- How the network effect informs how to most effectively market to your client and prospects.
- How to zero-in on highest impact content
- How to cross-purpose your content and find the best platforms for distribution
- How to find your tribe and hone your niche market with the right mix of marketing and selling
- The changing paradigm of “know-like-and-trust” in a digital economy.
Financial Advisor and the founder of RLS Wealth Management
Co-Founder at Traction House
Co-Founder at Traction House
Mike:00:00:30Today I’ve got two gentlemen from Traction House with me. I’ve got Chad and Simon and I’ll leave it to the listeners to look up Traction House on the web and take a look at the various things that they do. I’ve also got a wealth management guru/digital marketing wealth management guru, Justin Castelli with me today.
Mike:00:00:54What I’m going to do actually is, I’m going to pass it over to you guys just to give us a little bit of your background. My name is Mike Philbrick, I’m the President and Founder of ReSolve Asset Management. Maybe I’ll flip it over to you Chad, and give us a little bit about your background?
Chad:00:01:09Thanks, fantastic Mike. Thanks for having us on. So yeah, my name’s Chad. I’m just working with Simon in the last two years. We’re in startup mode right now with Traction House. Prior to that I had a lot of experience in storytelling, digital brand building, really just communicating value propositions through digital channels in different formats and mediums. A lot of stuff in pitch decks and e-learning programs, websites that kind of thing. A lot of experience in diverse different verticals. Just really understanding core messaging and core philosophies of companies and communicating that to their stakeholders and to their audiences.
Chad:00:01:44It’s been a lot of fun and I met Simon a year and a half ago and we hit it off really well and formed Traction House, and it’s been a blast ever since.
Simon:00:01:52Yeah, I love it. Simon here. I spent the last five years in San Francisco where I was running and building marketing teams for series A startups. Now with Chad at Traction house, I’m essentially just helping finance professionals, investment bankers and stuff like that to employ those skills.
Justin:00:02:13Yeah so my name is Justin Castelli. I’m a financial advisor/founder of RLS Wealth Management, which is a registered investment advisor down in Fishers, Indiana and I’m bummed that I wasn’t able to make the trip up to Toronto to record in person, but I’m excited to be on.
Justin:00:02:29My angle to this whole social media marketing and digital marketing, I have no background in it. I’ve been an advisor my whole career and when I started my firm, which interestingly enough I didn’t realize it, but today marks four years from the day that I left my last firm to start RLS Wealth Management, so today is a big day.
Justin:00:02:47I just knew that this was the way I wanted to grow and I was just going to figure it out along the way and I’ve had what I think is a lot of success and it’s been a lot of fun. Everything I learned has not come from a textbook, I have no marketing background other than I’ve just been trying things out along the way and seeing what people were doing and having success and putting my own spin on it. This is I’m self taught when it comes to this.
Mike:00:03:10I think that’s what we’re looking for and I hope listeners can appreciate the mix that we have on today’s podcast. You’ve got Justin, real world experience, asset involvement, asset management who have been doing this for a better part of 10 years and have lots, have suffered many slings and arrows along the way as we’ve learned more and more. Then we’ve got two exceptional talents at Traction House who are actually specifically taking well established marketing practices and then bringing them right to the Advisor and Small Asset Manager and Large Asset Manager.
The Network Effect – The Tribe
Mike:00:03:48We’re going to talk about the actual network effect that’s occurring, why we think it’s appropriate that you as a Small Asset Manager, Medium Asset Manager to Wealth Advisor should really be taking this paradigm very seriously and this opportunity that lies in front of you and share some best practices, some tactics. I think what I’ll do first off is I want to pass it over to Chad because he really summarized this paradigm shift that’s occurring and I don’t want to steal the thunder and the combination of words was so beautiful I could not hope to replicate it.
Mike:00:04:25Maybe Chad you can just broaden our horizons, especially for those out there. For myself and Justin, we’ve bought in, but I think there’s a lot of people out there sitting on the fence and they’re like, “I’m not sure if this is real, I’m not sure how to do it.” So, help convince us on why this is such a real opportunity.
Chad:00:04:46Yeah, thanks. A few years back you guys might be familiar with a book called Platform, it was written by Michael Hyatt. The premise behind Platform, this is probably about 10 years now, where it was essentially setting yourself up digitally to build a tribe of folks or a tribe of early adopters or people that are your core fan base. The way you did that typically was setting up an omnichannel brand presence digitally so; that’s your website, that’s your Twitter accounts and that’s conversing and taking time to participate in conversations omnichannel online.
Chad:00:05:17What we’re seeing is this idea of tribe building and this idea of coming up with a core group of people that really buy into your core philosophy, everything you’re about as a person and all that stuff. There’s a commoditization of tribe building that’s occurring in the digital … economy. What I mean by that is the technologies are becoming cheaper, the ability to reach targeted audiences are becoming more accessible for individual advisors of small funds. You don’t have to have massive global budgets and beyond taking out ads in New York Times or any major paper anymore, you have the ability to within your reach create a tremendous amount of punch, pack a punch and have a tremendous amount of impact and influence digitally now.
Chad:00:06:00Because of that, what you’re seeing is you’re seeing a shift, a paradigm shift that’s occurring in the way we market to our consumers and to our buyers. In our case in the finance world that’s complex buyers who are making investment decisions, who have idiosyncratic demand bases and there’s a bit of a process and multiple touchpoints to get to a place of certainty where you can make an investment decision. Being able to be in a position where you can leverage digital platforms and establish and build a tribe online is going to really help your efforts and set you up for success because you have a base of trust and a primer that’s been established online digitally.
Mike:00:06:40Justin, what are your thoughts on that?
Justin:00:06:42I was just going to echo the whole tribe aspect of things. One of the beauties of being a Financial Advisor and being able to share your story through this content is you get to be yourself. I don’t know about other people, but I want to work with people that I like. Yes, as a business we all have minimums that we would like to see, but from a standpoint of personality I want to attract people that I like, which I would equate to building a tribe. The best way for me to do that is to share my views, let people know who I am so that if they’re following me long enough that they want to reach out to work with me, they already know the important things about me and they are already going to know the things that might turn them off on me as well.
Justin:00:07:19Building the tribe is very big, but it boils down to letting people know who you are and basically creating fans who want to work with you. You’re attracting people who like you for who you are and the things that you stand for and the interest that you have and you’re deflecting people who don’t like those things, which chances are they probably would have been problem clients anyway.
Mike:00:07:37Yeah, you know what, that’s a really great point. I think the other thing that I’ve heard in today’s world of this network effect where you can build that audience that is truly a reflection of your values, often times the people joining your tribe are joining your tribe not because of actually what you’re saying, but actually what being part of your tribe says about them.
Mike:00:08:05It’s really this opportunity to customize your message, be authentic with your message and that will be a custom message which will attract a certain tribe, which will like truly be I think something that you can work with. Like you see you get less of those I’ll call them incongruent clients, clients that aren’t quite your value base. I think that’s a pretty interesting opportunity especially in the world of network effect, in the world where we have these technology platforms that allow for the build out of a social tribe.
Simon:00:08:40Yeah absolutely. I think one of the big core concepts behind what we do and what we’re talking about and that was the concept that, and this really hasn’t changed for thousands of years, is that people buy from people that they know, like and trust. Really 50, 100 years ago that was holding events, it was talking in different places where you maybe get to reach 10 people, 50 people, but now the different tools that we have allow us to build those big tribes, because with one tweet you can maybe reach a thousand people. That’s really the, it’s a big thing that we keep playing on every single day with our clients for sure.
Marketing vs Selling
Mike:00:09:13I wonder too if maybe I can get your thoughts just jump in, like marketing versus selling. I think there’s something there. Who wants to grab that?
Chad:00:09:22Yeah, sure I’ll jump into that. One of the things that I would like to set up the context here is to think about the idea of a complex sale versus a simple sale. A simple sale is like buying a t-shirt on Amazon or something like that, where you really leverage social proof. You look at a couple of reviews and you can pretty much get to a place of certainty without a human being involved. You can make that purchase and you can acquire your asset.
