Greetings from Manhattan.
This week we’re on the road at InvestmentNew’s 40 Under 40 Awards.
As we roll out new industry recognition, we discuss how advisory firms can get practical about growing their firm and how others are evolving.
In today’s Connected:
Streamlining Alternatives to Scale Advice 🎧
Why Advisors Need to Rethink Their Approach to Content & How to Get It Corrected
Milemarker Upgrades its Digital
One of the Largest BD’s Rebrands & Why Everyone Named Mosaic Will Find it Frustrating
On the Pod
This Desert Life: The Content Problem & Why Advisors Need to Rethink Marketing Your Firm
For over twenty years, I’ve been a content creator. I don’t know another way.
Rooted in independent music and everything you need to get music into ears and an album into a rotation, the way I see the world is based on getting a message out so that you can keep the music going.
Not to build an empire but to share something that matters to you and hopefully to many others.
However, when you run a business, focusing outwardly is challenging because your company requires so many things from you.
It was noteworthy that when I joined financial services out of undergrad, the whole world of marketing your firm, branding, and content was kind of off.
You have the slick and questionable marketing you see from the folks offering predatory products and expensive funds at cheesy steak dinners for your parents. Then you have the large established brands from Investment Banks and Custodians.
In the middle, it’s a desert.
In the middle, you have advisors and the companies that serve them who want to grow good businesses, serving clients in a valuable, lifelong way.
Twenty years later, advisor marketing is still broken.
Either you do it all yourself, or you hire some consultant who hasn’t ever grown an advisory firm and doesn’t know the unique needs of your clients because they have either never served as an advisor or personally fit the mold of your actual clients.
You are now paying someone to learn and are further away from giving your clients more of your time.
With a fundamental tenet of marketing your firm being empathy, advisors have to take an honest look at where they should go from here.
In 2023, I recommend advisors embrace a simple framework I call the Natural Rotation with Magnification.
Gary Vaynerchuk made a ton of noise years ago by creating 64 pieces of content from one singular piece of content.
Gary was right, but you’re not Coke or Pepsi. You need the right content directed in the proper packaging to the right audience. Consistently.
Here’s how the Natural Rotation with Magnification works for an advisory firm (large or small).
Each day or at least a few times a week, you solve a problem for your client. That problem is a story. Your client has a scenario, their current situation, and you go to work.
You use tools, technology, research, and philosophy to develop options. This could take you 5 minutes or 5 hours. Either way, you have information that likely has a lot of value beyond just one client.
You now have two options.
Stop, Document, and Distribute
With this option, you don’t have to be fancy, but you should be professional. You can take out your phone and record a video or you could
Write it Down, Record it Consistently Each Week (with Rare Deviation)
The most successful method is to bring your thoughts to a set time each week that helps you consistently create content that grows over time.
You can grab a quality webcam and microphone into your studio. This studio is often your office – ensure you have good light (naturally or through a quality light that doesn’t make you look alien).
One of the most valuable ways to think about structuring your message is to use the AIDA Framework.
AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. It’s a classic model used in marketing and advertising that describes the different stages a consumer goes through in the purchase process, from the first contact with the brand (or product or service) to the actual purchase.
Let’s break down how each phase of the AIDA model can apply to marketing a wealth management company.
1. Attention: The first step is grabbing the prospective client’s attention. This attention-catching content then needs to be sent to your clients, prospects, COIs, and community in a fashion that meets them where they are. If you run a firm like Brooklyn FI, which works with young tech professionals on the cap tables at various tech companies in NYC, LA, and San Francisco. Your approach will differ significantly from how the team at Moneta in St. Louis speaks to business owners and HNW in middle America. You can have the same ideas but the forum you choose to get attention needs to be fundamentally different.
2. Interest: Once you’ve captured the attention of prospective clients, the next step is to generate their interest in your service. This can be done by demonstrating how your wealth management services can help meet their financial goals, whether that’s wealth preservation, growing their investments, tax efficiency, estate planning, etc. Communicating your unique value proposition and how you stand out from the competition at this stage is crucial.
While you want to drive people to action, more prospective clients would choose a root canal over calling you. The dentist never asked me about my physiology of money or goals for my life, especially not in front of my spouse.
