Insider Secrets To Marketing Your Fee Based Financial Planning Practice | FEE009 – Transcript

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You know over the past little while I’ve been asking people to send in their questions to me, their main burning questions. What’s the one you that you really, really want me to answer? What’s the main things that you want me to cover? And you know a lot of them come back to how to market yourself a fee-based financial planner and what works and what doesn’t and this sort of thing. So at first let’s just start out talking about marketing.

When we’re talking about promotion, marketing and – the term marketing and the term sales, they get talked about, but then the question really comes, well what’s the difference between the two? Well here’s my definition of what marketing is: marketing really eliminates the need for selling and if you can do your marketing properly, it eliminates your need for having to necessarily have a sales force or a sales team in place in order to get all of your sales done because the sales are pre-done for you. People are basically showing up saying I want that whatever it is. I want the financial plan or I want to do this. I want to move forward with this. Because the marketing you’ve done has been so effective and it allows people to just feel comfortable moving forward with it without having to be sold anything.

So some example of this, some things that I’ve been using – I have a program called The Six Mistakes Retirees Make with their Finances and How to Avoid Them, and what I do in that case – and we’re going to get into more details on this – but what I do in that case is I simply send out a flyer, a targeted flyer to a targeted neighbourhood using – in Canada we have something called Unaddressed Admail. And it simply allows me to target a neighbourhood in an area that I feel is housing the ideal clients that I’m looking for and it allows me to sort of determine which mail routes I can deliver to from demographic information that they have on their system. So I just basically give them the criteria that I’m looking for and then they give me list back saying here are the mail routes you want to deliver your flyers to and then go ahead and I do that.

What it does is, the flyers they driver traffic to what’s called a landing page on our website where people can go and register for the videos. So we’ve got the videos that we put together. It’s basically the Six Mistakes Retirees Make with their Finances and How to Avoid Them, and put into a whole series of videos. And people then say oh I want to find out what those free videos are, find out what that information is. They go to our website and then they register for the free videos.

Now what that does for me is then it allows me to capture their name and email address so that I can begin to follow up with them. Now the video links are then emailed directly to the person who requested it. So when somebody goes in and they request the videos, then they’re instantly given a response. Now it is what’s called a double opt-in. So when you’re talking about email mailing lists and email auto, the thing you want to be aware of is there’s two different types. One is what’s called a single opt-in and another which is called the double opt-in. For this purpose I really like a double-opt and what the double opt-in does, is it forces people to put in actual email addresses, valid email addresses. So instead of just going in and dumping in a junk email address and then being able to obtain the information without having the email address verified, this is a verification process that goes through and says okay, thanks very much for putting your information in, we’ve just sent a verification email to your email, to the inbox of the email you’ve just put in and if you can go there, click on that link and it’ll take you right to the information you’re looking for. So that’s what’s called a double opt-in. Then we have a series of follow-up emails generated from our auto responder and then we promote the six – all the videos on our websites.

So what happens is we can promote the information to a targeted geographic area if we wanted to. You could promote it through a google ad words campaign. You can promote it just on your website. Whatever you want, however you feel it most appropriate to get that information out there. And what I find is that with all the information and traffic that we’re trying to generate to our website and all the new traffic, is that when people get to that website I want to give them something. And so I want to basically attract them in through the Six Mistakes Videos and then what that allows me to do is capture their information, then try to build a bit of a relationship with them going forward. And I do that on an automated basis using the auto responder. If you want to know the auto responders that we’re using, just go to our website and click on the toolbox and you’ll see there under the email auto responders. It’ll be a link to the auto responder that we’re using and we’re having a lot of success with.

Now the people who are interested in finding out what the six mistakes retirees make with their finances are, are people who are either retirees or they know retirees, like they could be parents or – they want to help. So for example it could be somebody who’s got an aging parent who just knows that they need to get some assistance with their affairs and so they’re looking on behalf of their parent or it could be the actual retirees themselves. So that’s one way of doing it. I’m basically through the promotion of this program, I’m basically going out to a large audience and saying okay, whoever is interested, can you raise your hand? And then it sends them – the people that are interested – right in, so I know that the people that are responding are people that for some reason have a really – a higher level of interest in that. So either way, whether it be for retirees or whether it be for the people who are looking to help their parents, our information provides them with some instant value.

Now the auto responder emails, they have a variety of calls to action within them. And really what it does is the auto responder emails will motivate people to call to book a free no obligation meeting with myself. So again, I’m just wanting to build a relationship, I’m wanting to build rapport, I’m wanting to build a certain of credibility with these people who are requesting the information. So the first thing I do is I give them some really great high-quality information, then I keep on following up with them through an automated basis, giving them more high quality information directed at their particular niche or area that they’re interested in. And then what that does is it basically ideally gets them to the point where they look at that and say wow, I’m getting so much good information from this guy for free, I wonder what would happen is I started to get together with him and maybe used them because they seem to be on the ball in what I’m looking to work with and why work with somebody I don’t know when I kind of know this guy already?

