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Good VS. Bad Advisor Marketing: Tactics to Stop and Start Doing Immediately

Do your marketing tactics strengthen your credibility and amplify your expertise? Or is it possible that your tactics are actually damaging your reputation and costing you time, money, and opportunities?

Financial advisors don’t deliberately use bad marketing tactics. That’s why I’m about to show you the differences between good and bad marketing. 

Let’s begin…

 

What does BAD MARKETING look like?

  • No clear audience
  • No clear benefits
  • No empathy for what ideal audience is going through
  • No clear story 
  • Inconsistent messaging
  • Inconsistent execution
  • No clear marketing mindset or an undefined strategy
  • Tactics that change without a clear why
  • Focuses on selling versus educating and building credibility
  • Focuses on converting leads versus building relationships
  • No one owns its execution and outcomes
  • Annoys more people than it attracts and engages
  • Creates a “sea-of-sameness” name for yourself in your industry
  • Constantly searching for the next big idea because most of what you touch loses effectiveness quickly or never really worked, or you didn’t stick with it long enough to experience the benefits
  • Focuses on short-term gains
  • Focuses on short-term ROI: direct measurable results that don’t account for long-term marketing benefits

Good marketing is good for your business. Good marketing takes time and requires effort and planning. There are no shortcuts. It builds your credibility, most importantly –– the basis for trust. 

 

What does GOOD MARKETING look like?

  • Clear audience
  • Clear benefits
  • Clear story 
  • Empathy for what ideal audience is going through because you researched and know your niche
  • Consistent messaging
  • Consistent execution
  • Clear marketing mindset and a defined strategy
  • Tactics that evolve in alignment with a clear purpose/outcome/strategy
  • Focuses on educating and building credibility
  • Focuses on building relationships
  • One person/team owns its execution and outcomes
  • Attracts, engages, and endears people to you
  • Creates a reputable name for yourself in your industry as a person who brings real value to the relationship
  • Focuses on building momentum over time and understanding the direct and indirect benefits of good marketing
  • Understands that keeping a client or inspiring them to refer is often more effective than just focusing on attracting new opportunities
  • You are bought into a long-term strategy and you stick with it
  • You create more value within your niche than other advisors because you are focused; they aren’t

 

You might be wondering how to jump from good marketing to great marketing. Great marketing can only truly be measured over many years. Great marketing is measured by the momentum it builds year after year. Good marketing done consistently over time keeps getting better and produces more and more results. 

Ready to learn more? Tune into our Top Advisor Marketing Podcast for strategies that you can use right away to shift your marketing into the good category!

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The Difference Between Podcast Channels & Communities

Podcasting is trending upward at an increased pace. These are a few examples of the growth podcasting has had in the last few years.

  • Active podcasts rose from 550,000 in 2018 to over 750,000 in 2019. 
  • 70% of Americans are familiar with podcasting.
  • 50% of the US population have listened to a podcast.
  • Listens on iTunes rose from 47 million (2018) to 60 million (2019). 

You may already be familiar with the numbers and the increasing popularity of podcasts, but it’s only natural to have many other questions about how podcasting works. 

One of the most popular questions I get is:

What’s the difference between a channel and a community?

A podcast channel allows you to design your own page where you upload and host all of your podcast episodes. Most channels provide you with an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed. You can copy that RSS and set up syndication feeds in podcast communities that don’t offer hosting services (e.g., iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher). 

Designing your channel takes time. However, after the initial work is done, it’s fast, simple, and affordable to publish each new episode, which will then auto-publish to all syndicated communities that are set up to use that RSS feed. 

There are many syndication-only channels, so you’ll need to choose five to 10 that work best for your target audience. You could just go with the most popular channels (or communities), such as iTunes, Podbean, and SoundCloud, and hope for the best. But it’s better to do research to see where your target audience “hangs out.” 

Podcast channels are not one-size-fits-all, and different audiences can choose different communities. Podcasting is about finding the right “house” for your podcasts and captivating an audience in that house. Who will listen to and share your podcasts and where do they go to be informed or entertained? 

Here are some tips for your research:

  • Ask your clients which services they use. You can ask them in person or in a simple survey using a service like SurveyMonkey.
  • Do research about what kinds of audiences different services reach. 
  • Look at what the different services offer and the fees they charge. Many sites are free, but they usually contain ads and pop-ups, which could result in listeners tuning out. Paid sites will provide statistics and more detailed information about how your podcast is doing—information that can help you grow your audience.

