Taylor Schulte, CFP®, is the founder of Define Financial and host of the Experiments in Advisor Marketing Podcast. In the past few years, Taylor’s firm has grown by leaps and bounds. He attributes this success to a handful of concepts he and his team have started implementing in their practice:

  1. Zeroing in on a clear niche to make marketing and operations more efficient.
  2. Creating a strategy for their content creation.
  3. Building a plan to provide a clear process for leads to take the next step to become clients.

Taylor’s passion for marketing his firm might be intimidating for some financial planners. It’s widely recognized that many planners aren’t excited about marketing or creating content – and hey, it’s not for everyone! But Taylor’s #1 piece of advice is to stop looking at these tasks as “marketing” to-do’s. 

Instead, he suggests you focus on your marketing as a process. Just like when you build out a step-by-step process in financial planning, you can build a step-by-step process for your marketing that brings leads in and moves them toward becoming a client.

If marketing interests you, that’s great! You can allow a small amount of time each month or week to research marketing strategies, or learn more about optimizing your blog, podcast, or website. 

If marketing doesn’t interest you, that’s okay, too. Taylor recommends that you focus on the message instead of the strategy, because your voice matters and will resonate with your ideal audience. Taylor also says that, if you really hate content creation, you can always look to hire a team of contractors to help you.

This episode is perfect for financial planners who are working on improving their marketing strategy for their practice. Whether you love marketing, or you think it’s totally intimidating, Taylor has some fantastic tips for you!




[tweet_box design=”box_10″ url=”https://buff.ly/2JnHIFt” float=”none” excerpt=”We’ve all seen online marketers who go overboard with pop-ups everywhere – and that’s not a user-friendly content experience. – @DefineFinancialt on #YAFPNW”]We’ve all seen online marketers who go overboard with pop-ups everywhere – and that’s not a user-friendly content experience. – @DefineFinancial on #YAFPNW e157[/tweet_box]


What You’ll Learn:

  • How focusing your niche can make your practice more efficient
  • Ways to ramp up your marketing as a firm
  • The importance of content marketing
  • How to leverage your traffic and audience to grow your client list
  • The importance of providing clear processes for prospects who are ready to take the next step
  • Why simplified marketing strategies are often better than over-complicated, flashy strategies
  • How to create user-friendly content
  • Why Google loves quality over quantity



Experiments in Advisor Marketing


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Episode Transcript

Matt: All right Taylor. Well, thank you so much for joining us today. Since the last time we’ve had you on the podcast, why don’t you just bring us up to speed where your firm has gone in the past year-and-a-half and what your role is within the firm. 

Taylor: Yeah, thanks for having me back on. Yeah, it’s been a year-and-a-half. Let’s see. I started my firm, Define Financial, in 2014. We started with 20-25 clients, about $20 million in assets under management. I think last time we talked we got up to about $40 million in assets under management, and we’ve really kind of started to take off. We just crossed 70 this year, and we’ve got just really focused on the types of people that we like to work with, the type of work that we do, and just, yeah, just gotten really specific and really focused, I think, since the last time we spoke. 

Matt: Awesome. That’s great to hear and it’s awesome to hear about the growth. And what has really been contributing to that growth of your firm?

Taylor: Yeah, I think it’s two things. It’s one, really sitting down and thinking like, “Who do we do our best work with?” And you know, we can’t be everything to everyone. I think we all know this by now. We’ve heard the talk about niching down. So I really fought it for a long time, but then I just, I looked at my practice as a whole and I just realized that two thirds of my practice looked a certain way, and they were your traditional baby boomer clients, 50 plus. They had sizeable nest eggs, they were really good savers and then, more importantly, they were delegators. They don’t want to do this themselves.

Anybody who didn’t quite fit that profile moving forward, we found other firms in town to help those clients. And so we went through a process of cleaning up the practice a little bit, making sure people were taken care of and finding other firms for them, and then just really focusing on this one demographic has been just really, really helpful for us. I mean, it helps us internally with processes and workflows and operations, and I think the client on the other end ends up just having a better experience. And so I think they get more out of it as well.