With this type of marketing you get instant feedback right? So you can go out and if you want to you can drop of a 1,000, 5,000 flyers, whatever you want, and from that, if you deliver 5,000 flyers for example, then you will determine okay, what’s my success ratio for those 5,000 flyers? And so it just simply allows you to get some instant feedback. So if you send our 5,000 flyers and you get 50 names, well then you know you’ve got 50 names from that. So that means if you do this on a more regular basis and every time you send out 5,000 flyers you get 50 names, well then you know that if you send out 10,000 flyers, all of a sudden you’re going to get a 100 names. If you send out 100,000 – it’s just going to – the numbers tend to remain pretty constant when you’re sort of doing this from a formulaic standpoint.

The reason why we went with the Six Mistakes Videos was really this was our solution to the what I call negatives of doing live seminars. So we did a whole series of seminars in the past and all I did was – the thing I didn’t like about the seminars is the fact that the seminar could be completely derailed by Mother Nature. I mean you could have a bad snowstorm all of a sudden and suddenly then if you’re dealing with retirees, well guess what? They’re not going to want to come out in a bad snowstorm if it’s raining or if it’s just far too hot even, whatever the case may be. If conditions aren’t perfect or ideal at the last minute, even though you’ve got people RSVPing for the presentation, sometimes they just won’t show up. So I found that that was a real negative and I thought well how can I then reduce the reliance upon having a great venue, a great date, the weather and all this sort of stuff? And I thought well why don’t I just give it to them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at their beck and call? And so that’s where I said well let me just put the videos together. I’ll just take the seminar that we did, break it into a whole series of videos, put the video together and follow the exact same process that I followed in doing the seminar through the online videos. And so that seems to be working quite well.

So when I send out flyers I get an instant response, I get instant traffic to the website and then I start building up a relationship. All it takes really – and the other thing as well – the only cost in doing it this way is basically the cost of those flyers. So when you consider bring your costs way down and get the same – pretty much the same results, now you can start to really leverage your abilities and start to really magnify your quantities of flyers that you’re sending out because now you don’t have to worry about covering the cost of the hotel room or the restaurant or the food or anything like that. You can basically just focus everything on your getting your message out there.

Now once you’ve done this and you’ve gone through the process and you’ve got your targeted list. Now you have this targeted list of people who are local to your office. In our case the people who are local to our office who have an interest in solutions for retirees. And so we keep delivering to them great content and you want to have sure that during those automated follow-up emails that we’re sending out, that you’re not forgetting about the call to action. If you don’t use a call to action, it’s like inviting someone into your home – this was a great example, it really paints the picture well by a gentleman by the name of Dean Jackson, he’s a great marketer and he basically said it’s like inviting people into your home and saying, “Just make yourself at home and anything you’d like, fridge is full, help yourself,” and then leaving the room. How many people do you think are going to actually go to your fridge and help themselves? It’s just not what we do. Even though we have the best intentions in mind, it’s actually being pretty weak and it’s our way of protecting ourselves against the rejection that we might get by offering something. Well what I recommend doing is saying no, I’m not going to just offer it to them. It’s kind of like you want to then go, if you invite somebody into your home and you bake a nice fresh plate of cookies and you bring those cookies out to them and you put it in front of them and say, “Would you like a fresh cookie? Thanks for coming by. Would you like a fresh cookie?” How many people do you think would say no? Most people would actually reach out and grab that fresh cookie because that’s the call to action. You gave them something to do and that’s something that you want to take advantage of and you want to really focus on that in your marketing, is that don’t be afraid to bring your call to action. You just need to give people direction on what to do and they will pretty much do it.

So when you’re doing it this way and you’re not really making this call to action, it sounds like you’re being helpful but ask yourself this question. Would you feel comfortable going into someone else’s fridge? If you walk in and someone says help yourself, do you feel comfortable? Well again using that analogy, make sure that all of your correspondence does have that plate of cookies there that you’re offering, that you’re putting in front of them and saying, “Here, take one,” because by doing that it’s just going to increase the ability for people say, “Yeah I’ll just give this guy a call,” because they’re following the instructions that you’re giving them. And then just make it easy, so give them all the information they need in order to contact you and then everything sort of just – you’re just helping along the process.

Now the difference between marketing and sales. So we talked about marketing and I said that marketing really is – my way of putting marketing together is – my goal is to try and eliminate the need to sell anything. Well marketing motivates people to want to work with you even before they have met with you. Whereas sales, once you do meet with them, that’s when you start moving forward with your selling process. So what you do once a prospect has contacted you, to motivate them to move forward with your services, that’s called sales. But in motivating people to want to work with you before they even have met with you, that’s called marketing. And so my goal is to make the marketing work as well as possible so that by the time they come in, it’s just a formality that they have to go through in order to sign on the dotted line and move forward with our services. So keep that in mind. I mean there’s the difference there because there’s a lot of programs out there for selling techniques. I’ve been through them and there’s some really great ones out there, but the better you can do, the more you can do up front on the marketing side, it just simply reduces your need to be on the selling side.

Now how do you then implement your marketing program? Well you need to know what your ultimate goal is and then break it down into what I call mini goals. Obviously your ultimate goal is to obtain a great client that’s motivated and able to pay for your fee but where do you find these people? I mean in a crowd of people how do you make the people who are interested in what it is that you are offering raise their hand? How do you identify who they are? Well there’s sort of a little three or four-step process you can go through. The first step is you need to know who your target market is. You need to know exactly what it is that you want to work with. Who are these people? What are the characteristics of these people? What are their hopes, desires, fears, dangers, strengths, all this sort of thing? You want to be able to focus on these people and identify who they are out of a big crowd. So number one, you want to focus on what is your target market? Who is your target market and what are the characteristics of these people?

