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What Messages Your Billing Practices Send to Clients

We work and live in the era of the client experience. For financial planners, the top two measurements of success are wealth growth and client satisfaction. Each interaction you have with your boss (because that’s who your clients are) matters.

Have you ever stopped to consider what message you are sending to your clients when it comes to your billing practices?

Here are five things to consider when it’s time to bill your clients:

  • How timely are you billing for your services? If you are billing too late it is an indication that your back-office operations are not iron clad. Evidence of back-office operational weakness tends to lead clients to believe that you might not have your act together.
  • How accurate are your statements or invoices? Many investors have questioned the credibility and professionalism of their financial planner based on a simple billing snafu. Many are forgiving when such an occurrence happens the first time, but a recurrence happens and the doubts resurface and they may be open to “just listening” to another financial planner’s pitch.
  • How visually appealing are your statements or invoices? When it comes to the aesthetic appeal of your statement of fees or invoices, you have an opportunity to impress your clients. Don’t let the presentation of your fees take away from that holistic experience of professionalism and polish.
  • How flexible are the billing capabilities of your portfolio management platform? You should realize that your financial advisory practice is only as nimble as the technology solutions you use. Don’t get stuck without the ability to offer new products or services because your current billing capabilities are rigid and force you to jump through hoops to deliver professional results.
  • What fee disclosure regulations are applicable to your practice? With the recent buzz coming from the Department of Labor, the reality is that fee disclosure is best practice for the financial services industry. Professionally presenting your clients with the details of their fees is a must.

Editor’s Note: If you think you might need help with your billing operations, FPA members have access to discounts that can help, specifically BillFin from Redi2 Technologies, Inc. FPA members get one month free on their first year of BillFin subscription and all renewals. Also, members receive 20 percent off when they pay for the year up front. For more information, visit this link.


Seth Johnson is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Redi2 Technologies, Inc., where he oversees the strategic development of the firm and has been instrumental in driving consistent revenue growth and customer partnerships. He graduated cum laude from the University of Utah.

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3 Steps to Find Your Business Bearings and Go Beyond

It is not uncommon for most financial planners to not know where their business is heading at some point in their career. You be one of those planners just going through the motions of the day-by-day without any clarity about whether what you’re doing is helping your business reach its next level. However, you don’t want to become complacent and run your business to just get by.

The following is a step-by-step process to help you find your business bearings and go beyond where you are to where you want to be.

Step 1: Determine Where You are Right Now. Take an honest look at where you are in your business; are you happy with the assets you have under management, the types of clients you engage with and/or the products and services you provide? Does your business leave you fulfilled? If not, do what my client did to get his business bearings.

John P., a 15-year veteran planner client, recently realized that his real challenge wasn’t the lack of gross production he was having with his business but the lack of passion he had for his business. Somewhere along the way he had lost his purpose and it was important to redefine his purpose and reignite his passion.

Step 2: Create Your Business Vision. Create a vision of what your “ideal” business would look like. Write it down. Map it out. When you know what you want your business to become, you have a much higher probability of attaining it.

After further discussion, John shared that what motivated him to get into the business in the first place was the joy he experienced the day he helped his father understand how to choose the right asset allocation for his 401(k). Unfortunately, his father had been contributing to his company plan for ten years and never realized that he was in the most conservative mutual fund option possible—a money market fund—and as a result, he never saw any substantial growth in his portfolio.

John’s purpose was to help those who needed and wanted his help not by just selling them products but by educating them about what they should buy and why it would help them have a comfortable retirement. It was the fulfillment he got from changing his clients’ lives that fueled his passion to build his business. This became the new center of his business vision, to help as many people as he could.

Step 3: Create Your Course. Determine the best possible route to ensure that your vision becomes a reality. In other words, you can have the plan but you need actionable tasks and accountability to stick with it.

Over the years John had lost sight of his purpose and focused on trading stocks for a chosen few in order to continue living the lifestyle he’d grown accustomed to. Once he understood that incorporating financial planning and bringing in those who specialized in risk management and estate planning would help his clients gain a bigger impact towards their retirement goals, we mapped out a plan to increase his financial planning knowledge and how best to let his clients know that he was expanding the scope of his services.

