Claire Akin runs Indigo Marketing Agency, a full-service marketing firm serving top independent financial advisors. She works closely with several of Barron’s Top 100 Financial Advisors to grow their AUM using digital marketing.
Hey financial advisors, it’s Claire Akin with Indigo Marketing Agency. Thank you so much for joining me today for this timely topic, which is how to market during a crisis. Today, we’re going to cover a lot, and I’m going to give you the fundamentals of why people choose to work with a financial advisor, the fundamentals of good marketing for advisors, and all of the things that you need to do this month to get in front of more people, and grow your business. Now, a lot of it may be kind of obvious, but if you know it, and you’re not doing it, that’s the same thing as not knowing it, so I’m going to hit on some key points that you maybe already know, but if you aren’t actually implementing them you need to implement them now. Now is the time. It’s 2020, but also we live in a completely virtual world right now, so if you haven’t implemented these virtual marketing strategies, there’s no excuse. This is the time to do it.
So we’ll also give away a checklist that tells you everything that you should do this month, and everything that you need to check off to get your virtual marketing strategy in place. Thank you so much for joining me. I’m going to move quickly. Don’t worry. They’ll be a replay. You can chat any questions you have, and you can actually schedule a call below if you want to talk more about your marketing, so let’s get started.
Thank you for joining me today. We’re going to talk about how to market during a crisis for financial advisors. Now, most of the time we think about a crisis being a bad thing, but for financial advisors when it comes to marketing it actually can be a really good thing because we’re creating urgency that we just don’t have otherwise. So it’s not like you’re a CPA where every year on April 15th people have to file their taxes. People can put off their financial plan, and their life insurance, and their college planning for years if not decades. It’s an emotional topic. It’s complex. People are not really lining up to talk about it.
And so, a crisis like this where the market goes down, people are worried about the economy, and they have time to sit at home and think about what they should do regarding their financial plan can be a really powerful opportunity for financial advisors. So today, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to market during a crisis.
So first, I want to give you my story. If you don’t already know me I’m Claire Akin with Indigo Marketing Agency. I’m a former investment advisor representative with LPL Financial. I have a degree in economics, an MBA in marketing, I’m a lecturer at UCLA extension, and at Indigo marketing we work with 165 top independent financial advisors to do their marketing for them. So everything from websites, to social media, to webinar marketing, really helping advisors to embrace their own specialty so that they can find the clients that they can help the best, and so that’s really at the core of the strategy that we deploy for advisors.
If you want to learn more about marketing in general The Marketing Guide for Financial Advisors is my latest book. I have been so thankful to get 100% five star Amazon reviews, and you an see the feedback has just been really, really positive for this most recent book, and it goes over everything that I know about marketing for financial advisors, so if you’re interested go ahead and click the links below to order that. It’ll walk you through everything that you need to know and really give you some good basic education on the principles of marketing.
So let’s talk about marketing during a crisis. So the goals of marketing during a crisis are really to multiple your best clients, so it’s not so much getting in front of people who don’t know you, who don’t necessarily understand what you do, or how you help. It’s getting referrals from people who are your best clients so that you can work with more of the people that you love to serve. So this phrase, “Multiple your best clients,” comes from my friend and one of my partners in marketing, Bill Cates, and so I will link to a report he recently came out with about how to market during market volatility, and that’s his phrase, “Multiply your best clients.”
And so, it’s all about getting more referrals, rescuing people from their current advisor who isn’t being proactive, taking advantage of the unprecedented urgency, and helping people during a very stressful time. If you’re somebody who’s retired right now drawing down their income it can be incredibly stressful to see the economy, the stock market go down, but also be worried about the economy, and its recovery, and how long that might take. And so, helping people during this time is really important for advisors to be looking for ways to genuinely help people.
And so, let’s talk about the underlying key to getting more clients, and this should be something that you know, and you probably know it deep down, but I just want to make it crystal clear. So the underlying key to getting more clients for anybody, not just advisors, for anybody, is to put yourself in the shoes of your potential client. Understand their problems and the way that they feel about their problems, and be prepared with a solution that actually helps them.