Once you’ve determined who your target market is, all of your marketing efforts are focused on that particular niche. It’s important not to be too broad with this because if you just simply step us and say, “I do financial planning for anybody that wants it.” Okay well that’s great but if you’re then known as the financial planner for radiologists, oh okay, well wouldn’t it be great if you could just go into one hospital and get ten percent of the radiologists that are there as your clients. Well believe me, if you’re known as the financial planner for radiologists, you’re going to get more and more of the right clients, which will just simply allow you to become better and better for that particular niche. So don’t be afraid to niche it down, to really become very clear on what you’re trying to accomplish and who you’re trying to go after.

Now the thing about this and the thing I love about this, is it doesn’t mean you have to niche your entire practice. You just have to niche down your particular marketing campaign. So it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you have to change your practice and become just a financial planner for radiologists. No, you can still become a general financial planner for everybody but in your marketing campaign, this one is to promote financial planning for radiologists. You could have another one to promote financial planning for bicycle riders or road riders, another one for financial planning for Harley Davidson riders. You name it, whatever it is. You can really, really niche it down and then it allows you to put your marketing campaigns together specifically tailored to that particular market. And the people who will recognize it are the people who recognize hey that’s for me, because I’m one of those people, so maybe I should talk to this person. So don’t try to do too much with the – your compelling people to call you.

So the second step is to compel people to call. And so what you want to do is you want to use direct response advertising or direct response marketing, to compel people to obtain the information you would like to offer them. So you’re basically putting together a program or information for that particular niche. And now your goal at this point is just to compel people through the advertising that you’re doing, compel people to request this information. That’s it at this point. You don’t want to educate people at this point, just compel them to call or subscribe for your content. Now once they’ve done that, now they’ve identified themselves as – here the sub-list, the sub-group of people who are interested in what you have to say and now you can start to educate and motivate them.

So the first step, decide who your target market is. The second step is compel people to call. And then the third is to then educate and motivate. So this is where you really begin to build rapport and credibility for what it is that you do. By creating a rapport, a guide, or some sort of carrot so to speak, or some kind of compelling content that clearly allows people to identify themselves as the people who are interested in what you’re promoting, you’ve accomplished a huge amount. Now you can really put your energy in towards just going after that particular subset because you know everybody on that list has identified themselves as somebody who’s interested in what you have to offer. Now you can really begin to build your relationship with this person on a one-to-one basis. So how do you do that? Well the next and final step is you simply do that through your automated follow-up. Automate your follow-up to continually deliver great content that will build credibility. So we use auto-responder emails.

So take a step back. We go through the process again. We start off by saying who do I want to identify? Who do I want to talk to? Do I want to talk to – about financial planning in general or do I want to talk about financial planning for business owners or financial planning for a particular specific niche? Well I would talk about financial planning for a specific niche, if that’s what you want to do. Then by putting some sort of rapport or guide or white paper or piece of information or some sort of content, that you can say this content is specifically for that particular niche, you can then go out and you can start to promote that particular content and you offer that content through an automated follow-up system. So if somebody wants the content – I mean you could go back to not even having to use the internet and whatnot. Way back in the day you would just simply send out or put an ad in the newspaper, put an ad in a journal, put an ad somewhere, very small ad saying here’s – let’s just use the example I’ve used above – Six Mistakes Retirees Make with their Finances and How to Avoid Them, free guide, or free special report reveals how, reveals the mistakes, call 1-800-whatever the number is, for your free report and we’ll have it delivered to your immediately. Or call 1-800 for a free recorded message. And then people would call, listen to the message and then in the message it would say, “If you want to get a copy of the report, please leave your name and address and then we’ll send it right out to you.” They leave their name and address, you now send the report out to them, you print it off, if you’ve got them pre-done or whatever, you send them out to them, and then you start a follow-up campaign.

We’ve just taken this and made it electronic where we say look we’ll promote the information online. So we’ll still send out a flyer or you could even do a Google Adword or you could put a Facebook ad or something like that or just write some great content on your website specifically talking about those particular issues. And then within the blog post or whatever you’re putting together, or it could be in a podcast episode, whatever it happens to be, however you’re getting your message out there, you can then put that information in there and say, “If you want a free report that highlights these particular Six Mistakes That Retirees are Making, just click here to get your free copy.” Well by doing that it then takes them to a landing page where it basically says, “If you want to receive this information, just put your name and email address here and we’ll send it right out to you electronically.” So that’s how you would do it and then by sending it out electronically, now they get instant access to it. They’re much more inclined to do it because they’re motivated right then and there.

So they get instant access to it and then what you do is on your auto responder you then have an automated follow-up. So maybe three days later, or two days later, you follow-up and say, “Hey I know you got the content. I just want to make sure you received it in good working order, whatever, whatever. By the way I came across this other article which helps support a lot of the comments that were put in there. I thought you might find it of use.” And then you put that in and then you just keep on with extra content. So there’s so much content out there. If you’re working with a particular niche you can go and find other content to really allow people to recognize how you are the one they want to be speaking to because of the fact that you’re so engrossed and so entrenched in that particular market niche that they’re involved with, they sort of want to work with a specialist and so that gives them more motivation to call you.