When we’re shifting from a young professional making a bunch of money, buying a house, changing jobs, getting married, it’s totally different than somebody else who’s worked for 30 years, saved up a bunch of money and now they want to optimize and get ready for retirement. That’s one thing, is just getting really focused on who we work with and just really own it. 

The second is, we’ve really, as you know, we’ve ramped up a lot of our marketing, and we’ve done a lot of writing, and speaking, and podcasting and stuff for a number of years. We’ve just kept our head down doing that stuff and having fun with it and putting out good content. But then finally started to think, “Okay, we’ve got this traffic, we have this audience, what do we do now?” And so, like we talked about earlier today, developing a process for people when they find us through the podcast, or find us through the blog, “Okay, what do we want them to do once they’re on our blog or on our website?”

And so we’ve created a really just streamlined, simple process for prospects to go through who want to take that next step with our firm. And that’s helped quite a bit. And so I shared earlier today, over about 50% of our new clients just come directly through Google or something that we do online. And it’s resulted in some pretty decent growth in the last, yeah, year-and-a-half.

Matt: Very cool. And I think I speak on behalf of most advisers, that some of us are intimidated to get into marketing like blogging, and podcasting and doing videos. What are you utilizing in terms of marketing strategies? And how do you confront that fear of getting started with those types of marketing? 

Taylor: I think maybe out of the gates I would not think of it as marketing. Like I said, we didn’t start a blog and start writing to necessarily market. We started a blog because we had something to say. We had questions from prospective clients, and clients that we wanted to answer, and so initially it was like, “Let’s just put really, really good content and just be consistent with it.” It wasn’t until we were like, “Okay, we have an audience, we’re getting traffic. Maybe we can do something with this.” I think I would encourage people to think not so much as from a marketing angle, at least in the beginning. Think about what do you enjoy doing? Everyone wants to get their voice there.

And so, are you comfortable in front of a camera? Do you want to do something on YouTube? Do you like to write? Do you want to start a blog? Podcasting is becoming a big thing now. Do you enjoy doing a podcast? And pick that one platform and start to build your content on that platform. Keep your head down, ignore all the other stuff that we’re probably going to talk about today, and just do that one thing and be really consistent with it. And then I think once you get comfortable and once you start to build that audience a little bit, then you can start to think about, “Okay now from a marketing perspective, what do I want to do with this thing”? And it might be nothing. 

I think Kitces is a great example, right? Just like wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and just built up this massive like content machine that just adds a ton of value, and then he started obviously spin that into multiple businesses, and he’s done a really good job with it. So I forget what your initial question is now, but initially I heard you say marketing. I’m like, I don’t want people to think of it as marketing because it is daunting. Just think about do you have something to say? And if so, where do you want to say that? You can’t do a podcast and video and a blog all at the same time and do it all really well. So find that platform that comes natural to you. 

Matt: Right. And you sound incredibly passionate about the marketing side of your practice. What really sparked that passion and developed this curiosity for you, personally, to explore these different methods of marketing? 

Taylor: Yeah, it’s funny that I’ve latched on to the marketing side of things. I don’t know, other than I’ve always said that like in whatever role you’re in, whether you’re a paraplanner or just starting out, or you’re starting your own business or whatever it might be, pay really close attention to every little thing that you do every day, and what things like energize you that you get excited about and you can’t wait to get to once you’re done with your normal day to day work?

And so I’ve just paid a lot of attention to those things, and I really enjoy the marketing side of things. Whenever I have a free time, that’s what I’m doing and no joke, it could be 6:00 AM on a Saturday and I’m researching little marketing tricks and stuff like that. I’ve just recognized and paid attention. I really enjoy this stuff. And so in my firm there’s three of us and we constantly talk about what are you good at? But what are you really, really good at? And we all are good at something. 

But what do you really enjoy doing that just really energizes you? And where do those two things intersect. and how can we get you to do that all day long? And so with three people, of course, we all wear some different hats and do some things that we don’t want to do, but I enjoy putting content out there. It’s fun for me to try to find clever ways in order to help people find that content. In the end we just want to help people, we want to help get good information in front of people. And I don’t know, yeah, I’ve just kind of latched onto it and realized I enjoy it, and I’m really good at it and how can I do more of it? 