Chad:00:09:42When it comes to complex sales and when we think about complex sales we think in B2B, we’re thinking finance, investments. Stuff that requires multiple touch points, longer sales cycles, a lot of more involved in the decision-making process. The core shift that we’re noticing is more and more and more of the certainty spectrum is being achieved online in the complex sale world. People are self-educating themselves, I think there was a recent study that said up to 60% or more of the decision making is happening online at a complex sale now.
Chad:00:10:12What that means is people are from a buying behavior perspective, they’re taking time to research and look into you and invest time in getting to know you before they talk to you, before they actually are in a position where they want to hear your pitch and your sales stuff. If you’re not in a position to be, we’re in a binge economy, we’re in a binge era where you jump on Netflix, you used to binge content consumption that kind of thing. If you’re not set up with a platform where people can come and binge you and soak up your podcast and your videos, your blogs, your tweets and get to know your personality on a digital level, that’s really where I think marketing has a good place nowadays. Is really establishing a personality and a brand presence before the sales process begins.
Simon:00:10:55It’s making them know, like and trust you before you ever get the chance to talk to them.
Mike:00:11:00So maybe Simon you can expand on that a bit more. What does it mean about my digital presence or what does it mean about my presence, that whole concept? What should I be worrying about as an Advisor or what should I be striving to achieve now that that’s, we’ve set the table and said, “Okay, you’re going to have this learning that happens beforehand.” What does that make my content look like? How do you guys tackle that? What do you think that would be for the Advisor in the Asset Manager world?
Simon:00:11:25Yeah, absolutely. You want to talk to your clients, and you want to make sure that you have a good idea, or you have a running list of all the questions they can ask you or the questions you hear often. Then you really want to create a content calendar, and when we say content it can be; blog post, videos, podcasts like these and something that you want to do on a pretty regular basis, so every week for example.
Simon:00:11:48Really what you’re trying to do there, is you’re trying to show thought leadership often and really get those people that are on LinkedIn, that are on Twitter that consume that content to go, “Hey, Mike knows what he’s talking about,” right. “I trust this guy and I trust that if I call him, he’s going to have the answers I’m looking for.”
Mike:00:12:05Right, so that you as you mentioned Chad there’s this process of learning that’s going on presale, so if you don’t have the content out there to help them through that presale learning process, it’s less likely that they’re going to do business with you because there’s so much other competition. I wonder Justin maybe you can jump in here and give us some of your real-world experience in this, because you are I would say, quite experienced in multiple platforms on this particular topic.
Justin:00:12:38Yeah, I’ve gone with the method of just try everything and see what I like and I probably could narrow it down and maybe become better at one specific form. I’m sure I’ll get to it later on about why I chose to do a bunch of different platforms.
Justin:00:12:52One of the things I wanted to touch back on when it comes to what do you need to worry about with your content that’s out there and your marketing, I think it’s very important to make sure that you’re messaging some point. What I mean by that is you can’t write about one thing and then when they come to see you, have a different story. On top of that, you can’t preach that you’re going to do one thing with clients and your existing clients never see that. You run the risk of if you put out content you think people want to read and hear, but they get a different experience and they can work with you, or your current clients don’t experience it at all. I think you run the risk of making people upset or turning people away if your messaging doesn’t match what they really are going to experience.
Justin:00:13:31I just wanted to put that out as far as something to worry about; so make sure the messaging is on point and consistent with what the experience is going to be.
Mike:00:13:39Right. I like that.
Justin:00:13:42Another thing I was going to throw out there just to bring a different perspective, I probably would drive Simon and Chad crazy with the way that I do things and it works for me. I want to share this just because there are things that obviously work, like having a set marketing schedule and a calendar to put things out makes total sense, but depending on your personality or the way that things are set up, that may not be realistic. I’m a prime example of that.
Justin:00:14:06I would, I’ve tried to have a consistent schedule of perusing content on certain dates and certain frequencies, but it doesn’t work for me for two reasons; one, my creative juices don’t always flow, so I may want to try to post every Wednesday, but if I sit down throughout the course of the week and just can’t get something out, then I would rather skip a Wednesday and make sure that the quality of my content is good, not so much the quantity of it.
Justin:00:14:30The other reason is I’m a solo Advisor right now. I have a director of operations who helps from an admin standpoint, but I can have every intention of writing to put out on a Wednesday or whatever day it might be and if a client needs something, prime example. I had a client call last night that she wants to buy a house, that threw my evening off and the beginning of my day because I was working on her plan trying to see if it works for what she wants to do.
Justin:00:14:53It’s great to have that calendar, but if you struggle with that I wouldn’t lose hope, because at the end of the day if you find the time to get the content done and you get it out there, it’s going to live. Whether it’s consistently every day of the week or not, if it’s there when people search to find you, that catalog has been built and that library is there for them to find. I totally get from a marketing standpoint that have a schedule, do it set, do it consistent and I see why that makes sense, but it doesn’t always work out that way when you’re running a business and a parent at the same time and have clients to take care of.
Justin:00:15:25I just wanted to share that, if anybody out there struggles with being consistent with posting at the same day or whatever frequency, don’t lose hope on it. Just keep on creating and put it out there and maybe with time you develop that habit. I’ve yet to find that schedule.
Chad:00:15:40Justin I totally appreciate what you’re saying and I don’t want to sugar coat this for the audience that’s listening. Like content, like deploying and executing on a content calendar is a heavy lift, it’s a commitment. It’s not something that you take lightly, it’s time that takes time and effort, especially to put out stuff that’s real original, thought leadership impactful stuff.
Chad:00:15:58One of the things that we typically would think about when we’re tackling these challenges, go for quality not quantity. Don’t try and post five times a day just because you think you need to post five times a day. Really post when you’ve got something meaningful in the pipeline that you think you can share, that’s going to be really helpful.
Chad:00:16:15If you’re sold out to bring value to your customers before they ever meet you, it’s going to show through your content. Just make sure that, I just want to empathize with that audience like if you are taking on challenges of making podcasts and writing blog posts and you are down a note and you’re finding it’s stressful, you’re not alone. Even in the professional marketing world we face that all the time. It’s a difficult challenge, but we’re convinced and committed that it is something that’s worth it, so to prime the market and build that base of trust that you need.
Justin:00:16:43The fact that it’s hard, that’s the beauty behind it all. If it was easy every Advisor and every firm would be doing it and the value behind this I think would be minimized. I had no way to pull, but there’s got to be somewhere statistics showing how short lived a blog is. Somebody gets ambitious, they’re going to write a blog, they do a couple of posts, they don’t get very much feedback because early on you’re not going to get a lot of traction. It’s the long game, you got to be doing it for the long haul. You’ve really got to be committed and buy into that this is the way of the future, I think.
Justin:00:17:14I’m all in on content creation. I spend no money anywhere else to try to grow my business, it’s straight up, take good care of my clients and put out content, and that’s going to be how I grow. You’ve got to go for the long game, but the fact that it’s hard I think is what makes this so valuable because the good content, there’s not a lot of it out there.
Justin:00:17:33Depending on what circles you run in, I’m very active on Twitter, finance Twitter. It seems like everybody has a blog and it seems like everybody has a podcast, but the reality, especially in the US if you take a bigger look at how many Financial Advisors there are, there’s not very many out there. The ones that are actually of good quality that people derive value from, are even fewer. Don’t let the hardness scare you away, that’s the beauty behind it all.
Chad:00:17:59Yeah. The decibel level in the information economy is deafening right now. There is so much noise out there trying to get our attention and compete. It’s almost to say it’s not even necessarily enough just to have a podcast, you got to make use of it and really go deep and take time to actually invest in producing stuff that’s going to really bring value and establish yourself as a thought leader. Yeah, to Justin as I’m sure he’s talking about it, it’s tough to do that consistently.
Mike:00:18:24Yeah, so just to tag on there. If you look at in the webinar that we did on this topic, 72% of people are actually disqualifying dealing with a certain Wealth Advisor because of their digital platform.