So you just keep on setting up these auto responders and you write as many as you need to just follow-up. Oftentimes what you can do is once you’ve done that and you’re starting to promote your services, you can put together sort of an initial email saying, “Hey you requested the free information, you got the information, I hope it was of help. What we’re offering now if you’d like to take advantage of a no obligation free appointment, please respond to this email and we’ll set that appointment up.” Then what you do is you take that exact same one, maybe put it four or five days later and put a second notice at the top and say, “Hey second notice. I noticed you hadn’t responded to the initial one. Maybe you missed it or maybe it just got caught in your Inbox somewhere and it’s just been pushed down because I know life is pretty busy, but I did want to follow-up with you and just let you know,” and then just put the original email promoting the services and the free no obligation report or free no obligation meeting.

So again, every step of the way you’re not trying to go from zero to hero right away. You’re doing it in little pieces. So just start off small and slowly move them along. The call to action isn’t to actually have them buy your financial planning services, it’s just to have them come in for a free no obligation appointment. Then once they come in for the free no obligation appointment, then you can go through and say, “Okay now you know what? I recognize that it’s probably an area that we can give you some assistance with but I don’t know for certain and I want to make sure you have a chance to debrief a little bit outside of these walls. So we’re not looking at making a decision now. All we’re doing today is we’re going to be trying to make decisions to whether or not it makes sense for a second more detailed look at things.” People tend to like that approach and so what that allows them to do is say, “You know what, yeah, let me come in for the initial meeting. We’ll just have a conversation and then if we feel that it makes sense to move forward to another meeting, then we can book that meeting.”

And so you’re just moving them along. And then at the end of the first meeting you can say, “You know what, I think it really does make sense after having looked at high-level information about what you’re trying to accomplish, it does make sense. I think it’s an area that we can give you some assistance with. Why don’t we then take a look at the details again?” A non-threatening way of doing it. People then come back in with all of their details, all their paperwork and then at that point you can say – move them along and then at that point you can start to do the close where you say, “Look, in order to move forward with the services, this is the fee that we would charge. Here’s what we would do and here’s how we would do it.” Well if they’ve come in and this is their second meeting, plus they’ve received all the great content leading up to that point, I tell you there are very few people who actually walk away from that and say no.

So that’s sort of an overview of how you can implement that marketing program. Now great effective marketing never costs you any money. It always brings you more so that’s why it’s so important when it comes to marketing that you’re able to track your results. I know that if I send out 5,000 flyers, it might cost me $1,500 to do all that, for all the costs involved in the mailing, of the postage and all that sort of thing. And then if I send out those 5,000 and I get one client for example, well I know that the fee that I charge if more than the $1,500. So even if I just get one client out of that, then I know I’ve made $500. So in that case that marketing didn’t cost me a penny. It actually made me $500, which means if I just do the math on that and I say well I know I’m making $500 for every 5,000 flyers that I send out – but that’s a very low response. So if I send out 5,000 and I make $500, well think about it. How many times would you do that? Why don’t you send 500,000 flyers and then see how that turns out. So that’s how you can start to track things.

Most marketing however is – it’s like kind of a slot machine. People feel like marketing is a bit of a gamble and that’s because they’re just doing it all wrong. So what they’re doing is – you’ve probably seen the standard typical professional marketing where you’ve got a nice professional-looking graphic and picture and some little bit of content that sort of promotes the white glove treatment and maybe you’ve got a picture of a very high profile, expensive sort of trophy home. There’s a picture of you for example. Maybe there’s a big logo. Your own company logo is there and it looks really professional, you know, all that sort of stuff. It’s just a gamble; it’s just a shot in the dark, because we have no idea if they’re going to call. What would make them call? There’s nothing motivating them. There’s no direct information that they want out of that. Well that’s why we stay away from that particular type of marketing, but I tell you, any marketing firm – well I shouldn’t say any, but I would say the majority of marketing firms that you speak with, the majority of companies who you use to do any marketing with, whether they be magazines or anything like that, if you go in with a properly structured direct response ad, which has a great captivating headline, maybe a sub-headline, some copy and then a call to action at the end, and it doesn’t even have your logo, doesn’t even have your company name, has nothing related to you, they may come back and chances are they probably will and say, “Are you sure you want to send this out? Most people like to help support their brand and so they at least have their company log in there. They at least put out a website address or something like that. I mean you want to make sure people know it’s you right?” Well they just don’t get it. It just means that they’re just in the old, the non-effective marketing methods.

And you see those non-effective marketing methods again in my mind are set up that way to make the marketing firms money. They know that if they can keep you coming back and keep impressing you with how professional everything looks – they don’t care necessarily about the results but what they do care about is making – are the fees that they’re generating from putting the ads together. So always focus on direct response style advertising. And the reason – you know oftentimes people say, “Oh it doesn’t look very professional.” Well again if you’re not putting your logo on there and you’re offering some great quality content, how is that not professional? I mean maybe you’re not promoting and branding yourself but then that’s not the whole purpose of the advertising is it? You can’t put your brand in your bank account. I mean you can only put money in your bank account. So focus on what you need to do in order to generate the revenues that you need in order to make money. Period. That’s what you want to do and if your content is great and the service and everything that you offer is valuable, then people are totally going to keep on coming back and they’re going to start telling their friends because of what they’ve been able to find. So definitely focus on that.