So if people don’t think that retirement planning is a problem for them it’s really hard to compel them to act, but if you can really understand the challenges that they’re facing, and the things that are keeping them up at night, and provide something that allows them to turn off that stressor, and to go to sleep at night, then you have some motivation, and that’s where the rubber hits the road, and that’s where people actually are ready to start working with you. So really thinking about their clients, and their lives, and what’s causing them stress is the key to getting more clients.
And so, I’ll just give you a quick example. So for Indigo Marketing Agency I’m doing this webinar right now because I’m getting so many questions from advisors of how to take advantage of this market downturn, and how to market during a crisis. And so, I think a lot about advisors like you. My dad’s an advisor. I’ve talked to him extensively about what he’s doing, how he’s communicating with his clients. He’s on the phone every day with his clients answering the same questions, and having the same conversations. It’s stressful. They’re stressed out. It’s not a fun situation for a lot of advisors out there, and so I hope that I understand what you’re going through, and I want to help you to turn this into an opportunity where you actually grow your business.
So your prospects have an unprecedented urgency to act. Your AUM might be down due to market declines, and you want to strike while the iron is hot to get more clients, and so this is the perfect time. We haven’t seen urgency like this in years, and so it’s the perfect time to really take advantage of marketing. So my solution is this free educational webinar, and you can save $500 if you get started in the next 48 hours, and you get our free Marketing in a Crisis upgrade package.
So you can think about this, and what I’m offering to you, and think about how you would offer that to your clients to solve their biggest problem. And so, this slide really talks about who’re your next clients, and I want you to understand how financial advisors get new clients. And so, it’s not that somebody sees your Facebook ad and decides to hand over their life savings to you. The way advisors get new clients, and the way people choose a financial advisor is by asking friends, family, or coworkers for a referral. And so, here’s where your next assets are going to come from. 50% of people are already going to be in your network.
So maybe they came to a seminar that you did three years ago, or maybe they joined your email list, or maybe you had a prospect meeting with them, and they got busy, and they never decided to become a client. 50% of people are already in your network, you already know them, they already know you. 20% are existing clients with other assets, so maybe they have some money with another advisor, or maybe they have a 401K that they never addressed with you, and now it’s down and they want to do something about it. 20% are referrals from existing clients, and these are going to be the ones that are really going to be nice to get, so your A+ clients who have friends, or family, or people they know who become unhappy with their existing advisor because maybe that advisor hasn’t contacted them during this crisis, and they’re ready to make a move, and so that’s a big portion as well.
And then, 10% could be strangers off the internet, and the reason that strangers off the internet come to a financial advisor is not because you live close to their house, or you show up highest on Google, it’s because you’re an expert in the problem that they’re looking to solve, so if you don’t have a specialty it’s hard to get these types of clients, but if you do have a specialty, like helping business owners who are ready to sell their firm then it’s easier to get these clients, and so that’s something that you’ll really want to focus on is what are you the go-to expert in.
So let’s talk about the buyer’s journey. So it takes a long time for people to get to know, like, and trust you, and so even with my webinars in my own business if you watch a webinar and you’re on my email list the average time between when you become aware of my firm, and you actually become a client is one year, and so it’s the same for financial advisors. People become aware of you, they listen, they learn about you, maybe they ask questions, or maybe you even have a phone call or a meeting with them, and then by the time they take action it’s been on average one year. And so, what we’re trying to do with marketing is to kind of grease the system so that it goes quickly, and so taking it from one year to less than one year, and that’s really supported by the urgency of the current crisis.
And so, the unprecedented urgency of 2020 is the market decline, oil prices are going crazy, people feel so much fear and uncertainty that is causing a lot of emotional discomfort. On top of that people feel physically unsafe. They’re worried about getting sick. They’re worried about their family. They don’t know if they can go out or not, and we don’t know when this is going to end, so it’s really incredible urgency and discomfort that people are feeling that we can really harness to your advantage. They’re sitting at home. They have time to worry or think about their financial accounts. People are usually so busy. Their calendars are full. They’re rushing to party, to appointment, to the gym, et cetera. Well, nobody can do any of those things right now. They’re stuck at home and they have a lot of time to research, to think, to have phone calls with potential advisors, and to act, and to actually do something about their financial situation.