Mike:00:18:41When they’re going through talking about where the evidence is, that is very true that look at yourself, look at your own behavior when you are going to buy something. Let’s hear a Wealth Manager and Asset Manager, step out of that persona and step into your persona as another area of your life where you’re making complex decisions. What do you do? Well, you go to professor Google and you learn about it first and then you educate yourself a little bit and then you make decisions. Why on earth would you think as a Wealth Manager or an Asset Manager that it’s going to be any different for those others in the field?
Mike:00:19:21Just to, I just want to take a pause … to summarize what we’ve covered. We’ve covered the fact that the network effect is out there, there’s a paradigm shift happening in the way people communicate and the way they go through the marketing selling buying process. In order to put yourself in front of that, you’ve got to have content and you didn’t hear this on the podcast this far, but when we started when we were brainstorming prior to the podcast Justin said, “Well there’s one thing, you got to do the work.” It’s just like there’s no easy way around doing the work, you got to start doing some work and creating some content.
Mike:00:20:00That network effect allows you to build a tribe, you want to be authentic in that, something that we can touch on, there’s a couple of different ways you might approach that authenticity and how you might want to do that, so we’ll jump into that next.
Mike:00:20:13We talked about marketing versus selling, the fact that marketing does most of the lifting, selling is what you’re used to. Selling is, “Hey, I’m at the golf club and let’s do business somehow.” I think that lacks scale, what we’re talking about with the network effect and the fact that you’ve had this total democratization of the media world is that there’s a low cost of entry. I think Justin you said that it just didn’t cost much to get all the equipment to launch everything.
Justin:00:20:38You can set a written blog up for next to nothing. You can go buy your domain, get a WordPress domain for free and start writing and it might cost you I don’t know 35, 40 bucks. It’s not really expensive. Even you know people get intimidated by video, it’s I mean you could get a good video set up for less than a thousand dollars and I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there spending more than a thousand dollars marketing on their marketing budget. Yeah, the barriers to entry to get started are not very high.
Mike:00:21:09Then I heard consistency of message is probably the primary importance. Then if you can be consistent in your timing it’s good, but it’s more of a nice thing to have. The first thing is if you’re going to start, start doing something.
Mike:00:21:21I think to Justin he’s doing it on his own, I will say that Traction House does a lot of this for you. One of the things they do is they provide the marketing calendar. They help you with a systematic way to attack this problem. I think that is something that should be considered if you’re like, “I just don’t have the time to do this, I want to outsource it,” that’s something to do. I think Justin, as well, you are putting some things together to help Advisors along the way as well I believe.
Justin:00:21:50Yeah, very early stages, but that was a byproduct of doing all of this stuff. That you’re talking about building tribes, I set out to build my tribe amongst potential clients. What ended up happening is I built this tribe amongst Advisors and I’ve had a number of calls over the last year just talking with Advisors who want to get started or thinking of breaking away and want to use content creation to help grow their business. It’s a conversation that I really enjoy and I’m getting these inbound calls.
Justin:00:22:20I thought, “Well why don’t I even set up maybe a consulting business on the side that I can do one opportunity there and see what happens from that standpoint.” Yeah, at the very beginning stages of working and getting the LLC set up and see where that goes.
Mike:00:22:33I like it. As a person who observes this, because I’ve got a lot of people ask us and I would say that the idea of harnessing platforms as it were, is not that difficult. This is my opinion I’m going to throw it out there because I want you guys to comment as well. I find it’s the content that seems to be the hardest thing and that’s my perception, but I’d love to have the three of your inputs on that.
It’s the Content
Simon:00:23:01Definitely it’s the content for sure, but there’s a lot of great tools out there. If you go on LinkedIn for example to one of your client’s profiles and you go down to their activity, you can see what those people are reading, you can see what those people are sharing. When it comes to actually see if you want to take the risk out of content creation and see what they’re already reading, already clicking on, that’s something that the LinkedIn platform does pretty well for you.
Simon:00:23:24Something else still, is if you publish a blog post and it’s getting pretty good results, like refurbish that blog post. Turn it into a podcast, turn it into a video, that takes care of ideation right away and you can do that stuff without having to think about what I’m I going to talk about next.
Mike:00:23:40I like that. I mean hey, listen just on that topic, we did a webinar and we’re doing this podcast as a follow up to the webinar …
Mike:00:23:48… because it just allows us to have much more of a free firm conversation about this. Go ahead Chad.
Chad:00:23:53I was just going to say that that’s one another thing, we’re getting a little bit tactical here. If content is a heavy lift, especially to produce, like audiences have what’s called an idiosyncratic consumption demand. What that means is not everybody likes to listen to podcasts, not everybody likes to read, not everybody’s cup of tea to watch video. You have to be set up what’s called omni–format, to be able to appeal to your audience’s consumption preferences, so that’s a tough thing.
Chad:00:24:18If you’ve got a topic, if you’ve got something that you want to express and you want to express it through a podcast first or a webinar and then a blog post and make a video about it, just that topic is a tremendous lift. Some of the things you can do just to take with that is if you start with something like a video, which is a rich media format, you can break off a video and take the audio and deploy that as a podcast. You could have that script written as an interview style blog post. You can take 30 or 15 quotes from that and auto tweet those over two weeks. Then you could also run a webinar from that same thing just like you’re doing.
Chad:00:24:53You can put a lot of thought into the core expression and you can really write out the outline just like Mike’s got here, he’s got his notes from his webinar. Then you can really deploy that out in a multi format way without having to reinvent the wheel every time. Just a little tidbit, something to think about when we’re on the topic of actually making content.
Justin:00:25:09You stole my thunder, that’s why I love videos.
Justin:00:25:12In that one video you can turn it to so many pieces of content just like you said. I won’t run down that, but that’s what I tell a lot of people. That if they’re going to want to choose one format, if they’re comfortable, video is the way to go because you could do everything that you just mentioned and probably more.
Justin:00:25:27Like I actually take the audio from some of my videos and I have an Amazon skill, that I use the audio from that to be my Amazon skill for the day. You can get a lot of run out of video without having to recreate the wheel.
Justin:00:25:40Another thing I want to say about the actual content creation, it is difficult and that is the hard part. I think once you do it for a while, you begin to find your voice and it becomes a little bit easier. Then the other little tidbit I was going to throw out, if you’re actually an Advisor if you’re having similar conversations with clients answering the same types of questions in your meetings, then there’s probably, there’s a good chance that other people have those questions and that could become a topic of a blog as well. Obviously, you don’t put the personal details from that meeting in the blog post, or the content, but use that to help drive the questions.
Justin:00:26:14I’ve done that a number of times. I’ve taken a conversation from a meeting and turning that into some content, because sure there’s somebody else who wants to know the same thing.
Mike:00:26:22I love it, let’s flesh that out a little bit more too. Simon mentioned, hey listen looked in your LinkedIn roles and see what people are engaged in, I think you can do the same thing in Twitter right? The “fin tweet” environment will have a certain topic that they’re enthroned with and I can tell you from our perspective that’s extremely effective. You really can inject yourself into the conversation, you can provide value for that.
Mike:00:26:49We’ve got sort of listening to your tribe as they broadcast their thoughts. We’ve got Justin talking about listening to your clients as they chat with you, because if someone asked the question then you know there’s three other people, when two people ask the question there’s got to be half your client base has got to be thinking about that.
Mike:00:27:08Let’s, is there anything else? Where else can we find, where else can we create content ideas? What else have we got to help our audience?
Chad:00:27:16Yeah, I mean just even outside of that, just be fascinated with the core niches that you own and we’ll get into that in a second, I’m jumping ahead of the gun here with some strategies.
Mike:00:27:25Jump on it, yeah.
Owning a Niche
Chad:00:27:26I mean if you’re owning a niche, it helps to be “niche down” and the term “niche down” basically means there was a … that we run not too long ago and I pulled up an example of a Financial Advisor website landing page that I like. One of the things that he does is that he’s “niche down” and he helps dentists and he helps retirees – that’s it. He doesn’t help anybody else; those are the two folks he goes after.
