Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tips for Generating Client Leads Online

Investment News recently hosted a webinar on generating client leads online, moderated by Deputy Editor Greg Crawford. I really wanted to sit in on the session to hear what Ted Jenkin, co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial Inc., had to say.

Ted is a regular contributor to Investment News' new Tech Talk section, and he and his business partner Kile Lewis are two of the smartest thinkers I know when it comes to digital marketing and building a strong online presence.

Their company, oXygen Financial, is an independent financial advisory firm that focuses on working with families and small business owners within the X & Y Generations. They are one of the Top 5 performing branch offices within the Investacorp, Inc. broker/dealer system and were recently named one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies.

Ted was joined on the panel by Brittney Castro, Founder & CEO of Financially Wise Women, and Peter Velardi, CEO of FiPath4Advisors, LLC.

Alas, I was on an airplane when the webinar occurred or I would have live-tweeted these golden nuggets had I been there in real time. However, I did have one of my staff members record the call and take notes. Good stuff – enjoy!


1. Peter Velardi: Here are three critical questions you should ask yourself when considering marketing to your prospective clients: 1) How do I connect with my target audience? 2) How do I build my brand? 3) How do I create an actionable path to real, meaningful leads?

2. Peter: Have a definite marketing plan: Who are you going after? What's your strategy? How are you going after them?

3. Brittney Castro: Who is your ideal client? Most successful advisors differentiate themselves by creating a niche and building their brand presence around that niche so that they stand out to prospective clients.

4. Ted Jenkin: “Pull marketing" results in leads in your in-box. Build an online presence through your website and social media and allow prospects to find you easily.

5. Ted: If the only trapping mechanism you have on your website is a "Contact Us" page, then you've missed the boat. Give away a free e-book or other tool to make prospects want to engage and supply you with their email address. See how oXYGenFinancial does it.

6. Brittney: It's not possible to give away too much free information online. Even if you give them the full blueprint of what you do in your blog, your prospects will see you as an expert and a valuable resource. And when they're ready, they'll contact you as the expert to manage their money.

7. Brittney: People are interested in meaningful content. You can initially use LPL pre-approved content, but that is pretty dry. Consider writing your own content. You are the brand to your business, so your voice is important in building your brand.

8. Ted: Regarding content and compliance: educate your compliance department with what you're doing. Don't assume that they know how the social media works – explain to them how it works and what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to post an article that's informative and reasonable. As long as the article doesn't say "Buy Apple" or something specific like that, you are not going to have any trouble with compliance.

9. Brittney: In regards to selecting social media sites to be on, find out what sites your clients are on. If they're not on Facebook, have a presence for your brand, but don't spend much time there. If they're on LinkedIn, make sure you keep up regular activity and devote more of your online efforts there.

10. Ted: If you're on LinkedIn, check out LinkedInlabs.com. It syncs with your connections and shows a Year in Review for each of your contacts, which allows you to see who’s changed jobs. That's a great way to see money in motion, for instance an opportunity for a 401(k) rollover. If you're the first to pounce on that opportunity, it will give you the ability to get some more assets under management.

Side note from me: You might also find it helpful to “visualize” your LinkedIn connections using their InMap feature. This very cool tool helps you map your professional network to understand the relationships between you and your connections.

11. Peter: Is what I'm doing with social media driving meaningful traffic to my practice? To answer this you must be able to track your leads, determine the conversion rate, determine if it adds value to your practice, and find a way to report the results. If you aren't seeing a measurable difference, then don't waste your time on it.

12. Ted: On your website, if you don't have a drop down box on your contact page for your prospects to mark how they found you, how will you know the cost of the lead? You need to know how prospects find you so you can focus your efforts on what drives your leads the most.

13. Peter: An emerging area in marketing in the future will be content generation for FA's who don't have the time or inclination to write their own content. Companies will emerge to provide turnkey content that is FINRA-approved or can be quickly approved.

Side note from me: Check out Digital Fortress, brought to you by Peak Advisor Alliance and FMG Suite, who have teamed up to bring financial advisors a turnkey solution for quality compliance-reviewed content.

14. Ted: When considering the traditional event to attract potential clients or for client appreciation, shoot for "infotainment" – a combination of information and entertainment. It can't just be an informative lecture over a steak dinner anymore. People are looking for more active, entertaining events that engage them and draw them in: sushi making, glass blowing classes, etc. Creative activities are great for relationship building, and you get a better “call to action” on your hard marketing.