Popular podcast channels/communities in alphabetical order:

Hosting Channels & Communities:

Syndicated Communities:

  • Aha
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Android
  • Apple TV
  • BOSE
  • GooglePlay
  • iHeart Radio
  • iTunes
  • Kindle Fire
  • Spotify
  • StreamGuys
  • Stitcher
  • SONOS (upload via TuneIn)
  • TuneIn
  • vTuner
  • XBOX ONE
  • ZenoLive 

Each site has different requirements for uploading a podcast. Some sites use RSS. Others use direct uploads. Both methods are relatively easy to use. The final choice on what works for your podcast is, of course, yours.

After you’ve set up your podcast channel, remember to also set up a feed to your website so that all new podcasts are automatically published onto your website, too.

Have any other questions? Feel free to send me a message.

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How To Step Up & Serve During and After COVID-19 Part 3 of 3

It’s a crazy time in the history of the world. A health and economic crisis for the ages. 

Your marketing will have to change, this time faster than most of you would like. Marketing has evolved but the time you have to embrace just evaporated. 

Let me explain. 

  1. Seminars have been increasingly difficult on growth and budgets. How many people will be lined up to greet you and others in the coming year? 2 years? 
  2. Networking events including conferences and breakfast meetings will stop. Who knows when and how they will resume. 
  3. Meeting clients and prospects face-to-face will continue to change as virtual meeting will be a preferred method going forward. 
  4. The way you stayed top of mind with your COI’s will evolve too. People will be less inclined to stop by with treats or just to say hi, at least not for a while. 

Why do you do any of these things?

You have planned to conduct seminars, attend events, and connect with people face-to-face so you can expand your network, start new relationships, establish credibility, and hopefully inspire advocacy or engagement. 

Marketing is about to change drastically. Are you prepared?

If you don’t already know it, you compete in the Expertise Economy. People expect you to share your expertise generously, and on their terms. This is just a simple fact. 

One of the hottest new marketing strategies to market yourself in the expertise economy is the Micro-Influencer Strategy.  

A Micro-Influencer is an advisor who owns a specific expertise, with a specific audience, in a specific region. 

We developed the micro-influencer approach. That is why our micro-influencer program is a perfect tool to put in place now, to continue your marketing, education and client acquisition. 

For many years several marketing tactics have dominated the ROI conversation; seminars, mailouts, referral programs, cold-calling or lead buying. Tactics that didn’t make measuring easy got overlooked, such as thought leadership, blogging, social media, video and podcasting. The micro-influencer approach is proving to be the best method of attracting, engaging, and building ideal relationships for mid-to long-term success. In fact what it does best is scale your credibility

Consider this as you prepare for a new marketing reality – scaling your credibility. 

Take the money you have allocated to all of the in person marketing strategies and re-allocate it to a strategy that will have long term results. For a third of the cost of a seminar/workshop, you can begin your Micro-Influencer Strategy. Begin creating momentum and begin taking control of how to market in the expertise economy. 

#RiseAboveTheNoise, #BeYourOwnLoud

You now know you need to reduce costs and increase your ability to attract, develop, and nurture relationships with ideal clients, in the medium they prefer – while they are there.  

Over the last two years, we have developed and tested this proven solution. 

Click here to arrange a brief conversation with either Matthew Halloran or Kirk Lowe. 

To your health and continued success,
The Team at Top Advisor Marketing

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How To Step Up Serve During and After COVID-19 Part 2 of 3

Your clients need you now more than ever. How are you communicating with them?

At Top Advisor Marketing, we’ve been helping advisors be their own loud. We produce and promote podcasts for them. Last week, we offered all of our advisors the opportunity to record a free C-19 podcast episode. Most took us up on it. Their clients were extremely grateful, reassured, and response rates were very high. That’s what advisors are supposed to do – communicate and guide. In fact, half (1.5%) of the 3% alpha advisors add to their client relationships are based on behavior management, as per Vanguard Advisor’s Alpha Report

It might seem strange but, this is one of the important reasons behind why we created this podcasting service; so advisors can communicate and educate clients (panicked or not) in a personal and intimate medium – when they have time to listen. 

This is what advisors get paid for and very few advisors have invested in a communication system that helps them provide consistent, timely, intimate and credible information for their clients, advocates and followers. 

“…so advisors can communicate and educate clients…when they have time to listen.”

For many advisors, their current approach isn’t working like it could. I’m not trying to be hard on your here, just realistic. You can’t be great at, or have time for, everything required of you to run a high functioning practice (business). 

