Financial Advisors

The Number One Driver of Marketing Success for Advisors

To be successful at marketing, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work. And then comes a tricky part: deciding how involved to be in that work and what to outsource.

In this episode, Matt Halloran and Kirk Lowe help you make those decisions. They uncover the number one driver of marketing success that has worked for them, their clients, and major industry leaders. Then, they share five powerful tips for boosting your engagement, no matter which marketing technique you decide to use.

Matt and Kirk discuss:

  • When you need to be all-in in your marketing
  • How to be more resourceful and find marketing opportunities that are often overlooked
  • Steps to build a system that allows for automation (without compromising a personalized client experience)
  • Why they say, “You can’t sell as a thought leader”
  • And more

Transcript:

 

Intro:

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Top Advisor Marketing Podcast, brought to you by ProudMouth. I'm your host Matt Halloran. Being your own loud is not new to marketing, but the mindset, strategies, and resources to help you get there are evolving faster than this industry is keeping up. It is time to find a new perspective on what works, why, and how to move your business forward. Listen as I interview guests to help you learn from them how to be your own loud. Let's get to the show.

Matt Halloran:

[00:00:34] Hello and welcome to another Top Advisor Marketing Podcast. A lot of things have happened just this last week for Kirk and I. We've had a lot of major epiphanies and a lot of really great conversations. And so, what we decided to do today was we'd started to distill all of this into the podcast that we are calling the number one driver of marketing success.

[00:00:53] When you talk to as many people as Kirk and I do, unbelievable things end up happening. So, we're going to dive [00:01:00] into each of these things, but really, what we want you to take away is, you have to do the work. Now, I'm spoiling it a little bit, Kirk, but I want to make sure that everybody understands that we're going to talk about the fact that you actually have to do some work here. Where do we begin, Kirk? And this started with a conversation you had very recently.

Kirk Lowe:

[00:01:18] Well, honestly, Matt, you and I have been epiphanizing since we met, but this one is not necessarily new. It's just coming more and more into focus as, and I think it's partially because as our company grows and gets more respect from other companies, we have access to top people at those companies.

[00:01:25] And for some reason, because of our honesty and I think how we do this podcast, we get a lot of people speaking quite openly and candidly. And we're not going to name names today, but I can tell you that we've had some conversations with some of the top [00:02:00] marketing people working, helping experts, and in particular financial advisors and RIAs.

[00:02:03] And there's a common theme here not just within our company but within these other leading companies. And we're going to talk about the number one driver of success today. For no matter what you're doing in marketing, it comes down to the same thing, and that's really embracing the grind.

[00:02:25] Marketing, just like other areas of your business, is a grind and you gotta be prepared to win, but we're going to break down what that means. Where do you work? Where do you focus? Where can you outsource? What can't you, what can you absolutely not outsource? And I think that'll have a huge impact.

[00:02:44] And I guess this really came to a head and we decided to do a podcast about it today because earlier this week, I was speaking with the director of one of the more reputable and largest lead-generation companies that's got a lot of people who listen to us all the time. And he said, “Kirk, [00:03:00] Matt, you guys are always beating up on the concept or the idea of lead generation.” In fact, we've been so bold as to say that lead generation is dead.

Matt:

[00:03:07] Yup.

Kirk:

[00:03:08] We have slides on it. We've talked about it in this podcast. And I think the truth is, lead generation, as we know it or the concept or how it happens, is dying. And maybe it's a slower death than we would like because of the, maybe the adoption of it by this industry. But not only the adoption by the industry, but the marketers who insist on doing things the old way and trying to figure out how to squeeze results out of that.

[00:03:39] But with a smarter and more discerning consumer these days, these tactics are falling shorter and shorter. And the cost to get where you want to, and really, the long-term cost of these approaches, is really tough on a business.

Matt:

[00:03:55] And we're going to talk about one of the big things that you learned this week. It’s that there is a [00:04:00] way to integrate. After that statement that Kirk just made, I want everybody to know we are not going to discriminate against any sort of marketing tactic here. We're going to talk about the number one factor that any marketing technique that you use, you can be successful if you do these things that we're going to outline. So that was super, super great conversation.

