Financial Advisor Marketing & Technology

Marketing & Technology For Independent Financial Advisors

Flower

An Update On The Financial Advisor Communications System

The entire Advisor Products team is working hard to achieve an ambitious set of goals that will transform the way financial advisors communicate.

Here’s an update on our work at Advisor Products in launching the Financial Advisor Communications System:

Clients First. We’ve launched a campaign to upgrade subscribers to the new Advisor Products platform for advisor websites. Before marketing Financial Advisor Communication System anywhere else, we are calling all of our clients to tell them about the Financial Advisor Communications System. Actually, our new and generous strategic partner, Constant Contact, is calling Advisor Products’ clients.  In the calls, you’ll learn about a limited-time offer of $1,000 savings on an upgrade to this new platform for advisor websites. If you are a current subscriber to the Advisor Products email newsletter service, please expect a call from a Constant Contact coach. Your coach is responsible for making you use the integrated Constant Contact-Advisor Products system for working with UHNWIs. You will be trained on how to use Advisor Products articles, videos, calls to action, and status updates with your clients, prospects, and referrals sources while leveraging Constant Contact’s powerful email marketing technology and analytics and enabling you to conduct measurable marketing campaigns that are sure to raise AUM over the long haul.  Embedded below is a video about the upgrade offer. Please let me know if you want to be contacted.

Eureka! I’ve come to understand clearly only lately that every 100 people you connect with represents “X% of annual growth in AUM” at an RIA. How much exactly is “X” worth?  It depends on whether you ever see the contact, whether you complement Advisor Products content with your own blog posts, and how well you personally connect with people. Anecdotally, we know from users that the system works very well over the long term. With Constant Contact;s, we are working to improve the efficacy in measurable ways. I’m looking for the optimal way to track AUM of our users. Let me know if you have an idea.

What is FACS? Financial Advisor Communications System is a scalable content marketing system based on the proposition that people do care about content. Clients and prospects—your social media connections and email subscribers—need authoritative, informative, and easy-to-consume wealth management news, and they don’t care whether their advisors writes it or not. Since our content is based on ideas from Robert Keebler, Fritz Meyer, and other leading thinkers who speak at the Advisors4Advisors weekly professional education webinar series, our content is packed with important ideas for UHNWIs.

Campaign Basics. Each campaign is comprised of: (1) tweets that link your social network connections to (2) an article on your website, and (3) allow them to sign up for your email newsletter. Once signed up, you begin a long-term conversation with each contact using FACS.

Great “Canned” Content. While “canned” content has been derided by marketing consultants in the financial advisor trade press and by competitors selling advisor websites, these individuals are wrong and misstating facts. Canned content, which is a pejorative way of describing the educational content for UHWNIs that Advisor Products provides, can accomplish the same goals as paying a writer by the hour to interview you and write up your financial wisdom as a blog post, but at a fraction of the cost and with more authoritative information.

Constant Contact-Advisor Products Partnership. Advisor Products recently signed a strategic partnership agreement with Constant Contact. CTCT has not formally announced the partnership.  It is  publicly held  and it must comply with Reg FD. That does not preclude me from telling you what’s happening at Advisor Products. CTCT  is going to help me train advisors on best practices in email marketing. CTCT is telling me that Advisor Products knows content marketing for financial advisors better than anyone, and they want to help more advisors utilize my content with CTCT’s email marketing technology, training, and personal coaching program. While I am a pimple on the “tookis” of CTCT, it’s a dream come to true for me to have validation from the best email marketing company on the planet.

Financial Advisor CTAs. In marketing jargon, FACS adds “calls to action” (CTAs) to advisor websites. A CTA is a graphic. It invites visitors to your website — your social connections, email-newsletter subscribers, and other people who come to your website as a result of a search — to view a video, but requiring an email address to subscribe.