  • Email is personal but it might not be getting opened and read enough unless you send one at a time versus through an email tool such as Constant Contact or ACT. You’ll need both. 
  • SMS doesn’t work well as a content vehicle. It’s great for alerts but noting of substance. Although, a quick, “Hope your family are healthy and safe!” would work perfect. 
  • Video can be highly effective, especially if shared on social media but many advisors don’t seem to have the confidence, know-how, or budget.
  • Blogs can be moderately effective but most advisors don’t do them consistently, nor are they typically skilled enough at writing to efficiently do this and convey personality and concern. In my 20 years in financial marketing, there are only 2 advisors I’ve seen consistently publish blog posts; James E Wilson, and Andrew Rosen at Diversified. 

“…very few advisors have invested in a communication system for their clients, advocates and followers.”

  • Did the C-19 episode amount to new clients or new assets? Not immediately, but it may. 
  • Does it really matter? No. Communication is meant to establish credibility and enhance relationships. 
  • Did it achieve that? Yes, and then some. Will that result in retention and referrals? Absolutely. 

Now imagine you scale your credibility using this same system. It’s no longer a communication system, it’s a business development system. One you own. 

“Podcasting is a boom. And that boom is only getting louder.” – Miranda Katz, Wired.com

Now is the time to communicate with your ideal audience, in the medium they prefer, while they are there.  

Click here are several podcasting resources when considering it as a possible communication system for your business going forward.

We can have your C-19 podcast done in 24 hours from the day you sign up and then you can send it to your clients.  That is a great way to kick off the use of this wonderful medium.  

To your health and continued success,
The Team at Top Advisor Marketing

 

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How To Step Up & Serve During and After COVID-19 Part 1 of 3

The federal, state and local authorities are acting appropriately in the interest of public safety for all, however, these precautions also carry grave social and economic implications for businesses, including your own.

Your clients need you now more than ever.

We’ve been assisting advisors who we produce podcasts for to create a short-term communication strategy for COVID-19. They all have a long-term communications strategy we implement for them but in this global health and economic crisis, we need a short-term action plan.

Here are some of the best practices we’re seeing from advisors we’ve been working with.

  1. Know Your Client
    • Talk only about what’s relevant to them, not you, or your practice, or your other clients
    • Make sure their families and communities are safe first
  2. Establish communication across multiple mediums:
  3. Content for Communication
    • Understand the facts of COVID-19 – don’t downplay crisis, focus on controlling what you can
    • Express your operational plan for coming weeks and months
    • Confirm how they can reach you and when 
    • Create FAQs on all the above
    • Interview a local Doctor about what they see and what they think you should do. Be resourceful if possible and find relevant experts who can help provide perspective and reassurance – who will also be honest
  4. Add COVID-19 FAQ page to your website
    • Lean on your broker dealer for approved messaging – they should have provided
    • Make it a link in your main menu (highly visible)
    • Reiterate information from “Content for Communication” above
    • Link or embed to podcast/blog/video
    • Add local and national links to trusted COVID-19 resources (3-5)
  5. Work your ass off 
    • Find opportunities to help clients recover
    • Don’t be too proud – ask for help 
    • Keep a journal of what this felt like and what you could have done better to prepare your clients, practices, employees and your own family
    • Be available to all who need your thought leadership and guidance
    • Mentor other advisors – help each other
    • Ask if your clients or their friends and family have had the same level of communication from their advisor. If not, call you. 
  6. Support local businesses, not national chains
    • Buy gift cards
    • Get take out
    • Take advantage of deliver or curb side pick up
    • Share your list of local businesses you’ll be supporting in your social networks – profile them, tag them

To your health and continued success,
The Team at Top Advisor Marketing

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Advisors’ Best Practices for Creating a Clear Message and Building an Audience

The two consistent elements to successful marketing have always been, and always will be, a clear message and a clearly-targeted niche audience. Eventually, you hope your message will become your brand with the people you ideally want to attract. 

WHAT COMES FIRST:
THE MESSAGE OR THE AUDIENCE? 

Your message and audience are interlinked and, therefore, should be considered and developed together. 

For example, if you are great at estate planning but prefer working with 45-55-year-olds, your approach to messaging for estate planning would be significantly different than if you were targeting a 65+ audience. For people 65+, your message might revolve around getting it right, saving taxes, protecting your spouse, and leaving what you can for the next generations. For 45-55-year-olds, you might focus on purpose, living a legacy, and using the ideas and planning strategies to achieve something now.  

CREATING YOUR MESSAGE

Your message should focus on what you want to be known for and what you deliver to your ideal clients: outcomes, experiences, and feelings. 

