Mastering the Remote Digital Advice Delivery Experience – Asset-Map webinar replay

Our Founder, Derek Notman was fortunate enough to join fellow advisor turned entrepreneur, H. Adam Holt, for a recent asset-map webinar aptly titled ‘Tales from Two Advisors: Mastering the Remote Digital Advice Delivery Experience‘.

What is Asset-Map?

Asset-Map, like Conneqtor is a virtual advisor tool that allows advisors to provide a comprehensive advisory experience that not only engages, but empowers clients to make better decisions. The software allows advisors to collaborate with clients on their ideal virtual financial map, subsequently allowing them to realise their financial hopes and dreams.

Why use Asset-Map? Its simple – it allows you to be more efficient, more calculated, and therefore increases your revenue generation potential!

Tales from Two Advisors: Mastering the Remote Digital Advice Delivery Experience

H. Adam Holt and Derek Notman, both embraced the digital financial model over seven years ago. Since then, they have both launched successful products that seek to not only empower advisors by directly addressing the pain points advisors face when transitioning to a remote virtual model.

In the webinar, the two discuss:

  • How to create a robust digital footprint to attract new clients.
  • Digital fact-finding (from shoeboxes to Dropbox).
  • Managing a virtual meeting calendar.
  • How to present impactful visuals virtually.
  • Virtual team management.

Click the image below to view the webinar:

 

Content Creation Tips for Financial Advisors

content creation tips for financial advisors

Content is king. Yes, it sounds cliched, but in a digital world and especially in the realm of digital marketing, content truly is king. Yes, I know you’re not a digital marketer, you’re a financial advisor, but digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to build your brand and grow your business.

Content is essential in digital marketing because it makes people aware of your brand and hopefully converts them into paying customers.

Content is a trigger for interaction and engagement, and if people like what they see, read, and hear, they’re likely to come back for more.

Here’s what you need to know about content creation to ensure that you create excellent financial advice for your clients.

Content creation or curation belongs to the concept of inbound marketing; inbound marketing is the opposite of a hard sell or product push.

Inbound marketing is about publishing excellent, helpful, and relevant content that brings your customers to you.

It’s the type of content that helps users to find you because it’s content that they are looking for. The intention is that you will build permanent and long-term relationships with your customers by publishing this content.

People regularly seek financial advice; your clients are looking to you to receive the latest industry advice. They require information. And because you have the skill and knowledge, you can provide them with information that will help them make their financial decisions.

The onus is on you to explain ideas and concepts in a way that’s easy to grasp. In addition to this, you can offer tips, tricks, solutions, handy and helpful hints.

The thing with content is that you have to keep it up to date and keep it relevant, and this is no small task; it does take effort, research, and time. You need to keep yourself up to date with the latest trends. Try to read everything you can get your hands on related to the financial industry.

If you write regularly, you will find that creating content becomes more comfortable with practice.

This being said, though, there’s also something called evergreen content. This is content that is relevant for more extended periods and doesn’t go quickly out of date. It’s timeless content that will still generate traffic even when you are not writing.

Who’s Your Audience?

Who is your content intended for? Get to know your audience, get to understand their preferences. If you know their preferences, you can segment them into groups and target specific information. This makes them feel like the content was created explicitly for them.  Your audience is your Ideal Client.  The less defined it is the less effective your content will be in driving inbound leads.

Using Your Persona

Position yourself as an expert in your field. Write to your persona. People come back to things they can identify with, or that feels familiar. You will find that they get used to your expertise and style, and this is what will make them return. What makes you different from other financial advisors? What’s your niche?  And, just be you!

Promoting Your Content

Content promotion is also vital. There’s no point in creating valuable content if no one sees it. You still need to entice and persuade people to consume your content.

social media marketing for financial advisors

Email marketing and using your social media platforms are great tools to publicize your content. You can also promote your content through paid advertising or pay per click (PPC); this will get your content directly in front of your audience.

