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Best of the Blog 2019: Part II

We hope you got everything on your wish list this holiday season and that your credit card is starting to cool down from all that shopping.

We got what we wanted this year—lots of great content from our writers. Here is a continuation of the top 10 most-read posts of 2019.

In case you forgot what the first five were, see this post. Here’s the rest:

6.) Three Ways the SECURE Act Will Impact Clients with Stretch IRAs

This article by Matt Sommer of Janus Henderson Investors dove into how the SECURE Act would affect clients with Stretch IRAs. Key takeaways regarding the Stretch IRA provision include a new 10-year period for non-spouse beneficiaries, existing stretch IRAs are grandfathered, and there are exceptions to the new rules. Stay tuned to the Journal of Financial Planning’s February issue for a deeper dive into what the SECURE Act means for you and your clients.

7.) “Buying” College in the 21st Century: Clients Should Search for Colleges They Can Afford

You wouldn’t pick out your dream car and then ask how much it costs, right? Robert J. Falcon, CFP®, CPA/PFS, of College Funding Solutions, LLC, said you shouldn’t do that for college either. This information can help you help your clients figure out how to “buy” a college and pick something that will give students a good return on their investment.

8.) How to Write Like Someone Might Actually Read Your Work

FPA’s membership and marketing director, Dan Martin, lays out the writing tips that have helped him in his career, including writing like you speak, reading your work out loud and not sterilizing your work when you edit.

9.) 3 Steps to Mastering the Art of Excellence for Financial Planners

Daniel C. Finley of Advisor Solutions explores how to create excellence by continuously learning and honing your skills until excellence becomes a habit. He suggests committing to a new level of greatness, model after those who have mastered their craft and map out your milestones so you can see your progress.

10.) What You Should Know Before Leaving Your Firm

Freelance writer Sarah Li Cain penned this piece for FPA’s Next Generation Planner, an app-only publication for the next generation of financial planners, regarding the correct protocol for leaving a firm so you don’t burn bridges or do anything that could get you into legal trouble.

That’s all, folks. One more Tuesday in 2019, which means one more post, then we look forward to seeing what our writers have in store for 2020!

Ana TL Headshot_Cropped

Ana Trujillo Limón is senior editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the FPA Next Generation Planner. She also edits the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org, or connect with her on LinkedIn


Best of the Blog 2019: Part I

We’re wrapping up a decade, readers! And the last year in this decade has been another good one for the FPA Practice Management Blog powered by the Journal of Financial Planning.

This holiday season, we’re recapping the top 10 most-read blog posts of 2019 in two separate posts.

Take a look part one of the top blog posts of 2019.

1.) Are You and Your Clients Making These Estate Planning Mistakes?

This piece originally appeared in the Journal of Financial Planning’s Observer section. It recapped the top estate planning mistakes, like not having a will, only having a will, not updating beneficiaries or neglecting digital assets.

2.) Should You Include Social Security in Your Clients’ Financial Plans?

This piece, written by Mark Friedenthal, founder and CEO of Tolerisk, and Dylan Zhou, a high school senior who interned at Tolerisk, explored how to include Social Security in a client’s financial plan because while the Social Security system needs reform, it isn’t going away.

3.) 8 Components of a Social Media Policy

It’s been seven years since we first published this piece by Claudio Pannunzio of Curex Group (but formerly of i-Impact Group). This is the epitome of evergreen content, because even though the social media landscape has changed since 2012, Pannunzio’s advice for developing a policy are still valid and relevant.

4.) Setting Your OOO Message: Best Practices

This post by Joni Youngwirth of Commonwealth Financial Network explores best practices of your out of office message so your clients and colleagues don’t feel abandoned by you when they email you when you’re away. There’s even a handy template in this post for you to use.

5.) How to Handle Clients with Estate Tax Issues: A Financial Planner’s Guide

David D. Little of Hartog, Baer & Hand gives planners handy tips to educate clients on the costs, complexities and risks of various estate planning tools like grantor-retained annuity trusts and qualified personal residence trusts, among others.

Stay tuned to the blog on Thursday for the remaining top most-read posts of 2019.