How FACS Generates AUM. A page is created on your website to subscribe to your e-newsletter. You add new potential clients and referral sources to your subscriber list as needed, and anyone visiting your site can also subscribe. You manage your contact list in Constant Contact and can track everything they’ve ever clicked on that you’ve sent them. Since subscribers can unsubscribe anytime, only people in tune with your message stay. It’s a self selecting process. These leads might take years to close. It’s wise to think of them as long-term relationships. Assuming you made a good first impression on someone when you met them — at a cocktail party, local event, or that someone was referred by a friend. Eventually, these fleeting contacts become clients, sometimes years after they first started receiving your email newsletter, simply because you have provided them with years of financial insights. With Constant Contact coaches guiding you toward best practices in distributing Advisor Products content for UHNWIs, this simple program will grow your RIA’s AUM and can be augmented with your own original SEO blog content make to even more powerful.

Using FACS With Constant Contact. FACS enables financial advisors to conduct content marketing campaigns, send weekly market updates automatically, and conduct social campaigns. The image directly above shows how call-to-action graphics (CTAs) can be placed on a site. Every page of your site prominently features a banner linked to a video with ideas for UHNWIs. The uncommon knowledge conveyed makes contacts value your informational touches. While Advisor Products has offered an email newsletter since September 2001, it did not enable advisors to manage their list as effectively and its analytics did not allow for reports showing you who opened which emails. By bundling Constant Contact we are able to harness its power for engaging users. You will use this system. With Constant Coaches exhorting you to implement email marketing best practices in distributing Advisor Products content for UHNWIs, you will grow AUM.

Nut and Bolts. When you use our system to post a 140-character status update, it gets displayed on your profile for all your connections to see on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. When a person in your social network wants to know more about a topic in your status update, they click on the link in the update. That takes them to an article on your website with more information (and sometimes a short video) about the topic mentioned in your 140-character update. Off to the side or on the bottom of most pages of your website page are banner ads that we insert and that are updated automatically inviting visitors to your website get even more information about the very topic that brought them to your website. It could be a “Retirement Income Report” based on research by Craig Israelsen or Manish Malhotra, or Wade Pfau, or it could be an estate planning update based on Bob Keebler educational content about taxation of UHNWIs, or the monthly assessment of corporate earnings and LEIs by economist Fritz Meyer. Point is, it is great content that smart people with money value. So they subscribe to your email newsletter and eventually, one day, a group of these individuals become clients. How many? That depends largely on you and your effort to reach out to them periodically to complement our effort on your behalf.

 

New Financial Advisor Marketing Campaign: Potential Threats To The Bull Market

Advisor Products is about to launch a new email campaign on our financial advisor communication system (FACS).

The campaign implements a reliable Internet marketing technique to provide financial advisors with a marketing funnel. Anecdotally, we know it will increase RIA AUM.

The goal of every campaign is to get people to sign up for your email newsletter.

This campaign is about potential threats to the five-year bull market run.

If you want to know more about FACS, here’s my most recent update on our progress.

Generating Leads From Advisor Websites

Credibility-building financial content integrated with an inbound marketing module — that’s what advisors need to generate leads, highly-targeted social networking and content marketing campaigns. We do that.

We have a scalable content marketing system based on the proposition that people do care about content. Here’s the story behind the story (like you really care):
In the throes of the financial crisis in October 2008, I hosted a webinar and a few hundred advisors showed up. I received inspiring messages of thanks that motivated me to keep doing webinars weekly. It’s been over five years now.
The webinars begot Advisors4Advisors, which now provides professional education credit to CFPs, ChFCs, CIMAs, CIMCs, CPAs, CPWAs, EAs and other financial professionals online and 24/7.
A4A is part of a wave of disruptive technology transforming professional associations and bodies certifying professionals of all kinds. When the history of the 21st century is written, this will be recalled as a period in which the Web disrupted American institutions, forcing them to reinvent themselves.
Point is, financial advisor websites fed by Advisor Products content database get FINRA-reviewed articles derived from the Advisors4Advisors professional education series. The videos, status updates, graphics that we feed into advisor websites are based on ideas derived from the A4A professional education series. It’s a system.
At three-minutes and 17 seconds, the video above is the longest of  18 tutorials we’ve posted about our new platform. Please let me know what you think.

Sensible Social Marketing For Advisors

You don’t need a lot of content. You just need great content.
Crappy content abounds. No one needs more of it. Just make what you say meaningful!
I’ve been focused on doing the “heavy lifting” by creating the content about tax, investing, and technical aspects of wealth management that advisors can provide to UHNWIs. I do the heavy lifting, and you do the easier work —— tweeting pictures of your kids’ graduation or your grandson’s birthday party.
We’ve got it pretty well nailed now. Finally.