Ideation

When it comes to ideas on what to publish, you can do several things, but one of the best things to do is find out what people are searching for, then serve them relevant content that meets their needs. People use search engines to search for information. They will start their search by typing a word or term or phrase, known as a keyword. You can base a lot of your content on keyword research.

You can also ask your clients or readers what type of content they are looking for – create a poll and let them decide.

You could interview a subject matter expert and give your readers a precis. Or you could be very personal and write about your own financial journey. The list is endless.

Scheduling Content for Publishing

Once you have brainstormed ideas for content, it’s time to create a content calendar or plan. You need to schedule when your content will be published. It needs to be researched and written and edited and then only published.

There is a process, and you need to ensure your timing won’t trip you up. Also, different content belongs to various platforms. For example, blogs differ from social media content; they are longer and more in-depth and are posted on websites; they tend to be more evergreen because tweets last minutes or even seconds. This process will determine where you publish your content.

Analysis

And last but not least, you need to analyze the response to your content once published. How many page views did you receive? This is the number of users that viewed your content. What’s your bounce rate? This is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after visiting only one page. Were they engaged? Did they respond to any calls to action (CTAs) like downloading a freebie or contacting you directly?

The aim of analyzing your content is to find out what’s working. And if something isn’t working, it can be tweaked. This is one of the great marvels of digital content; it can be tracked and analyzed to determine if you’re reaching your goals.

digital marketing analytics

So now it’s up to you. Are you ready to get started?

I wish you luck on your journey. As I have, I hope that you will find that it’s filled with wonder and amazement and can do much for your burgeoning brand.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article! Remember, you can always reach out to me for guidance and advice.

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

How to Drastically Reduce Your Overhead While Expanding Your Team as A Virtual Advisor

reduce overhead and expand your team

Arguably the best thing about transforming your financial planning practice into a virtual one is that your overhead will come down drastically. No office + virtual staff = minimized expenses.

A relatively obvious observation, yes, but let us take a look at what a virtual practice actually looks like from a financial perspective.

As a business owner, your goal is to service your clients to the best of your ability while generating as much revenue as possible while still living a life you love, the virtual financial practice will enable you to do just that.

No More Rent

Not having to pay rent for physical office space is a considerable benefit, resulting in your saving a lot of money each year.

Depending on your location, office space can cost many thousands of dollars a month in the USA; astronomical and no longer necessary. Think about how you can reallocate this expense for your business while also bringing more home to enjoy life….

You will then have more room to reinvest some of your savings back into the business for the crucial aspects of running a virtual business. Think digital marketing and digital infrastructure – two necessities for a virtual financial planning practice you simply cannot go without.

working remotely saves costs

No Running Costs Associated with A Physical Office Space

Now, with zero office rental fees, also comes the benefit of not having to fork out for the general costs associated with running a physical office.

No more obligation to typical maintenance and utilities such as office supplies for your staff, internet for multiple people, electricity, water/sewage, or a cleaning company. Again, this will result in a drastic savings each month.

Other savings associated with a virtual business include not paying for maintenance on plumping, electrical, appliances, or even paint.  Or having to deal with a sewage backup at 1 in the morning…ya, that happened to me, ugh!

Virtual Employees Are Cheaper

Another significant saving is not having to pay the salaries and benefits for permanent employees. Fewer employees physically present in your office means less money to be paid out every month – in this case, none at all.

With a virtual financial planning practice, you can be fully operational by hiring virtual employees instead. The benefits? Firstly, it is not your responsibility to ensure they are set up to work. So, you need not worry about office supplies, a laptop, or even their internet connection – you simply pay them by the hour or per job/task.

You won’t have to cover their benefits either. The amount you pay per hour or per task is all-inclusive, and it’s also very affordable.

Further to that, working with virtual employees as opposed to permanent ones also gives you flexibility. You’ll be able to forecast whether you’ll need someone’s services or not. If not, no worries, meaning no dead weight. You only hire when their expertise is required.

