Financial Advisor Marketing & Technology

Marketing & Technology For Independent Financial Advisors


Archive for the ‘Financial Advisor Marketing’ Category

Free Client Updates On Financial Crisis Daily

When the stock market plunged last week—bottoming with a loss of 40% from the all-time high reached October 9, 2007—we began a free service to help financial advisors manage client communications: a daily market update that you can copy, paste, and email to your clients.

The daily updates contain a summary of thoughtful stories covering the day’s events. These short takes on the financial tumult are intended to be used as a daily reminder to clients that you are in touch with them and on top of the situation.

An advisor who does not stay in touch with clients through this volatile time is much easier to fire than one who is in touch. Research has repeatedly shown that professionals who are liked by clients are less likely to be fired. Staying in touch—even in this seemingly small way—shows that you care and that all you need to do sometimes to reassure fearful clients terrorized by the plunging values in their accounts and seizing-up of the banking system.

The stock market today recovered about half of last week’s losses, and the crisis thankfully seems to be eased. But we will continue to provide the daily updates at least through the end October and longer if the wild swings continue. Advisor Products provides the daily updates for free to independent financial advisory firms because your support over the past 12 years enables us to do so.View today’s “Crisis Update.”

Why Do We Charge Less? Because We Can!

We recently found ourselves in a peculiar position. It happened when we launched dynamic online performance reporting for PortfolioCenter and a new online vault. Ironically, offering more features at lower prices than our competitors inspired skepticism. While advisors were thrilled to hear that we can save them money—especially since financial crisis has pummeled asset prices and, thus, advisory fees—their enthusiasm is tempered by suspicion.

Charging low prices raised a question in the minds of some advisors: If their firm for years had been paying twice as much for online reporting, why is Advisor Products charging so much less?

The answer is simple: Because we can! We can charge less because we have built a strong business. We’ve made mistakes and fixed them. We’ve hired the right people and fired lazy workers with bad attitudes. We’ve used our deep understanding of the advisory business to focus on what’s important to you.

Other advisor website development firms have focused on providing a way for advisors to share performance reports with clients. And, to their credit, they have answered a need in the market. Many advisors have wanted to display performance reports on the Web, and we admittedly lagged in providing this feature. But we were busy improving other parts of our business.

None of our competitors provides personal finance content or our level of design and customization. Moreover, none of our competitors offers the wide array of marketing products beyond websites that we do, including logo development, stationery, copywriting, client newsletters, brochures, and email newsletters. And no other vendor offers a personal client portal platform that interfaces with more than a dozen professional applications, including financial planning, account aggregation, form-filling, and CRM systems.

We have focused on developing processes and technology to improve our scalability and service. And guess what? We figured it out. We developed the processes and systems to provide excellent service across our entire array of marketing products and to develop new software applications fast while keeping our costs low. It’s been a tough couple of years, but we’ve done it. Our business is now more scalable and our service is much better.

One important change we made was in the people we who speak with advisors. Instead of graphic designers and web developers speaking with advisors about how they wanted their websites to look, we now have project managers as the single point of contact for every website we create. And if you purchase a logo, marketing copy, stationery, or a brochure, the project manager stays with you through the entire process. Providing a single contact—one person who knows design, HTML, and branding and who also has strong customer service skills—has increased customer satisfaction dramatically.

Another important shift we made was in working with Project Manager Professionals to outsource development. Rather than keeping development in-house, we now outsource most large development projects and we plan them in great detail. For instance, the planning document for creating our new vault system, which probably has more features than any other online vault offered to advisors—ran about 100 pages in length. Before a single line of code was written, we had a specification for the user interface so we knew how every major feature would be accessed by users. In addition, the world is now our labor pool. Instead of employing a few developers, we can find developers from all of the U.S. and worldwide who have skills in specific areas. As a result, we now develop applications literally five times faster than we did three years ago we’re doing it at a fraction of the cost. That’s why we’ve been able to deploy the client portal platform and a dozen interfaces in the past year, along with the vault and dynamic performance reporting.

We also have documented our core processes for building sites and embedded our processes in our CRM system, a proprietary application that we have built ourselves. We can now handle many projects at once without calls from clients going unanswered or tasks falling through the cracks.

After 13 years in business, we are more determined than ever and more able to become the dominant provider of marketing and client communication services to independent advisors. It has not been easy, but I am happy to report that we are there. And, hopefully, you now understand how we can do what we do at such low prices compared to our competitors.

New Blog Service Launched

Blogs are an excellent way to market. But can you do it? You’re no writer. And even if you are a decent writer, is writing a blog the best use of your time?
For $2,400, one of our financial writers interviews you and writes 12 blogs. Or you can buy a package of 26 blogs for $4,800. The writer can focus on your specialties, such as advising executives with stock options from the local power company, owners of beauty salons from across the nation, or pilots at Northwest Airlines.
The more focused your blog, the better. The idea is to raise your search engine rankings by writing about specific types of clients you serve and niche services you provide. While we obviously cannot guarantee search-engine visibility, advisors and others who write blogs have praised their effectiveness.
We  post the blog for you and choose a picture to go with it. For more information, please call Barry Weinstein at (888)274-5755.

Why You’ll Want To Read This Blog

Writing The Gluck Report in Financial Advisor Magazine, I get to research topics I’ve been covering in for most of my 25 years as a reporter—wealth management strategies, financial planning software, advisor marketing, and just about anything else involving advisors. But what’s frustrating is that I don’t get to write about my company. And that’s why I’m hoping you’re going to want to read this blog.

Advisor Products, which I founded in 1996, has been pretty damn innovative. In 1996, we offered the first client newsletter that allowed advisors to pick every story. In 2001, we launched the first email-newsletter marketing system targeted to advisors. Last year, we rolled out the first 12-page template brochure ever offered to financial advisors. But not enough advisors ever get to know about most of our innovative work.

Understandably, Financial Advisor Magazine’s editors feel awkward about giving me press. It looks like cronyism. What’s worse, other financial advisor magazines often don’t cover my company because I’m a columnist at a rival publication. Worse still, most of the writers in the field simply don’t get it or have an agenda.
So I’m writing this blog to tell you myself about the marketing products we offer financial advisors and explain the ideas driving them. For instance, we’re rolling out a blog-writing service. So I’m going to use this space to tell you about how you can write a blog to gain visibility on search engines and about advisors using the service successfully. You’re learn some of our secrets and be able to use our ideas without hiring us.

In addition to marketing, I’m also going to use this blog to write about ideas that don’t get into my column. While I’ll reserve my best ideas for The Gluck Report in Financial Advisor not everything I want to write about fits in the magazine, like my opinion of Schwab’s recent purchase of e-telligent, Fidelity’s deal last month with Advent Software, or the service at TD Ameritrade. Or maybe I’ll share with you little gems like the column I came across today in e-Week saying that Microsoft may already giving up on Vista. (Pity the poor schnooks who bought into the hype last year and bought this system.)

I am hoping you will ask me questions about my columns, like recent ones about how advisors can get more referrals or the one about the 36-year portfolio management software mogul who recently returned from retirement to start a new PMS company.
So welcome to The Andrew Gluck Blog!

You are currently browsing the archives for the Financial Advisor Marketing category.