On top of that a lot of people lost their jobs, they have cashflow worries they’re in retirement, and so it is the perfect time to set up your marketing to be virtual, to take advantage of this point that we live in, in history. And so, the way to do that is to provide real value, and so what you want to think about is how do you help the people that you serve. So most advisors don’t think about their prospect’s problem, which makes me really sad. I have calls with advisors every single day, and they think about what they do, and what makes them different, and why they’re better than other advisors, but they’re not really thinking about their prospects, and the solutions that their prospects are looking for.
And so, you want to be proactive. You want to ask how you can help. You want to call your clients and listen to what they have to say, and their concerns. So we’re not talking about sales calls. I’m not talking about calling people and try pressuring them into buying a life insurance policy. We’re talking about a helping call, and so we want you to call and be of service, and find out what people need your help with, and that’s really the best way to start providing real value. And so, you want to communicate regularly with valuable content that your audience is interested in.
So let’s talk about what you should actually be doing this month. And so, if you haven’t already been proactive about communicating with your existing clients now is the time to act. I know a lot of you have been on the phones, and been sending out videos, and things like that, and that’s great, but just for the sake of summarizing everything you should be doing the first thing is calling all A clients. Consider their situation, right? So somebody who is a medical person that’s still working, but is possibly exposed to the virus is in a much different, more stressful situation, than somebody who’s sitting at home and maybe works from home.
So you want to consider their situation. Have they been laid off? Are they in retirement drawing down their assets? Is it somebody in the medical field who is potentially impacted by this? Do they have kids that are home from school? Do you just consider what situation they’re in right now. Ask how you can help. Listen to their concerns. Ask about their other assets, and whether or not it’s a good time to review their other assets, and then remind them about referrals. So people are not always aware that you are taking on new clients, and that you’re not too busy to take on new clients, and so it’s really important to remind them that you are taking on new clients, you’re open for business virtually, that you’re never too busy to help somebody that they care about, and then communicate with them every single week until this crisis is over through email at the very least.
The second thing you should be doing is emailing at least one to one with B clients. So I’m not talking about a mass email. I’m talking about an email that is from you to them checking in. And so, consider their situation like I said before. Offer value. Say “Do you have any questions about your financial plan at this time?” Ask how you can help them. Ask about their other assets, or if they need any help. Remind them about their referrals. Ask about their friends, and family, and coworkers. Is there anyone they know who needs your help? And then, of course communicate weekly by email with them.
And this is where you really start to chase down the low hanging fruit, so you want to call and email all prospects. So I will define prospects as anybody on your email list, anybody whose contact information that you have you should be calling and emailing to ask if they need help. It could be somebody you used to work with, or somebody you used to know socially. Anybody whose email address that you have you should be reaching out to because now might be the time that they need your help. Also, centers of influence, so CPAs, attorneys, a business coach that you know, realtors, mortgage people, all of these people who serve similar clientele than who you serve should be people that you’re staying in touch with and letting them know how you can help. And cold leads, so people you’ve met with in the past that never moved forward. People who’ve watched your webinars, or come to your seminars, all of those people. It’s a great time call them and say, “Hey. How are you doing? Do you need any help at this time?”
And then, anyone who has ever referred you business before, so you know who those people are, call them, see how they’re doing, check in, let them know that you’re still online, that you’re still taking on new clients. And then, like I said, everybody that you know it’s good just to remind people that you exist, and then when they come across someone who needs your help they’re much more likely to refer you.
So let’s talk about how to remind people about referrals, because this is a core component of how you’re going to get new clients during this crisis, and this is some of the language that you can use, and a lot of this comes from Bill Cates and his program, but basically here are some things that you can say. “We’re here for you and your family virtually,” and that should be an email communication that you send out letting people know you’re still online, you’re still open for business, they can schedule virtual phone calls, you could have video meetings that you’re still there for them even though your physical office may not be open.
“We’re never too busy to help somebody you care about,” and so I’m a fan of putting this in your email signature because a lot of people assume that advisors are busy, which they are. Somebody like my dad who’s in his 70s they may assume that he’s looking at closing down his business and golfing more. Well, the golf courses around here are closed, so he is open for business and growing his business more than ever, and so it’s important to reiterate that to your clients who may not know that you want new clients. Also, communicating things like, “We’re offering a free webinar on the current financial conditions.” That’s a great way to get people to forward to it to their friends, family, and coworkers.