Through employing freelancers, you can have a whole team of expert individuals on call, using them when and where you need them. In the digital world, it is most definitely the way to go.

virtual team video call

Investing in Digital Infrastructure

When migrating to a virtual business, you’ll need to invest in digital infrastructure, as in the right tools to get you fully operational. Besides a virtual team, you’ll need an in-depth digital marketing strategy because this is where your lead generation and client prospecting will take place.  People aren’t looking for advisors in the Yellow Pages anymore!

Your audience lives online, and so this is where you’ll need to engage with them. My advice is to first build out the foundation yourself.  It will take a bit of time and effort but is necessary for so many reasons.  But eventually you will want to outsource these services. Getting up to speed with how marketing works is no easy feat as it is incredibly strategic. Your expertise is financial advice and planning, and that is what you should focus on. Instead, use the infinite amount of online resources available to build a virtual team that can take care of what you currently cannot.

By using the virtual model to your advantage, you will be working with the most experienced and knowledgeable individuals to help get your digital practice off the ground.

If this migration seems a little too daunting to you, don’t stress! I’ve designed a virtual advisor system called Conneqtor to help guide you every step of the way. It will train you on lead generation, virtual practice management, and digital marketing, etc., etc., etc.

It’s simple and will enable you to dominate as a virtual financial advisor in the digital world. Download our free eBook to get started.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

The Importance of Robust Digital Infrastructure for Financial Advisors in a Virtual World

robust digital infrastructure

When I refer to a robust digital infrastructure, I am talking about the tools and strategic plan you’ll need to thrive as a financial advisor in a virtual world – technological capabilities and efforts imperative to your success.

Even though modern-day consumers have been using online banking and mobile applications for years, the concept of online financial advisors is still relatively fresh, although quickly becoming a demand and the norm.

The question is, how do you cater to that demand, how do you make your target audience aware of your services? You do by creating a robust digital footprint. And how do you create a robust digital footprint, you ask? By implementing the following crucial online efforts, which form the foundation of your robust digital infrastructure:

Be Social

When it comes to brand awareness, your social media efforts are critical to building your digital infrastructure – this cannot be undervalued. Without a proper social media plan, no one will ever know about your business.

linkedin social media posts for financial advisors

An effective social media plan consists of:

  • Soft marketing
  • Brand awareness
  • Talking about solutions and benefits of the work you do to your target audience
  • Actively engaging with others content regularly
  • Posting about live seminars and webinars relevant to your brand or that you have created yourself
  • Being genuine and transparent with your audience
  • Growing your network
  • Positioning yourself as a thought leader
  • The blending of personal and business social profiles and content
  • Frequently sending direct, personalized messages to your ideal client to build a relationship, not pitch!
  • Collecting email addresses, in exchange for content of value (eBooks, etc.) by directing people to your other channels
  • Video posts (better for engagement)

The whole point of social media is to educate your audience and stay away from pushy sales and products.

Host Live Virtual Seminars

By creating virtual seminars that dive deep into your brand and services, you can engage directly with your audience through live Q&As. You can also record them and post across your social media channels later, resulting in helpful content.

When it comes to the kind of content, you can create multiple presentations for specific topics and, in turn, breakdown and serve your target audience even more. Your virtual seminars can also be used as free giveaways (downloadable), strengthening your relationship and connection with prospective clients.

Have A Clean & Transparent Website

As I’ve highlighted before in previous posts, you can host all your content on your website; this will drive SEO efforts and become your “home” online. Be sure to regularly update it with new content to keep your audience engaged.

Clients should be able to book an appointment with you through your website too, which can be managed through an embedded calendar.

The possibilities are endless, but ensure that your website clearly states who you are, what you offer, and whatever you do don’t forget to list your prices – highlight your purpose.

Build A Mailing List

Now that you are creating excellent content, you can use giveaways (free downloads) to get prospective clients to sign up for your mailing list. For example, you give them a free webinar, seminar, or eBook, and they have to sign up to download it.