[00:04:20] We're not going to use any names of any companies, as you said. By the way, they were guests on the Top Advisor Marketing Podcast recently that's probably coming out before this one. I was amazed at his eloquence on how he communicated who they are and what they do we do, but we, but what's fun is we dug just a couple of layers underneath. You and I both have had conversations with the guy. Tell me what you found out.

Kirk:

[00:04:43] The recurring theme is, like I started with a couple minutes ago, is really just doing the work. Like marketing success is absolutely an utter grind. It doesn't mean you need to be the only one grinding, but [00:05:00] you need to figure out what you can hand off and what you can't hand off.

[00:05:03] And the stuff you can't hand off, you gotta work hard at. You got to be involved. So, we're going to talk about how to break down different parts of that grind. And the first one, and probably the overarching one that changes whether or not you're going to have any chance of success, is your attitude and mindset.

[00:05:20] So what I mean by this is there seems to be a mindset for the most successful people compared to the less successful people that work with all of our peers. And it’s this: The people who have less success depend almost solely on the people that they hire for marketing to be 100% accountable for all results. And if you were listening, if you caught, or if I explained it well enough a minute before that, the reality is that the people who know what they can't hand off and how engaged they [00:06:00] need to be in that, understand that truth.

[00:06:03] You have to figure that out for yourself. If you hire a marketing company to do your marketing for you unequivocally 100% and you are not even involved and you don't even talk about it and you're not all in, right out of the gate, your chances of success are significantly less. And I'm not talking like 10% less.

[00:06:26] I'm talking like 50 to 75 or 80 or 100 percent less. You have to be involved here. And I'll give some examples as we go through there so that you'll understand instances of where you need to be engaged. But ultimately, if you take a mindset of who's accountable for my success, is that somebody else I'm pushing this out to?

[00:06:47] Or is it me? And the more you are accountable, the more likely you'll get more out of the people you hire, if that makes sense. You still need to hire really good marketing people to do the work that they're going to [00:07:00] take away from you, but be very strategic about it.

Matt:

[00:07:04] The greatest rock stars of all times, right? We've talked about rock stars. We talk about sports professionals. We can talk about all of those different sorts of people. What happens is, Kirk just said all in, and I'm going to take a moment to just expand on that. When you're about to meet with a client, you should have a pre-game mental exercise so that you have removed every other distraction in order to pay 100% attention to what you're doing at that period of time.

[00:07:28] You can't be thinking about what you're having for lunch. You can't, because then you're not truly listening and paying attention to the person that you're interacting with.

[00:07:38] Marketing is exactly the same way. When you're about to monitor, one of the greatest quotes that I heard recently on a podcast was, “It doesn't matter if you have 10 followers or a million followers, all that matters is that your fans feel like you care.” And Kirk, when you're talking about some of the stuff that you have to do, you hire a company like us or many other companies, and we do all of this marketing work for you.

[00:08:00] And if your fans say something, you have to be around some time to respond to the fans to make sure that they feel well taken care of. And those people who do that are really taking it also to the next level. But I want to get back to the all-in. Somebody had said to me, “Well, Matt, you know what? I'm a professional financial advisor. I've been through these meetings, hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Why do I need to practice for it?”

[00:08:25] I just go back to Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan could be the greatest basketball player of all time, that's up for discussion, but it doesn't matter because he still practiced. When was the last time that you practiced? And part of practicing is getting in that mindset that Kirk was talking about in order to make you be all-in when you need to be in marketing.

Kirk:

[00:08:43] Yeah. If you are paying attention to what's going on in your marketing and you're engaged, you get better and better at how you engage. And if you've followed me, I'm a pretty good example of that, or [00:09:00] really good example of that because I wasn't always good at social media.

[00:09:03] In fact, I'm so much better now than I ever was. And it's crazy to think of how my engagement in social media has lifted. It just keeps growing, like compounding. It's really interesting. The phenomena around when you get good at it, not only do you get better at commenting but your thought leadership, like how it evolves and how many more instances you realize there are opportunities for you to share something that you might know.

