From Launch to December: Model FA Top Blog Posts of 2019

01.02.20 | Natalia Autenrieth, CPA | 0 Transform post img

Summary: As we enter 2020, now is a great time to look back at the summer when we launched The Model FA. Since then, we have published 32 blog posts, 18 episodes of The Model FA Podcast, and 31 videos!

For those who have been with us from the very beginning, thank you! We are honored to walk alongside you as you solve financial advisor marketing and growth puzzles. We hope that our podcast guests have inspired you to try new things, and that our blog posts have helped you answer your questions about launching, growing, and scaling your financial advisory business. More to come!

For those who are just joining us now, this post is a great way to catch up on the great stuff you may have missed. We hope that you take a few minutes to read the articles that are of interest to you — and to share them with others who might benefit from this resource. And be sure to subscribe to the Model FA weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest growth strategies and tactics.

Happy New Year, Model FA-ers! We are grateful for a strong launch in 2019 — and look forward to a fantastic 2020 filled with great ideas for growing your practices, amplifying your reach, and eliminating financial anxiety from the world!

#1: Email Marketing for Financial Advisors

Email may not have the cutting edge, high-tech appeal of some of the other marketing tactics. However, when done right, email marketing for financial advisors can be remarkably effective. This article dives deep into the pros and cons of buying or renting an email list (Spoiler alert: it’s mostly cons). There are helpful checklists to guide you through a quick audit of your newsletter and for building a drip email campaign. The article closes with a round-up of financial advisor email mistakes to avoid. The bottom line, though, is to begin an email campaign by pinning down the needs of your audience. With that starting point, email can turn into highly targeted value-add communications that will help you build trust, drive referrals, and stay connected to your prospects and clients.

#2: Virtual Financial Advisor: Next Best Thing, or Expensive Fad?

It’s easy to see the appeal of the virtual financial advisor business model. You get to work wherever you can put up a laptop and connect to the Internet. You can fill your practice with ideal prospects across the country, not just those who happen to live in your zip code. You can keep your schedule flexible — and your overhead expenses really low. What’s not to love? However, the reality of running a virtual financial advisory firm isn’t like the brochure. Advisors who want to succeed must build a new set of digital influencer skills. Competition is fierce and well-funded. In this article, we walk through 5 reasons why a virtual firm presents a unique set of challenges. In the end, though, determined advisors can make it work — as long as they are willing to do the right things to put their business on the map.

#3: Building a Financial Advisor Value Proposition that Someone Will Buy 

Before sales and marketing can be done effectively, you must craft the perfect financial advisor value proposition for your audience. That’s what can turn a reluctant prospect into an enthusiastic new client. But communicating the value (and getting buy-in) for something as intangible as a financial plan is tough. How can you position what you do in a way that’s both accurate and compelling — without overwhelming the prospect? In this article, we outline a “4 C’s” model that will allow you to stress-test your own value proposition (and make it stronger in the process). Read on for a deep dive into Curiosity, Concern, Cash, and Commitment!

#4: Building a Financial Advisor Marketing Plan that Works (in Under 2 Hours) 

According to Pershing, only 30% of all advisors have a formal marketing plan. The remaining 70% must believe that “hustling” is their marketing plan. That is a big mistake. Those who fail to invest in an advisor marketing plan might save some time on the front end — but they hurt their practices in the long run. There’s the stress of not knowing where your next client will come from. There are periods of “feast or famine”, when the office is either dead — or swamped with urgent work. Finally, without an overarching plan, it’s impossible to be sure that your professional practice will be intentional and ideal for you as the advisor. This article will walk you through defining your ideal client, creating a marketing strategy to reach your audience, and crafting your message. The biggest take-away is that you need to use more than one marketing channel to augment your reach and speed up the trust-building process. 

#5: The Anatomy of a Robust Financial Advisor Referral Program (with a Script!)

Yes, referral marketing is alive and well! However, there’s a good reason why it often comes under fire: many advisors don’t implement it the right way. Asking clients for referrals can be awkward for both you and the client. This article will break down the most common roadblocks that advisors face when creating a referral program (not delivering a client experience that’s referral-worthy is one of our less obvious favorites). Bonus point: Check out the referral request script included at the bottom of this blog post.

#6: From Patrick Brewer: Top 9 Mistakes of 2019

We all hear so much about financial advisor success stories. And that is great: success stories are inspiring, motivating, and just plain fun. This article is NOT about success. For this blog post, our Founder Patrick Brewer did a postmortem analysis on the biggest mistakes and lessons learned from this year.Now, 2019 wasn’t all about mistakes. We have launched a brand new business (Model FA). We’ve supported many advisors on their path to growth. We have added amazing professionals to our team. And yet, when you are moving fast, you are bound to make mistakes. Read on for lessons learned! (#4 is my personal favorite). 

#7: Financial Advisor Workflows and Technology: Case Studies

When advisors think about creating a world-class client experience, their minds usually go straight to technology. How can I automate this step? How can I use integrations to make these two systems talk to each other? With dozens of FinTech solutions in the market, one can easily spend weeks or even months demo-ing new features and building the most cutting-edge tech stack ever. And that would be a mistake. It’s true that technology is an important part of running a modern financial advisory firm. However, tech alone won’t produce a comprehensive vision for what it’s like to be a client (or what it’s like to work at the firm). This article goes in depth to illustrate how we have structured proactive and reactive workflows inside our financial advisory firm, SurePath Wealth.

#8: Tips for Building an (Email) List of Financial Advisor Leads

Financial advisor leads are the lifeblood of a growing practice. The sales cycle for financial advice can be frustratingly long, especially for prospects who don’t have an immediate “pain” that must be fixed right away. So, lead capture and patient follow-up are critical. In this article (which is a companion blog post to Email Marketing for Financial Advisors), we look at 5 list-building strategies, as well as 8 technology tools that can help. Finally, we weigh in on which tool you should choose for your practice, and close out with a list of troubleshooting tips and common mistakes to avoid. 

#9: Top Financial Advisor Content Marketing Questions Answered in 280 Characters or Less

This article was a lot of fun. In this blog, we answer 16 frequently asked questions about financial advisor content marketing — and we do it Twitter-style! This is a fantastic primer if you are looking to start a blog, a newsletter, or a podcast. The questions range from “Where should I begin?” to “How do I figure out what content would be interesting to my audience?” PS. If you don’t see your burning question on the list, email me at [email protected] — and I will update the article!

And finally…

#10: 3 Mistakes in Succession Planning for Financial Advisors

Curious about a case study in a financial advisor succession plan gone wrong? Look no further. In this article, our founder Patrick Brewer talks about his attempt (and ultimate failure) at being a part of a succession plan for a well-established advisor. Looking back at those 18 months, Patrick has identified at least 3 red flags that could help you avoid making the same mistakes, notice the issues earlier, and hopefully avoid going down a path that has a high chance of turning into an expensive and frustrating dead end. 

Natalia Autenrieth, CPA

Natalia Autenrieth, CPA has audited Fortune 500 clients as part of a Big 4 team, built an accounting department as a controller of a large hospital, and served as a consultant to municipalities. Today, Natalia combines her technical chops with a passion for story, psychology, and writing in her role as the Director of Content Strategy at Brewer Consulting. Natalia loves food — and will drive 150 miles to eat at a random restaurant she has dug up on Yelp. You can connect with Natalia on her LinkedIn page and on Facebook.