The benefit of building a mailing list as that you can retarget to people that you know for sure are already interested in your service offering.

Invest in Paid Ads

A whole other ballgame, but incredibly effective. With paid ads, you can also create an “ideal client” audience to market to.

Paid ads are a necessary investment, but they aren’t cheap. They do, however, garner instant results (you get what you pay for).

Paid ads essentially drive more traffic to your website from search engines such as Google or Yahoo, meaning that the traffic is relevant. For instance, if someone types “Virtual Financial Advisor” into Google, you could potentially (depending on how relevant your content is, and how much budget you have) be the first result that comes up.

This is something you don’t need to do right off the bat, build a solid foundation of digital infrastructure first, otherwise you are throwing digital spaghetti at the wall!

Build Relationships with Other Industry Players

By forming relationships with other industry players, they can potentially become what I like to call “referral partners.”

xy advisor podcast

You can achieve this by guest blogging on another brand’s website, featuring on a relevant podcast, or generating backlinks to your own blogs. Backlinking, in particular, is super useful for building the credibility of your website. When one of your “referral partners” link back to your blog, and they have a high trust score, your content automatically becomes more trustworthy in the eyes of Google.

These relationships are strategic and should be beneficial to both parties.

In a nutshell, being relevant and visible is accomplished by being active online with engaging and highly valuable contributions to your specific industry.

Alright, that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed reading my insight into the importance of robust digital infrastructure for financial advisors in a virtual world.

To dominate the digital space as a financial advisor, find out more about my virtual advisory system Conneqtor – it’ll transform your business.  Hint hint, we teach advisors how to do all of this in our virtual advisor system…..

Kind regards,

Derek Notman.

The Age of The Virtual Financial Advisor and COVID-19

The Age of The Virtual Financial Advisor and COVID-19

As we wrestle with a new way of life or try our best to adapt, one thing we have already learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that many industries can operate remotely.

That’s the thing, with all that is happening in the world, time stands still for no one, and we now have to look at alternative ways to carry on with life, to make a living, but most of all to do everything we can to get through this together.

I like to think of myself as a bit of a pioneer as I embraced operating virtually some time ago already, and I can confidently say that running a virtual financial practice is a viable option in these trying times.

Up until a few years ago, financial planning was mostly based around face-to-face meetings, sitting across from clients, and providing them with financial planning and investment advice.

From client acquisition to client retention, building relationships was done in-person. Now, as we find ourselves amidst a global pandemic, this way of work is no longer possible.

Even when COVID-19 is one day behind us, meeting face-to-face will still seem like an unnecessary aspect of our role in people’s lives. Why would we need to? The rise of technology is creating a new service model for financial planning – the virtual financial advisor.

After transforming my company, Intrepid Wealth Partners, from a financial practice of the old mold into a fully functioning virtual financial practice, I noticed that every part of a financial planner’s role could be fulfilled online.

It makes total sense to use web-based tools and technology to serve clients. In fact, it opens you up to an international client base, because the location doesn’t matter. Further to this, there are huge cost savings, and my work has become more efficient due to the use of incredible technology.

In this article, I’m going to give you an overview of how to build a financial planning practice online. I will highlight the benefits of remote work, not only in the time of Corona but in the 2020s, and I will give you insight into some of the brilliant online tools you can use to make it happen.

Let’s start with the benefits of remote work.

Remote work in the time of Corona and beyond

remote worker

Before we get into building a financial practice online, let’s look at why remote work is the future of many industries, why it’s so beneficial and easy to embrace.

Firstly, remote work affords you the time to focus on yourself and your family a bit more than when running a traditional financial practice.

Secondly, most people love the idea of remote work because it means freedom to run your own schedule; it means being able to get the job done in your own time. Gone are the days of a standard 9-5, 5 days a week way of working. But thirdly, and most importantly, it means that work does not need to be done in a specific place to be executed successfully, which is perfect for serving new-age clientele like millennials generation z.