“You can schedule a 15 minute Q&A call on our website,” so if you’re talking to a client who has a sister, or who you know doesn’t work with an advisor you can let her know there’s a link on our site to schedule a quick phone call where I’m happy to answer her specific questions. And then, the more aggressive tactic is do you know someone who needs our help? And so, depending on your relationship, depending on your style, these are things that you could easily just kind of work into the end of those conversations that we talked about having before.
So let’s talk about the five steps to getting new clients, especially during a crisis. So first of all, being ready to help. Second, providing a real value that matters to them. Having a process, and so people want to be able to visualize what they’re getting by working with you, so having a process whether it’s a free 15 minute phone call, or a one-on-one discovery session, whatever your process is you want to spell it out and make it easy for them to understand what to expect. Making it super easy to get started, so two clicks to get started. That’s kind of the maximum. They should be able to click on your site to get started, and then they’ll put in their email address and their name, and click to schedule a call. We don’t want them filling out long contact forms. We don’t want them to have to call your office during business hours. You may not even be at your office. It’s all about scheduling online with the minimum possible effort. And then, getting the word out about your process and how easy it is.
And so, let’s talk about something that is really important when you think about getting in front of new people who don’t already know you, and getting more of those highly qualified referrals. And so, the reason that people work with you instead of a different advisor is because you’re an expert in the problem that they’re facing, and so becoming the go-to expert through your marketing is a process that we want to strive for in the long run. So thinking about your prospect’s problem, creating a unique solution, sharing valuable information that helps them, communicating weekly, and encouraging them to share that content, and so making it easy for them to take the next step. And so, this is kind of the process for becoming an expert where people can easily find you, understand what you do, and how you help, and sign up to work with you.
So if you need help on figuring out what your niche is I definitely have a lot more resources, and I’ll link to those below, but think about who is your niche. We always say the riches are in the niches, and it’s true. If people who have a niche as a financial advisor can charge a premium it’s easier for them to find new clients. It’s easier for them to provide great value for their clients, and to have a process that’s scalable, and it’s easier for them to work with clients that they love working with. And so, think about who your niche is. It could be employees of a company. It could be retirees. It could be business owners. You could do a marketing campaign on people who are out of work right now. And so, if you need more help on this, this is a great webinar that I did with Bill Cates on how to choose your niche, and create a radically relevant marketing message, and so sign up for that webinar if you have more questions on this topic.
So once you figure out what your niche is you need to think about what’s keeping them up at night. And so, my husband works at UC San Diego Health, and so one of the things that we’re not facing is we both are still working, which is great, and we’re very thankful, but the problem is that he had exposure to the virus every day, so he’s worried about keeping his family safe. They have a temporary sick leave policy that they came out with, just try to help people with childcare issues, and so his concerns aren’t that he’s home, and he’s out of work, and he’s worried about money. It’s quite the opposite. And so, think about the struggle that your individual prospects are facing.
Retirees taking income, it’s different. They’re worried about the market decline. They’re worried about maybe wanting to abandon their longterm investment strategy. They worry about their health. They’re isolated. They may not know how to order groceries online. They may not know how to do automatic prescription refills. I helped my parents set this up the other day, so they mail the prescriptions to you instead of you having to go to the pharmacy. So it’s a completely different set of worries, and set of problems, and so things that you want to think about, what they’re going through, and really put yourself in their shoes.
What about business owners? They’re worried about the CARES Act, getting a loan for small businesses, the Payroll Protection Plan, protecting their wealth, so it’s a different subset of concerns that you could create a lot of valuable information helping them navigate some of these issues. And then, people who are out of work, and there’s a lot of these people in different industries. They’re worried about cashflow. They may be worried about healthcare and benefits. It’s an anxious situation to be in if you have a family, and you’re out of work, and you’re home, so you want to think about these people, and put yourself in their shoes.