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. And you said it’s really important to find that format that works for you. What was that discovery process like for you? How did you decide that blogging and podcasting was the way that you wanted to start and then ultimately focus more on that podcast? 

Taylor: I think it was trying a bunch of different things, and you don’t have to go that path, right? You might already know that you love being on camera and doing video. And if you just know that about yourself, then just own it and grab a camera. It doesn’t need to be the best camera in the world, turn it on and start recording. For me, I didn’t know. And for me, that’s how I roll. I just go into things, I give it a try, I reflect on it, I take notes, I think about, “Did I enjoy that?” Public speaking’s a great example. I actually really hate public speaking. I love being out there like today, here at Gathering and sharing all this information with people. I love to help people, but I don’t really enjoy public speaking. 

A couple of years ago was a goal of mine to speak to more than 200 people. And so I got a speaking gig at UCSD in San Diego. I prepared, I did the whole thing to this presentation, and I walked off I’m like, “Man, I did not enjoy that. That was not for me.” I will do it once in a while, but I don’t want to make a career out of public speaking. And so yeah, I was just trying these different things. The Advisor podcast that I recently started, I joked about it on the podcast that it was initially a blog. I thought I was going to write out these things and it was going to be a blog, and a year went by, and a year-and-a-half went by, and I never published anything and I’m like, “How can I get this thing out there?” I just realized I actually really enjoy just being behind a microphone. 

That’s my … I don’t overthink it, I just turn it on, I record and I push it out there, and that’s what ultimately got this thing off the ground. Outside of if you don’t know what it is, then try three or four different things, reflect on it. Did that energize you? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to do again? Then do more of that and don’t feel like you have to do everything. Just because podcasting is the hot thing right now doesn’t mean you need to go and do a podcast. 

Matt: Right, right. And I think that’s common with so much of the technology that we work with that as advisors, whether it be financial planning, software,  marketing tools. How did you decide even where to start in this blue ocean of opportunity for marketing?

Taylor: Geez, I don’t know. Like I said, I’ve just been kind of trial and error and trying and see what works and go from there. I was telling somebody else earlier today, I’ve been really fascinated with studying other industries and seeing what other people do, and try to apply that to what we do. And so I’ll do a lot of research and reading of other people and other industries, so that’s been really interesting. But yeah, it’s really been trial and error, and when I see something that’s working kind of start to build on top of that, and something that’s not working, kind of move on.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. And what should the advisors listening to the podcast, what should they think about when they’re creating a plan? Like you said, having an end goal in mind and building the marketing plan around that. And I know today you mentioned building it almost backwards to get from where you want to be to where you should start. 

Taylor: Yeah, I’m really trying to find like a good way to vocalize this, but I think we can all get really excited about writing a killer blog post, and doing all these SEO things, and like getting people to land on this blog post and watching it rank on Google, and that’s all great. But again, what happens when somebody actually reads this blog post? Number one, what do you want them to do? If they do that thing, then what happens? And so having this kind of process and thinking through it like, “Okay, if our whole marketing plan here works, what is the end result? What does that look like? Do they become a client? What happens?” 

I just think through building those workflows and that kind of the behind the scenes, so that that person that lands on your blog has a really good experience from start to finish. And I shared with you, on our website we have this start here button that’s in a totally different color and it follows the person around. And that’s what we want them to do if they’re interested in taking that next step. And so, if they click that button, it sets off a whole chain of events and we have a whole process, both on the website for the consumer to see, but then also behind the scenes we have a whole workflow to make sure that our team guides that person through the process and that they have a good experience.

I can’t tell you how many times people go, “I have never seen anything like … This is such an amazing experience for me being in my shoes.” And so I would just encourage people it’s fun to learn and talk about this stuff, but think about the other person on the other end, and think about the processes that’s guiding this whole thing. And I think we could bring it back to the financial planning process, right? Step-by-step, what do you do when you’re doing a financial plan for somebody? And so the same thing, I think, when it comes to marketing, 

Matt: Right, and not trying to be too flashy or over the top from the start and just having a thought out, “This is the end goal and this is what we’re trying to accomplish.” Right?