Ana TL Headshot_Cropped

Ana Trujillo Limón is senior editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the FPA Next Generation Planner. She also edits the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org, or connect with her on LinkedIn



Improve Your Marketing Next Year  

At this year’s FPA’s annual conference in Minneapolis, I shared valuable advice on the topic of marketing for financial planners. As next year approaches, here are some of those tips I shared in Minneapolis that you can use to improve your success in 2020 and beyond.

1.) Know Why You Are Marketing

When developing a marketing strategy, know what you want as an outcome and hold your marketing tactics accountable. Are they to drive new business, satisfy clients, retain clients, build stronger strategic alliances, recruit financial advisers or something else? If you know what you want, you are more likely to achieve it.

In our consulting business, it is amazing how much money we have seen spent in marketing budgets that deliver very few positive results. That isn’t to say marketing budgets should be slashed. The old adage—“you need to spend money to make money”—is true. Instead, marketing budgets need to be better allocated to deliver real results.

Have a detailed business plan. If growth is a major initiative of that plan, have a growth strategy and build out a marketing calendar that helps plan, budget and track successes and failures. It’s true: a mistake is not a mistake if you learn from it.

Act like a Fortune 500 company and get scientific about your marketing efforts. If you do, you will find each year you become more and more successful at it.

TO DO: Want more tips? Visit the FPA Coaches Corner Business Growth Strategies page for lots of insightful advice.

2.) Think Outside the Box When It Comes to PR

Similar to the marketing advice above, before you start trying to get publicity, know why you want to get it. Is it to get new leads, to convert prospects already in the pipeline, make clients bigger advocates or something else? Some just like the notoriety, but I’d prefer that the public relations efforts help your business in some concrete way.

When starting out, research clients to learn what they listen to, watch and read. This will give some perspective on where you might want to get media exposure. This will likely identify retail press to consider, but don’t forget about industry press, as that can help build credibility (even if your clients and prospects are not normally exposed to that type of press on their own).

Next, look at not only traditional press, but nontraditional press too. For example, it might be beneficial to be in The Wall Street Journal for many reasons, but it might be even better to be on local websites.

For example: if your target market is small business owners, write an article that provides them helpful advice and consider getting it published on the local chamber of commerce website.

If you want wealthy families who are philanthropic, consider getting exposure from a non-profit organization, possibly on their social media pages. Think creatively and many nontraditional ideas will come to you.

If there is a specific industry you cater to, look to see if there is a podcast you can be a part of. I recently took my own advice on this and participated in the FPA of Massachusetts’ “Wicked Pissah” podcast.

TO DO: Want more tips to get positive publicity? Check out a series of YouTube videos loaded with great tips from The PR Planners by Ben Lewis, FPA’s director of public relations, and me.

3.) Text New Marketing Tactics

Marketing is always evolving, in most part thanks to technological advancements. Things like advertising that were kind of hit or miss in “the old days” can be tracked in the digital world with precision, so you can know if they work.

My favorite recommendation today is to try personalized video emails. These are not the videos that get uploaded to YouTube and get blasted out to your email distributions lists. In contrast, these are one-on-one messages that can be used for client service, prospecting and much more.

Personalized videos can be a better way to communicate. Imagine sending a video to a client who is a widow on the anniversary of her spouse’s passing. That message can convey emotions better than written text. Or imagine thanking a client for a referral. The excitement from getting a new lead can really shine through in a personalized video message, much more than written words.

Younger generations are already using personalized videos via social networks at an eye-opening rate, and soon older generations will follow. For now, there is a “wow” factor in using this form of marketing that won’t last forever. Stay ahead of the trends and your business will better succeed.

TO DO: Read more about video emails at ByrnesConsulting.com/Email.

I am excited to be a partner with the Financial Planning Association as part of the Coaches Corner, among other things. If you need advice to be more successful, shoot me a message with business growth strategies-related questions or check out the resources on my Coaches Corner page.

Mike Byrnes Headshot

Mike Byrnes is a national speaker and owner of Byrnes Consulting, LLC. His firm provides consulting services to help advisers become even more successful. Need help with business planning, marketing strategy, business development, client service and management effectiveness? Read more at ByrnesConsulting.com and follow @ByrnesConsultin.