Wake Up! And Upgrade Your Advisor Products Website By May 31 To Save $1,600

Please take advantage of this limited-time offer to upgrade your Advisor Products website by May 31. You’ll get a $1,000 discount on developing your website on Financial Advisor Marketing Dashboard, which is Advisor Products’ next-generation version of BackOffice. FAMD integrates with Constant Contact and MaiChimp.

Last Chance To Upgrade At Huge Savings

We recently released Financial Advisor Marketing Dashboard, our new content management platform for advisor websites, and we are extending a $1,600 discount on upgrading your Advisor Products website through May 31.

Financial Advisor Marketing Dashboard (FAMD) integrates your social networks, email newsletter, blog, and client portal with your website and is a major upgrade over the AdvisorSites BackOffice.

Upgrading to FAMD gives you everything you get in a Platinum subscription — plus integration with Constant Contact or MailChimp email marketing campaign systems and an inbound marketing funnel for generating leads.


 

Answers To Three Important Questions From An Investment Advisor

I received a brilliant message via LinkedIn today from a CFP practitioner and investment advisor considering Advisor Products to develop his RIA’s website. Mike’s message was brilliant for more than its brevity:

My biggest concern about outsourcing our marketing is that:

1. Everyone seems to use the same material

2. You have to disclose that it is third-party ghost-writing

3. Most of the stuff is really basic and unsophisticated. How are you different?

I love this guy! His questions were so good! I removed his last name, cleaned up his punctuation, and below share my reply to Mike’s three questions.

Thanks, Mike!

—————————————————–

My biggest concern about outsourcing our marketing is that:

1. Everyone seems to use the same material?

Yes, your website does have the same articles as other RIAs that hire us. In fact, the status updates we provide are the same and so are the video white papers. It does not matter. Here’s why.

Using our content on your website is not a search engine play. It’s a content play. In fact, we actually embed code on our sites specifying that our content should not be indexed by search engines. (Duplicate content could hurt your search rankings.)

As a content play, the articles, videos, status updates, and white papers we make available for you to post on your website inform people about wealth management.

The content is largely derived from a weekly continuing professional education program I have produced since October 2008 on Advisors4Advisors. The content is authoritative and supports advisors who use broad diversification, Modern Portfolio Theory, and provide financial planning or concierge services to UHNWIs.

Please take a look at an article that is part of our latest content campaign. You’ll see why clients and prospects often find this content valuable.

For professional practitioners, our content is the best in the financial services industry.

Moreover, the tweets can be customized by you with your keywords and the links they contain to your website are each unique. And email newsletters, of course, only go to specific users.

Point is, the fact that hundreds of advisors across the country use our system does not degrade the value of the content. I virtually never hear that two prospects were sent the same content ad it was an embarrassment.  Once, I remember, I did have a problem: Five NAPFA advisors used my print newsletter in Seattle and two of them sent a newsletter that contained the same article. That incident occurred 18 years ago. No others since. Funny.

2. You have to disclose that it is 3rd party ghost writing?

People do not care if a third party wrote the content you sent them. They only want good information!

Since our content is derived from a professional education program based on best practices for professionals, it’s different from other content from third-party providers.

Finally, sending highly-valuable content for UHNWIs reflects well on your brand, and you can customize all of it by adding your own blog posts, status updates and other original content. Let us handle the “heavy lifting” by reporting on the latest tax and investment news, while you add in an occasional post about wealth management and also — perhaps more importantly — you post social updates about your daughter’s graduation, a photo from your surprise birthday party for your wife, and other personal content.

Oh, and we append a disclosure on all advisor websites saying, “This article was written by a professional financial journalist for <<Company Name> and is not intended as legal or investment advice.” RIAs must never hide the cheese. A former head of SEC’s Division of Investment Management once told me many years ago that RIAs should always disclose when they do not author the articles in their newsletters, websites, and marketing materials. We’ve done that always ever since.