3. Desire: The third step involves turning the prospect’s interest into a desire for your services. You can achieve this by emphasizing the unique opportunity to come alongside your client in their current stage and partner with them through the next chapter of their life. Your process, philosophy, and client engagement model must be obvious and easily understood in this stage.
If your client can’t understand it in 15 minutes or less and then tell their partner about it, you have work to do.
4. Action: The final step is prompting your prospects to take action – that is, to have some level of a transaction with your firm. Over time, I have grown warmer to firms that offer productized services that are lower commitment but help provide an enriching experience to the client.
Examples are helping to set up an estate plan, creating a financial plan, asset analysis for tax assessments, cash flow plans, etc. These are all things you may be doing for free or later after their a client. By “productizing” these, you can better package your services in a way that can lead everyone into a stronger full-scope client relationship while delivering very tangible deliverables that make your sales and marketing process much more measurable and normal vs. other businesses.
If you lean into productizing your services, you will find that you may be better off putting your website through Shopify and accepting payments in the same way you buy normal e-commerce goods – all while not underselling your current full-service model that likely includes all of these services through an AUM structure.
Remember, the AIDA model is a simplified description of the customer journey, and the actual process may involve more steps, take more time, and not always follow this exact sequence. Nevertheless, it provides a valuable framework for understanding how to move prospects toward making a purchase.
Like your clients need an advisor, you likely need a partner to make this happen.
Enter Adam Clark. Adam is a friend of mine who I’ve known for a decade.
Adam and I have a lot in common, only he’s far more talented at actually making content excellent. As a Grammy-nominated musician and a seasoned producer, Adam has worked with A-list celebrities and Fortune 100 brands to help produce quality content at scale.
A few years ago, I introduced Adam to the Desert, which is advisor and financial services marketing. Adam and his team were able to help my company and a number of my friends, like Buckingham, Lifeyield, and Orion, to build quality, consistent content distributed across all relevant channels.
Often this content starts as a podcast, but because it’s recorded in 4k video and high-definition audio, this content and the related transcript, notes, and all the available social media versions of that content allows your company to scale truly.
Once firms get everything set up with Adam and his team, you can hit record, and his team turns that content into an array of content for your firm — all in conjunction with your compliance approval process so that you don’t have to worry about the back and forth gridlock that standard compliance can cause.
One recording of a critical idea that you work to solve with a client becomes cornerstone content that can increase your SEO footprint, provide you with rich social media content, a quality video that can help you be found both on Facebook, Google and Youtube, and an email newsletter that can go out to your clients, COI’s and prospects.
Because your content is published as a podcast, you can have a relevant presence on all major podcast players and create a great opportunity to reach new audiences interested in your perspective, expertise, and the key topics you discuss.
You can take this even further. Let’s say you record content around a specific idea that matters to your clients. Examples:
The steps to take with your retirement planning to be able to live outside of the US
The often overlooked tax considerations that you need to know as you plan your retirement
The critical mistakes business owners make when they sell their company
Record these as a series of content, and you can now wrap them up into a tangible guide that someone can access in exchange for their information.
In an industry that spends less than 3% of gross revenue on marketing, it is more important than ever to begin creating your content.
So what does this have to do with Milemarker? Marketing is one of the most essential parts of your data and analytics. If you are looking to create a proper flywheel to drive your activity, you have to take the data around your marketing seriously.
It is easy to go off the path here and overspend on time-consuming solutions that delay your ability to get to work and start measuring.
What are you doing today for your content?
Highways and Byways. Quick Takes on Industry News.
Milemarker Gets a Fresh Coat of Paint
The team at Milemarker has been hard at work updating its marketing and web. This week a new website was launched to communicate better the mission and how the company is working to transform and grow wealth management firms.
Thanks to the team for the great work – we are stoked to keep building something genuinely excellent. 🎉
Advisor Group No More. Meet Osaic.
With all the consolidation of broker-dealers and advisors and their related tech and systems, you inherit so many things and cultures competing passively and sometimes actively.
Creating a unified brand helps you get everyone and now everything on the same page. While I’m sure this is just the beginning of the process, I wish them the best as they get everyone singing from the same music sheet.
A major immediate challenge will be the SEO with every company that calls itself Mosaic.
We have a lot of fascinating things on tap next week regarding new data connections that we are excited to announce.
Stay tuned and stay connected.