So, how does this impact the financial planning industry?

Picture this: instead of commuting to an office each day to work from a designated desk, you can execute your projects and design your days so that you can obtain and maintain an awesome life/work balance. In essence, it also makes it a lot more affordable to start your own financial planning practice. With remote work comes a substantial decrease in fixed expenses—the main ones being office space, in-house staff, and money spent on commuting.

You can choose to go forward as a one-person operation, cutting costs significantly, or you can employ people on a part-time basis, virtually, of course! The beauty of remote work is that you only work on-demand, which extends to your employees too. If you only need someone for a few hours a day, then this new way of work has made that possible. You no longer need to commit to giving people full-time employment; you can pay them on an hourly basis.

According to Flexjobs, an employer can save $22,000 per remote worker per year.

So, let’s look a little deeper at how the benefits of remote work will add value to building a successful online business.

Less time commuting

women and men on train platform

Being a virtual financial advisor means less time and money spent commuting, which means you can spend more money on building a stronger, more efficient service, and spend more money on marketing your services. This way, you can surely spend at least 10% of your gross revenue on digital marketing.

Think about how much time you can save as well. For example, let’s say you spend 1 hour a day in the car (driving to and from your office and client meetings), you do this 5 days a week, and you do this 50 weeks a year. Add it all up, and it equals approximately 250 hours a year in the driver’s seat. That is the same as 6.25 40-hour workweeks a year.

Think about this, over 6 40-hour workweeks a year; you are wasting time sitting in your car, that’s crazy!

Think about how much money you spend on gas or even domestic flights to meet with clients in-person, never mind what you spend on accommodation when meeting with clients in other cities? That sum can now go into client acquisition. Plus, marketing a virtual service is much more attractive to younger generations than the brick and mortar financial planning services.

Not having to pay for office space

Ok, so this is a big one. Arguably the most expensive part of running a company is renting office space to accommodate yourself and your employees.

By going virtual, you won’t have to consider the following:

  • Private kitchen
  • 24-hour access
  • Lounge area
  • Meeting rooms
  • Video conferencing
  • Parking
  • Janitorial services
  • Technology for employees such as computers, cellphones, and the internet

As you may know from experience, the price of renting office space varies. An office space per person can start around $300 per month in the US and goes up drastically depending on location and the facilities included.

By working remotely, the money you would have spent on office space can either go directly back into your business, your pocket or even just renting a smaller office for only you. The reality is that one of the first things that cripple a business when money is a little tight is not being able to pay overheads, such as employee salaries and office space.

With remote work, and more specifically by being a virtual financial advisor, you won’t have to worry about any of the above. Yet, you will still be able to deliver the same, if not more efficient and tailored service to your clients.

It quite literally is a win-win option for the future of your business.

Using the tech available to provide better service

Remote work is impossible without the incredible technology available at the click of a button or the swipe of a finger. Technology is what makes being a virtual financial advisor viable.

Here in the US, our Wi-Fi connections and internet infrastructure are the best in the world, so staying connected shouldn’t even be a concern. It is also very affordable.

Thanks to smartphones, cloud computing, instant messaging, and project management software, we can communicate and collaborate instantaneously from most anywhere in the world.

By getting your hands on the necessary technology to operate a virtual financial practice, and keeping up to date with the latest tools, there is nothing that can stop you from being successful.

This leads me to the next step in getting your head around how to build a financial practice online.

Online tools you can use to embrace remote work

virtual financial advisor on a video call

Before we get into some of the spectacular tools available, it is essential to remember that as a virtual financial advisor, you are not changing the advice and services you provide to your clientele. All you are doing is changing the way you communicate with prospects and clients; you are swapping out the kitchen table for a webcam, same advice, and relationship, different medium.

To take your financial planning practice online successfully, all you need to do is convert the brick and mortar way of communicating to a new way of maintaining relationships. You will then need to support this way of communicating with online tools to help you provide your services virtually.

So, let’s look at how you would conduct meetings virtually.