Advisors who use Fritz Meyer’s or Bob Keebler’s monthly slides and customize them to include their own ideas, might want to reference Fritz or Keebler Tax And Wealth Education as the source of the materials, depending on how much they alter them, and we provide some boilerplate language to disclose that. Plus, the original sources, like the U.S. Labor Department, are always cited.

 

3. Most of the stuff is really basic and unsophisticated. How are you different?

Hopefully, I answered the content quality question above.

As for how we are different, I just spent an hour writing this email to you and will publish it in a few minutes to one of my blogs.

Best

Andy

Advisors Who Argue Against Educating Clients About Wealth Management Are Delusional

While Bill Bachrach is a brilliant speaker and marketer, I was always troubled by his assertion that advisors should not regularly send clients and prospects educational information about managing their wealth.

Bachrach, a  columnist at one of the financial advisor trade publications, has helped thousands of advisors in many ways I’m sure. You don’t get to be as popular as he is for no reason. But I’ve always disagreed with this one idea of his. I’ve always believed educational marketing — today called “content marketing” — is a great opportunity for advisors, in addition to being the right thing to do.

The growing importance of content marketing on the Web and in social media has dispelled any legitimacy to the notion that advisors educating clients and prospects are doing something bad, unwanted, or unneeded. The global financial crisis laid bare the danger in not educating people about financial management and was shown to be a terrible idea for advisors.

Yet there remains a group of advisors who think educating clients about financial matters is a bad idea. They argue that advisors only need external communications with clients that talks is about an advisor’s family and other non-financial topics. I’m not saying all your communication should be about financial matters.

Simply put, if you are among those still clinging to the notion that education is bad for advisor-client relations and bad marketing, you are delusional. Over the long-term advisors sending clients educational content about investment, tax, and estate planning will always win out — assuming the content is great. It stymies me that some advisors don’t know that.

If you agree  that education is a great opportunity for advisors, read this article about the Financial Advisor Content Marketing System and view the video below.   

 

 

A Measurable Inbound Marketing Program For Financial Advice Professionals

Of course clients need to know about the tectonics of wealth and retirement. Explaining the U.S. Government’s long-term fiscal outlook is part of your job.

Though some may not care about your articles and videos, making the effort to educate people is the responsible thing to do, and it will bring desired results. I use these techniques myself and that’s why you’re reading this! It’s also why I’ve developed the Financial Advisor Marketing Dashboard.

FAMD is an integrated financial educational system for RIAs, broker/dealers, and trust companies. Artfully produced educational articles and videos making complex financial subjects easy to understand engenders the trust of clients and potential clients.

FAMD integrates its articles and videos educating clients with an automated distribution system for conducting marketing campaigns via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter as well email newsletters via MailChimp and Constant Contact. Those media feed an inbound marketing and lead-generation funnel for investment advisors. The content is especially well-suited to investment fiduciaries working HNWIs and UHNWIs.

Financial Advisor Marketing Dashboard

Campaigns are managed using an open source content managing system that can be hosted by Advisor Products or embedded in any WordPress site using a plugin. Each quarterly marketing campaign consists of four content components:

1.       Articles on your website, with efficacy measured by Google Analytics

2.       Social media status updates measured by activity of your networks

3.       Email newsletter campaign tools and analytics using Constant Contact or MailChimp

4.       Video white papers accessible to those who follow you on social media or subscribe to you email newsletter

In a nutshell, FAMD drives visitors to your website using email newsletters and status updates to your social networks and helps you to convert visitors into leads using video white papers. At that point, it’s up to you to convert leads into relationships, but we are giving wealth managers and financial planners the most sophisticated ongoing online content marketing system extant.

The Latest Content Marketing Campaign

The new campaign includes a five-minute video white paper with economist Fritz Meyer speaking about the U.S. Government’s long-term financial outlook. It took me 40 hours to produce and another five hours of staff time to get the content edited, proofread, reviewed by FINRA, and posted on advisor websites.

The campaign depicts a benign 10-year outlook for government deficit spending followed by a steady rise in government debt 2024 and 2050, which in 25 years cripples the U.S. economy with as much debt as Portugal faces today — a truly frightening and avoidable prospect.

The campaign explains how the U.S. Government’s fiscal position will be worsened by the rising cost of interest incurred on the Federal debt and the link to Social Security and Medicare. Fritz explains how the benign near-term outlook for deficit spending could ironically cause the U.S. Congress to “kick the can down the road” instead of resolving the inevitable structural deficit facing the nation.