So in great marketing always take your profits and reinvest them into larger volumes of marketing. If you invest $1,000 and it generated $10,000 of reliable revenue, then next time invest $20,000. Invest whatever. You can just go from a 1,000 to 2,000 and 2,000 to 4,000, 4,000 to 8,000. So build it up over time and really focus on that because you want to start out smart. And if you start you – it’s just an exercise in mathematics. If you start out and say okay, I’m going to start out with a test. I’m going to send out a 1,000 flyers for this particular piece of information. Great, send out that 1,000 flyers and see what type of response you get. Now the next time you send out a 1,000 flyers, do 500 one area and 500 to another and split test. So now change one thing on your ad. Maybe it’s a different headline, whatever. Change one thing and then see which one works better. So instead of – you want to be able to mark them and say okay, I know that this particular person, he responded from this ad, and this particular from this ad and you can simply do that by having a different landing page that they go to. But the point is that you’re tracking the results and so you’re basically tracking it all the way through and that’s where our system that we use with Sales Force allows you to track all of your marketing campaigns and whenever you take a prospect or a lead all the way through to becoming a client, you can actually see on that which campaign it was that they went through in order to become a client of yours. So then at the end of the day you can go back to your campaigns and say okay, of these campaigns, we got this number of respondents. How many clients did I actually get and what revenue did I generate from those clients? And then you can very quickly do the update on your system to just determine if you’re profitable or not.

So now there’s two different types of marketing. There’s the no dollar cost marketing and the paid for marketing. Now the no dollar cost marketing – really the types of pieces that you’re using are going to be no different than the paid for marketing, but the only difference is the fact that you’re not paying for it. So what I’m referring to here is what’s called social media. All of the marketing that you have available, if you put together a report that you want to use, if you put together some sort of content, you can promote that content through your various social media channels. Now you want to be careful on how you’re doing it. You don’t want to necessarily come out and make it seem like you’re selling, but what you’re not doing is you’re not selling here. You’re just coming out and delivering good content. Well what is social media? Social media is another way of delivering good content that other people might be interested in. So if you’ve developed a rapport on whatever topic you think is important, then you can go to your Linked In or Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus Account, or whatever, and you can say, “Okay, just to let you know, there’s some great content on this particular topic. Click here in order to get your free copy.” If it really is good content then people who are interested are not going to shy away because you’re not selling your services, you’re providing free content and there’s a big difference.

Another thing you can do for free, you can get quoted by the industry or by media, TV, radio, newspaper, magazines. I know I’ve been on TV a handful of times. I do get a lot of calls on that topic, so oftentimes it starts from maybe a podcast episode that I put together or a blog post that I put together and somebody finds that really interesting and then all of a sudden they start calling back saying, “Hey, on that piece that you did, would you be able to do a radio interview or that on a TV interview on that, because that’s something our listeners would be really interested in hearing about and you seem to be the expert in that because you put this piece together. Would you be able to do that?” So that was all free. So most of the media advertising that I get is all free. Well actually all of it’s free because I don’t pay for any of that so when I’m on the TV, when I’m on the radio, when I’m in the newspaper, in a magazine, I just make sure that I’m delivering great content that people can use. And then the writers of the articles and whoever’s doing those pieces, they keep me on their rolodex and they say, “I know I can always rely on Scott, so I’m going to keep on coming back to him for more and more information.” So that’s definitely some area. All those areas, the social media, Linked In, Facebook, You Tube Channel, Twitter, Google Plus, ITunes, blog, being quoted as an expert in the media, all that’s free. And you want to make sure you’re focusing on that.

Now the other thing is the paid for marketing. So paid for marketing are things like Google Ad Words, or if you actually have a flyer or a postcard or something like you’re going to be sending out. Again it’s all for that content that you have but now you’re going to be paying for that. So what I would recommend doing is go through and start with your no dollar cost marketing, so all the social media, and start focusing on that. Now it does take some time and effort because if you’re not going to pay for the results you’ve got to generate them without any cost. Well that takes some time and that’s why I recommend that everybody get on to these different social media platforms and first of all just start just watching. Second of all once you’re in there, you want to start giving free content and giving good content. Now it doesn’t have to be content that you’re creating, you just want to be seen as somebody who is an expert in that area and deliver content which is focusing on your particular niche and then people will start to recognize that. They’re going to start to follow you. They’re going to start to like you. They’re going to start to +1 you and then some of the content that you’re going to be sending out will just happen to be from your own website. So if you’ve created a nice blog post or you’ve got a video series or whatever, then one of the pieces that you’re promoting out there could be and should be some of your content. You don’t want it to be everything. You want it to be sort of sprinkled into the content, because you don’t want people just to say, “Okay, he’s only sending out information on himself.” So you do want to just make sure that the information is broad, but every so often put in a nice piece that you’ve put together and that’ll make some big results there.

I know that we’ve been doing that and it took a while to get started, but once we got started, all of a sudden you could just feel that there’s some momentum starting and that we’re gaining traction. People are retweeting us in a lot of cases and people are starting to – well Facebook I find it’s been a bit of a challenge, but definitely on Twitter we’re getting some get traction there just from exposure. I know when I go to the website, I take a look at where a lot of the business has come from or a lot of the traffic is coming from, it’s coming from the various social networks that I’m posting on. So people are just seeing the link and clicking on the link and it’s bringing them right to our site and then as a result of coming to our site, I’m promoting that they sign up for the Six Mistakes Video Program and then that works very well. And that doesn’t cost me a dime but on the paid for marketing, now it’s the direct response from Google Ad Words and the ads and postcards and whatnot. And so again it’s just simply now finding the targeted neighbourhoods, finding the targeted areas you want to focus on and then focusing those efforts in those cases.