And then, you want to create resources to help them, so for example, if you worked with UC San Diego Health employees you may create a report on how to navigate their temporary sick leave policy that they created. That would be really cool. It’s something that would get shared a lot because there’s a lot of confusion about how it works, and so it’d be a really cool resource that people would share with their coworkers who could be potential prospects for you. For business owners, maybe you would want to create a report on how business owners can benefit from the CARES Act. Maybe for people who are retirees you would do a report on how to protect your wealth during a financial crisis. So these are all examples of resources that you could create to help your target audience during this time.
Here’s another example. So if somebody got laid off, and you’re trying to reach out to say pharmaceutical reps that are currently laid off, or whoever it is, you could create a webinar on how to protect your wealth during a financial crisis, and maybe you would talk about cashflow planning, longterm investment strategies. Maybe you talk about Roth conversions. Maybe you talk about gifting strategies, or an opportunity to refinance their mortgages. So there’s a lot of different financial planning topics that you could talk about within this overarching topic that would be really valuable to people, so just think through your prospects and what topics would be interesting to them, and how you can help your clients to leave the situation better financially than they came into it. Even though the market is down you can build them up into a better financial situation by thinking about all the different financial planning opportunities that may be out there.
So we want to create urgency to act. With whatever piece of content that you create that’s your bait for your audience we want to create urgency to act, and so we have their emotional discomfort or fear that we want to articulate to them, we have this awareness of the problem, the market’s down, your retirement account may be down, whatever it is, and then we give them a very easy solution. “Click to schedule a 15 minute phone call,” and that is the formula for action. So articulating their emotional discomfort, or fear. Making sure they’re aware of the problem that they’re facing, and making sure you provide an easy solution that they can take 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So it doesn’t need to be during business hours because most people are worried about their financial plan late at night after a fight with their spouse, or they’re lying in bed late at night, and they can’t sleep, and so it’s not necessarily during business hours. We want to make sure there’s an easy solution 24/7 for them.
And so, let’s talk about making it easy to work with you, and these are actually the mechanics that we put into play for our advisors for their marketing. So we want a Get Started Now page on your website, and so it should be a standalone page that’s simple, that’s easy to use, that’s easy to find on your site. It should outline your process, so maybe you have a free 15 minute phone call, and then a discovery meeting, and then a financial plan review, whatever your process is. It should lower the emotional stakes, so tell them what to expect. Tell them what they need to do to prepare. The best answer to that question is nothing. You don’t need to do anything to prepare, just schedule a call, and come with your questions. And then, offer an easy next step 24/7, and so I’ll give you an example of this page and what it might look like.
And so, this is a page for one of our clients and it says, “In our free introductory meeting we’ll discuss your goals, your life, your values, the financial issues that are causing you stress, your questions about your financial future, or your investment goals, your vision of a successful retirement. Schedule your call.” And then, literally you click below and within two clicks your call is scheduled, and so it’s so easy to get started. You know what to expect. You know what you’re going to come out of the meeting with, and it says that you don’t need to do anything to prepare.
Here is an example of the online calendar that we’ll set up for our clients, and so if you don’t already have an online calendar set up I beg you to make this the day that you do it. I recommend using Calendly. But check with your compliance department to make sure that you can use that. Another good option is ScheduleOnce, and there’s various different options like TimeTrade, or other technologies, but the technology’s the same. It integrates with your calendar. It allows people to schedule online to pick a day that they would like to have a phone call, to click, to schedule, to get reminders, and you get an email saying so and so has scheduled a call with you, and you get reminder to call their number at the time. And so, this is critically important to bringing your marketing to a virtual level to have this on your site.
And so, once you have your get started page with your online calendar then you’re going to want to put your “Get Started” link from and center. So this is my website. You can see the very top right, the most obvious place on the site, it says “Get Started.” You can click there, or you can schedule a call. It’s super easy, and it’s very obvious no matter where you are on my site. After that, what we do is we add a schedule call pop-up button, so no matter what page you are on my site there’s a little floating pop-up button on the bottom right corner that says “Schedule a call.” You click and you schedule a call. So if you’re reading a blog post, or you’re watching a video, or whatever you’re doing, and at that moment you’re like, okay, I’m ready to act. I’m ready to schedule a call with Claire. You can click that button. It follows you around my entire website, and so it’s super easy. So we employ that tactic for our advisors, and add this floating button to every page on their site.