Content, Credibility And Financial Advisors

Educating clients will boost your credibility and trustworthiness. It does not matter that you do not create the articles, status updates and videos yourself. No one expects you to do that. You’re not a media company. People just want authoritative information that’s easy to consume. But it is very difficult to do.

Authoritative Financial Content For Investment Fiduciaries

For the deficit spending campaign, I collaborated with economist Fritz Meyer Economic Research.  Fritz, who formerly served for about a decade as Senior Investment Strategist for one of the world’s largest investment companies, has been conducting monthly professional education webinars produced by Advisors4Advisors, a company I founded in 2008, for the last 41 months, and he spoke at a continuing education webinar three weeks ago about the long-term structural deficit. I edited a voiceover of Fritz explaining the issue in detail to financial advisors on that professional education session. I edit in visual cues directing the viewer’s eye to key numbers or data points, making Fritz’s analysis easy to understand and learn about.

To be clear, if you educate people on substantive wealth management issues using email newsletters, social networks, and videos, they will value join your network and subscribe to your email newsletters and you can begin many long-term conversations with connections you are not now touching. However, the quality of your content must differentiate you. You must provide ideas to clients that they can’t get anywhere else, and that’s where Advisor Products is different from all the other content marketing vendors targeting financial advisors.

Below is a 20-second video posted on advisor websites as part of the just-released U.S. Deficit marketing campaign for advisors. The video is embedded in an article entitled, “The Long-Term Fiscal Status Of The United States.”

To the right of the article a call-to-action graphic offering a special report that visitors to your site can view by connecting with you on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter or by signing up for your email newsletter.

When a visitor connects with you socially or subscribes to your email newsletter, he will be able to view the full five-minute video white paper the deficit spending issue.

Below is a 20-second clip of the five minute video, which is embedded in the article and teases the five-minute special report, and you can see how the full campaign and video white paper work on advisor websites here.

Platinum Subscribers: Upgrade Now And Save Up To $1600 On Our New Advisor Website System

Advisor Products recently released a new open-source content management system for advisor websites. It’s a big improvement over AdvisorSites BackOffice and we are offering a huge discount if you upgrade by March 31.

The new system, the Financial Advisor Marketing Dashboard (FAMD), does a lot more than manage a website. FAMD integrates your social networks, email newsletter, client portal, and content marketing strategy with your website.

FAMD enables you to develop a website leveraging the newest open-source technology.

Platinum subscribers who upgrade to FAMD by the end of February will save up to $1600 on the upgrade. A “Designer” Website with our content rotator, a template that normally costs $2,000 to develop, will cost you just $1000. Plus, you’ll save $600 on the cost of setting up our new email newsletter and lead generation modules. This is a one-time offer to upgrade your website to the latest technology at a low price.

Upgrading to FAMD gives you everything you now get in your Platinum subscription: AdvisorVault, monthly educational wealth management content, “panic-protection” content, website archiving, up to an hour each quarter of help-desk support, secure professional collaboration, and more. Plus, you get two new marketing modules,  one for managing email campaigns and another for  integrated marketing campaigns using classic social, email, and inbound marketing techniques.

Email Newsletter. FAMD lets you push summaries of monthly educational articles from our library (and graphics) into MailChimp and Constant Contact email newsletters, bringing clients and prospects to your website to read the articles. Every Friday evening, an email newsletter can be sent automatically, updating clients on investment and economic news. MailChimp or Constant Contact analytics and auto-responder tools can be used in campaigns, so you can see who is opening your newsletters and measure campaign results.

Lead-Generation Module. Included in FAMD is a newly-developed module for inbound marketing campaigns. Each quarter, two new video white papers can be placed on your site, which visitors can see by providing their email address, signing up for your email newsletter, or following your company on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

FAMD  is the most powerful content marketing system offered to financial professionals, and I wanted to offer our loyal Platinum customers an opportunity get the new platform before widely marketing the system to others. You are getting the best development deal we’ve ever offered by buying now. See a sample of what your upgraded website can look like and call us at 516-333-0066 x224 to learn more.