If you offer “holistic planning,” you need to not only ask deeper questions, you also need checklists and a story that proves your holistic approach doesn’t end after the first meeting. When your clients hear your message, experience a process, and enjoy the outcomes that reflect your holistic approach — that’s a brand. But it has to start with a better message because that’s how you capture your audience’s attention long enough to prove your credibility and engage them in your expertise. And that’s how you start relationships — with marketing. 

Your message moves into brand status when what your audience knows becomes their new expectation, and, ultimately, it’s when they talk about your product or service with others while using that same language as you. 

Nurturing a brand and message is a long-term commitment but when done properly, it will produce momentum and opportunities — outcomes that make it all worthwhile.  

If you need help defining your message, and ultimately your brand, I highly recommend this free branding guide

And here are podcast episodes that provide further insight into the creation and implementation of your brand:

 

 

IDENTIFYING & BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE

The only way to build the right audience is to share your expertise and attract people to your thought leadership. This takes years, not months. Some of the most successful financial advisors and influencers have spent 10+ years building their audience and brand. Do not expect to compete with their influence in a significantly less amount of time — unless of course, you hire Top Advisor Marketing (shameless plug). 

Ideally, the audience you want to replicate most should be a vertical or identifiable group you can access and communicate with. If you don’t know how to identify your ideal client/audience, I recommend using this Ideal Client Profile worksheet. If you don’t know the value of having a niche or how to start creating one, start with these podcast episodes:

 

 

There are many tactics and tools to define and search for ideal prospects including targeting AI apps, social media advanced searches, or simply finding an in-person niche network such as a chamber of commerce with local businesses, a specific trade conference, or a center of influence.

 

TARGETING OPPORTUNITIES TARGETING TOOLS
Networking Groups

  • chamber of commerce
  • Hobby groups (runners, yachting, etc)
  • Trade associations or conferences
LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Sales Navigator allows you to create search profiles to find, message, and connect with your ideal audience. 

Centers of Influence

These are typically people you want in your network because they know your ideal audience and add value to their lives. 

LeadCrunch

LeadCrunch finds and engages ideal client/prospect lookalikes, making it easy for you to find new prospects just like the ones you’re already working with. 

Online Influencers

Getting your expertise (i.e. thought leadership) mentioned, published, and shared can have a huge impact on your exposure and credibility.

CrystalKnows

Crystal enables you to know more about a prospect’s personality, interests, and values so you can connect better with them. 

Trade Media 

Getting your expertise (thought leadership) mentioned, published, and shared by an outlet that focuses on your niche audience can have a huge impact on your exposure and credibility. 

AdvisorStream

This content aggregation and distribution tool uses AI to adjust content deployment and recommendations. AdvisorStream offers unique content from paywall providers without the paywall.  

  Seamless

Seamless helps you find everyone you need to sell to and it gives you emails and phone numbers. You can use hundreds of insights to build profitable relationships at scale and import directly into your favorite CRM.

 

Read these articles to learn about more AI tools:

 

Build your audience, share your message, and #BeYourOwnLoud:  

  • Discover and define your key strengths and your audience’s needs. 
  • Define your ideal audience by personality, age, interests, dreams, careers, family, education, fears, concerns, not just basic demographics and AUM.
  • Create keywords and phrases that introduce key concepts and points that are important to understanding your brand. Leverage those phrases and words in your marketing, processes, papers, articles, podcasts, etc. 
  • Develop a marketing strategy that starts relationships instead of only attracting leads.  Relationships are built on sharing expertise, leads are based on trying to sell. 

Leverage the tools and resources above to help you build relationships effectively. And if you don’t have time to do it right, find help.

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How Good Advisor-Marketing Happens in the Expertise Economy

A visual representation of how and why good marketing happens.

 

Have you considered that you’re competing in the expertise economy?

All financial advisors are. 

You have the expertise to solve the challenges that your ideal client needs help with. You fill that gap, as illustrated below, by offering financial planning services of your design: investment planning, retirement planning, estate planning, business succession planning, and combinations herein. 

In simple terms, this should mean that prudent advisors would employ “expertise marketing,” also known as Micro-Influence. But in my 20+ years in financial marketing, expertise marketing has not been the accepted mindset nor has it been well executed when it is. 

Over the years, many forms of “expertise marketing” have succeeded, failed, and evolved. 

As you can see below, marketing has evolved. Most of you have used many, if not all, of these tactics in your careers. Alone, these tactics have probably had vastly different degrees of success for each of you, which is largely a product of consistency of implementation (or lack thereof), efficacy of tactics employed, synergistic tactics, momentum created, your ability to close, and the revenue generated. 