Taylor: Yeah. Exactly, yeah.

Matt: Yeah, and so as you’ve Right, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, as you’ve been building this out, what is your time commitment? A lot of advisors, they’re strapped for time. How much time do you spend on average doing blogging or podcasting, and what else do you delegate away to make your life a little easier? 

Taylor: Yeah, so again, have a process. For the firm blog, we post a blog once per month. That’s it. That same day, every single month the blog goes out. The podcast is even easier. It’s twice a month on the same day every other Tuesday. So we have this schedule that’s built out, which helps us manage our time. And like I shared earlier, our blog is already scheduled out for the rest of the year, so we could literally do nothing and that content is just going to go. And so I think having that process, again, having that in place helps you kind of create that content calendar for the year and not feel like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to hurry up and go write a blog post.”

Step one is figure out, “Okay, I want to start a blog, or I want to start a podcast or a YouTube channel, whatever it is. How often am I going to publish?” And don’t over commit, right? Don’t think you’re going to write every single day, or do four podcasts a month. Start with once a month and go from there. We’ve developed that, that’s been really helpful. And then the other thing I shared today was, we’re really good at putting content out there and putting content together, like we have something to say, but we’re not professional editors. I didn’t go to grammar school. I’m not the best. 

I don’t think that my time should be spent editing every little piece of this article that I wrote or this podcast that I produce, so we’ve gotten it to a point where when I do a podcast, I hit record, I do the interview, or I record myself doing the podcast, I send it into Dropbox, and then I have a whole team behind the scenes that then just takes that and does everything that they need to do. We have a whole workflow that guides that process. Having a team of people behind you, and it could be as simple as you just have an editor, and editors are fairly inexpensive. You can find an editor for $20-$25 bucks an hour, not podcasts. 

But if you have a blog, a blog editor where you can, I joke, “Throw up on a page, get all that good information out there, and then it goes to an editor to help you clean it up and put it together. But if you’re staying up until midnight trying to edit this blog post, yeah it’s going to take a lot of time. But where is your time best spent? You should be doing that, not trying to edit a YouTube video and you have no video editing skills whatsoever. 

Matt: What is driving traffic to your site and what’s getting those clicks? What’s getting those … How has the podcast gone from 10 or 20 downloads to where it is today? 

Taylor: On the blogging side we talked about writing, starting off with putting out a really good piece of content, right? Not just writing for clicks, but writing about something that you have something to say, a topic that really interests you, and you’re an expert on. Number one is just developing a quality piece of content and then, second to that, optimizing that piece of content so it’s easily findable by Google. This isn’t like any crazy black-hat type techniques. You can just do some basic, basic things to a blog post that you might’ve written to tell Google, “This is what the blog post is about and this is who it would be good for,” to try and help Google put that in front of as many people as possible. We start with that quality piece of content and then we optimize piece of content, and then we kind of move on. 

The podcasting world is a little bit different, right? It’s all audio-based. Yes, some people are now going to … Well, a lot of people are now going to iTunes or Spotify and they’re actually using it as a search engine. So they’re going to iTunes and they’re typing in retirement, or they’re typing in Roth IRA, or HSA or whatever it is. And then they’re searching for podcast episodes based on those topics. So you can optimize your podcast as well for those search terms. I’ve taken it a step further and I have my team take our podcast interview or podcast episode that I’ve recorded, and then turn that into a show notes page. But not just a show notes page with links and resources that you see on a lot of peoples, we actually have a full-blown blog post, like corresponding blog post that goes with that podcast episode. It’s high quality, digestible content in written form. 