And so, once you have the get started now button set up you also want to add it across all of your channels, so your social media profiles, your email signature, your email template. So we send out emails for our advisors using either MailChimp or Constant Contact, and at the bottom of their template you can either read the article, or you can schedule a call, and so it just keeps that front and center. If anybody forwards their email then the person who it’s forwarded to can click to schedule a call a well, and so it’s all about getting the word out. And then, at the end of each blog post or article on your site, so if people read something about the CARES Act, and how business owners should be planning for the potential upcoming recession, at the end of the article maybe they have a question, and they click on that to get started and schedule a call.
And this is an example of mine. At the very top of my LinkedIn profile it says “Need help with your marketing? Schedule a phone call using this link.” And so, you can click and schedule a 30 minute phone call. It’s public. It’s available to anybody. And so, I get a lot of calls scheduled that way using LinkedIn, so you want to do that for all of your social profiles.
So next, you want to get the word out, so you want to do a blog post on relevant topics, weekly emails until the crisis is over. Think about doing a webinar. It’s a great way, just like this, how I’m explaining a more complex topic to you. You can go much deeper in a webinar than you can in a blog post, or an article, or an email, and so it’s a great way to kind of get people’s interest peaked in more complex topics. Social media, LinkedIn campaigns, that’s what we run for our clients where we send LinkedIn messages on their behalf to people who fit their target demographic asking them if they need any help. And then, consider doing videos. I just put out kind of a step-by-step video of how I record videos from home, and so I’ll link that below, but consider doing videos because it is so much more personal and authentic than just sending emails.
And so, with that then you really want to stay top of mind, and so of course your marketing calendar’s going to look different depending on your specialty and who you serve, but here are some examples of articles that we’re sending for our advisor clients. Just keeping them top of mind, educating their clients, being helpful. So within 10 years of retirement here’s how to protect your financial plan. What should you do now about your 401K? So this one of course is directed at gathering assets that are outside of your management right now, outside assets.
Four key financial lessons from the last recession. How to protect your wealth during a recession or a depression. Strategies to grow your wealth during the 2020 financial crisis. Worried about your financial plan, schedule a Q&A phone call today. So these are all great articles that you could put together and send out whether you do your marketing emails monthly like we do for our clients. This would be six months of kind of recession crisis type content that you could create.
So download your marketing checklist, so this is the checklist we prepared for you and it has everything that you need to do this month to bring your marketing up to speed, so you can download it by clicking below. I hope it’s helpful for you. It goes through some of the basics that we covered in this webinar, and it gives you a little checklist of everything that you need to do to get your Get Started Now page going, do your online calendar, call all your A clients, et cetera. So download this now, and let me know if you have any questions about it.
If you’d like to get started now with us doing your marketing for you we’re giving you $500 off if you get started in the next 48 hours, and we’ll give this free marketing in a crisis upgrade package where we do the free get started now page, we set up and add your online calendar to your website, we add that floating get started now button for you, we include all the Marketing in a Crisis articles that I messaged customized for you and your firm, and so we write all of the content from scratch for you, for your clients, so it doesn’t matter if you’re working with employees of a certain company, or engineers, or dentists, we write the content for you to be super valuable for them, and so we include all of that for free if you get started in the next 48 hours.
If you want to learn more you can click below to save your 30 minute strategy call, and so schedule a call, or go to indigomarketingagency.com/getstarted. You can schedule your 30 minute call. You save your spot to save your $500, and you can check marketing off your list. You can know that you’re doing everything that needs to be done to stay in front of your existing clients, to generate more referrals, to become the go-to expert in your area of expertise, and to make sure that it’s easy to get started working with you. So click below to get started. We can’t wait to work with you.
And if you want to learn more about what our total marketing package entails we have a whole webinar on that, so I’ll link it below. It’s called The Truth About Marketing for Financial Advisors. It talks about everything from our marketing philosophy to how our marketing packaging works, and what we do on behalf of advisors. I hope this webinar was helpful, and I wish you guys the best of luck. Stay healthy, stay safe, and good luck with your marketing.