Two very important terms above are “synergy” and “momentum.” 

What’s critically important to the success of your marketing comes down to the coordination and consistent implementation of your marketing. Simply put, synergy plays an important, if not critical, role. 

Can you make 1 + 1 = 3? You can. There are many variations. These are a few. 

Momentum is equally important, especially for advisors or firms who want high efficacy from their efforts. Momentum marketing has two sides: sunk or lasting. Does each marketing input and output result in a sunk cost or lasting momentum? And, how long will each marketing output last and produce?

Sunk marketing is a singular marketing tactic that, once completed, generates ongoing value that declines significantly or becomes nil. That doesn’t mean it’s a worthless tactic. Some forms of sunk marketing are the most powerful strategies that advisors have ever employed, such as seminar marketing.

Sunk marketing examples include:

  • Seminar marketing (highly effective but its value typically dies once completed)
  • Digital ads
  • Email blasts
  • Postcard or letter mailers
  • Public relations (if it’s not done frequently or consistently)
  • Brand or value proposition (if it’s created but not executed)
  • Referral marketing (when you need to ask for referrals)


(FYI, I  don’t count “brand awareness” as a worthwhile outcome because effective brand awareness rarely happens in advisor marketing.) 

Sunk marketing is the most common form of marketing execution among financial advisors and RIAs. Most advisors have good ideas. Many employ sunk marketing tactics that are individually executed. Few advisors have coordinated strategies that create synergy.

 

Momentum marketing is when each marketing output creates lasting value and, when combined, compounds over time. 

Momentum marketing tactics create more value when they multiply. For example, 50 podcast episodes on your podcast channel are worth more than 10 episodes. You could say they’re worth at least five times the credibility, which has an important impact on your audience. The more expertise marketing you do, the greater each episode’s (i.e. piece of content’s) value. 

Momentum marketing examples include:

  • Authentic content creation
    • Vlogs
    • Blogs
    • Podcasts
    • Books
    • White papers
  • Social media (when done consistently)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Website
  • Inspiring referrals (when you don’t need to ask for referrals)

 

The macro-strategy that I use for my Top Advisor Marketing clients is centered around synergy and momentum. There are many combinations that financial advisors can use, but don’t overlook the synergy and momentum your strategy generates. Synergy and momentum are two defining characteristics that drive great marketing for sustainable results over long periods of time. 

What’s really important to note is that the best sunk marketing tactics and the best momentum marketing tactics can make for an incredibly synergistic macro-strategy. For example, consider one of the most powerful tactics advisors have known — seminar marketing. Combine the influence-nurturing power of podcasting along with social media and you have one of the most powerful short- and long-term strategies this industry will know for decades. 

My firm has recently partnered with White Glove (seminars) to do just that — employ a synergy-rich, kick-ass marketing strategy that builds incredible momentum year after year by using seminars, podcasting, and content multiplication (i.e. snippets of long-form content) on social media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Expertise marketing, or Micro-Influence, as introduced and described above, are really just how we define “marketing” these days. 

If you own a successful practice, you likely have a number of tactics in place but no real strategy. Consider adjusting your tactics by looking first for effective synergies and then cost-efficient synergies. 

Ask yourself:

  • What tactics best complement each other?
    • Which tactics (existing or new) will feed one another? For example:
      • Podcasting feeds social 
      • Podcasting becomes a nurturing tactic for seminar attendees 
      • Seminar attendees attract warm-hot prospects in the short term
  • What tactics best fit my ideal client’s (MIC) needs and style?
  • What tactics can I be consistent with for 24+ months? 
  • What tactics best fit my business model? 
    • Do I need more staff/talent or should I outsource?
    • What can my compliance handle?
  • What tactics offer the best value for effectiveness?
  • What suits your marketing style? What should you leverage or avoid?

 

By answering these questions, you’re on your way to launching a synergistic, powerful marketing strategy that builds momentum and, most importantly, positions you as the indispensable expert to your ideal client. 

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Should Advisor-Podcasters Talk Only About Financial Topics?

When you start your own advisor podcast, what approach will you take as the podcast host? 

More specifically, should you position yourself as the financial expert who then talks only about financial topics, should you interview other financial experts, or should you interview people that are not financial experts but whose expertise will add value to your audiences’ lives? 

This is a multi-faceted but important question that I will help you answer in this blog. 

Let me start by introducing three shorter questions that I will walk you through:

  1. What are your goals: leads or relationships?
  2. What format will work best for you: interviews or solocasts?
  3. How frequently do you want to record: monthly or weekly? 30 minutes or 60 minutes?