Chad:00:27:49If you’re going to own those niches and you’re going to specialize in that group, be fascinated with these conversations that are happening online, look up all the articles, set up Google alerts and stuff like that and you’ll get inspired. From a creative standpoint when I’m on the hook to build a site or build a brand or build a keynote, the first thing I’ll do is I’ll get offline and I’ll just go find inspiration. I’ll put myself in places where I can intake quite a bit and generate a lot of ideas.
Chad:00:28:15Don’t feel like you just need to sit in your office and just ideate and come up with all this stuff from scratch. A lot of good ideas come from conversations that are already happening online, so take time every morning. Even if you just schedule a half an hour to just bring yourself up to speed on all the stuff that’s going on and then pass along that. Share the article, commentate on it, drop some thoughts, get some conversations going; that kind of stuff is a little lighter on the load in terms of content.
Simon:00:28:37Yeah, there’s a great tool that we use called BuzzSumo and in BuzzSumo you can type in Investment Management and it’ll show you all the top articles that have been read and shared within that space in the last six months, one week, couple of days et cetera and you can also see who is sharing that stuff. That helps you come up with good content and it also helps you reach to maybe influencers so that they can share that content, and it takes the risk out of that stuff.
Mike:00:29:00Yeah, I would add there’s often times the questions you can ask yourself; what do I wish, if I were starting out today – what do I wish I knew or what do I know now that I wish I knew when I started. Really screwed up that one, but that’s what going live with a podcast is all about.
Chad:00:29:17Yeah, that’s right.
Mike:00:29:18If you ask yourself that question, all of a sudden you’ve got a flow of ideas that will come to you for your particular group. How about you Justin, any thoughts? How do you get the juices flowing?
Justin:00:29:31Well, I was going to say one thing that I had used early on to help with the quantity of post and I think should not be overlooked, is curating other people’s content. I do a weekly, I call it a mix tape, I’m a big hip-hop fan. I do a mix tape where I highlight seven or eight other people’s blog posts from the week that I think are really good. The reason I like doing that is I don’t want the content to always be about me, look at me, look at what I have to say. Obviously, I have opinions and I want you to know where I stand, but I also want my content to be educational, informational and I would be foolish to say that I know everything about everything and have the best way to communicate that.
Justin:00:30:12You can even just – you curate some very good posts across the board. I mean … has abnormal returns which has been tremendous for him, which is surely for the most part all a link fest to other people’s stuff. That’s another way to bring value to your tribe of saying, “Here are some other people’s thoughts that I think are worth your time, help you formulate your views and go from there.”
Justin:00:30:34I do think that having a niche is very helpful and I say that as somebody who up until the last six months never had a niche. In my previous life at another firm I worked with teachers, though when I started my current firm, I didn’t think that was a market that I would be grow with the rate I wanted to grow, so I just kind of became a generalist. Within the last year, year and a half I really discovered that I like working with entrepreneurs. I know entrepreneurs are still a very vague niche, but for me that’s scaled down some. I have a definition of what I mean by entrepreneurs, which nails it down even more.
Justin:00:31:07I’ll tell you from trying to figure out what should I write about, what are the things that people are going to care about, having that to find focus of writing to entrepreneurs there’s a lot of things that I can narrow down – if I’m trying to write to everybody it’s a bigger universe of topics to go. The niche helps you narrow your focus and then you can go and research specific things that those people need to know.
Simon:00:31:30Yeah absolutely. One thing that Justin I just want to back end off, that is the perspective that I think you want to hold when you’re thinking about content creation, is what I’m about to come up with or share or express, I’m going to help educate and really bring independent value to my tribe beyond them coming closer to me and doing business with me. Just like, is it really truly a selfless play where you are enabling them to accomplish some great things or educate themselves and move through a learning curve on their own.
Simon:00:32:03There’s a consumer behavior theory that’s getting popularity these days. It’s been there for a while, but it’s called “the job to be done theory”, JTBD. It’s all about thinking about the idea that everybody has a job to be done and the reason they hire a job or a service or a product is to get the job done.
Simon:00:32:20From your clients, if you’re thinking about what’s their job to be done, if it’s to plan for retirement or to help a doctor quickly overcome his student debt and set up for retirement, how can you help him get closer to that, accomplishment to that job without your involvement personally right away. Thinking about content from that perspective is really where that value added, value first approach can come from.
Mike:00:32:44It’s amazing how that dovetails into what you spoke about earlier in the podcast, in that 60% to 70% of the work of the sales should be done via the marketing, which is exactly what you’re talking about. I’m going to go and put myself in that non Wealth Advisor, non Asset Manager position and go seek a service. Well I’m going to go look for that information, that advice that’s personal and purposeful to me and it’s also written in my language. I think that is one of the beauties of actually taking the approach when you build the tribe of niching.
Mike:00:33:19If you stand for everything, then you stand for nothing. You just, but when you stand for a very specific group you then can find very specific topics that are relevant for them, you can follow their journals, you can follow their LinkedIn groups and you can have very pointed purposeful advice that you can offer the group. Helps you maintain that elevated status of a thought leader within the tribe itself. Be the, I think Gary Vaynerchuk says, “Be the TV show, don’t be the commercial.” I think that sums it up really well.
Mike:00:33:56We’ve talked a little bit, so there’s a couple of different ways you can build the tribe. We talked about niche; you can do it by approach too, which is, you’re going to be revolutionary in some way and you’re going to change the world with some new thing. I think let’s just stick with the niche more as we go through this, because I think that is more meaningful and useful to the audience that we’re talking.
Chad:00:34:15Yeah I agree.
Mike:00:34:17Often times people say, “Well, how do I, what’s my niche? What do I do? How do I do a niche?” Do you guys have any advice on that? Like where do I start?
Chad:00:34:27I mean I would just reflect and hang out with some clients that are close to you and look at the last 10, 15 years of your career and just say like, “What I’m I known for. What I’m I the guy for?” Is it retirement planning or is it, is there any particular stuff in the finance space that you are really already with your existing client base a specialist in and seen as that thought leader?
Chad:00:34:48I think before you get out online and really build up that expression and scale that digitally, really do some homework with your existing base and really just get to reflect on your career so far and reflect on where you’re strong and that could start to point you in the right direction. I’m not sure that’s all the answers, but …
Mike:00:35:02No, it’s a great place to start. Actually, when you’re saying that and then I hear Justin talk about the fact that he’s specializing in entrepreneurs, what came to my mind immediately and Justin maybe you can elaborate on this. You’re an entrepreneur in the Wealth Management business, you’re also running a side spin off digital thing that you’re going to do, and your wife is also an entrepreneur. I’m not surprised that you chose that as an area that you might be able to add value to.
Justin:00:35:28Right and that and I said that it’s been the last year and a half, I did not view myself as an entrepreneur when I first started. I was a Financial Advisor who had a business. Honestly what helped me go down that path is this content creation. As I’ve gone for the … creating my digital presence, I’ve tried different things and I think part of being an entrepreneur is being willing to try something and fail or pivot and try something else. I realize that that’s part of who I am now, that’s the way it’s always been.
Justin:00:35:56I think that when I thought about who I enjoy working with going back to the comment earlier, I have some entrepreneur clients and I really get excited, I enjoy working with all my clients obviously, but I really get excited about where they’re going, helping them with their vision and those conversations.
Justin:00:36:10I thought going forward if I want to build who I want to work with, those are the people that I enjoy working with the most and have a lot of fun with, why not do that. Then I kind of realized that well, maybe some entrepreneurs would appreciate the fact that their Financial Advisor is an entrepreneur as well, because I understand that lifestyle. I understand that sometimes being an entrepreneur is a sickness, because you get all these ideas and you want to chase things, when you really you need to focus down and I understand where they’re coming from.