So now I’m just going to talk about – I’m going to give you some examples of some of the headlines you can use to help generate ideas of what to offer your target market. Because you know the big question that I oftentimes get is, “Well then what do I give them? What do I put together?” Well put together content but now you want the content to answer some of these questions. So I’m just going to go through a whole series of headline topics that you can promote and really then all you have to do is put together the content to support that topic. So the first one, the headline would be The Truth about Financial Planning. Okay well it’s kind of a motivating headline. What do you mean, the Truth about Financial Planning? I thought I knew everything about financial planning. Well you can then write a piece on investing without a financial plan, how it’s malpractice. You can write a piece or a letter or blog post or some sort of a report on everything that they needed to know about financial planning but were afraid to ask. And I mean reveal some of the inside, opening the kimono type secrets that you’ve got. Another headline could be How Many of these Common Financial Mistakes Are You Making? Well in this case you just simply outline the common mistakes that you’re fixing in your practice. So if you just sat down and said okay, what are in the last six months, what are some of the most common mistakes that I’m fixing or that I’m helping clients with, and just simply write a report on what those mistakes are. And say look these are the five mistakes that – five most common mistakes that are being made. To take that a little bit further and to niche it down, you could say here are the five most common mistakes being made by radiologists when it comes to their financial planning. All of a sudden you’ve focused in and you’ve got a good niched focus there.

Another headline is Take This Little Test to See if you Qualify to Never Invest in Another Mutual Fund Again. Well mutual funds in the marketplace are – some people love them, some people don’t love them. There’s a lot of talk about their costs and all that sort of stuff and people just don’t know that there might be some other solutions. Well suddenly if you come up there and say, “Here, take this little test to see you quality to never invest in another mutual fund again,” and you’re thinking what do you mean, qualify to never invest in a mutual fund? You have to qualify not to invest in them? What would you invest in? Well that’s where then you can go in and you say, “Look, for those of you who do qualify,” start talking about investment counselling and portfolio managers and working directly with them where you get more tailored service, better quality service, customized portfolios for less probably than what you’re paying in a traditional mutual fund. So you can really start to leverage off of that.

Another example is Which of these Common Frustrations would you Like to Eliminate when it Comes to your Finances? Okay, so now just simply highlight, Which of these Four Common Frustrations Would you Like to Eliminate? So you can just start to focus on that and think okay, what are the most common frustrations that new clients when they come to meet me, what are their most common frustrations? Well if you don’t know any, the next time you sit down with a handful of new prospective clients, just take notes on what their frustrations are and then take a look at things after the fact. And you know what, there’s probably going to be some similarities there. So once you’ve got those similarities and once you know what those frustrations are, write a simple report. Write a little letter. So you know, little things like highlight the most common frustrations people have when it comes to working with a financial advisor. Everything is always about selling in that case. I’m just giving you some examples of frustrations, so everything is always about selling. There’s little talk about personal goals, it’s always about investment performance, it’s always about finding a new investment. The solutions are always investment focused, so the best thing you could ever do is buy X, Y, or Z. You know, these are some of the frustrations that people might have, is because people get that. People understand that whenever I go to my investment person, the best solution is always to buy another investment. Or if ever I go to my insurance agent, then the best solution is probably always to buy another insurance policy. So recognize that and you can start to promote what those things are.

Another common – this is a very popular one in direct response – is Warning, Before you Call any Financial Planner, Read This. Imagine that as a headline. Anybody who’s frustrated or whatever with their financial plan or financial planner or the fact that they don’t feel like they’ve got any control over what’s going on, and all of a sudden you put out an ad saying Warning, Before you Call any Financial Planner, Read This. They’re like what is all this about? And so what you can do is promote the fact that you charge fees and warn people about the risks of working with people who don’t charge fees and what the ramifications are and the fact that they don’t charge fees, then they got to get compensated somewhere because people don’t work for free, and as a result then if you’re not paying for a fee out of your pocket, then they can only be surviving through compensation from management fees or trailer fees or service fees, or whatever, but fees none the less coming from – or commissions coming from the company who’s providing th4 services. So that’s something that you could focus on there as well.

Here’s another example, another headline. This one reads: An Open Letter to Anyone Who Wants to Retire Comfortably. Okay, so you could write an honest letter explaining what happens to those who don’t engage in the services of a financial planner versus those who do. There’s studies that are being done on that and studies are showing that people who work with financial planners have more income, more wealth, more liquid net wealth, so on and so forth. People who don’t work with a financial planner tend to feel less comfortable, less confident and that sort of thing. So again, all the information is there. Just find the right topic and then just start to build a piece of content that would support that topic.

Another one is – so this is another example headline – Special Offer to People Who Hate Talking to their Broker. So again, it allows you to talk about – a chance to talk about financial planning before [unintelligible 46:28] whereas people who are transaction based tend to focus on transactions. They don’t focus on planning and advisory and that sort of thing so you can just start talking about that and say look, would you ever go into a doctor who before they analyzed you, prescribed you something? Again, that’s what we consider malpractice and that would never happen so why do you let that happen when you’re talking about your finances?