What are your goals: leads or relationships?

Your first thought is likely, “What’s the difference between a lead and a relationship?” 

Leads are typically the outcomes of a quick connection and offer. They are the result of “ask-based” marketing. 

Marketing is about finding people and then making them an offer. When that offer doesn’t work, those “prospects” typically drop off. 

Relationships, on the other hand, are “give-based” marketing. Give-based marketing seeks to add deep and ongoing value whereas ask-based marketing dangles value in front of people and then quickly switches to the “ask.”

What you should focus on.

If you want leads If you want to build relationships
  • Stick to financial topics and guests. 
  • Have a clear audience, advice, and calls-to-action. Make it easy for people to listen and say yes. 
  • Have a paper or checklist with podcast topics) that listeners can access by giving you their contact info, and then work the lead. 
  • Find a balance of financial and non-financial topics and expertise. 
  • Assess which topics and episodes get more plays and better social engagement, and then do more of those types of episodes. If that happens to be more non-financial podcasts, then run with that when it makes sense. 
  • Engage listeners in other content such as blog posts, papers, books, and checklists. Find ways to be their go-to source for advice in keys areas that relate back to financial planning. 

What format will work best for you: conversation or solocast?

Personally, I prefer conversational podcasts. Solocasts can be engaging but can also seem ranty and also require the podcaster to be well-seasoned and well-organized to pull it off. 

Two-person podcasts work best because they can read off each other’s verbal cues. When there are three people in a podcast, it can be tricky to time verbal cues unless the two guests are in the same room and can read off each others’ body language. 

What you should focus on.

If you prefer a solocast format If you prefer a conversational format
  • Stick to financial topics unless you have expertise in other areas. You can combine financial and non-financial topics but don’t go solely non-financial, as you may end up being known more for that than financial —unless that gives you an obvious vertical marketing opportunity.
  • Be incredibly organized so you can stay on topic and be intriguing to your listeners. That’s not easy to do alone. 
  • Have complementary content available as a companion to your podcast topics. 
  • Find a balance of financial and non-financial topics and expertise. In most cases, the guest should be the expert. 
  • Share an outline of the episode in advance so you can keep each other on track during the recording.
  • Relate non-financial topics back to financial planning when it flows. Don’t push it. 

How frequently and how long should your podcasts be: monthly or Weekly? 30 minutes or 60 minutes?

There’s some debate about this subject. 

Standard frequency protocols suggest that the more frequently you podcast, the shorter your episodes should be. If it’s a daily podcast, 10-15 minutes would be an appropriate length. If it’s monthly, 60-90 minutes would be enough. 

Meanwhile, standard lifestyle protocols suggest that podcast length shouldn’t be determined by how often the podcaster podcasts, but by how much time the listener has to listen. Commutes average 30-45 minutes. With this in mind, 25-30 minutes is a valid best practice. I’m in the 25-30 minute camp but while we aim for that length in our Top Advisor Marketing Podcast, Matt and I often go over by 5-10 minutes. 

The topic and dialogue will ultimately decide the length of your episodes, but from the outset, aim for shorter as opposed to longer to keep people interested and to fit with their busy lives. I’d rather someone have the opportunity to listen to a second and third episode than one long one.

There is also a debate about the frequency of podcasting. 

There are more factors at play here than optimizing for your audience. Most podcasters have to juggle time commitment and budget when thinking about establishing a podcast frequency. One can’t forget about their podcast supporting other marketing tactics, such as social media, either.

Recording weekly is a lot of work but puts advisors and companies in better positions to create awareness and excitement. At the same time, finding guests and producing, publishing, and promoting episodes on a weekly basis might put a strain on your time and budget. 

Doing a podcast bi-monthly can alleviate some of the demands on your time and budget. If you podcast at this frequency, your audience won’t be waiting too long between episodes, you will have enough episodes to establish yourself as the expert and bring on expert guests, and you will be publishing enough new episodes that you can continuously promote your podcast on social media, which is critical to your success. 

Yet, if you want to expedite your podcast and brand awareness, try podcasting weekly or four times per month. It’s the perfect frequency for keeping your audience, social media and area of expertise happy.

What you should focus on.

