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Improve Your Digital Presence in a Restrictive Environment

Something we’ve noticed from our work with advisers at Kalli Collective is that they are way behind in their online presence—even the basics. But, before you get defensive, hear me out. I don’t think it’s entirely your fault.

The financial services industry will always be behind other industries because of the compliance regulations set in place to protect you and those you serve. FINRA and other regulatory bodies need time to figure out how applications operate and what risks exist. They don’t allow use of such applications until they’ve had a chance to create safety measures. It was only a few years ago that advisers were allowed to have a social media profile, and by that time several organizations from other industries had already built up a reputation and following.

This lag in access combined with largely non-tech savvy individuals has created a fear of the unknown, which has created an “if I ignore it, it will go away” mindset. Many of the older, established advisers insist they don’t need a web presence because they built their business without it. It’s only in the last three to five years that advisers have started to create a presence online, but even these efforts are rarely thought out or invested in more than the bare minimum. But, don’t let this discourage you. While your competition is just scraping by with a website from the early 2000s and a social media profile they update once a year, you can reach clients and prospects with a superior digital presence.

Here are a few tips on getting started:

Take Stock

According to Pew Research, 74 percent of online adults use social networks regularly with nearly 5 million affluent investors using social media to research financial decisions. Check your current digital presence score from our Coaches Corner doc to find any gaps and areas you can “beef up.”

Define Your Annual Budget

Most marketing pros recommend that you invest 20 percent of your business profits into your marketing. This is for all marketing, not just your digital efforts. This includes business cards, brochures, signage and so on. You’ll have to judge your own situation to determine what percentage is right for your business. I do encourage you to delegate a large percentage of your marketing budget to your online presence, especially your website. Your website should be your hub of content and indicate to your clients and prospects working with you is like. Need more help? Watch our video about website budgets in FPA Coaches Corner.

Have an Overview Plan

Define your target audience. A target audience is who you’re trying to reach or connect with. Sit down and take a look at your book of business. Who are your top clients? What niches do you work with or want to work with?

Define what action/s you want your target audience to take. How can you grow your business through each segment of your target audience? What action do you want them to take?

Define where/how you can reach your target audience. Research them. Where do they get their information? What groups are they part of? What publications do they read? What are their interests?

Review every quarter. Technology is constantly evolving, so every quarter review where and how you can reach your target audience. Every year or so, review and update who your target audience is and what action you want them to take.

Create a Content Calendar

Using your overview plan, create a calendar for what content you’ll be releasing, when, where and who is responsible. Use our how-to create content document in FPA Coaches Corner to help.

Add Call to Action and Drip Funnels

It’s extremely rare to find an adviser who is forward-thinking and brave enough to create a system to funnel leads into drip campaigns and/or provide interactive sections on their website. Your website should really be more than an online brochure of your business, and each target audience segment should have its own set of funnels and drip campaigns based on the interaction of the prospect. If your prospect is interested in a 401(k) rollover, doesn’t it make sense to send them periodic emails related to that topic? By creating a funnel on your website and social media, you have the ability to do just that.

While regulations do contribute to the financial services industry being behind, it’s not an excuse for advisers to cease coming up with creative solutions and clear growth plans with what they do have access to.

Kallie_Fedusenko

Kalli Fedusenko and The Kalli Collective partners with professionals in the financial planning profession across the U.S. in their digital marketing plans. Think of Kalli Collective as your in-house marketing agency that just happens to work for your office remotely. They not only help plan, strategize and implement a marketing plan, they do the work for you so you can spend your time on what you do best—planning with clients. She is one of the newest coaches in the FPA Coaches Corner.

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Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared in the FPA Coaches Corner whitepaper, “Action 2020: Create Business Success for Today and Tomorrow.” Download your copy of the whitepaper here.  


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Fitting Video Marketing into Your Business Plan

How does video marketing fit into your business plan? Does it at all?

If it doesn’t, it might help to know that almost 77 percent of small business owners get results when they incorporate video marketing.

Video is a big deal, especially for small businesses. Having a website is only part of the battle, now. With almost half of internet users looking at video before visiting a store for the first time, not having some kind of video for your financial planning firm could actually be hurting you.

To Have or Not to Have Video Marketing

Compounded with our almost-impossible-to-combat instant gratification impulse, it makes complete sense that video advertising has become the easiest and fastest ways for a business to convey a message.