Why Going Beyond is Important

He ended up telling his father’s story to his clients and many of them were very open to his new level of service. As a result, he was able to indeed effect larger and more significant outcomes than he had ever thought possible because he found financial planning, insurance and estate planning solutions to challenges he (and his clients) didn’t know they even had.

Schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session me by emailing emailing Melissa Denham, director of client servicing.


Dan Finley
Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.





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Equifax Was Hacked. Now What?

In early September, America learned that the credit reporting agency Equifax was hacked and 143 million consumers may have been affected.

That means that the personal information—Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers and birth dates—of roughly half of the U.S. population was likely compromised.

“Many if not most of our clients have likely been impacted by this breach,” Melissa Joy, CFP®, CDFA®, wrote in a post titled “Equifax Data Breach and Your Money” on her firm’s Money Centered Blog.

Multiple reports encourage consumers to be proactive.

“The only thing we can do is try to protect our data as best we can, and respond quickly if something does happen,” Lauren Lyons Cole, CFP®, wrote in the Business Insider article, “The Equifax Breach May Have Exposed 143 Million People’s Social Security Numbers—But Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out.”

Here is where you and your clients should start:

Determine impact. Equifax has set up a website for consumers to input their last name and the last six digits of their Social Security numbers to identify if they were impacted. Everyone—even those not impacted—have the option to enroll in Equifax’s TrustedID Premier for a year to monitor credit and send alerts of potential fraud. And, enrolling won’t impact your ability to join a class action lawsuit against Equifax in the future.

Pull credit reports. Get your free reports from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian and see if there is anything unusual. Business Insider reports that clients can also use this as a time to review the way they currently manage credit and pinpoint areas for improvement.

Monitor credit and explore fraud alerts. Business Insider reports that adding a daily check to a service like Mint.com—say the same time you check Twitter—could let you know when there are any suspicious charges. Also, explore fraud alerts by calling one of the credit reporting agencies.

Consider a credit freeze. Journal of Financial Planning Academic Editor Barbara O’Neill wrote in a Rutgers University article, “Credit Freeze Information in the Wake of the Equifax Hack,” that credit freezes prevent potential creditors from accessing credit files so new lines of credit can’t be opened with your information. O’Neill reminds readers that credit freezes must be done individually at each credit reporting agency. And, consumers must unfreeze their credit reports separately with each agency.

Be proactive as tax season approaches. Multiple reports note that tax fraud might be a problem in the upcoming tax season due to the Equifax breach. The Center for Financial Planning, Inc., a wealth management firm based in Southfield, Michigan, reports that filing taxes early can help prevent this. The firm also notes that establishing a pin with the IRS could also help deter fraudsters.

Ana Headshot

Ana Trujillo Limón is associate editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org. Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.


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Succession Planning: The Time Is Now

According to a recent InvestmentNews article, “RIAs Must Confront the Emotional Side of Letting Go of Their Business,” of the 118,000 financial advisers planning to exit the business in the next 10 years, about 61 percent have some plan in place—whether it’s succession, sale, or client reassignment.

The article cited data from Cerulli and reported that those advisers with some plan represent 75 percent of the advisory assets that could be in transition. But there are still 39 percent of advisers who need to get into gear.

“Not having a succession plan represents a grave disservice, and shows a low regard for your clients,” John Napolitano, chairman and CEO of U.S. Wealth Management, told InvestmentNews.

Here’s where to start:

Figure out where you are. Succession planning can be a difficult process to start.

“It’s tough from a mental and emotional standpoint because you’re faced with realities you don’t want to think about,” Courtney Ellett, founder of Obsidian Public Relations, said in an AP article published in the Denver Post“What’s Next? Who’s Next? Businesses Need Succession Plans.”

Assess where you are both with the business and emotionally.

Identify business successors. Identify who you want to take over—perhaps a successful planner who’s been with you a few years or an outside buyer—who can continue the firm’s core values.

“When considering successors, make sure that they will maintain the culture that has been developed,” Ed Friedman, a director at Dynasty Financial Partners, wrote in the Financial Planning article, “The Five Cs of Succession Planning.”

Also, think about where the profession is headed and try to designate someone who is equipped to handle upcoming challenges.

“Leadership succession requires looking through a windshield rather than in the rear-view mirror,” Kelli Cruz, founder of Cruz Consulting, wrote in the Financial Planning article, “Overcome Succession Planning Paralysis.”