I think one of the mistakes people make with podcasts is they just throw a full transcript up on a page. I can’t wrap my head around why Google would reward you for this messy transcript with a bunch of spelling errors and all that. Make it really easily digestible by the consumer. And so if you look at one of our show notes pages, it’s really friendly, really user-friendly, really easy to read through, and it offers a lot of value. And so a lot of people are now finding the podcast through general Google search because they’re searching something like digital estate planning. We did a podcast on digital estate planning, we have a show notes page on digital estate planning, and it’s feeding people back to the podcast. 

Matt: Right, and at the same time you’re essentially killing two birds with one stone, right? You’ve recorded this podcast and now you have a blog post out of it that can be digested by a different audience. 

Taylor: Yeah, and so maybe if we can give listeners a way to really look at this, if we could simplify it. Pick one platform to produce what I call your pillar piece of content, right? And so if that’s a blog, perfect. You’re going to produce your main piece of content in written form, and then you can repurpose that piece of content into other places. You can take this awesome blog post that you wrote, and you could trim it down and you could turn it into a LinkedIn post, right? So maybe it’s a 1000 word blog post, then you turn into a 100 word LinkedIn post.

On the podcast side, we can take the podcast audio, I can turn it into a written blog post. Right? I could also turn a camera on and record a quick little video, one minute bit on what I just talked about on the podcast. So you can start to repurpose your main pillar piece of content into a bunch of little pieces of content. And so again, I would encourage people to pick that one platform that they’re really good at, that they really enjoy doing, and then have some team in the background to help you start to repurpose that content and use it in other places. 

Matt: Right. Absolutely. And as you’re going through that process and you’re building out this content schedule that you’ve talked about, how are you coming up with the topics? I know I’m guilty of sitting at my desk like, “What the heck do I write about today?” How are you coming up with those topics? 

Taylor: We pay really, really close attention to questions that people are asking in meetings. And so any prospect meeting, any client meeting, we’re diligently taking notes on things that they’re asking. Like, “Hey, what’s the difference? I’ve never understood what the difference is between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA.” Right? And just taking that down as a note. And that’s a really simple example, but people ask really good questions, and so if you just pay attention to the questions people are asking, maybe at a holiday dinner or you’re out with friends one night and they’re saying, “Hey, what’s the deal with this Uber IPO thing? Is this a good investment? Whatever.”

So we did a whole podcast episode on IPOs and using Uber and Lyft as an example. That’s really the only way that we … Unless we come up with something on our own, but we’re really just paying attention to conversations happening around us and what are people actually asking? I have a long list, just a Word document of topics. I’m never short on topics. 

John in my office is really good about just creating draft blog posts. So if he hears a potential topic he wants to write about, he’ll go into WordPress and just generate a draft blog post with that as a subject line, and then just leave it blank and save it and then move on. So whenever he wants to write on something, he’ll just go back into WordPress, he’ll see this blank post with a title and say, “Oh, that’s a great topic. I’ll write about that today.” 

Another really easy way is to go into iTunes or the podcast app, or go on other people’s blogs and see what they’re writing about. And maybe you wrote an awesome article on life insurance, but I have a way to maybe add some more to that article and kind of take it to the next level, and so it’s inspired me to write a post on life insurance. Pay attention to what your peers are writing about, and potentially you can generate a higher quality piece of content. 

Matt: Right. And you’ve hinted about a lot of these things like optimizing your page for Google search, and how to rank on Google. Where did you go to learn about that? How did you learn what does rank for Google, and where should people start if they’re looking for a fundamental education on website SEO?

Taylor: Yeah, maybe the first thing I’ll say is maybe you shouldn’t be going and doing that research. Maybe you should hire somebody and your time is better spent there. Fortunately for me, I enjoy this stuff and so like I said, it’ll be 6:00 in the morning on a Saturday and I’m like googling around and trying to figure out some SEO things. If it interests you and inspires you and you have a lot of fun doing it, I think one of the best resources out there is a website called backlinko.com. Brian Dean is the owner of that website, and he’s a great example too of just putting out super, super high quality content for free, doesn’t charge anything for it, and it’s some of the most helpful stuff out there. If you’re starting to put stuff out on the Internet and you want to optimize it, he’s got some awesome just resources for doing that. 