Justin:00:36:39I also realize that there are probably some entrepreneurs who want some checks and balances and they want that conservative person on the other side of the table who’s going to tell them “no” to everything. Luckily, I’m not trying to work with every entrepreneur out there and I can attract the ones that are right for me.
Justin:00:36:54You’re exactly right, I want to be around people that I like and that’s a mindset that I really enjoy being with. I think I can bring value along the way, so that niche came to be an obvious one for me.
Mike:00:37:07Yeah, we had a caller calling in, but we’re not taking calls on the show this time.
Simon:00:37:15That’s a great point Justin, that’s exactly what I was about to say; who do you enjoy working with? If your job is to talk to people all day and to work for them and to provide value to them, you want to make sure that you actually like those people.
Simon:00:37:26It’s happened for, I don’t know if I should mention this Chad, it’s happened for us a couple of times where we’ve fired clients and then we just we gather around.
Mike:00:37:35We’ve been fired by clients sometimes too every once in a while. We roll with the the punches.
Simon:00:37:38Absolutely. Yeah, if you’re going to think about your niche who wouldn’t you mind … I think it was a VC who said something like this, but like if you’re were to jump on a flight to Australia tomorrow who wouldn’t you mind sitting next to and having a conversation with. I found that question to be pretty insightful.
Justin:00:37:56From an Advisor standpoint, I look at it as do I want anybody calling my cell phone and when I see their number come up on the caller ID I cringe. If that’s the case, then that’s not a good client regardless of how much they have in the form of assets or what they mean to the firm. I don’t want to work with anybody that makes people want to cringe when they call and that sounds mean, but we only have so much time and we only have so much people that we can help. Why would you take your time helping somebody who’s not a good fit? Because the reason that person might make you cringe may not bother another Advisor and that Advisor can take care of that person even better, because they’re going to enjoy working with them.
Justin:00:38:34I would love to think that everybody likes me and that I’m the perfect fit for everybody, but I know I’m not and that’s okay. Just as not everybody is not a good fit for me and I don’t like everybody, so I think it’s okay, and just if you come to that realization that at the end of the day you’re not trying to work with everybody, you’re just trying to work with the right … people from your firm to live the life that you want and grow the way you want to. That’s a finite number of people, it’s different for everybody but it’s not, you don’t have to be everything to everybody.
Simon:00:38:59Yeah and as a footnote to that I just want to say on the selling side, Oren Klaff who wrote Pitch Anything, it’s a great book, it’s really helpful where he talks about the lizard brain and all that stuff. He’s a really successful pitch guy, he makes big deal, goes and does big pitches for big companies and stuff and raises millions of dollars. He has this core philosophy where he’s like you need to see yourself as the prize. You need to see yourself as the one that people are seeking after.
Simon:00:39:21I know that it might sound arrogant up front, but if on a psychological level if you are positioning yourself as someone who owns these two things and doesn’t touch eight other things, “I’m really good with these folks, this is what I do and I’ve got clarity on that and I’m not afraid to say, “Hey, you know what, let me refer you to another Financial Advisor who I think might be a better fit for you.” It just creates, just that alone I think creates a better image and a little bit more respect, because you’re not just taking on anybody for the money.
Mike:00:39:49Yeah, I like that. I think we’re digging into some of the tactics now, which I think are really good. How do you select a niche, how do you come up with some content for those niches, that’s great, so we’ve covered some topics there. Let’s keep going down that rabbit hole, what are the, you know I think in my mind one of the things you have to do if you’re going to go down this path, is you’re going to have to set some time aside every single day, some amount of time to do this new work environment.
Mike:00:40:23Those who are starting out, you’re going to have to set some time aside to do some stuff and you’re going to have to create content, you can outsource some of this, so there’s ghost writers that you’re going to outsource content to. I think there’s challenges with that, because you really want to have an authentic genuine voice. I think you can communicate that through ghost writers and what not, what are your thoughts on that.
Simon:00:40:45I mean they’re fine, they’re okay. If you …
Mike:00:40:51A resounding buh.
Simon:00:40:53Yeah, just if you are the entrepreneur and if you’re the person with the knowledge, I would say yeah. I mean feel free to disagree, but my answer is suck it up, do it. At least try to get started, write some short posts. They don’t have to be long form 3000 word post, just write a little post that you write on LinkedIn, your comment on an article.
Simon:00:41:15Like Justin was saying earlier, work out that muscle. Just get in the habit of doing it and once you have your message down, once you know what you’re doing then you can go to a ghost writer and you can use something like that, because the Advisor directions that you can give them is just a lot better, but do it yourself first.
Justin:00:41:32I’m a big believer in doing it yourself and I think the worst thing you can do is use the canned content. Everybody knows that what we see on LinkedIn – that typically is the wire houses and the bigger firms that have very strict compliance, to me I think that’s worse than doing nothing. I’d rather see an Advisor do nothing and take the time to find what they’re going to write about, than put out some canned stuff that brings no value. It’s just activity to say you’re active on social media but it really means nothing to anybody.
Chad:00:42:02Like I, go ahead Justin sorry.
Justin:00:42:04I was going to say that I’ve never worked with a ghost writer, so I don’t know how that actually plays out. Maybe you can’t get to the point where they can really capture your voice, so it is your words coming across, then maybe you just dictate it to them, and they put it out there. I’m a big believer and Mike said being genuine and authentic, those are words I use a lot. I think that your content if you’re going to go into this and you buy into it, then it has to be you.
Justin:00:42:26I think that if you’re not a good writer and you give it a try speaking, and you give a good try doing video and find that way that you can communicate. There’s got to be a way that you can get your message out there and find the mode of communication that allows you to do that and that’s where you go. Then later on if you can add other things, great but that’s, I think you are going to need to create your own content yourself and be authentic with it.
Chad:00:42:51Yeah absolutely. I was just going to say I mean I found a site the other day, I won’t say what it is, but they had a library of pre written blog posts where you just grab one on any finance topics. Put three variables and your names and then deploy it. I’m like, this is the kind of stuff that’s contributing to the crazy noise that’s in the economy right now – this is just like, it’s almost like just grabbing iStock, cheap iStock photos and throwing that in your newsletter. It’s like, people can tell it’s iStock.
Simon:00:43:13Yeah, I think Justin is right. It’s worse than doing nothing.
Mike:00:43:16I’m so glad you guys said that.
Chad:00:43:17Yeah. You got to do the hard work guys.
Mike:00:43:19Do the hard work.
Mike:00:43:21We’ve tried at ReSolve to produce more content by trying to convey the way we look at the problem and that sort of thing with ghost writers, and it’s been nine years of trying to do that with zero success. Our experience is congruent. I didn’t, I wanted to see what the reaction was from the crowd that was totally unscripted, nobody knew that that question was coming, but that just goes to show you it is some work. I wouldn’t be too intimidated. I’d echo Justin’s comments earlier just start to set, so we’re going to set sometime aside, you’re going to have to do some stuff.
Mike:00:43:56I think there are some things you can outsource, so as an example of some of the products I’ve seen that Traction House offers. There is some really neat and I think relatively affordable ways that you can outsource some of the digital push, I think that’s true. Again, that’s up to you and Traction House is not the only provider of that. I think Justin is coming up with some great tools that are going to help advisors build this out and I think that that is something you just got to get your head around of when it comes to a genuine consistent authentic message you’re going to kind of be, you’re going to have to do that yourself.
Getting Comfortable With Being Incomfortable
Mike:00:44:42Let’s think about, we talk about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Where does the magic lie? Does the magic lie in your current set of circumstances, paradigms and behaviors, is that where the magic lies with creating a new voice for yourself? No, it’s got to be new. You’re going to have to set time aside, it’s going to be uncomfortable.
Mike:00:45:04I would offer that you should look at others who have been successful as well. Look at how they’ve approached the problem and how they’ve come up with solutions. Look at Justin’s digital presence, look at the Traction House digital presence, look at what they’re doing. Look at ours and the myriad of others who’ve had success in this domain and just start to get a feel for how that works. You guys all three of you have some amazing content out there that really has the opportunity to help.