Think like a buyer. If you opt to sell—put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. An article in Professional Planner magazine noted that buyers will want to know whether your business model is sustainable, how your business is different from competitors, and whether you have solid client relationships because in the end, Tony McDonald, director of T&C Consulting, noted, “Those client relationships are what’s generating the cash.”


Ana Headshot

Ana Trujillo Limón is associate editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org. Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.



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Create the Courage to Make Lasting Change

During recent group and individual coaching sessions, I’ve noticed a common denominator between those who have experienced success and those who haven’t. Successful individuals are able to embrace change—be it the activities they are incorporating into their days, their acquisition of new skill sets or an increase in their overall awareness and accountability—and how it affects their business. Those less successful tend to fear change and mask their fear with excuses or procrastination.

In order to gather the courage to implement change regularly into the way you manage your business, you must first make a choice that where you are now isn’t where you want to be. You then need to decide to find alternatives to what is currently not working for you. Next, you must take action and tweak and evaluate on a consistent basis in order to end up with positive outcomes. All of this might seem simple in theory, but in reality, it’s difficult for many people I know.

3 Steps to Create Courage to Make Lasting Change

The following discusses each step. See if you can relate to what the adviser is going through when applying the process.

Step 1: Choose to Change. I have countless stories of advisers who say, “I know what I need to do, I just need to do it,” but then don’t. The interesting thing about this statement is that it actually reflects two important points. The first, “I know what I need to do,” reflects a level of awareness of what their solution is. The second part, “I just need to do it,” reflects the fear of not implementing the solution.

So why do people let fear paralyze them? Let’s discuss.

Take Bill K., a 25-year veteran adviser client of mine. In our initial coaching session he admitted that he hadn’t prospected in over a decade and that any new business that he had gotten was from clients as referrals. After additional conversations, he realized that he’d become comfortable only working with his client base and the thought of prospecting again filled him with anxiety because he remembered the amount of rejection he had experienced in his earlier years. Unfortunately, Bill didn’t have a choice because his employers had created new minimum gross production levels and he was never going to reach those targets unless he gathered additional assets.

Now, he was faced with two options, he needed to either prospect or eventually be forced to find another job. So, he chose to change and add prospecting back into his daily work.

Step 2: Find Direction. When faced with this type of situation, most advisers know the outcome that they want but don’t know the required steps to take them there. That’s why Bill called me. He needed a step-by-step process for gathering assets.

We first discussed his current business model and I was surprised to learn that he had virtually no assets in a fee-based platform. His concern was that he didn’t know how to convert his book so he’d never even tried. After reviewing his book, he determined that he had 72 households that would be good candidates to convert to fee-based and if that happened it would increase his turnover ratio which would get him ¾ of the way to his production goals for the following year. So we mapped out a process for converting his book.

Then, we strategized about his referral campaign to try and duplicate his top clients. We role-played a client-centered dialogue and he eventually felt like he had direction.

Step 3: Take Massive Action. All the planning in the world won’t help you if you don’t actually move forward with it. So, I decided to turn Bill becoming overwhelmed by compartmentalizing his goals into daily action steps, then even further into hourly activities so that he could focus on each campaign every day while still doing his regular business.

After Bill had his fee-based conversion campaign down he began converting his book. In addition, he used the client-centered referral dialogue that we had role-played, which got him actual referrals. Within three months he had transitioned most of the households earmarked for the campaign and was gathering assets from new clients. Taking massive action paid off for him.

Why Courage is the Key

The most important piece about Bill’s story is not his destination, but his journey. He began by realizing that he was being forced to get out of his comfort zone. It took real courage to reach out to me and admit that he didn’t know what to do but that he was willing to change. He was open to learning new processes and desired to take a leap of faith and apply them.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level, schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with me by emailing Melissa Denham, director of client servicing.

 Dan Finley
Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.



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Spaghetti Sauce, Content Marketing and the Future of Financial Advice

Since the dawn of the financial advice industry, financial professionals have created value propositions centered on the intangible qualities they provide investors. The focus on these qualities—including face-to-face interactions, the promise of a genuine personal relationship and emotional support—has only grown stronger as the robo-advisor revolution has gathered steam.

The industry has pegged these qualities as key differentiators between human financial professionals from machines. Data from Charles Schwab, however, offers a potential challenge to this line of thinking.