Another tip from me: You can download the Creative Events and Seminar Marketing Guide my team created for Pershing Advisor Solutions a couple years ago. It’s still good stuff, even if I do say so myself.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Top 10 Tweets in 2013 plus Vizify Visual Twitter Bio (1 minute video)

Well, this was fun! Check it out and try it yourself:


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mutual Fund Roulette: Will Your Clients Outlive their Mutual Funds?

This was a really interesting discussion. 

Tim McCarthy is former president of Schwab (also ran an asset management firm in Japan and worked as an executive for Fidelity Advisor Services). 

Dan Kern is a longtime asset manager who logged time at Schwab and Montgomery Funds (now president and CIO of Advisor Partners). 

In this one-hour webinar, they announced announced new research that will help you determine when mutual funds are likely to merge or die out entirely (never a good thing they say). I served as moderator.

You can access the recording and the corresponding white paper (research findings) free via the BrightTALK thought leader channel: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/6867/93117

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why Financial Advisors Need Digital Documentation

I've been learning more about mobile dictation - both the benefits and the risks.

This article published November 13, 2013, by Financial-Planning.com "Why Advisors Need Digital Documentation" focuses mostly on the benefits ... but there are also risks.

If you missed the webinar I hosted earlier this week in partnership with Dr. David Lawrence, founder of The Efficient Practice, you might be interested in accessing the following:

Mobile Dictation Risks - Webinar recording

Mobile Dictation Risks - Slides as PDF


Mobile Dictation Risks - Research Paper written by Dr. Lawrence

Interesting analysis from "the efficiency doctor".

See also these posts with comments from industry thought leaders JoAnn Day of Trumpet, Inc. (a workflow expert) and also Ron Carson of Peak Advisor Alliance (a Barron's top advisor and advisor coach):

Day's comments in Journal of Financial Planning article - Your fairy godmother is here to grand you 3 productivity wishes: http://ow.ly/qT5iC

Read Carson related post: http://ow.ly/qT55q
Listen to audio w/ Ron Carson at live event: http://ow.ly/qT55r

Finally, here's another interesting / related post on the T3 Enterprise Conference blog: http://blog.financelogix.com/conference/?p=62

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Free Webinar Nov 14th on Mobile Dictation Services: Is Your Firm at Risk?

If you missed the October webinar, here's your second chance to learn about mobile dictation services.

Is your firm at risk?

Join me for this informative webinar on November 14th!

Please register for Mobile Dictation Services: Choices & Challenges w/ Dr. David Lawrence on Nov 14, 2013 12:00 PM CST at:


Most advisors don't know or even think about the risks that using mobile dictation services pose! Join Dr. David Lawrence as he shares what he learned researching the security issues for his latest white paper on Mobile Dictation Services: Choices & Challenges.

He will be joined by Maree Moscati and Baird Juckett of Copytalk, LLC, and Marie Swift of Impact Communications to talk about this important topic.

Dr. David Lawrence is a nationally recognized expert on operational efficiency for the financial services profession. With many years of experience in integrating technological systems with management needs, he offers a unique perspective on the use of technology as a leadership tool. He has been frequently quoted by such national publications as Barron's, Financial Planning Interactive, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal Online among others. He has written articles for Practice Lifecycle, the Investment Management Consultants Association (IMCA) Monitor, The Virtual Office Newsletter and Turning Point Inc. Newsletter. He has also made frequent appearances on NBC and FOX television affiliates. He is a sought after public speaker on a variety of leadership, financial and technical topics. Dr. Lawrence is also a monthly columnist and contributing editor for Financial Advisor Magazine (www.fa-mag.com).

Join us for a discussion of his recent research into efficient and secure mobile dictation solutions, including how to:

- Increase productivity, efficiency and profitability
- Reduce operating expenses
- Ensure regulatory compliance
- Reduce risk

Only 100 seats available. 
Register now for the November 14th presentation: 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Is Your Mobile Dictation Service Compromising Regulatory Compliance?

Protecting Your Firm:
Webinar on Mobile Dictation Services

Join Marie Swift of Impact Communications, Maree Moscati and Baird Juckett of Copytalk, LLC, and Dr. David Lawrence of Efficient Practice for a discussion related to his recent research paper on efficient and secure mobile dictation solutions, including how to:

·      Increase productivity, efficiency and profitability
·      Reduce operating expenses
·      Ensure regulatory compliance
·      Reduce risk

WHAT:                        Mobile Dictation Services:  Choices and Challenges
WHEN:                       Thursday, November 14, 2013, 1pm ET / 10am PT