Another example would be: If you Run or Own Your Own Business, You Qualify for these Special Tax Deductions. Okay, so here’s something for a business owner. Now all of a sudden you’ve got a business owner who says wait a minute, what special tax deductions? Am I getting all of those? And then you can start to promote things like individual pension plans and that sort of thing. So again it’s just a way of – all you’re trying to do is get people to identify themselves by raising their hand and saying, “I’m interested in that topic.”

Another one – this is a local one – so the headline reads: Toronto Business Owner Discovers How to Create a $60,000 Tax Deduction from Working with a Financial Planner. Huh? What do you mean? So he worked with a financial planner and got a $60,000 tax deduction? I want to find out what he did. I hope I’ve done that and if I haven’t done that I sure want to find out what it is. Again, you can start to just build a rapport around a case study that you put together and people are going to be quite interested in that. So those are just some examples to help stimulate your ability to put together some content that you could offer a targeted market that you’re perhaps going after.

So now what I want to do, I’m just going to give you some ways or some ideas for how to tweak your headline. So if you’re putting together a headline or a report title or something like that, I’m just give you ways on how to tweak them. So we’re going to talk about weak ones versus strong ones. So here’s just a couple of quick examples. So the first one is: Ten Legal Ways to Slash Your Taxes. Well that’s what I would consider a weak headline. What I would consider a strong headline is to reword it and say Ten Ways for Doctors to Legally Slash Their Taxes. See how I’ve done that? See how we’ve gone in and we’ve sort of niched it down a little bit?

The second one here, another example is Why You Need a Will. Okay again, that’s weak. But if you then came back and said in your headline, If You Die Without a Will, the Government Could Become your Biggest Heir. Okay, now it sort of puts a sense of urgency, a sense of concern and so people say oh what’s that and then they start reading more. And that’s where you could have a sub-headline that leads right into some great content. So again really I think turning a weak headline into a strong headline or a weak title – report title – into a strong report title, really has a lot to do with niching it down and becoming – focusing down to say this is specifically for this particular group of people.

Now this one is interesting. I’m going to sort of share with you some of the world’s best headlines that you can put into your swipe file. So I’m just going to read off a few of these. Again, these are some of the world’s best. You’ve probably heard them before, but if you haven’t then I would definitely write these down, because whenever you get stuck I would always come back to these and say okay, how can I massage one of these to creating a good headline for what you’re doing.

So the first one reads It’s a Shame for You Not to Make Good Money when These Men do it so Easily. The next one: To People who Want to Write but Can’t Get Started. Okay so that could be morphed into people who want to be financially successful but have no idea how to start.

The next one is Have You a Worry Stock? Okay, promoting some sort of yeah, who doesn’t have a worry stock. What do you mean? What do you have to say about that?

The next one – this one is a classic one – They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano but When I started to Play. Okay, so that one is a classic one. So you can say – you can change them into They Laughed When I Brought Out my Financial Plan but when I Told Them I Was Getting Ready to Retire, so all of a sudden they’re just like oh my gosh, he’s working with a financial planner and now he’s getting ready to retire? I’m the same age as this guy and he’s a friend of mine, why am I not at that point? So again it can promote conversation with financial planning.

What Everybody Ought to Know about this Stock and Bond Business. So again, it’s just a way of revealing content, revealing information about what you need to know, an insider’s look at something.

And then the final one here: A Little Mistake Cost a Business Owner $60,000. Again a sense of urgency. What do mean, a little mistake? There’s a little mistake that could cost a business owner $60,000? Hey I’m a business owner. I want to know what that mistake is. So it’s just a way of stepping up and getting people to raise their hand and say I’m interested in that and then putting a program in place that you can automatically follow-up. Because you don’t want to add more work to your already busy day. But once you’ve created this program once, you tweak it and once you’ve got it working for you, it can just go on autopilot and it continues to go.

Now I’m going to talk a little bit now about compliance because in our world compliance is huge. Now the one thing I’m finding when it comes to compliance is that compliance focuses on your furthering of a trade. That’s when they’re really concerned. Are you helping somebody move along to further a transaction or trade? Because that’s where the rubber meets the road. Well in my business our focus is not on furthering a trade. Our focus is on furthering financial planning. And so there’s a big difference. We’re able to do so much more as a result because I’m not advising. I’m not giving the information through my marketing and through my marketing messages about what to buy, what to sell and all that. I’m not advising in that case. I’m just educating people on great content that will help them come to a better decision on their own. So I’m not making any recommendations. I’m not furthering a trade. I’m just basically promoting the fact that there’s a better way of doing things and if they’re interested in finding out more then they can contact me to find out more. So when you’re coming at it from that perspective, compliance becomes less of a hassle. Yeah at the end of the day, I mean there are compliance issues and you’ve got to make sure everything is vetted through your compliance department, but one thing they can’t do is they can’t come back and say, “Well you can’t say that,” especially when it’s true.