The study found that investors in the Millennial and Gen X generations were not only less willing to pay for professional service from advisors (only 44 and 47 percent respectively), but they were also less likely to want to discuss investing strategies with a professional (49 and 48 percent) than their Baby Boomer counterparts (55%). Although it’s not necessarily a surprise that Millennial and Gen X investors are more likely to prefer to automate investing decisions (51 and 52 percent), it is interesting that 39 percent of Baby Boomers and 33 percent of Matures listed automation as their preference.

Regardless of how you choose to read the results, it would be difficult to disagree that the advent of powerful technology in the advisory space has introduced at least a question in investors’ minds as to how they should be managing their money. The solution is certainly far more complicated than a simple “man vs. machine” scenario, but may require a few steps outside the box. I believe the “why” behind these results has less to do with the actual value of a financial professional’s services and everything to do with spaghetti sauce.

Human Financial Professionals and the “Extra Chunky” Phenomenon

I love a good TED Talk. One of my favorites comes from Malcom Gladwell—“Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce.” In this talk Gladwell tells the story of Howard Moskowitz, whose revolutionary approach to buyer behavior and happiness brought the world “extra chunky” spaghetti sauce.

Moskowitz was a consultant in the 1970s when the prevailing marketing mantra was to “give your customers whatever they say they want.” In working with a wide range of companies, Moskowitz found that, while human beings will certainly tell someone what they like, their “wants” can only exist in the frame of reference of products already available. In other words, we may want or need something that doesn’t yet exist.

Moskowitz was eventually hired by Campbell’s Soup, makers of Prego spaghetti sauce. Prego, and its primary product, a “traditional” tomato sauce, was struggling mightily against competitor Ragu. Using his theory, instead of trying to perfect the original recipe by asking what people did and didn’t like about Prego, Moskowitz created 77 completely different kinds of spaghetti sauce and asked people to test each one.

While the diversity of the responses was incredible, Moskowitz found that people could be filtered into three categories: plain, spicy and extra chunky. The biggest shocker in the results was the number of people who chose the types of sauce that could be placed in the “extra chunky” category. This finding was shocking because, at the time of the study, there was no such thing as “extra chunky” spaghetti sauce, lending credence to Moskowitz’s hypothesis.

I think there are similarities between the original approach to spaghetti sauce and the way today’s investors view the value of human financial professionals. Just over half of the respondents to the Jackson study had ever met in person with a human financial professional. The value of these intangibles relies completely on a personal relationship, yet respondents hadn’t ever had the opportunity to interact with a human financial planner.

From this perspective, the reason many investors view these services as an unnecessary expenditure is likely because they’ve either been successful without the support in the past or they are simply afraid of paying a substantial amount of money for an unknown. In other words, they’re just fine with the traditional spaghetti sauce because they haven’t been exposed to the “extra chunky.”

You’ll recall that at one time we didn’t see a need for the telephone, the Internet, personal desktop computers, or smartphones—until we saw what the products could do. Moskowitz showed us that human beings don’t know what we really want or like until the product or service becomes available.

Consumers’ lack of understanding is often coupled with a fear of the unknown, which is generally bolstered by sensationalistic media content. Thus, human financial professionals are at a disadvantage in proving their value before they ever get a prospective client in the door. So what do we do?

Proactive Education Through Targeted Content Marketing

A successful relationship between a human financial professional and an investor is founded on implicit trust. To prove their value to investors, financial planners must first work to build a solid level of trust with prospective investors—which is easier said than done.

Although trust in financial services has increased in the last few years, the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer showed that the industry still held the lowest level of trust of all sectors. To make matters worse, coverage of the Department of Labor fiduciary conversation from both sides of the aisle has further muddied the waters for consumers.

However, there’s opportunity here. Trust is something we can work together to rebuild and content can be an important part of the solution. To use banks as an example, a study from NewsCred revealed that, while one-third of those surveyed don’t trust their own bank, half of those respondents said they trust the bank more when they offer helpful content. Another 50 percent of respondents say that offering helpful, useful content delays their desire to switch banks. Thus, it’s clear that a certain type of investor looks at content as a factor in decision-making and trust when it comes to their financial services relationships.

But what about the other side of the coin? A survey from marketing agency Kapost showed 76 percent of financial services professionals also believe content marketing is the best way to regain trust. In my opinion, there are three main reasons why content may be able to assist financial planners in both building trust with prospective clients and representing their value propositions in a difficult climate.

