIn help you grow your influence every time you’re at the doctor’s office or waiting in line (16:41)

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: I want to kick off this podcast by sharing something cool and that is that someone brought it to my attention, and I don't really believe this—I'm going to have to do some more digging. I'm going to have to try to verify that this is true—but someone said I was the longest-reigning solo podcaster in the financial-advisor marketing, business-building, practice-management space, and it may be true, because I started the Advisor Coach Podcast back on November 17, 2016, and I have not stopped podcasting since. [01:07.0]

The last episode of the Advisor Coach Podcast aired in January 2019. The very first episode of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast, which is what you're listening to right now, aired in December 2018, so I might be the longest solo podcaster in the financial-advisor marketing, business-building, practice-management space. That is pretty, pretty darn cool.
I also want to tell you a little story about something I've observed here at The Advisor Coach. I have seen more credit cards fail due to insufficient funds over the past few months than I have seen in the past few years combined. The uptick started after federal student loan payments resumed in October 2023. I don't know if the two are connected. I'm just telling you what I saw. Surely, financial advisors were making their student loan payments, right? I mean, right? It's pretty wild to think that people will take out 100 grand of debt to go to some college and take a bunch of irrelevant classes that they're not going to use, but they won't invest a few $1,000 into themselves into businesses. But, hey, I guess that's why they're getting the results they're getting, huh? [02:12.8]

I got a psychology degree. I left school with $29,000 and some change of student loan debt, and I felt so dumb. I couldn't believe that I did it. Fortunately, I had a business going. This was before the Advisor Coach and I could make the payments with no problem. I made extra payments. I actually paid off my student loan early.
I know, I know, I could have invested that money. But the whole concept of taking out all this debt, it was absolutely absurd to me. I couldn't believe that I was paying nearly $30,000 of debt for stuff that I legitimately could have learned online, and I mean that. The whole thing is ridiculous. Of course, there are some instances where not having a degree is a barrier to entry, but I was an entrepreneur. Even when I had a job, I knew deep down that I wasn't going to be there forever. Anyway, but enough about that. [02:58.4]

The student loan thing happened and then people started getting the cards declined because of insufficient funds, but then Black Friday and Cyber Monday came along and usage of “buy now, pay later” options skyrocketed. Klarna, which offers a “buy now, pay later” service reported a 29% increase in orders placed by U.S. shoppers on Black Friday, with some of the most popular items being personal electronics, televisions and kitchen appliances. 29% more and “buy now, pay later.” That's nuts. Surely, financial advisors weren't overextending themselves for a freakin’ blender, right? Right?
After that came the holiday season. A survey conducted by the Achieve Center for Consumer Insights found that half of American consumers expected to take on debt to pay for the holidays and many of them expected to take months to pay it off. Surely, financial advisors weren't getting themselves in debt like all of these other people, right? Right? [03:55.5]

I'm not so sure, because I've seen financial advisors have their credit cards and debit cards declined for as little as $20, 2-0, $20. You can't even get half of a tank at the gas pump anymore for $20. And I'm not talking about declines due to entering the wrong number or the wrong security code. I want to make it perfectly clear, I'm talking about declines due to insufficient funds, aka no more credit on card, no more money in bank.
For example, I had this guy, tried to subscribe to my Inner Circle Newsletter, and I saw that my payment processor kept saying $99 failed, $99 failed, $99 failed, and I thought to myself, What the heck is going on here? I clicked through some of the transactions and it was the same guy who tried three separate credit cards and all of them were declined due to insufficient funds, every single one. I saw his website and his email address. You know how email addresses like mine is james@theadvisorcoach.com. It could be like bill@XYZmanagement.com or something like that. [04:57.0]

Out of sheer curiosity, I decided to go to his website. He had a nice professional photo. He looked good, right? His website painted a picture of success and financial savvy, and how he's doing so well on so awesome, and he looks so cool, and he had Barron's top advisor littered all over on every page it seemed. From the looks of it, this guy had been in business for several years. He's built up his wealth management firm or company or whatever, I don't want to give away any details, and you would think he would have had his act together.
It's so sad and hypocritical that he claims to know how to manage wealth for high-net-worth individuals and investors when not one, not two, but three of his credit cards are getting declined due to insufficient funds. I checked my credit card, the spending power, and I could swipe for $99,000 and get approved, not $99, $99,000. It wasn't always like this, though. I'm not going to sit here and posture like I've always had it like that, because I have not. [05:57.6]