That would probably be one of the first places I would go if you want to start doing your own research. The other is a tool that I’ve shared a couple of times called Serpstat. Serpstat has a couple of competitors, one of them being Ahrefsa and SEMrushand, S-E-M rush, and these are some keyword research-type tools where you can say, “I’m interested in writing about Roth IRAs versus traditional IRAs. What else has been written out there? Is this going to be a difficult topic for me to rank for on Google?” And so you can do some keyword research, some competitor research using tools like that. 

But I said earlier, I don’t … I hate for people to get distracted with stuff like that and thinking about their competitors, and keyword research and stuff. If you have something to say and you’re just excited to share it, put it out there, you know? If it’s a high quality piece of content, put it out there. Who cares if 10,000 other people have written about it? It’s your voice, you have a different voice and a different way to say it, and somebody is going to resonate with that and connect with it. 

Matt: Right. Absolutely. And then you said just putting out quality content. I’m sure your earlier content was probably not as good as what you’re writing now. How have you used your past posts to really improve what you’re putting out there? 

Taylor: Well a couple of things. One, I guess what I’m really saying is don’t be distracted by all the bells and whistles, and optimization techniques and stuff. Just focus on putting out what you think is a good piece of content. Again, think about what’s going to be helpful for somebody that’s reading this, and just focus on that. And if you just focus on that, you’re going to do a pretty good job anyways. When you get distracted by all these other things, that’s when you can really ruin some of this content, and I think it can all come back to haunt you. And we’ve all seen like these online marketers that take things way too far, and you’ve got popups all over the place, and it’s just not a user-friendly piece of content. That’s one thing. What was the other part of your question there? 

Matt: Just how you’ve used your past articles to improve your…

Taylor: Oh yeah, yeah. Okay. So what I want to say was these days with Google, it’s quality over quantity. And so what’s kind of cool, based on your question, is if you have old articles, what you can actually do and Google actually rewards you for doing this, is go back to some of your old articles and update them and make them even better than they were. So add some new sections, clean up the text, maybe have an editor go through there, add some new visuals, add a table of contents, improve that piece of content that you’ve already produced and then republish it. By doing that you’re improving content, which Google likes, they want to put good content in front of people, and it can actually really help your rankings. 

You don’t necessarily have to generate new content all the time. You can go back to old pieces of content and improve it. But so you’re right. A lot of our early content really wasn’t that great and nobody’s ever is, and it shouldn’t be. Even if you’re on podcast episode 500, podcast episode 400’s probably not going to sound that good. You’re always going to be improving. That’s what I do love about the blogging world is you can go back and you don’t have to delete that post, you can just improve that post and update it, and Google actually really likes that. 

Matt: Oh, that’s awesome. And I mean, it really takes a lot of the time out of the equation yet again. And you mentioned quality over quantity, and I know today in your presentation you talked about the amount of traffic coming through your site and the amount of prospects you had coming in. Can you talk a little bit more about that for our listeners? 

Taylor: Yeah. So yeah, so in 2017, I think we had 110 prospects come through our website, scheduled phone calls with us through our website, which was great. And I was on cloud nine, we’re having three phone calls a week with people or four, whatever it is. And I was really excited and I’m like, “I feel like I’m busy. That’s a good thing.” I just realized towards the end of that year, like, man, that was a lot of work. Most of the people that scheduled phone calls with me weren’t really a good fit. So I’m not only wasting my time and my team’s time, but I’m wasting their time as well. 

And so in 2018 we got clear on our website about who we work with, what we do, who we don’t work with, what we don’t do. Just got really, really clear, and so our phone calls last year, I think we got them down to like 50 something, 52 or 55 something like that, so cute in half last year, and this year we’re probably on track for something closer, I don’t know, 20s, 30s or something like that. 

But really high quality conversations with people who truly are a potential fit for us. And at this stage, the people scheduling phone calls with us, it’s either not a personality fit, or there’s some unique service that they’re looking for that we just can’t offer. So yeah, these days I’m just focused on quality over quantity. 100 prospect phone calls sounds great, especially to a new planner, but 100 prospect phone calls with people that aren’t a fit is not going to do anybody any good. So yeah. 