  • The Importance of Common Ground. When attempting to address a discrepancy, it helps to find common ground. In the financial services industry, it can be difficult to find consensus, regardless of which group is being surveyed. Financial services providers, planners and investors are categorized quite broadly, but the individuals within these groups are extremely diverse. In the case of content, based on the above statistics, investors and financial services professionals mercifully agree. Usually, when you find this type of consensus, it can pay to act on it
  • The Correlation Between Trust and Relevant, Useful Content. Educational, product-agnostic content inherently allows marketers to build trust. Unlike advertising, where too much volume or overly aggressive messaging can hurt a brand or business, content allows us to demonstrate our intent, expertise and value one piece at a time, constructing a consistent, case for trust over the long term. If your content is truly engaging and relevant to prospective investors, you’ll be doing more than just building trust; you may be delivering that “extra chunky” recipe investors have been waiting for.
  • The Value of Targeting Different Groups With Specific Messages. Content allows planners to target very specific messages to different types of clients. As Gladwell mentions in his TED Talk, Moskowitz’s novel approach to spaghetti sauce, and behavior in general, wasn’t an attempt to find the perfect spaghetti sauce, but to find the perfect spaghetti sauces. In other words, he showed that brands should embrace the variability of their target client groups, as striving for universality casts far too wide a net.

Moskowitz chose to place the spaghetti sauce tasters into distinct groups (plain, spicy and extra chunky). This is a valuable point for planners in terms of segmenting content for prospective clients. While a financial professional can’t be everything to everyone, it’s important to attempt to place prospective investors into a few select categories and to tailor content for each specific audience. One way to do this is to review your existing client base and choose your top 10 clients based on the attributes you look for in an ideal client. From there, choose the attributes that you find most important in the planner-client relationship and use them to separate clients into different categories. If you end up with too many similar clients, try starting over with a larger sample size.

In Summary

If a financial planner can just get investors in the door for a meeting, then they’ll see the light and the problem will be solved, right? Of course not. I’m certainly not saying that content is the magic bullet to eliminate the mistrust and fear of the unknown that make today’s investors hesitate before considering a relationship with a human financial professional. But do I think that providing relevant, valuable and free content to prospective clients can help planners begin to chip away at these issues? Absolutely.

The data surrounding the unwillingness to pay for intangibles such as emotional support, face-to-face interaction and an authentic relationship should serve as a catalyst for planners to learn how to articulate their value to existing and prospective clients. And I firmly believe that content marketing can be a highly effective tool to help planners do that.

This is a piece of a whole effort—including asking for referrals from current clients, getting yourself out there in the local community by attending events and sponsoring charity work—to help investors get to know “the real you.” Because it really comes down to authenticity. If prospective clients can sense your sincerity, you’ve already overcome the most important hurdle. Expertise, knowledge and skill are all implied, but trust must be earned.

Dan Martin is the Director of Marketing for the Financial Planning Association, the principal professional organization for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®) professionals, educators, financial services professionals and students who seek advancement in a growing, dynamic profession. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @DanW_Martin



Get Your Target Audience to Develop Your Marketing Ideas for You

Have you ever worked really hard on a marketing campaign?

Be it a blog post, social media ad, landing page and lead magnet, in-person event or anything else you tried to use as a way to grow your firm, you poured a lot of hours and energy into the effort. You were proud of what you created.

And yet when you hit publish or sent out invitations or pushed send on that email…well, cue the crickets.

Nothing. No response, not even a nibble from a curious prospective client.

Unfortunately, this happens all the time to financial advisers looking for new, innovative ways to market and grow their firms.

What’s happening here? Why do your best efforts and intentions go nowhere and fail to resonate with the audience you want to connect with or reach the prospects you want to convert into clients?

Why Your Marketing Efforts Fall Flat

What’s happening here? Why do your best efforts and intentions go nowhere and fail to resonate with the audience you want to connect with or reach the prospects you want to convert into clients?The best way to waste a lot of time with your marketing efforts is to generate ideas on what to do next on your own, in a vacuum, without getting feedback.

This is the mistake most advisers make: they think they find a great marketing idea and want to try it. They do an excellent job executing, except for one fatal flaw: they try to guess what their target market wants. They spend a lot of time brainstorming and wondering what to write in a blog, or record for a video or podcast, or how to host an event.