But, hey, I want to be part of the solution. I just don't want to complain on here and just keep going and going, so that is why in this podcast episode, I want to share a few things that you can use right away to set more appointments and get more clients. If you are a financial advisor out there and you'd like to grow even just a little bit, then this can help you. Of course, you have to do what I tell you. You can't just listen to this podcast episode, nod and smile and then move on with your life. You have to do this stuff.
The very first tip I have for you for creating social media posts that get clients is that you should write for your audience. Let me explain. A while back, I did this live webinar with a guy named Joe Moss, who runs a few advisor-related companies. He's a great guy. I like him a lot. He was doing these webinars for a few months and he kept track of the guests he had and how many registrants he had, and let me give you a few. These are all public. He posted this on social media, so this is not like breaking news. I'm not sharing anything that people wouldn't want me to share.
Asset Map had 14 registrants for their webinar. Bento Engine had four registrants for their webinar. Yes, that's right, one, two, three, four. G Reminders, I don't think I've ever heard of that, the letter G and then Reminders, 17 registrants. Then Elements had 14 registrants, so like 13, 14, 15. [07:09.4]

Then one webinar that he did—and, again, this is not a reflection on Joe, right? Joe is an awesome person. I really like working with him. He's cool. I'm just talking about the companies and the webinars now—one of the webinars had not one, not two, not three, not four, but five companies. They all got together, and they got 35 registrants, 3-5, 35.
But when Joe did the webinar with me, he literally maxed out his Zoom plan of 100 registrants. We don't even know how many people were trying to register after it closed. It could have been 150. It could have been 250. We just don't know, because it got maxed out. But how come five of these companies couldn't put together 40 people on a webinar, yet little ol’ me got 100 people to register in short order? [07:55.5]

It's because I know my audience. I specifically called out my audience. In fact, I wrote the email that Joe sent to his list. If you got that email, you know in the email, I say, “Hey, my name is James Pollard. I'm writing this email for Joe. Joe has persuaded me to do this thing. He's super persuasive and awesome, right?” So, I described precisely who should show up for that webinar.
This is going to sound like a silly example, but if I say something like “This webinar is for women in Pennsylvania who have Siamese cats and shop at Costco,” and I put that message in front of those women, they are very likely to take action. They're far more likely to take action than if I put it in front of a general audience with a whole bunch of people.
One of the things I shared on that webinar with Joe was that open rates don't matter. Whenever I see people blathering about open rates, I just smile and nod like I told you not to do with this podcast. I just plug my ears. I might even say something like, “Go get ’em Tiger, you go crush those open rates,” in the same way I would respond to a child who tells me that he wants to be an astronaut-cowboy-leprechaun combo when he grows up. But inside, when people say the open rates don't matter, I am holding back deep gut-busting laughter, because it shows that they do not know what they're doing. They have no clue. [09:11.8]

I'm not even sure what my open rates have been lately, and I don't care. The financial advisors I've helped don't seem to care either once they've seen the light, and let me tell you why. You could send an email with the subject line, “Open this, it's important,” and get a lot of opens. Getting a high open rate is easy, but the problem is you won't really know for sure that you're appealing to the right people.
Now let's say the subject line says, “This email is only for surgeons aged 50 and older.” Now we're talking. The open rate might drop because only the target market, surgeons aged 50 and older, will open, but that's what you want anyway. The same is true with social media posts. I don't care what your peers think. [09:54.0]

Social media for so many financial advisors looks like this: a whole bunch of other advisors patting each other on the back, and that's it. They say, “Great post,” or “So much value,” and it's just a financial advisor commenting on another financial advisor’s post that was inspired by another financial advisor. That's great and all, it's cool that you get respect from your peers. Awesome. But what do your prospective clients think? Are they engaging? Do they care? Which one would you rather have? Would you rather have a post that has 100 likes and 10,000 views from people outside your target market, or would you rather have a post that has 10 likes and 1,000 views from people inside your target market? I'm taking the second one all day every day.

Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.

The second tip I have for you is creating social media posts that really work well requires variety, and I actually don't like this tip. I really like text-based posts. If it were up to me, I would write my daily email and then repost it on LinkedIn and call it a day, because I really don't like spending time on social media. But that isn't what gets the best results, I'm just telling you right now. I have seen both for myself and for my Inner Circle members that variety is working and has been working really well for the past few years actually.
But what does this mean? It means if you post nothing but videos, your first video might do okay, but then the fifth and sixth videos might not do as well, because people kind of get to a place where they expect that from you. But if you do a text post one day, then an image post the next and a video post the next, people will pay attention.
They'll especially pay attention to the video post if you don't post videos very often, because they will find that unique and interesting. If it's not something that you do regularly, they'll say, “Oh, he’s got a video up here. I should probably pay attention.” You don't have to believe me. Try it out for a few weeks and see. Yes, I said weeks. You can't even begin to judge this kind of stuff unless you’ve tried it for a little bit. One or two posts is not going to cut it. [12:10.4]