Now they are starting to focus on things like well you can’t say something that’s negative toward the industry. You can’t be negative toward the industry. So you just have to work your way around those scenarios and if you run into any challenges along the way, maybe send me a – send me what their compliance response is. Then I might be able to give you some assistance in your way of rewording things. Because I know when we had one of our reports reviewed and even the Six Mistakes reviewed, I submitted the information and I put Six Mistakes Retirees are Making with their Finances and How to Avoid Them and the compliance guy came back and said – it’s funny, his comments to me were, “Just make sure that if your quoting a stat or something, that you’re footnoting that on the slide.” So we went ahead and did that and then there’s no issues there because it’s an education-based marketing. It’s not sales-based marketing. You know we’re not putting up performance figures. We’re not saying this one is better and here’s how you design your portfolio. We’re not doing any of that. We’re basically just promoting financial planning which has nothing to do with investing in my mind. Yeah, at the end of the day you do have to buy investments, but you’re not doing that through your marketing. Once it comes times to actually buy your investments, you’re doing that through your advisory services that people are paying you for.

So I think the whole methodology behind the way we’re doing things here with marketing is a little bit different because coming at it from the way it was done and it’s been done for so long, everybody is always promoted. I remember the ads and they still get put out there today, all based on performance. Here’s our one, three, five, ten-year performance numbers and look how great they are. Well I mean it was so frustrating to me because they only put that information out there when the numbers were off the charts. Yeah okay great, when gold was hitting through higher and higher levels, and you’re putting out gold fund out there and you’re saying, “Look at the returns that our gold fund is getting.” Well of course it’s getting that return. I mean that’s such a narrow time in the market that you’re getting that information. So if you live by return you die by return and if you’re promoting return, you’re selling based on return, eventually it’s going to come around, it’s going to bite you. But if you’re looking at it from a financial planning perspective, and you’re promoting through good education, let’s find out the answers before making any decisions, let’s follow our process and work through a comprehensive financial planning modelling process and program that allows us to get through from beginning to end, what’s the right thing to do for you based on your goals and your hopes and your dreams and your issues and concerns and let’s focus on you, then yeah, at the end of the day you’re probably going to have to implement through something, but let’s figure out what you need to accomplish first of all and what the parameters are you needing to accomplish. Then we’ll know better what it is you need to invest in or what insurance maybe you need to put in place in order to protect yourself and all that sort of thing.

So it’s all analysis. Financial planning is all analysis. People are really willing to pay good money for somebody to come in and say I’m going to hold your hand and I’m going to take you from beginning to end. I’m going to analyse everything. You’re going to pay me a fee for that and I’m going to give you everything that you need to do. If you want to do it on your own, go ahead and implement it on your own. Now people might say oh you don’t want to do that because maybe they’ll just go and implement it on your own. Okay, well first of all if they do, that’s fine. It’s probably not somebody who wants to be a long-term client of yours. But second of all, if they do what does it matter? You’ve been paid for the financial planning you did so what are you complaining about. So nine times out of ten though, my experience has been that people engage us for financial planning, pay the fee for financial planning – first of all when they pay, they pay attention, and if they’re not paying for their financial planning, they’re not paying attention as much. They’re not as engaged much. Whereas if they pay us for the development of their financial plan, guess what? They show up to meetings, they pay attention, and they implement what you recommend because they know your recommendations are based on good quality analysis. Whereas it’s not something – it’s not a shot in the dark, you’re going through and spending two and three hours with them explaining to them exactly what it is that they need to do and why they need to do it and how it actually supports their financial goals.

It’s interesting to have a conversation with somebody and say, “Okay here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to put money into this investment because it’s going to give you an immediate tax break and at your high taxable income, you need tax breaks. But you’ve only got this much room you can put in. Maybe you can only put in $10,000. Okay now, but maybe you’ve got $30,000 a year extra cash flow that you need to do something with. Well imagine an advisor that says we’ll put the first $10,000 into your RRSP because that’s the one that is going to give you an immediate tax break, and take the other $20,000 and put it against your debt? What do you mean put it against my debt? Yeah, put it against your debt because that’s going to move you closer to your financial goal quicker and why don’t we get rid of that monkey off your back called your mortgage or whatever it happens to be. Well if you only make your money based on assets, on administration or selling investments, it’s difficult for you to say well take that $10,000 and put it into an investment. Take the other $20,000 and don’t put it into an investment. Because you know if you do that you’re going to get paid less. Well I don’t care because I’m getting paid the same whether they do or not. Well actually I’m not because if they do implement it through me and I participate in the management fee, then they – obviously my revenue goes down. But you know what, I’m not concerned about that because I’m making enough revenue from that client to make it profitable, to really support a long-term relationship. I know eventually they’re going to get out of debt. You know what, when they get out of debt, guess who’s going to be part of the reason why they get out of debt? Well that’s right and so you’re going to build a good long-term relationship.

So focus more on the long-term value of a client, as opposed to the short-term value and you’ll be making the right decisions along the way. Incorporating and embracing a fee-based financial planning model will just be so tremendously profitable for you in the long run because what it allows you to do is it allows you to make the recommendations to a client that they know deep down are the right recommendations. And so they trust you so much more. They implement what you say and when you come back to them and say, “You know what? I really think that this is the best next approach for you, next step for you,” they’re going to follow your lead because you’ve been showing them so much wisdom and good-quality advice that why would they not. So when you’ve got that level of trust with your clientele, it’s a wonderful thing. And it all comes from running and building a fee-based financial planning practice.

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Copyright © Scott E. Plaskett 2012 All Rights Reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced without Scott E. Plaskett’s written permission.

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