Content Isn't King. Trust Is King.
Monday, May 13, 2013 15:42

Here's a brilliant post about content marketing. While it's not written for financial advisors, the author nails it.

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"The goal of content marketing and its sidekick social media marketing is to inform and entertain prospective customers in a way that inspires them to trust you for the right reasons; authentic, legitimate, deserving and well-earned trust," says Bernadette Coleman, who run a digitial marketing agency in Dallas, on SEOMoz. "When the time comes for them to buy something, they buy from people they trust: you."




Clearly Explaining What You Do For A Living Is Critical For Establishing Credibility
Saturday, May 04, 2013 14:11


What do you do for a living? Many Advisors fumble over their answer to this question. But having a clear, client-oriented, benefits-laced statement of what you do and who you do it for is the critical first step in developing new client relationships.

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In the client’s mind, all Financial Advisors start out looking alike, and that’s not a compliment. Whether your call it your elevator speech or mission statement, it’s best to avoid settling for labels such as, “I’m a Financial Advisor.”
If you don’t, potential client may be thinking, “Yeah, right…So is the guy down the street who called me five years ago, took $500,000 of my money, and hasn’t been heard from since. In fact, he won’t even take my call! And he called himself a Financial Advisor. You mean you’re a Financial Advisor like that?”  Focus on the benefits of what you do, not on a label or title. 

Furthermore, no one wants another great hot stock tip, mutual fund or insurance policy. They don’t even want another great financial plan. What they want are the benefits. They want to find ways to protect what they’ve built, to retire early, to pay off debt, become financially independent or support a favorite charity…or any of the other multitude of benefits you provide.
Next, describe who you do it for. What are primary groups of clients you work with? Who are your target markets? Go beyond mere income and occupation to the level of common values. Income and occupation are actually disqualifiers. You may want to do business with someone because she’s a doctor worth $5 million, but she does not necessarily want to do business with you because she’s a doctor worth $5 million.
We all know that people do business with people whom they like and trust, and I would suggest that likeability and trust is based primarily upon perceived common values. Why do you naturally get along with doctors? What do you have in common? These are the keys you’re looking for.
If you don’t know, ask. You should have a good enough relationship with your clients to inquire, “What do you enjoy most about us doing business together?” Try to steer away from personal compliments, towards the more professional aspects of your relationship, drilling down to  common values. You’ve got to give potential clients something to hang their hat on.
With a little creativity you can come up with a clear, client-oriented, benefits-laced statement of what you do and who you do it for that naturally compels a potential client to follow up with, “That sounds interesting. How do you do that?” Below are some ideas to get you started:
                      I create zero tax estate plans for doctors who don’t want
                                         Uncle Sam to be their largest heir.
                      I show business owners and professionals how to retire
                               years earlier than they ever thought possible.
                               I create exit strategies for business owners
                                 through innovative succession planning.
         I show business owners how to pull money out of their business…tax-free.
                               I help small business owners attract and retain
                                superior talent in a competitive labor market.
                      I help seniors and retirees create a monthly income for life.
                I help women create a safe environment for handling their finances.
                              I help gay and lesbian couples navigate their way
                             through the unique financial challenges they face.
             I show socially conscious investors how to use and preserve their wealth
                                         to make a difference in the world.
You can customize your statement to fit the primary benefit you provide, your particular style and personality, and the market(s) you serve. Most of all, make it authentic.
Make Your Slides, Videos And Webinars More Effective: How To Set Up PowerPoint Slides For 16:9 Display Instead Of 4:3
Friday, May 03, 2013 12:36

Tags: client communications | videos

When you create slides in PowerPoint, it's smart right from the start to build them with a 16:9 aspect ratio because monitors and video players these days are all 16:9.

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Over the past decade, we've all moved from a 4:3 screen orientation on computers, TVs, and movies and to a 16:9 perspective--all of us except the geniuses at Microsoft that choose default settings for PowerPoint. When you create a PowerPoint, it will by default create slides with a 4:3 aspect ratio.

Using the 4:3 aspect ratio creates those ubiquitous blank spaces on both sides of your slides when you present a PowerPoint in "slide show view" or "presenter view."


If you create screen shots, webinars, videos of your slides, you can usually stretch the image but that will often distort the text or graphics. 


To avoid that distortion and use more of the screen, this video below shows you how to create a PowerPoint using the 16:9 orientation.


If you create presentations using 16:9 they will take up more of the screen when they're viewed. It makes your presentations use all of the real estate instead of leaving these big blank spaces. It makes presentations more effective.


By the way, if you want your slides to take up the entire screen, set the aspect ratio to 16:10 and that will eliminate the blank spaces on the top and bottom of slides.  


What's crazy is I've been using PowerPoint slides for many years without ever changing the aspect ratio to 16:9. I never took the time to understand what was causing those big blank spaces on the sides of my slides. At last week's A4A webinar, Matt Pierce, who trains people how to use Camtasia Studio video editing software, mentioned changing the page set up and that's what made me realize how easy it would be to use the full screen to display my slides. That webinar is a key first step to turning an advisor or RIUA firm into a marketing powerhouse, incidentally.  



Merrill's Thiel Says Advisors Must Change The Conversation With Clients, But His Comments Come Four Years After The Financial Crisis
Thursday, April 25, 2013 14:13

Tags: advisor industry people | asset management | behavioral finance | broker-dealers | client education | investment advisors | Merrill Lynch

To overcome the dramatic decline in public trust in banks since the financial crisis, financial advisors need to change the dialogue they are having with clients, Merrill Lynch wealth management chief, John Thiel, reportedly told an audience at the SIFMA Private Client conference on Thursday.