Mike:00:45:34As part of the webinar we did a cheat sheet of “here’s how you get started”. Justin contributed to it, you guys at Traction House contributed to it, we contributed to it. I would say go download that and start the checklist, but you’ve got to have time, you are going to have to write the message, you’re going to have to decide on the medium and I think this is something that Justin touched on that’s really important. What if you’re not a writing guy? What if you’re a video guy?
Mike:00:45:58Well, I’ve got news for you 64% of people, this is a stat from Zen Media. 64% of people will actually sit through a 30 minute advertisement video versus only 24% will finish a blog article on the same type of topic. I think you referred to it as omni something.
Chad:00:46:17Idiosyncratic demand preferences.
Mike:00:46:19Right, but the omnipresence too though.
Chad:00:46:22Yeah, omnichannel, omni–format yeah
Mike:00:46:24I think you also have to know where your audience is.
Mike:00:46:29Maybe we can touch on that a little bit Justin. Where have you found your audience is and then we’ll go around the table.
Justin:00:46:34Well, I had … I wanted to ease the fear of getting uncomfortable with being uncomfortable. When you first start, unless you’re lucky and write the greatest first post known, no one is going to be reading or consuming your content except for you and your family members.
Chad:00:46:49So great after that one like.
Justin:00:46:51You get to work out the cobwebs if it’s been a while for you writing or just the kinks of figuring this out and not far many people are going to find it. We live in an age where because there’s so much content being pushed out by others and then hopefully yourself, it ends up getting buried. Which is okay it gives you a catalog, it gives you a library, you have X amount of posts by the time you really get some traction, so it looks like you’ve been doing this for a while and very few people are going to go back and read that first post.
Justin:00:47:17Don’t worry if it’s perfect, I think perfection keeps people from getting started and realize it doesn’t have to be perfect. That people give you a free pass when you write a blog, your grammar doesn’t have to be perfect, your videos don’t have to be perfect. As long as they can hear you and see you if you mess up, that’s okay.
Justin:00:47:32Honestly I think that keeping those little airs in there, like if you keep the phone call in this podcast that makes it more authentic and it gets people to see that you’re a human being and a real person. I think perfections and little minor slip ups actually make the content better.
Justin:00:47:47As far as where did I see my traction going back to not having any background in this, my goal was I just want to create content. I just created a bunch of it, I put it out there, I had no real strategy other than I wanted to bring value and help educate and then my belief was if I do a good job then eventually people will come. I do it all. I have a, I have actually two written blogs now, I have three podcasts, I do videos that I put up on YouTube, I do the Amazon skill.
Justin:00:48:16Going back to a comment early on is the fact that different people consume content different ways and even though I’m trying to narrow down a niche, I don’t necessarily only want to work with people who like to read, I want to work with people who like to watch my content as well. I want to be everywhere so that I can find the right people for me and not miss out on them because I don’t have the content there.
Justin:00:48:37Now, it takes time but I’m all in on this and I don’t golf. I don’t go play poker with my friends, like my life is pretty simple – it allows me to do this and I’ve really grown to enjoy it. The traction that I’ve seen has been all over. I can cite Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn, your subscriptions to the blog, it’s all leading towards conversations that have been productive and the progression of how this has worked for me has been that the content initially did not drive inbound leads. What the content actually served as, which is very valuable, and I never thought this would be the case is that my content initially served as validation of referrals.
Justin:00:49:24Meaning a client gave my contact information to a friend or family member, they go out and do the Google search and they find my content. Multiple times I’ve received comments of, “I really like that blog post,” or, “I saw your podcast – that’s really cool,” so that validated the referral that they got.
Justin:00:49:40Then about three years into doing this is when I start to see the inbound leads come, so I told you early on it’s a long game that took a few years. Maybe if I was working with Traction House and being more strategic with where I’m placing things and leveraging STO, which I do none of, I just put it out there, it would have been faster. By all means I’m not saying that you should take the route that I did, but I think putting it out there it eventually begins to go the direction you have. If you work with a professional who knows that area and the best way to drive it to where it needs to be, you probably speed that process up.
Chad:00:50:11Justin I’m just curious, it’s Chad here. I’m just curious have you basing that three–year journey, have you done much paid campaign, paid advertising, paid media, sponsored content that kind of thing at all? What’s your experience on that?
Justin:00:50:23I’ve only tried a few Facebook ads and I’ve read that you need to really put the dollars behind those for those to be effective. This is going to make me sound like a jerk, but the few times that I did the Facebook campaigns and we should not judge books by cover, but the people that would respond I could tell on the surface level weren’t going to be good clients. Whether that was just the post that they were doing and the stuff that they were, nothing that was on their Facebook page showed me that they actually were interested in finances or being responsible with their money. I shouldn’t judge people, but we’re human beings and we do that.
Justin:00:50:58My experience was right off the bat that the Facebook ads weren’t getting the targeted demographic that I was trying to go for. That could have been user error of what I put in there, but I haven’t spent any money on actually the distribution other than those couple. All of my money has really been on starting the blog post, buying the cameras, buying the microphones like that’s where my dollars have been spent and the distribution has just been through the free channels.
Chad:00:51:20Sure, that’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing that. Yeah, I mean I the reason I asked that is because I think that there’s a very separate thought process here. There’s making the content, getting behind the idea of producing content online and expressing yourself digitally. Then there’s a whole other art to distributing that to a “sets of eyeballs” that really need to see it.
Chad:00:51:41HubSpot, which is a digital marketing or a client relations management tool, they for like 10 years were totally against paid advertising. They’re like, “This isn’t happening, you don’t need it,” just all inbound, inbound, inbound. Just recently some of their senior guys have come on and said, “It’s just too noisy now. If you’re not putting some budget behind your blog post, behind your sponsored content the chances of it surfacing to visibility is going to be less and less, just because there’s so much content competing for people’s attention,” and I say so.
Chad:00:52:09I do think that that is an area. If you are going to spend a little bit of budget, make sure you seek out somebody that has a little bit of experience with the art of that stuff, because you can quickly throw down a couple of thousand bucks onto Facebook Ad’s Channel or LinkedIn and it’s gone in a hurry and you haven’t really been set up to learn from it or optimize from it. Once you have that content and you’re proud of it and that might be something to think about.
Chad:00:52:34It’s a case by case basis, I’m not saying go throw out 3,000 bucks on LinkedIn tomorrow, but it is definitely something that can be useful.
Mike:00:52:41Yeah, our experience is that content is king. It’s like real estate and location. You really got to strive to get the good content. I’m sorry there’s no easy road, but again that’s where the edge lies, so how many people are going to just shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t want to do it?” The more the better, that’s what has allowed for the opportunity for I think early adopters to take advantage of it and now we’re getting a bit more of a crowded space. You’ve got to think about really being targeted and optimized in the way you want to do it. I think this is another area where niching comes in really handy.
Mike:00:53:17If you don’t have to, if you’re not trying to sell to the world, if you’re selling to the smallest niche of niche. I’m with dentists who do dental work on seniors in the state of Oklahoma, like you’re going to have things that first of all the market that you’re trying to attack is far smaller, so you can niche down your target, and it’ll cost you less and you can be there all the time. You can be there every moment. If there’s a 75 year old who has a root canal you’re there in Oklahoma.
Simon:00:53:50Absolutely. That’s all right, that’s okay for some people.
Mike:00:53:53That’s an absurd niching, but that’s how good it can be. That’s how you have to think about things. Think about this, if we’re going to go and compete with Tide and we’re going to wash clothes, we can’t compete. If we were going to say, “Okay well what is it our detergent does that theirs doesn’t. Well, it actually it has this unique chemical in it that gets out axle grease from trains,” so all we would sell to are the mechanics that work on the axles of train cars and we would own that market.
Simon:00:54:22It snowballs too then you get invited to the axle train conference where you get to speak to axle train folks.