All your meetings are done over means of video chat, and here are some of the most popular tools for communication.

FreeConferenceCall

FreeConferenceCall is a really great tool that I use as my primary virtual meeting tool.

It is easy for me to set up and easy for my clients to click a link and join a meeting. It allows for multiple participants and does not cut the meeting off after a certain amount of time. I can screen share and even give the client control if they want to show me something on their computer. What is also nice is that if for some reason, a client can’t join via a computer, this service also has a call-in number so people can still be part of the conversation.

By far, this is my favorite virtual meeting tool. And yes, as the name implies, it is free!

Skype

You’ve probably used Skype before. As the original video conferencing software, it is the most well-known and widely accepted tool. With Skype, you can make free online calls, use free messaging, and very affordable international calling to mobiles or landlines. What we love most about this tool, though, is it’s Skype for Business feature – the best tool for internal online communication.

So, if you were to build a virtual team in the future, this feature combines instant messaging, video conferencing, calling, and document collaboration into a single, integrated app for effective collaboration.

Zoom

Zoom is excellent for external communication outside of your company. Zoom offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings, and there is no trial period. Just keep in mind that the basic plan has a 40 minutes time limit on meetings with three or more total participants. If you decide to pay for it (recommended), you can conduct meetings for as long as you like – perfect for that initial meeting with new clients.

The beauty with Zoom is that you can schedule meetings well in advance and send the exclusive meeting link straight to your clients, or if you have Office 365, you can send them a calendar invite, which automatically syncs with their calendar on their smartphone.

Skype and Zoom are the most widely accepted tools for video communication. Still, you will probably find that for younger clients, FaceTime or a WhatsApp voice call will also work, especially for check-in meetings.

Any other client communication can be done over email or even short video messages via cool tools like Loom.

At the end of the day, as long as both you and your client have a decent internet connection, you can conduct a video meeting with a client – whether it’s from a home office, or even on vacation if needs be.

This way, you can build a business around your life and not the other way around.

Now, let’s look at some of the online tools available for doing the actual work of a financial planner.

Office 365

When it comes to writing and compiling documents, crunching numbers, or creating a presentation, I recommend Office 365 simply because you won’t have to adapt too much. It’s an online version of all of the administrative tools that would usually come with a Windows PC or laptop.

It includes MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more, but what makes it truly valuable is that it’s a brilliant collaboration tool for remote teams. You can have up to five members on one subscription, and with that comes an all-inclusive, synchronized suite for running the administrative side of any business. From email and Skype for Business to OneDrive – which makes the work you do available to you from anywhere—and to others when you collaborate or share. With a subscription, you are also able to download all the apps to your desktops for those that prefer working offline and uploading later.

To understand the extent of what you can do with Office 365, read this in-depth article – there’s a whole lot.

Conneqtor – The Virtual Advisor System

Now that I’ve explained the benefits of remote work and taking your financial planning practice online, ask yourself this: are you ready to join fellow entrepreneurs in the virtual movement of the future?

Conneqtor empowers financial advisors like you to have the ability to:

  • Exponentially make more money while effectively managing risk
  • Work with more prominent and more ideal clientele
  • Work from anywhere in the world while expanding your reach
  • Leverage your time & money to increase performance
  • Live the life of your dreams while helping your clients do the same
  • Achieve and maintain a remarkable life/work balance

I’ve created a turn-key system designed to show you (step-by-step) how to transform your business in a digital world. If you’re wondering what infrastructure you will need to run a virtual financial practice, then this system is your answer.

Conneqtor includes comprehensive guides on the following crucial factors for a successful virtual financial advisor:

  • How to market your virtual financial planning business online
  • How to build a virtual team
  • How to work with your compliance team
  • How to define and vet your “ideal client”
  • How to create an online presence that will drive inbound leads to you 24/7

The new world of work is right before your eyes and at your fingertips, will you take the opportunity? Download our free e-book to find out more.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Derek