About Copytalk, LLC
Copytalk, LLC, based in Sarasota, Florida, provides industry-leading, secure transcription to financial services professionals. Since 2001, the firm has served tens of thousands of clients across a broad range of institutions. For client-focused financial professionals, Copytalk is able to securely deliver transcribed notes or enter them directly into their CRM systems.  Copytalk is unique in that all work is transcribed in US-based, secured, monitored facilities, rather than in home-based or overseas environments like most other transcription services. For more information, visit www.copytalk.com.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Free Business Building Workshops in Five Cities

Loring Ward Workshop Prepares Advisors for the Future

Focuses on Best Practices to Enhance Client and Advisor Experience

As part of its ongoing effort to help independent financial advisors become the most trusted professional in their clients' lives, Loring Ward will hold its Building Your Foundation for Future Growth workshop in five cities across the country. Presented in close collaboration with noted institutional money manager, Dimensional Fund Advisors, the workshops are focused on helping financial advisors take the next step in their wealth management journey and better address clients' rapidly evolving needs, goals and expectations.

Unconventional in their wisdom and powerful in their prescriptions, the workshops are founded on the best practices of some of the top advisors across America. They are designed to encourage advisors to think differently about key areas of their practice.

Over the course of two hours, financial advisors will learn how Loring Ward:

· Can help them build better portfolios and become a true wealth advisor

· Has partnered for more than two decades with the #1 mutual fund company amongst advisors, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA)*

· Frees up advisor's time to focus on what really matters to clients ‹ meeting their financial AND life goals

· Provides a wealth of resources ‹ including investment, behavioral, back office, marketing and practice management

Each workshop will be held from 10 am to noon, and lunch will be provided. Locations and dates for the workshops are:

- September 18 ‹ Columbus, OH

- September 25 ‹ San Diego, CA

- September 26 ‹ Sacramento, CA

- October 1 ‹ Minneapolis, MN

- October 2 ‹ Kansas City, MO

For more information, contact Loring Ward¹s Advisor Relations Team at (800) 366-7266 ‹ Option 6 or visit www.loringward.com/Future. These workshops are complimentary, but space is limited, so please register today.


Loring Ward (LWI Financial Inc.), based in San Jose, California is a Turnkey Asset Management Provider (TAMP) dedicated to helping independent advisors become the most trusted and valued professional in their clients' lives. Loring Ward's Asset Class Investing philosophy combines more than eight decades of market data, Nobel Prize-winning academic research and the latest discoveries in behavioral finance.

From Investment Management to Business Management to Practice Development, Loring Ward is committed to giving advisors the tools, training and support to provide clients with a world-class experience.

As of September 2013, Loring Ward has $9.1 billion in assets under management. For more information, please visit www.loringward.com.


*Source: Cogent Research 2013

LWI Financial Inc. ("Loring Ward") is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Securities transactions are offered through its affiliate, Loring Ward Securities Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. IRN R 13-301 (Exp 9/15)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Catch up with ... Ron Carson and Marie Swift at the Excell Meeting in Omaha

I'm delighted to be serving as a social media expert and digital communications consultant in Peak Advisor Alliance's all-new Digital Fortress ™ lab! Hope to see you in Omaha, October 2-4, 2013. 

Digital Fortress is a turnkey system that empowers financial advisors to grow their practices through the use of:
  • Ready-to-use (compliance approved) client communications
  • Automatic "feeds" to your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts
  • Great looking websites filled with motion graphic videos and digital presentations
  • Powerful coaching segments from Peak Advisor Alliance coaches and staff
  • An automated accountability system and personal growth platform
 Find me in the Digital Fortress lab ... let's talk about how you can take your practice to the next level.

Call 800-514-9116 to find out if you qualify for the Impact Discount!

Learn more at www.ExcellMeeting.com

Monday, July 15, 2013

Impact Communications, Inc. celebrates its 20th Anniversary

Impact Communications, Inc. is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year! Since 1993, Marie Swift and her Impact team have provided full service PR, Media Relations, Media Training, Keynote Speeches and Training Workshops, Marketing Consulting Services, Copy writing, Graphic Design, Website and Marketing Collateral Development, and Book Publishing Support to Independent Advisors and Allied Institutions in the Financial Services Industry.

Here's to 20 years of service (and fun)!
 How can Impact Communications help you with your content development and visibility needs? Visit http://www.ImpactCommunications.org to learn more.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Speaking in Sound Bytes: 8 Tips to Help You Create a Winning Media Reply

Do you receive "press requests" from FPA, NAPFA, the Garrett Planning Network, Impact Communications or other organizations? Here are 8 tips to help you create a winning media reply, as published in Garrett News & Views. 