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“We got drunk with the performance of the bull market, 12% a year every year in equities from 1982 to 2000,” Thiel told the audience, according to OnWallStreet. “But the world changed and our dialogue, our approach, didn’t. It needs to. We need to talk about what our clients goals, concerns and priorities are and map absolute performance to that objective.”


Independent advisors take heart: A top executive at Merrill is giving a speech at Wall Street's top conference for private wealth advisors talking about problems you've probably been addressing for many years.


Thiel is not just a day late and a dollar short, he's years late with this message and Merrill has lost billions of dollars for clients. 

What Every Financial Advisor Needs To Know About Producing Videos; An Essential Guide For Financial Advisors
Thursday, April 18, 2013 12:16

Tags: advisor websites | client communications | client education | marketing | videos

If the fact that every financial advisor needs to know anything about producing videos is news to you, then you better sit down and listen.

People watch videos on the Web. I have a presentation on my home page that has been viewed more than 50,000 times since July 2011 and another one about content marketing for advisors that has been viewed 18,943 times in less than a year. Here's why you need to know how to create your own videos and a guide to creating your own studio, including recommendations on equipment.

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Branding. Whether you’re a new advisor or have been around for decades, it’s wise to consider creating videos to help people understand you. Even if you don’t own a stake in your firm, producing your own videos is worthwhile to you because, ultimately, clients are buying you. A video with you in it is obviously about you. If you own an RIA, you have an advantage because you control your affiliated advisors’ video productions.

Not Easy, But Doable. No one is saying it’s easy to produce videos. It takes work. However, once you get over the initial hurdles, it’s much easier to do.

Camcorder. You can spend thousands of dollars on a camcorder, but you don’t have to. A decent camcorder, like the Sony HDR-CX380/B should be fine. You want to be able to hook up an external lapel microphone and hold at least a couple of hours of HD video on the camera’s drive plus have the option of using memory card.

Microphone. Pro audio microphones usually do not connect to consumer camcorders. An inexpensive wireless lapel microphone with connectors that plug into consumer camcorders and that has received good reviews is Audio Technica’s ATR288W.

Lighting. This is actually a key to success. Good lighting makes your videos look professional. This three-point, 3000-watt lighting kit has received 4-star reviews from 58 people on Amazon and costs just $160.

Tripod. To be able to adjust your camcorder properly, you need it perched on a tripod. Here’s a 60-inch three-pound tripod that’s received a 4½-star rating overall from 568 people on Amazon, and it costs just $$25.


Wireless Remote For Presentations. If you plan to use PowerPoint slides, you want to be able to advance the slides remotely. The Logitech R400 costs $41 and gets a 4½-star rating from 293 people on Amazon.


Big Screen HDTV. About a year ago, I bought a 60” Samsung ES7100 to use in video productions. If you hook up your computer to the big-screen, you can stand in front of it and give your slide presentation. This gives the same effect as a “green screen” and using software to place a picture or video in the background behind you, but is much simpler to do. The ES7100 is a great TV, but you’ll save $600 with the model just below it, the ES6500, which has slightly inferior motion clarity but your videos will probably still come out great. See the video below for a sample of how my Samsung 60-inch TV looks in a video.



Slideshows. If you are going to produce a video like the one shown above where you are in front of a screen like a TV weatherman, be sure to use PowerPoint’s Presenter View. With Presenter View, you'll need two monitors. When you go into Presenter View in PowerPoint, you’ll want to configure your slides to appear full-screen on your big monitor, while your slides and notes are viewable on the second monitor. This allows you to scan your notes for each slide. Script out your presentation in detail in the notes box. Below is a 2½-minute “slidecast” about how to turn on Presenter View.



Monitor Arm. If you want to read your notes off your slides in Presenter View, as mentioned above, you want to make it easy to position your monitor on your desk so you can read your notes. The Ergotron LX is a great monitor arm. I own two of them. You can turn the monitor around if needed and adjust its height, which is handy when you’re trying to use your monitor as a teleprompter. Using the monitor arm with the tripod and camcorder, you can position the monitor with your notes to be right above the camcorder. So you look like you're looking into the camera when you are really reading your notes.


TV Stand. To position the TV at the correct height and in the right place in a room, a TV stand on wheels will make your life much easier. I bought this Chief TV stand for $550 to hold my 60” TV. It comes with the interface bracket needed, is available in black or silver, and is very sturdy. 


Backdrop. If you do not want to use slides and only want to record yourself speaking into a camera, you’ll need a backdrop. For $100, you can get this 5’ by 7’ backdrop that is white on one side and black on the other. Using a backdrop looks much better than just showing you at your desk with books behind you.


Content. If you don’t have good content, the medium won’t matter. Producing content for slideshows requires research. Slide shows created by economist Fritz Meyer and tax-planning guru Bob Keebler are available for $25 monthly. You only need two or three slides to make a two- to- three-minute video. Shorter is better.


Post-Production. Using ideas outlined above should make it much easier to produce your videos. The equipment, scripting, and content ideas provided should reduce or possibly eliminate the need to edit your videos. Keeping your videos to two minutes is key. However, post-production is often necessary and beneficial. Using Camtasia Studio for the past five years, I have learned how to edit out “uhs” and awkward statements from videos and how to add call-out boxes and bullet points and other graphics using Camtasia Studio, which helps make your videos easier to watch and learn from. If you are interested in learning how to use Camtasia Studio, see the webinar we produced on Friday, April 19 at 4 p.m., “How Advisors Can Produce And Share Videos,” featuring Matt Pierce, who manages user training for Camtasia Studio users for TechSmith.

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