Mike:00:54:29Precisely. You become an expert in the field in your niche, so you come back to the, it’s kind of a circular conversation. Niche creates an easier way to have content. You do I think have to think about where your tribe is, so is it a LinkedIn tribe, is it a Twitter tribe, is it a Facebook tribe, is it a video tribe, is it an audio tribe, but don’t underestimate the power of the mediums that we’re discussing today. The vast majority of people, even though it’s getting crowded, my estimation is still the vast majority of people in Financial Services business are not there with unique messages.
Mike:00:55:10I think as you mentioned Chad and confirm this for me, it’s the shitty content that’s now flooding the area, so the good content is harder to find. Is that, that’s kind of …
Chad:00:55:23Yeah, just we talk about a noisy information economy. There’s just so many things competing for our attention. Even you know you pull up your LinkedIn feed and start scrolling and look at all the things bidding for your attention. Just walk through the day, just become observant a little bit about the things betting for your attention, there’s just so much of it. I think in the 70s there was about 500 bids for your attention per day and today it’s between five and 10,000.
Chad:00:55:44The consequence of that is we have become so picky and so particular and we can be about what we choose to put our attention on. It’s got to be timely, it’s got to be relevant, and it’s got to be high value and it’s got to rise above the noise of the content that’s out there. If all you put out is mediocre stuff that you’ve got off of a stock site or you just didn’t really put a lot of effort into it, you’re probably not going to get a lot back and it’s gonna take a long time.
Mike:00:56:09We’ve talked, let’s get into, we’re about 55 minutes in. I want to dig into a few more tactical approaches and we’ll probably wrap it up, but we talked about niche, you got to write your own content sadly. It’s tough but that’s where success lies, it doesn’t lie in your comfort zone and then so what else can we do. If we were starting today, I’m sitting there as an Advisor who has a, or an Asset Manager who has the typical business, the typical kind of website that you see that we all see. What would you, let’s go around the table. What would you say that they do?
Creating the Brand
Simon:00:56:45Yeah, you touched on this when we first got started, but the first thing that I always advise people to do is take a look at your own behavior. If you go on LinkedIn and if you go on Twitter, what do you feel like engaging in? What does the image look like? What does the copy look like? What does the article look like? If you look at a website, what do you like in a website? What inspires trust and if you do that for a couple of hours or for a couple of days, you’ll start to really get an understanding of consumers and what people click on.
Simon:00:57:11It’s pretty alarming the amount of people that we see publishing bad content every day and I just think it’s because they’ve never done that homework. They would never click on that, I know they would never click on that, but they still choose to publish that stuff. That’s how I would start.
Justin:00:57:27When I’ve talked to Advisors, the process I take them through, if our goal is to share our story, who we are and what we’re about, I think first off kind of self, look inward and see who are you as a person. You walk yourself through what are your values, what’s important to you, what would you want people to know about you. Then the next level would be same questions, but who are you as an Advisor, so what are your principles on being an Advisor, financial planning, investment philosophy – what are those and just basically jot them down.
Justin:00:57:54Then magically I would take some time to do it, how do you intertwine who you are as a person with your values as an Advisor to start to begin to develop what your story is going to be, and what are the things you’re going to talk about and what are the interests that you want people to know you for. I think that’s a good starting point to how do you get your brand going and what do you want to be.
Justin:00:58:15For me personally if you read any and you’re following my content you know that my family is very important, my three boys show up in the videos, they do the intro to my podcast they’re very prevalent in my work. You know that I like hip-hop because either my blog is All About Your Benjamins which is the play off of Puff Daddy’s song for when I was in high school. I’ve put a mix tape out, I’ve put rap videos in some of my blog posts. I started a Spotify station so you know hip-hop is a big thing, you know that fitness is a big part of my personal life and I intertwine that with my financial planning beliefs.
Justin:00:58:49Then even to the miniscule of things you know that I have tattoos and historically a Financial Advisor would not have tattoos – if they did they would hide those. I don’t want to hide those, so I’ve found all the things are important to me, family, fitness, hip hop letting myself come through so that those people who want that sort of writing they know everything about me.
Mike:00:59:10Basketball shoes. Dude what about the shoes? What about the shoes dude? The shoes.
Justin:00:59:14That’s becoming new. The shoes part is actually becoming more on my Advisor audience. Real quick I grew up a big Michael Jordan fan. I always loved shoes, took good care of them. I actually grew up for a while and quit spending money on shoes, but then recently I’ve bought a pair of Jordan’s to wear to a conference, got a lot of feedback so now it’s like now I’m back into buying Jordan’s to wear with my suits to break the image of what Advisors are stuffy people who wear suits. I dress “more trendy” and I just want to be myself.
Justin:00:59:46I want people to know who I am so that if they come in and they see me in a Snoop Dog t-shirt with some Jordan’s on, they are not surprised and they’re coming to me because of my expertise, which I have put out there through my other content. They know I know my stuff, who cares what type of music he likes or if he has tattoos or if he likes to wear Jordan’s to the office. He’s a good Financial Advisor – those things don’t bother me and in fact I like that he’s that way. It’s building that tribe. I don’t know if I answered the question, I …
Mike:01:00:16No, I think you nailed it. I think that actually, so you’ve got this persona, this brand. You think about this as a person, you think about this as an Advisor and you live that. I think that again, coming back to the idea of a network effect and social platforms, is that people do business with you because of that and because what it says about them that they’re cool and trendy. They don’t want to be at an oak desk with a guy that’s 65 wearing a suit, that’s just not the way they perceive the quality advice. Your audience builds from that, I think those are exceptional examples.
Justin:01:00:53I have one final thought on just something you said. You mentioned like creating your brand and living that brand, it is much easier to live that brand if that brand is truly you. If you create this facade or this personality that you want people to look at you, but that’s not really you, you’re going to slip up one day and not be yourself. It’s going to come across that that’s not genuine and you’re a fraud. If that brand that you create and that you put out there is truly you and you’re living that every day, you never have to worry about misleading somebody.
Mike:01:01:24Very true. Now I want to actually just turn this a little bit because I, so we’ve got, we understand the niche, we understand the content that we have to create, we’re going to get that done on your own brand, let it level up your clients and your client referrals. Justin is taking the approach at this point he’s not paying for advertisement or the retargeting or the expansion of that audience. You’re dealing with one tribe, but there’s probably four other tribes that are the same that you’re just not in front of. I think that’s where you guys at Traction House can add quite a bit of value here, is how do I get the message more broadly done.
Spreading the Message
Mike:01:02:03Now I’ve got my website, it’s good. The website is to convert people, so they’ve read about me, they’ve read I’ve got my niche, they’ve read my content, they go to the website, there’s a call to action on the website. You guys have this in your presentation, I have it in mine. Here’s what the website is designed to do, know that in advance. It’s going to convert leads, but how do we get more content to more people that are like minded?
Chad:01:02:26Yeah absolutely. I mean there’s two key ways that Simon and I think about distribution and targeting. One of them is title based or professional targeting on LinkedIn, so if you are going after Financial Advisors or CIOs, LinkedIn is unprecedented, the best option to do that digitally.
Chad:01:02:41The other thing we do is geo targeting, so Twitter and Facebook the Google display network, which is 2 million sites about 90% of internet traffic, which is the burner ad you see beside the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and stuff like that. Those ad channels you can actually plug in postal codes or zip codes and target home owners that are 40 years to 70 years old inside of those postal codes. Well, you can do some, you can look up the tax data and you can find average home owner incomes that are $200,000 or more, and you can also look and distill postal codes or zip codes that have at least 50% of the filings within that zip code region that have investment income. What you’re inferring there is these guys are wealthy and they’ve got investment mind at it typically.
Chad:01:03:24If you’re going to spend any money to be in front of a group of people that probably have investible assets or something that’s probably your target market, that’s one way to do it. It’s incredible how accessible at a budget level some of this stuff is and I always use cost of an expensive latte as an example. Cost of Starbucks latte is like five bucks and change, something like that.
Chad:01:03:47Well, in Twitter there’s two ways you pay for attention, there’s clicks, so you can pay to have somebody every time they click on something, leverage your content that you’re paying for in front of them you get charged dollars, and usually that’s about 2, 3 bucks or something like that or on LinkedIn is about four or five bucks, it’s a little bit more expensive.