And speaking of the Garrett Planning Network, I look forward to seeing all of you attending the 13th annual Garrett Planning Network Retreat in Kansas City in just a few weeks!

Click to read the entire article now:

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Advisor Tip: Become a local business booster

Advisor Tip: Become a local business booster

Why: Promoting other professionals and small- to mid-sized businesses in your community positions you as a generous “others-first” leader, generating goodwill, affinity and share of mind

Nobody likes a chest-thumper. But everybody likes a business professional who lifts up other people and is a booster for their cause. Many small- and medium-sized businesses struggle with sales and local visibility, and would be grateful for your support. Think of ways to collaborate with these smaller, community-based businesses. The good karma will almost certainly come back to you.

For example, plan and host a “Let’s Get Organized” presentation at a locally owned diner or coffee shop. Over coffee and pie, you welcome a small group of guests—folks who have been invited by the other business friends involved—and set the stage for the 90-minute session. A local home organizing specialist or Feng Shui expert could speak of creating a stress-free environment. You could share ways to organize family finances and tame the paper monster. Or host similar event at a locally-owned bookstore, but simplify the refreshments and promote a local author’s book, which would be available for purchase and personal autograph as guests leave. You stand by, taking pictures with a digital camera, asking for guests to jot down their name and email address on a clip board so that you can send them a copy of their photo with the expert and/or author.

Variations to the local business collaborative are endless: A garden tour and gardening tips from an expert in the spring (you talk about making money grow in a healthy and plentiful way). A cooking class and wine tasting at a culinary center (you talk about using the right mix of ingredients to produce a perfect financial stew). A class on creating a LifeBio or Ethical Will at Jesuit or Zen spiritual retreat center (you talk about balance and clarity around personal finances). A walking tour around the local art galleries with planned mini-lectures and refreshments at various stops (you talk about community spirit and conduct a drawing for a local work of art).

How this helps: The financial services industry took a beating during the banking crisis and Wall Street scandals in 2008/09. Being visible and others-centered creates a caring face for your business and opens the door for conversations with new clients, cross-pollination with the other professionals involved, and possible media attention if your event and venue are timely and different enough from the standard business fare. Co-hosting events and positioning yourself as a local business booster gives you reasons to send out invitations and news releases, generate email and social media campaigns, and contact new strategic partners.

In the age of digital communication and social media, let’s not forget to get out and “see the people” – in real life. People are busy but once a community of interest is established, the rapport and connections should carry through into other educational or business social events. The possibilities are endless – philanthropic angles and volunteer activities are also a winning strategy, with the potential to produce an endless ripple in the right circles. We are known by the company we keep, so picking good circles and purpose-driven activities can not only help build business but enhance personal satisfaction and create an perpetually-renewing sense that we have plenty to share, and that people matter beyond just the business realm. The law of reciprocity is always at work.

Check out these other related articles on Financial-Planning.com:

Building a Financial Services Business that Sells Itself

Building Share of Mind as a Local, Vocal Name

Creating Perfect Events can Produce Perfect Clients

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Developing a Retirement Planning Business

Many financial advisors are focused on developing a retirement planning business, but are not sure where to start. Loring Ward offered a webinar on February 27, 2013 to provide the process and tools advisors can use to help attract, manage and retain retirement plan business.

In The Lifecycle of a Plan:  From closing the business through maintaining the plan, Loring Ward’s Heather Hooper, VP, Retirement Strategies and Tim Wochok, CFP®, Regional Director at Loring Ward Total Retirement, provided insight into the following key areas of building and sustaining a strong presence in the retirement plan arena:
  • Prospecting and discovery
  • Why employers decide to change providers
  • Implementation
  • Managing the relationship
  • Communication strategies and materials

Watch this (recorded) educational webinar now.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Personal Values Investing

On February 12, 2013,  Loring Ward, a San Jose, CA based Turnkey Asset Management Provider (TAMP) dedicated to helping independent advisors become the most trusted and valued professional in their clients’ lives, introduced their new “Personal Values Investing” approach to portfolios, which provides a resource for advisors who want to help clients reach their investment goals while staying true to their values. 

Some investors want to invest only in companies whose business practices are in line with their most deeply held social and environmental beliefs and values, but they also want their investments to help them meet their financial goals. Advisors may be challenged to develop portfolios that achieve these dual objectives.

“Personal Values Investing” is how they can marry the two. In this webinar recording, Sheldon McFarland, VP, Portfolio Strategy and Research, and Joni Clark, CFA, CFP®, Chief Investment Officer, looked at the trends in Personal Values Investing, discussed Loring Ward’s Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) models and introduced the new Sustainability models.