The next tip I have for you is that you should let people know that you are accepting new clients. I have done so much research into this and I have dug into the financial advisor marketing world obviously, and one of the things that has always fascinated me is how often I hear people say that their financial advisor isn't accepting new clients. They feel like they're part of this exclusive club and other people can't get in or that they somehow got special privilege to be a client, and while it's great to make your clients feel exclusive, that's what you want, it is not so good for marketing.
So, that's good to make them feel good and it's good for retention, bad for marketing. Good for retention, bad for marketing. I see this a lot with referrals specifically. Financial advisors don't get as many referrals as they deserve, because their clients simply don't know that they're accepting new clients, so as simple as it may seem, let people know you want clients. Don't be shy. [13:05.5]

You can even say straight up, “I am taking on new clients,” and when you're doing this, you should be very clear about what it is you offer. Demystify what you do. Tell people in plain English how you can help them. I’ve talked about the pepperoni pizza rule in the past, and it goes like this. If you're offering pepperoni pizza, talk about pepperoni pizza. Don't say you have a secret dough, sauce and cheese combination, because that could be a stromboli. That could be a calzone, and maybe some people want calzones, but if they come to you wanting calzones and you offer pizza, they're going to be disappointed. Be very clear.
You can say, “When you have a meeting with me, here's what happens. Here's what to expect when you come to my office. This is what it looks like. This is what Meeting No. 2 looks like. This is what I'm going to ask you at the end of the meeting. I'm going to ask you if you would like to proceed to work with me. You can say yes, you can say no. Both are completely fine. I'm going to give you a recommendation or a suggestion. I'm going to say, yes, I think we're a good fit, or, no, I don't think we're a good fit.” Tell people exactly what to do. [14:04.1]

This has been common knowledge in the copywriting world for a very long time. When copywriters write a sales letter to sell something—because that's what moves the economy and that is what builds a capitalistic society, when money changes hands, not just likes or engagement or value—the good copywriters are very detailed about what to expect and what will happen after you place your order. So, in many ways, this is really copywriting one on one applied to social media.
The next tip might seem like it's not related to creating social media posts, but I promise you it is, and that's to engage with other people. See, this is where many financial advisors fall short on social media. They treat it like a one way street. It is not a one way street. It is not a one way communication channel. Social media is two ways. It's not just about putting your thoughts out there and then disappearing. It is about creating a conversation. [14:57.6]

Think about it this way when you're at a networking event. You don't just give your business card to someone and walk away, right? You don't just shove it in their hands. We all hate people who do that. You engage in a conversation. You ask people about their needs, their challenges. You listen to them and the same principle applies to social media.
So, what does effective engagement look like? First, it means responding to comments on your post, and I don't mean just a simple thanks or a thumbs up emoji. I mean, genuinely responding. If someone takes the time to comment on your post, show that you value that person's input. Address them. Add to the conversation. Share your insights. This not only builds rapport with your audience, because they see that you actually care about them and you care about the people who engage with you, but encourage, and it actually truly does encourage more interaction in the future.
Secondly, be proactive. Don't wait for others to start a conversation. Go ahead and ask questions in your post. Encourage responses. Ask for opinions, ask for experiences, ask for advice. What do people think? Whatever it is that you want to know. One thing that I've discovered, people love giving their opinions. Boy, I tell you what, they love letting you know what they think, so if you ask for it, people will tell you. [16:08.1]

Participating in discussions is another key aspect. If you see a relevant conversation happening on another post or in a group, or somewhere on social media, jump in, share your expertise. Simply add a new perspective. Share something. Just get out there. But remember, the goal is not to hijack the conversation or too overly promote yourself. As much as I hate this, the whole give value, in this specific instance, it is truly about giving value and being present with people.
Another crucial element here is consistency. Engaging once in a blue moon is not enough. You need to be consistently active. Just set aside a little time each day, even if it's 10 to 15 minutes, to check your social media accounts and interact with your audience. This is just a consistent practice and it will build trust. It will build familiarity. I've talked about this so many times on this podcast. [17:00.7]

If you don't feel like you don't have time, just look for the dead time, the pockets of dead time when you're at a doctor's office just waiting, or if you are picking up your kids from school, when you're sitting in the car. Whip your phone out, of course, have your car and park, turn the car off, be safe, but whip your phone out, look at your messages, look at your engagement, try to figure something out while you're waiting for that. Just take advantage of dead time.
The reason this is related to creating social media posts that get clients is because it indirectly increases your visibility. This is so important, so if you're kind of dozing off right now, pay attention, this is important. Most social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, reward people who are active. And why wouldn't they? They want you to be active. They want you to stay on the platform. They want you to get more people to stay active on the platform. This includes activity on your post, yes, but it also includes when you're active with other people. [17:52.7]