Matt: Right. And it’s just a giant waste of time and all your effort you’ve put into the website at that point too.

Taylor: Yeah. That said, it is a good learning experience. I think I said it actually on my last podcast here with you guys, was there is something to be said for just kind of getting at-bats, right? Like just getting opportunities, talking to potential prospects, overcoming objections, learning what questions they ask, thinking about what conversations really excite you and energize you and which ones don’t. And really, you can learn a lot about yourself and really grow as a financial planner by getting those opportunities. Maybe in the early days it’s not the worst thing to kind of put yourself out there and maybe have more phone calls than you normally would. The only thing I would just say is that if somebody is not a good fit, have a really, really, really good process in place for that person if they’re not a good fit. 

We have three financial advisors in town, they all kind of do something a little bit different. So if somebody’s not a fit, I will personally introduce them to one of these three advisors that I think is a good fit, and make that really easy for them. I never want to tell somebody you don’t have enough money, you’re not whatever, you’re not right stage of life. I want to say, “Loo, we’re just not an expert in what you need help with and this person is. I’d like to personally introduce you.” So have a process on the back end for people that aren’t a good fit. 

Matt: Yeah. And how have you refined your process? You said you’ve gone from 110 people coming through down to about 20-25. What have you been doing to narrow the focus and have more quality leads coming through your website? 

Taylor: Yeah, again, so on our website there’s a button that says start here. If you click the start here button, it goes to a start here page. And it really is just like a landing page, and that outlines pretty much everything that somebody would want to know about working with us as a firm. We’ve gotten really clear about what age group of people we work with, how much money they’ve saved up to this point. We specialize in retirement and retirement only, so if someone needs help with student loan debt, that’s not what we do. There’s three or four things front and center, it’s like, “This is who we work with. If this isn’t you, then you’re probably not in the right place.” That’s been really helpful. And I think the title of that section is like how do I know if I’m a good fit? And it’s like, “This is how you’ll know if you’re a good fit.”

Then, below that, we have an FAQ section with five questions that I was getting from these phone calls that just like they weren’t a good fit. One of them was, “Do you do hourly work?” No, we don’t do hourly work, so I made that really clear on the FAQ question. We don’t do hourly work. Here’s why. I explain it, and then give them some resources to go find an hourly financial planners. Yeah, that one, single page and putting all that information on there has been really, really helpful in reducing the number of phone calls. And we’ve increased fees and increased our minimums as well, which has certainly reduced the quantity. 

Matt: Right. Are you stating those fees again on that page just to narrow out people who aren’t willing to pay that fee?

Taylor: Contrary to a lot of opinions out there, we don’t put our fees front and center on this page. I think I’m in a camp that I think people have a really, really hard time trying to connect a dollar amount to the value that we provide as a financial advisor. That’s really challenging for somebody. And so our process is all about showing them the value that we add. We do a whole upfront financial plan at no cost for them just to show them what we do. I mean, I’m sure you’ve had the question like, “What does a financial planner actually do?” Right? And so really showing them the value that we provide instead of upfront saying, “We charge $10,000 for a financial plan.” Someone’s like, “I’m never paying $10,000 for a financial plan.”

But if you can help them connect the value to the fee, I think it’s a much better experience all around. But again, we found some other ways. I’m a bigger fan of if you do have a minimum, whether it’s an asset minimum or a fee minimum or a number of engagements minimum, whatever it might be, I think that’ll help weed out some of these people. Because if you require a three month contract you should put that on there, because if somebody’s looking for just a one-time meeting, then you’re not a good fit. We use more that those minimums and the type of person that we’re looking for, rather than just putting the fee front and center on the website and hoping that they can connect the value to that fee. 

Matt: Right. And the website’s purpose is just to get that 15 minute call on the books and then, from there, you can gain more context to what your fee is actually paying?