Hours, days and even months can go into researching and crafting the perfect medium. Thousands of marketing research dollars, testing groups, advanced analytics tools to measure things like attention span, engagement, drop off times—you name it—it’s there. It all matters.

And of course, there’s always a risk it won’t work, and we’re left wondering if we’ll get the best possible ROI or if it will flop.

When it comes to video advertising, if it moves, is pretty and speaks to our souls then guess what, we’re probably interested. We may even sign up for your newsletter.

Sounds simple—but since you’re a business owner, you know it isn’t.

Science is showing that we have even less time to capture our audience’s attention, and it’s only about 20 seconds. Yes, 20 seconds.
But does it matter to try video marketing for your practice in 2020? Yes. A huge, loud, resounding yes!

Though by no means exhaustive, here’s a quick start guide to help you to start thinking about video content for your financial planning practice’s marketing efforts.

Starting from Scratch

You’re going to want to build a plan to develop your video strategy, which will include scripting, production and editing time and, of course, sending it off to compliance. While the following list may change depending on your practice, the general idea will look something like this:

  • Target demo: Your existing clients OR prospects (you may have to develop slightly different “buyer personas” for each).
  • End objective: Do you want to increase your visibility? Build trust? Upsell?
  • Metrics of success: Sign ups, conversion rates, referral numbers, page visits, etc, social shares, etc.
  • Distribution: where is it going? Social media? Pay-per-click ads? Your website? YouTube? Sit down with your team and brainstorm a plan of attack.

What Kinds of Video Content Marketing to Use

There are so. Many. Options.

The best part of video marketing in 2020 is that you really don’t need the fanciest equipment to deliver value to your prospects.

Heck, you could be recording a value message while driving in your car with your phone recording your dashboard and you could, technically, throw it up on your social media (though, always make sure to run everything through your compliance department first).

As a financial planner, you can create:

  • Video interviews (with existing, obviously-consenting clients to give testimonials)
  • Video case-studies
  • Video ads, 30 seconds or less
  • Quick animated videos explaining a difficult financial topic
  • Tutorial videos (webinars) that pertain to tax returns, estate planning, investments, etc.
  • Snippets of or full video presentations you’ve given (events you’ve spoken at, etc).
  • Social livestreams and snippets of the best pieces of those livestreams later

Depending on your short-term end goals (building an email list, getting a warm lead, etc.) some of these may be better than others. Do you want to increase your visibility to existing clients to be able to upsell on other products and services? Do you want to establish some trust with prospects?

Like with every piece of content you create, you want it to be part of a well-planned “sales funnel.”

Sometimes, a video is just the start of one. Other times, there’s a video at every step. And, other times still, a video could be a purchase at the end of one.

You decide how you want to use your content—just make sure it’s part of a well-conceived plan.

How Long Should Videos Be?

You’re busy, right? Well, so is your prospect. Remember this fact with not just every video you create, but every email. Generally, keep it short and succinct. The rule for us marketers is to keep a video under 2-3 minutes.

There’s tons of data that shows there’s little difference in engagement between a 90-second video and a 30-second one, depending on the desired end-result.

You might be thinking, “But Kristina, there’s no flipping way I can get my point across on an intense topic like estate planning to my prospects in 2 minutes.”

The good news is that, for more “educational” content, the second best length for a video is between 6 to 12 minutes. Yes, there will be drop off, but it’s not as significant as the plummet that occurs after the 2 to 3 minute mark.

If you want to create an educational webinar or show your prospects a conference you spoke at, then that’s fine. You can manage the video length by either creating a mini-series (each piece about 6 to 12 minutes in length), or pulling the “nuggets of wisdom” and turning them into little micro-clips for your advertising.

Where Should the Videos Go?

To start, know that mobile video marketing and social media video marketing are two different things.

If you already utilize paid ads through AdWords or Bing, a video ad works similarly to a text or image pay-per-click ad.

Social media video marketing is different. Just like with your text and image ads, you should be catering your ad length and messaging depending on the platform you use.

It also means that you pay the social platform to “boost” your video to an audience verses a search engine, or that you create specific videos intended for those social platforms

It depends on where your target demo is likely to be found. If you’re targeting Gen XY and/or millennials, Instagram and Twitter is lifeblood.