If you engage with Bill, but you don't engage with Rick, then Bill will be more likely than Rick to see your posts in the future. So, if you have a niche of people like Bill, then make sure you're engaging with them and not just waiting for them to come to you, because by engaging with them, you're actually increasing your visibility. They see more of you. Especially, this is even truer if they engage back with you on the platform, because then a place like LinkedIn or Facebook or X will say, “Oh, this person likes to interact with this person, so I'm going to share more content.”
One more tip for you and then I'm going to wrap up the show. Pay attention to the right data. Now, this might go against the grain of what you typically hear about social media analytics. Yes, most platforms offer a wide range of analytics and they can be useful, but here's what I want you to focus on. I don't want you to obsess over likes or shares or reach, or any of these vanity metrics. I want you to try to understand how your social media efforts translate into real-world connections and, ultimately, booked appointments. That is where the true value lies. You can't go to the bank. You can't deposit likes. You can't deposit comments. But you can deposit money that you get from your clients. [19:01.7]

First, I want you to consider whether engagement is actually valuable to you and your business, because a lot of times, engagement is just a complete and utter vanity metric, but sometimes it is a gateway to deeper relationships. When someone comments on your post, I want you to view it as an opportunity to start a conversation. When you receive a message or a question, treat it as a potential client inquiry.
Now, that doesn't mean going into sales mode where you hop all over them and shove this stuff down their throat. You don't want to do that. Your goal should be to turn these interactions into consultations or appointments through a real relationship on LinkedIn. This is absolutely much easier than anywhere else because your headline follows you around. People see “financial advisor at XYZ wealth management” in your headline. They're not stupid. They're not naive. They know what it is that you do.
Now, I'm not saying completely ignore the traditional metrics. It's good to know which content resonates with your audience. Obviously, if you have one or two themes that consistently get a whole bunch more engagement than other themes, then you want to double down on those. But the key is to use this information to guide your interactions. [20:10.7]

For example, if a particular theme, like retirement planning, gets a lot of engagement, you should use that to start more conversations about that topic, and this is not just on social media. Maybe you host a live Q&A session on that subject. Maybe you share a case study. Maybe you build a lead magnet around that. Maybe you have a video about that—and all of those things will lead to a consultation. You have calls to action in those things, so it's not just on social media, but you're using social media to inform the rest of your marketing.
Also, it's crucial to track how your online interactions translate to offline results, aka the stuff that matters. This could be as simple as keeping a record of how many inquiries or direct messages or appointments that you have. This kind of data is far more valuable than any vanity metric, because it shows the real impact of your social media efforts on your business growth. [21:03.0]

So many financial advisors think that tracking ROI from social media is this hard, difficult thing, but it's really not. If you have only seen Joe Smith on social media and Joe Smith books an appointment with you, then chances are Joe Smith came from social media. Hmm, not that hard, is it? It really isn't. It's amazing that financial advisors, I think they complicate this because they just don't want to do it. They use it as an excuse. But that's neither here nor there.
I want you to remember also, social media for financial advisors should be about building trust and establishing credibility. It is about creating a platform where potential clients can get to know you, your philosophy and the value you provide to them. Every post, every interaction, all of that stuff should be steps toward establishing a real relationship that could eventually lead to a new client. Now, is everybody going to become your client? No. But that's just part of the game. You're just increasing the odds that people will. [21:59.0]

To sum it up, because I'm already past 20 minutes here, I want you to shift your focus from chasing high engagement numbers to fostering genuine connections. I want you to use your social media analytics to understand and engage your audience better in the real world. You will have the goal of converting online interactions into real-world appointments. That is the true measure of a successful social media strategy for financial advisors, I don't care what anybody else says. I live in the world where money pays my bills and I'm saving money in investment accounts, and I need money, right? I don't need likes. I don't need comments. I need money.
As we conclude, I want to remind you, just the essence of the podcast episode today—social-media success for financial advisors is not measured by all the vanity metrics. I know I keep hammering this. I keep saying it in different ways, because I really want you to get it. The real success lies in the connections you build, the conversations you have, and ultimately, the appointments you book. It's about turning your online presence into real-world results. [23:01.7]

So, as you start to get more active on social media or maybe you’ll really double down on your game plan, I want you to stay authentic, stay consistent, and always focus on your audience. Don't be one of those people that just gets pats on the back from other peers where financial advisors say, “Great post, great post, great post” and that's it and you never get in front of your audience. I want you to get in front of your audience, because the relationships you nurture today are the clients you will serve tomorrow.
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of Financial Advisor Marketing. I hope you found these insights helpful. I hope you're feeling inspired to take your social media game to the next level. If you haven't subscribed yet, make sure you subscribe to this podcast for a whole bunch of episodes on growing your financial-advice business. And until next time, keep making your mark in the social media world and—and—the real world. I'll catch you next week. [23:53.0]

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