Taylor: Yeah, and like I shared with you, I mean step-by-step by step internally and externally there’s a process, and every step of the way we’re setting expectations with that potential client in making sure that there are no stones unturned. I never want there to be any surprise. I don’t want them to get to this point where like, “Oh man, I wish you would have told me this on the first day.” I don’t want that ever to happen. As they go step-by-step through our process, our process takes about four to six weeks to go through, we’re educating them, we’re giving them more information, we’re helping them connect the value to our services so that they’re never surprised. 

By the very end when we are all working together to make a decision whether we’re a good fit or not, both us and the potential client, that there’s no surprises. They know exactly what they’re getting and exactly what they’re paying for it. We’ve just been really clear and really intentional about setting those expectations all the way through the process. 

Matt: Great. Yeah, that’s a really great tip. And for those out there who have answered those questions and may say that marketing is something they enjoy and they’re as passionate about it as you are, what are some really good starting resources that they should be looking at to do work on their website, or start a podcast or start a blog.?

Taylor: I’ve been attending for the last, I don’t know, five years a conference called FinCon. It’s a bunch of financial bloggers, and authors, and podcasters and YouTubers, and it’s been a great inspiration to learn from a lot of these different people. That could be a good resource for people that want to take that next step in the marketing world. As you know, I’ve got a podcast called Experiments in Advisor Marketing, people can follow along there to learn some of the stuff that I’m doing. Gosh, yeah. Outside of that, I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head. 

Matt: Yeah, and I mean it sounds like there’s so much moving in the marketing side of what we do as financial planners. It’s a legitimate career path within a financial planning firm. 

Taylor: Yeah.

Matt: Yeah.

Taylor: Yeah, you can certainly take on that role within a marketing firm. Some of our peers have done just that recently actually. But yeah, I would say connect with people like myself that have a passion for this, and we have a mastermind group that we set up with four or five of us that all kind of like to do this stuff and share ideas and collaborate. There are some marketing firms and blogs out there that you can certainly follow along with, but yeah. 

Matt: Yeah. And what’s the name of your advisor podcast again?

Taylor: It’s called Experiments in Advisor Marketing, and really, I don’t have all the answers. I’m on my own journey myself. I try things all the time that fail and don’t work, and I just kind of want to document and share what’s working, what hasn’t worked, what we’re doing right now, sharing what other people are doing. Steven Fox was on the podcast last month. He’s done something really, really, really cool and so I wanted to share that with everybody.

It’s just been a way for me to learn from other people, learn by documenting, yeah. It’s just been a really fun process. The podcast is just once a month. It’s a different topic every single time, and it’s been a lot of fun. 

Matt: Yeah, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far. It’s fun to listen to. So just one last question for you. If you were to give anyone one piece of advice to get started on their marketing journey, what would it be? 

Taylor: Pick one thing. Like seriously, just pick one thing. Whether it’s, “I want to post more on social media,” then pick one social media platform, ignore all the others and just focus on that one single platform and own it, and be the best person you can be on that one single platform. And once you master it, then you can move on to platform number two. 

If it’s in the kind of content generation area, if it’s blogging, start a blog, start writing, ignore all the other noise, get a consistent schedule going and just stay committed to that and just be the best possible writer that you can be. I think the trap we all fall into is, again, podcasting is the hit thing right now. “I should start a podcast,” or, “YouTube looks like a lot of fun. There’s a huge opportunity there. I’m going to go try that.” You can’t be good at everything, you can’t do it all, so I would say pick one thing, do it, own it, be consistent, do a really good job, and then you can kind of start to stack some things on top of it. 

Matt: So don’t overwhelm yourself from go gate right? 

Taylor: Yeah. 

Matt: Get out of the gate.

Taylor: Yeah, don’t be paralyzed by all these different resources and stuff out there. Yeah. Just if something’s telling you like, “I want to write, I really want to start a blog,” start a blog. Who cares? You don’t need traffic on day one. You don’t need to optimize your posts on day one. Just create a content calendar, regularly post, and start to build it out from there. 

Matt: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Taylor. I really enjoyed it. I’m excited to see where your podcast goes, where your website goes, and I’m sure we’ll see more from you in the future.

Taylor: Thanks for having me.