If you prefer monthly frequency If you prefer bi-monthly (every other week) frequency
  • Stick to financial topics because you’re not podcasting frequently enough to dabble outside of your core topic. Maybe over the course of a year you can branch into other topics once or twice. 
  • Create an editorial calendar of timely topics since you need to maximize each episode (e.g., tax episode in March, charitable giving before year-end).
  • Aim for episode lengths of 45-60 minutes. 
  • The more frequently you podcast, the more topics and varied expertise you can introduce. You can also bring on more guests and create hype around getting onto your podcast as a guest. 
  • With this frequency, you generate more content, which builds you greater credibility. 
  • To shorten prep time, have go-to questions for each guest and make sure the topics and expertise don’t become redundant. 
  • Aim for episode length of 20-30 minutes.

As you can see, there is no set way of approaching your podcast. Take the best of what you have learned here and apply it to yours. Aim for quality over quantity. Be as consistent and interesting as possible. Keep your audience top of mind when planning your podcast format and theme. And, have fun.

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5 Ways Podcasting Makes You a Better Advisor

Yes, podcasting will make you a better advisor in many ways. I’d go so far as to say that podcasting makes our lives better, one idea at a time. But today, I’ll start by telling you how it can make you a better advisor. 

It Makes You a Better Communicator

Being a good podcaster not only requires you to be knowledgeable about the subject you’re going to talk about, but it also requires you to practice how you communicate your what and your why

A productive podcast draws people into your world or, better yet, you into their world. It makes you find ways to connect with your audience, understand their challenges, and find opportunities to solve their concerns. 

It’s easy to understand that improving your communication skills has benefits, while not improving these skills will keep you from advancing professionally. 

Podcasting will inspire you to implement strategies that can further develop your skill of communicating the expertise you’ve learned. Any time while producing a podcast, you will ask yourself questions like:

  1. How can I best explain this topic?
  2. How does the topic impact my target audience?
  3. What can my audience do to resolve or avoid their challenges? 

It Makes You a Better Marketer

Speaking about and understanding what your ideal clients want to hear about can make you a better marketer. Podcasting forces you to consider your ideal clients’ needs, your unique strengths, and the synergy between the two. 

Also, if you think you “sound” like everyone else, it will be more obvious when you start podcasting. Podcasting allows you to hear yourself, analyze the way you tell your story, and improve your delivery. It will inevitably push you to become better at positioning your strengths and your ideal audience’s needs. Now, that is a tremendous impact on your marketing!

A few questions that you’ll want to consider:

  1. What’s your story? What separates you from other advisors?
  2. What does your audience care most about? 
  3. Which channel(s) does your audience engage in the most when you share your podcast?
  4. Where does your podcast traffic come from?

It Makes You a Better Leader

Leaders start important conversations and then speak intelligently about them. Podcasting is steadily becoming a household-friendly media platform to discover and engage in thoughtful insights and perspectives. People are listening. In fact, 70% of Americans have heard of podcasting

Consider these ideas on becoming a financial leader through podcasting. Podcasting will inspire you to:

  1. Search for trends in society and how they impact people’s financial decisions.
    • Sign up for news alerts or social listening tools such as Google Alerts, Awario and, BrandWatch. You could track keywords such as “new retirement” and “changing retirement.” 
    • Read news, listen to clients’ stories about life, and listen to podcasts. Be a lifelong learner and use that to power your thought leadership.
  2. Stay tuned to regional and global events and their potential financial impact.
  3. Plan ahead for calendar events that have life or financial impact.

It Makes You a Better Networker

One of the best podcast tactics is to search, qualify, and invite other experts and influencers to be guests on your podcast. The process of how you do that, and the tactics you employ, will make you a better networker. You will also build a richer, larger peer network. 

Here are a few steps to finding the right people and then expanding your network.

  1. Log onto LinkedIn. Click on the search bar and select “content” from the options that appear.  Now, search for different keywords to see who’s talking about subjects your clients care about. 
  2. Create an invite message on LinkedIn that’s conversational, not promotional. No offers, just an introduction. If possible, refer to something in their profile or activity stream that brought you to them. 
  3. Consider the people who are talking about subjects that matter to your clients. Are there any trends within this group? Can you create a search to find more people like them? If yes, that’s gold right there. 
  4. Recognize that your LinkedIn audience only really cares about themselves. Find ways to add value to their lives and work and they’ll share your ideas. 
  5. Look for LinkedIn connections who have similar audiences. You don’t want to build relationships with the largest influencers; they won’t have time for you. What you want is to connect with micro-influencers who have ideal and engaged audiences. 
  6. Design a one-page promo sheet that highlights your podcast focus, ideal audience/listenership, and stats. Share this with centers of influence that you’d like to have as a guest on your podcast. 
  7. Share an onboarding email with centers of influence that outline guest expectations, podcast and promotional best practices, and potential launch episode dates. Here at Top Advisor Marketing, we provide a four-page podcast promo guide to help our guests promote their episodes. 