Don’t Be Left Behind

The bottom line? Over two-thirds of small businesses are now using video in their marketing arsenal, and it’s expected to keep growing by 14.6 percent per year.

So, turn on that phone and record some wisdom—and then let compliance take a look!

Kristina Rocci

Kristina Rocci is the web content manager for The CWA Network (seen in MDRT, Advisor Today, FA Magazine, PlanPlus Global, etc.) a financial adviser coaching business in Rochester, N.Y. that recently released a completely free business plan training webinar for planners. She originally hails from the fintech world in Toronto with 9 years of digital marketing under her belt.


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How to Balance High Value and Time

What is one thing every business owner lacks? Time.

Time is one of the most valuable commodities as a business owner, making it imperative to strategically maximize.

A roadblock I see many business owners face is the struggle between providing high-value and having the time to do it. Every business wants to provide its clients with an optimal experience, adding unique value to the services it provides. But that isn’t always easy.

High-value is often equated with a ton of time. How can you add value to your services without sacrificing time? This blog post explores this question.

Expand Your Touchpoints

Touchpoints are the ways that your clients interact with you. Most often, this becomes synonymous with meetings. But a meeting, whether in person or virtual, often takes up a good chunk of time—time you could be spending on client work and growing your practice.

It should come as little surprise that people spend way too much time in meetings. According to a study documented in the Harvard Business Review, 65 percent of senior managers felt that meetings keep them from their own work and 71 percent reported their meetings to be unproductive. Entrepreneurs have little time to spend on meetings with the million other responsibilities on their plate: invoicing, payroll, internal growth, client work, marketing, etc.

So they need to find other ways to save time while still engaging their clients. That is why non-meeting touchpoints exist. When you expand the way you reach your clients, you are able to be more creative in

how you reach them. These touchpoints, while not in person, can still be personal. Between blogs, newsletters, videos, emails and more, you will be adding immense value to the client experience.

Remember, you don’t have to add more meetings to increase the value you provide.

Double Down on Your Content

If you are going to reduce your meeting workload, you’ll need to take some serious steps to implement a strong content marketing facet of your business.

Contrary to popular belief and current discourse, content marketing isn’t just to attract prospective clients. It is also used as a touchpoint for your current clients as well. Blogs, for example, are an excellent resource for you to add value to your client’s life. If, for example, you were going to chat about IRAs with your clients that month, put out a blog that focuses on the different types of IRAs and how it can work for them. This way, you are still giving them the information they need in a personal way that isn’t a meeting.

Take some time to think about your global communication strategy. How do you interact with your clients and how can that communication be improved? You could implement a monthly newsletter, updating your clients on the firm and a topic that you want to bring to their attention. Another idea is providing a quarterly market update.

Video is another excellent medium for communication, so you can send out monthly or quarterly videos, detailing upcoming dates or topics to keep in mind such as tax season, charitable giving and maxing out your 401(k) contributions.

Remember to consider your audience when you create your content. You can do this by brainstorming different subsections of your audience, or tag groups. For you that might be young adults or new business owners or pre-retirees. Take a look at the different sections of your audience and create content that is unique to them.

Increasing your client touchpoints supports a subscription billing structure. Since you have created a strategy to nurture and reach out to your clients through multiple channels, they won’t be surprised when the bill comes. If you only speak to them once per quarter and they receive a bill from you, they may not feel like they have received optimum value. But if they speak to you once per quarter, receive monthly newsletters and blogs and also a regular video update, you are providing more value to them and people will pay for valuable services.

When You Can, Automate

When you have multiple touchpoints: newsletters, blogs, videos, etc. it can be tough to organize all of the information and ensure it actually reaches your audience. That is where automation comes in.

Schedule your blog posts, newsletters and email updates. You can batch create or outsource your content and then from there plug them into your website and email service so you won’t have to think about it.

Every business owner wishes there were more than 24 hours in a day. But since there isn’t, it is important to find scalable ways to maximize the impact of your time.

One way you can do that with your clients is by increasing non-meeting touchpoints by adding high-value content your audience will love.

Charesse Hagan

Charesse Hagan helps financial planners work smarter, grow their firms and offer exceptional services to their clients. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is an operations consultant at Charesse J. Hagan, LLC, and an FPA Coaches Corner coach for technology and operations. Find more resources from Hagan here.