Chad:01:04:02There’s another cost model called CPM; cost per thousand impressions. What that means is for the cost of a latte on Twitter if you write a commentary on something in retirement, you can pay to have that show up in a thousand Twitter feeds within 50 mile driving distance at zip codes that have high income investment minded folks. If you’re going to start to go down the road of distribution and getting beyond the organic publishing of your content, which is the first step obviously, that’s where Simon and I start coming in and think about taking it to the next level and scaling your expression digitally. You got to be careful because there’s a lot of moving parts and variables in that.
Chad:01:04:39The other advantage too is because you can be incremental in your spend, after two, three days you can start to optimize and figure out what messaging works, which one doesn’t. There’s a lot of options there and it’s a whole other art to the science of this whole thing.
Mike:01:04:51Is that AB testing sort of.
Chad:01:04:52Yeah, probably AB testing that’s right.
Simon:01:04:54Yeah for sure. I mean the great thing about digital advertising is all the data that you get with your advertising. If you put a billboard on the side of the street, you can’t really, you don’t really know how many people are impacted positively by that, but if you put an ad online a, b, c, d, e test different audiences, different messages et cetera over a matter of couple of days you’ll get to see what’s working well. After that the ones that aren’t working well you stop spending money on those, and you spend it back on the ones that are working really well for you.
Mike:01:05:23I like that, so you do more of what’s working and less of what’s not.
Chad:01:05:25Yeah, you scale your spend and stuff that converts.
Mike:01:05:27Yeah, that’s chucking which all that data is not really available in most other domains …
Mike:01:05:35… when you’re working on this. Am I right in the assumption that if you niche this down more, you can get a tighter smaller audience that you might be able to be more omnipresent in or is that, can you niche down like that?
Chad:01:05:48Absolutely I mean I’ll give you an example, if you want to go after, if you sell to institutions you want to go after chief investment officers. There’s 12,000 contacts on LinkedIn with the title chief investment officer in the United States.
Chad:01:06:00You could go all in for a year and just focus on influencing that market and being in front of them, you could be outreaching to them, connect requesting to them, you could be putting content in front of their feeds, you could start groups and invite them to it, become sort of foster conversations digitally with that group. Over time you’re going to start to develop some awareness and subliminal priming and you’re going to get on their radar which is the first step. People in these, if you sell to CIOs they need to know you exist before anything else. They have to hear about you and then you can start to influence them and all that stuff, so yeah.
Mike:01:06:31This is where it gets really exciting in my eyes. Justin do you have any thoughts there?
Justin:01:06:36I’m the worst person to talk about this since I don’t do any of that, I have no, well I just started doing call to actions, but I’ll share why. When I started All About Your Benjamins the reason for that was to just put out content, position myself as an expert and just get my name out there. I was hesitant, I intentionally put it separate from my company website because I wanted to just educate, and I was hesitant to put call to actions because I wanted to be authentic and really be about educating.
Justin:01:07:03I think part of the reason I did that is I didn’t have a defined audience of who I really, really wanted other than if you like my stuff you can find me, it’s not hard. When I pivoted towards working with entrepreneurs, I know I want to work with entrepreneurs and I’m much more confident and comfortable saying, “Here’s a call to action. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll like this. I’m working with entrepreneurs and want to continue – click here to come find me.”
Justin:01:07:25I find from my mindset, and this is just a personality flaw, it was much easier for me to do call to actions and start to go down this path, and I think I will start to spend some money on targeted advertisement to this specific demographic, this niche of entrepreneurs, but without that I wasn’t comfortable doing it.
Mike:01:07:44Yeah and I think that’s a really great example of the journey. Like again, we come back to the beginning and Justin you said it very well – I think you’re going to be overwhelmed. You’re just going to say, “Okay I give up. I listened to the podcast at the beginning I thought maybe, but now I’m not going to do this, because I can’t.”
Mike:01:08:02I think that you really want to take away from this that you should start and that you should, that you will build momentum and if you put time and effort into it, you can build a pretty significant tribe, you can get content out there and you can re-target the content with scale. The idea that there are 12,000 CIOs that you might want to target as an Asset Manager, I’m sure that there’s that many whether it’s doctors, engineers whatever niche entrepreneurs within the Indiana region or whatever Justin is trying to target.
Mike:01:08:35When you get to that niche and you can talk to that tribe and you’ve got that solid message, that’s a journey and it sounds to me like Justin, you’re at the point where hey I’m actually my pencil is sharp enough on this. I’m willing to do some retargeting and some distribution of my content.
Mike:01:08:51Is that what I’m hearing?
Mike:01:08:55Yeah. I don’t know, so we talked about some tactics, I think. Again, I would take the approach that when you get into these “nichey” areas of retargeting, targeting distribution we are actually using people to help us on that. It’s just difficult, it’s just an area that we’re not experts in and I think in my mind once you have the message and you have some good content, really think about engaging with these distribution experts.
Mike:01:09:32I know that you guys at Traction House have a great video that just walks through an example of all of this, I would encourage people to go look at that. Remember what you’re doing – you’re educating yourself before you buy. Also, meta this, observe your behavior as you go down the path of “I’m going to do content creation, I’m going to go look into this”. Just watch yourself. Just sit beside yourself and observe what you’re going to do and that’s what people are doing as they look at you, is whether you’re an Asset Manager or Wealth Manager, this is what they’re doing. Make note of that, go look at your digital platform at this moment. Go look at the content you have.
Mike:01:10:09A lot of people also have content already, it’s just in the wrong place. Like they’ve done a great job on their website or they have an example financial plan that they’ll be happy to provide, but there’s nowhere to get it. There’s nowhere to get an example financial estate plan that they can download that you’ve already done a webinar on, and here’s the example of the person going through this retirement process and all the funny stuff that happened to them.
Mike:01:10:32A lot of times you just have the content, you just haven’t structured it properly. I just think that this is a tremendous opportunity, it provides massive scale and the uniqueness of the message is what provides small and mid–size managers. This is …, this is disruption.
Mike:01:10:50JP Morgan is not going to be edgy with their message, it’s going to be canned. It has to be, but unique Independent Advisors and Asset Managers, that’s not the case. You can really niche in there. Any final thoughts guys as we wrap up?
Chad:01:11:07Just try it, be pragmatic about how you’re, if you’re going to spend money on advertising just be paying attention to it like a hawk and making sure you’re aware of what you’re testing and stuff like that. Now I mean just be prepared to do the hard work and I think that Justin nailed it, you got to be personal. You got to be unafraid to be you. Make it evident that you’re proud of who you are, and you take a stand and you stand for things and you don’t stand for other things and that’s okay. That’s what builds a dedicated tribe, is being personal and not being afraid to let people know that this is who I am. This is it.
Simon:01:11:38Yeah, my last thought is, it’s a hell of a lot of work that’s for sure, but everything changes when you get that first lead.
Mike:01:11:45Yeah nice. Little bit, it’s like that first smile on the baby’s face.
Mike:01:11:48… you got anything else for us to wrap up?
Justin:01:11:50Just be authentic, be genuine and if you’re going to do it commit to it, be in the long game.
Mike:01:11:58Nice. Well, gentlemen thank you very much for taking the time.
Chad:01:12:02Yeah, thanks Mike.
Mike:01:12:02I would encourage all the listeners to actually go and peruse all of the information from Justin Castelli’s content and websites and from Traction House and from ReSolve Asset Management and many, many, many others that are out there. We’re certainly not the box on this, but I hope what we’ve done is moved you, edged you a little further in the direction of taking advantage of what is occurring pervasively across our society with social platforms and with the network effect and just building that into your business.
Mike:01:12:35I know a lot of folks spend a lot of time and trying to add an extra half of 1% to performance returns, but if you were to double your marketing efforts and network to double the size of your business, the impact to you as an entrepreneur would be significantly greater. With that, thanks again gentlemen and over and out.