It Makes You a Better Human

Empowering people and communities with knowledge is one of the most rewarding experiences one can be a part of. Being a member of the podcast community makes you part of a groundswell that’s making its mark on history. While your podcast may not change the fortunes of the world, it can certainly help one family after another understand the financial realities of life events and decisions.

By participating in podcasting and sharing what you know and have experienced, you’re not just spreading your generosity, you’re building your brand. 

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The Truth About Marketing ROI for Advisors

Marketing is often critiqued or questioned about its ROI. But to be honest, it can be very difficult to measure the TRUE effect of marketing. 

In the past, advisors got consistent results with marketing initiatives like seminars, running ads, or launching referral campaigns. But as marketing evolves, advisors are faced with the reality that one marketing tactic does not make for an effective marketing strategy. Advisors need to look at more metrics and the wider impact of marketing. 

advisors spend too much time chasing the next best marketing tactic because they didn’t allow time for the other tactics and strategy to work.Measurable marketing initiatives like seminars have been successful in the financial industry for a number of reasons. However, as marketing shifts into a more personalized, relationship-focused experience for consumers, more advisors are adopting digital and content marketing initiatives to reach their audiences and bring value to their clients 24/7. 

But because new marketing initiatives do not always equate to provide immediate measurable results, advisors often abandon them before they can see the results they were expecting. In other words, advisors spend too much time chasing the next best marketing tactic because they didn’t allow time for the other tactics and strategy to work. 

The absence of marketing results backed by hard numbers is why many advisors flock to tactics that they think are most measurable. Even if the ROI isn’t remarkable, they know (or think they know) what they can expect. 

 

Try synergistic tactics

 

In many cases, advisors need to consider synergistic tactics that together create more momentum in their businesses: some which create obvious ROI and some which create better businesses. For instance, just doing seminars when you need to fill the pipeline doesn’t generate long-term momentum. Why not pace the seminars, build better credibility by having attendees listen to a specific podcast episode before the event, ask them for topics on a form during a break at the seminar, connect with them on LinkedIn before they leave (or the next day by invitation),and then update them through social media and email every time you publish a new podcast. 

There are tremendous synergies from combining successful traditional marketing tactics with content marketing, social marketing, and email marketing. They complement and build off each other. 

In all my years of doing financial marketing, I’ve seen that the biggest indicator of success is a well-executed idea that is consistently deployed. Even good ideas won’t succeed if there’s no commitment to keeping it going long enough to yield the ROI you need. 

 

This is the truth about marketing ROI: 

 

There are different approaches to marketing for today’s advisor, and you should not expect the same kind of results from all marketing strategies. Some strategies will create short-term results, but if you take the time to see your marketing through the long term, the outcomes will be much more significant.

What can advisors do to get into the right mindset and generate more successful outcomes for their relationship-oriented marketing initiatives? 

 

    • Think beyond the numbers.

When you implement certain digital marketing initiatives like websites and blogs, you might not gain significant revenue from those mediums, but you’re getting a different kind of ROI. You are portraying yourself as a professional, building your credibility, and telling people who you are, what you do, and who you work with. You are enhancing the client experience just as you would by having a nice office reception.

    • Be consistent and patient. 

It takes time to build a recognizable brand. If you are consistently creating content that is unique and resolves your clients’ biggest challenges, it’s only a matter of time before you start seeing results. Even when you think you are not getting results, there is someone who is listening to your podcast or reading your blogs. They are getting to know you and your expertise, and they’re likely to tell their contacts about you.  Consider the long-term results that will come from your consistency.

    • Be proactive and involved. 

Don’t shy away from promoting your work. If you have a great blog, a podcast that you’re proud of, or a resource-filled for your clients, let them know. Take every opportunity you have to promote yourself and your brand. If you meet someone new, add them as a contact to your social networks. If you’ve decided to start a blog, a podcast, or host webinars, find ways to interact with your audience and make them feel like they’re part of the process. For instance, you can ask new contacts about what topics they would like to learn about in your blog and podcast. 

Of course, not all marketing strategies will work for everyone. But before you decide to quit, ask yourself these questions: 

  1. Is your strategy helping prospects experience what it would be like to work with you?
  2. Is your strategy helping you stay top of mind with your contacts? 
  3. Are you providing something that’s useful to your audience? 

If the answer is yes to any of the above, then you should probably keep doing what you’re doing.