Doing all this hard work of pinpointing exactly what to create or do takes a lot of effort. It’s also completely unnecessary because there’s a better way. Instead of guessing what kind of content your ideal client wants and would find relevant, just ask them.

Your Target Market Can Generate Ideas for You

The best way to create a marketing campaign that resonates with the right people is to understand the following about your audience:

  • Demographics. Data like age, gender, ethnicity and location.
  • Psychographics. Information about their beliefs, philosophies, biases, fears, aspirations and more that gives insight to their perspectives and viewpoints.
  • Pain points and challenges. What do they struggle with? What do they see as a problem in their life? What causes pain or prevents them from living the way they want?
  • Needs, desires and goals. What do they desperately want to achieve more than anything else? What do they need in their lives?
  • Preferences and habits. What magazines do they read? What websites do they browse? How do they interact with media? How do they prefer to learn new information?
  • Objections. What stops them from taking action? What causes resistance or friction when they make purchasing decisions?

If you know this information, you can craft messages that directly hit on pain points and offer appealing solutions that get around sales objections. You’ll also know where to go to deliver your message and how to share information about what your firm can do for clients.

The easiest way to get that information? Try one of these strategies to understand what your target market wants from you before you start your next marketing campaign.

Comb Through Message Boards and Listen on Social Media

People are already talking about the topics you’re an expert in. And because they’re not the experts, they likely have questions they want answers to.

If you can find the questions your audience is already asking, you can design marketing content that answers those and positions you as the ultimate solution to the problems they face.

So how do you do it? Two ways:

  • Use search functions on social media to find and monitor relevant conversations. Search for keywords, phrases or hashtags that relate to topics on which you can serve as an expert resource.
  • Comb through forums, communities and message boards for relevant conversations. Facebook groups, comments on posts on Instagram or LinkedIn and Reddit forums can all provide ways to “listen” to what people talk about online—and find your next campaign topic idea.

Invite Your Target Market to Coffee or Lunch

Okay, you can’t invite everyone you want to reach to grab a cup of coffee with you. But you can identify a handful of people who represent your ideal clients—or who already are your ideal clients—and ask if you can interview them over lunch sometime.

This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s a learning opportunity. Design eight to 10 open-ended questions for your meetings, ask them then sit back and listen to the answers.

The idea is to let your guests speak freely about whatever comes up for them. After conducting a few of these conversations, compare your notes.

Do you see any trends or patterns? Any phrases that were used by more than one person? These are things that can help you better understand your audience, how they think and, most importantly, the language that makes sense to them.

Start Conversations (Instead of Sending Out Surveys)

Sending out a mass email with a link to a survey and asking people to take the time to fill it out (even if it only takes two minutes) isn’t compelling. Instead of setting them a task, try opening a conversation.

You can still do this by tapping into your contact lists. But take a personalized, personable approach rather than seeking the opinion of the crowd. You can use this sample email to help you get started:

Hi [Name],
Hope you’re doing well! I wanted to reach out to share some news I’m excited about: I’m working on a new [whatever you want to create and launch—new blog, new podcast, new video series, etc.] for my firm, and I want to make sure what we put out into the world is valuable.

Here’s where I need your help: I don’t want to create something for us, I want to create it for you.

I have a few ideas that I want to explore for the [blog/podcast/video/social media/email course/ebook/etc.], including [list your initial ideas that you think might work well for the audience].

But I don’t want to just assume you’re interested in that.

I would love  to actually talk to you about what you’d find most interesting, valuable or useful.

What can I share or explain that would help you achieve your goals? What kind of topics interest you, or what do you want to learn more about?

Please let me know! I look forward to hearing your ideas and opinions.

Your Next Steps for Marketing Success

By using the strategies above, your target audience will develop your marketing ideas for you. They’ll also give you a clear picture of who they are, which allows you to develop client personas.

Use those personas now and in future marketing campaigns. They’ll tell you what your audience wants to hear—and how they want to hear it.

Kali Hawlk is the founder of Creative Advisor Marketing, an inbound marketing firm that helps financial advisers grow their businesses by creating compelling content to attract prospects and convert leads. She started CAM to give financial pros the right tools to build trust and connections with their audiences, and loves helping advisers find authentic ways to communicate in a way that resonates with the right people.