[00:09:40] And on other people's posts as well as the engagement on your own posts, it's really interesting. But it's hard to get there if you're never here, if you're never in the game. We're getting ahead of ourselves but ––

Matt:

[00:09:52] We are. But hold on. Because what you just said, we have to highlight this. One of the things that happens with Kirk, if you follow Kirk, and if you [00:10:00] don't, please do, is he will end up commenting on somebody's post or commenting on a comment on his post.

[00:10:07] And guess what that creates? Kirk, I'm just going to ask you. When you do a thoughtful response to somebody else's posts, what does Jessica, our marketing lead, do with those responses a lot of times?

Kirk:

[00:10:18] Yeah, at least 50%, I don't know if that's right. It doesn't really matter, the percentage. What often happens is my comments, and we're talking about LinkedIn here, I'm trying to be better at it. And what happens is my comments, what inspires a comment is usually to go in further detail or take a different perspective. It's usually playing off somebody else's perspective and that has a huge impact on our next message, because it's like, I'm constantly creating more content and better content because it's, I don’t know if raw is really the right word, but it's just, dig deeper and new stuff comes up.

[00:10:59] And [00:11:00] our social media team here are thrilled all the time because the more engaged, the easier it is to be good. So, it's just like this compounding, building and building. It's like a snowball going down a hill. It just gets bigger and better and faster. I mean, maybe it's not the best example because the snowball eventually crashes and wipes out some kind of building or a person, right? Depending on if it's a cartoon.

Matt:

[00:11:26] We’re talking about mindset here and we're talking about being all-in. So that's point number one and point number two of the key reasons why you're going to be successful in any sort of marketing component. Being all in, being in the right mindset and doing the grind.

Kirk:

[00:11:41] Another thing. There's one other part to being all-in and that's really, building hype. Our podcast, we talk about it all the time. We love our podcasts. We love the fact that we've gotten a lot better. If you go and listen to the first one compared to now, it’s a huge difference. [00:12:00] But we're not, I'm not, neither of us are embarrassed.

[00:12:03] I guess it'd be more my case, because I'm newer to this than you, but I love the fact that I've gotten so much better. I'm not afraid to show anybody. And I think that shows a lot of growth and commitment. I haven't done nearly as many as you cause I'm not on all our episodes. But it's a great place.

[00:12:22] It's been an incredible journey. The people who talk about their marketing, who are excited about it, who have a lot of pride in it, who make sure, as you said, practice. Practice is also having a game plan going into every situation. So, if you're going to have a meeting with a client, and you don't talk about your podcast, that's a massive missed opportunity.

[00:12:41] Massive, because what could you do? You could ask them, have you listened to it? No. Why haven't you? Well, I thought it was for your prospects. Okay. Why did you feel that way? Well, you don't really know, the stuff you talk about, you've already done the work for me. So, what could I do in the podcast that would make you excited? [00:13:00] And when I come in here, we talk about golf, gardening, travel. Why don't you talk about those?

[00:13:04] Because you always have, you always seem to know somebody who has a great vacation spot. Because you, so you've got all this wisdom, life experience, that I find so endearing when we meet, but you never talk about it.

[00:13:17] So what if that, actually, conversation drove you to make an adjustment to your podcasts that made your podcast go through the roof? And you never got to experience that because you never talked to anybody about it.

Matt:

[00:13:28] Yup.

Kirk:

[00:13:29] And that's a lot closer to a real example than just me waxing philosophically.

Matt:

[00:13:35] Yeah. Okay. So that was number two. Number one is making sure that you have the right mindset. Number two is being all-in. What's number three?

Kirk:

[00:13:42] Number three is being resourceful. And I'm going to share a story with you, but the truth is, there are opportunities all around us. And if we're in the game, those opportunities will be present because we're always thinking about them.

[00:13:55] But if you're not in the game and you [00:14:00] don't want to have anything to do with marketing or your marketing, and you want to completely outsource it or just disregard it, these things will never come into your focus. But here's a neat example of being resourceful.

[00:14:16] I like to think of marketing as being a tool to solve problems in a business. I think it's a really interesting way to think about marketing. And my favorite story, and if you've gone way back to when we started, you probably heard the story before, but I haven't told it for a long time. So, I'm going to retell it. When you're in the game, you're acutely aware when opportunities come up. Many years ago, over a decade ago, I met a company who were managing about 800 million in assets.

[00:14:42] They had some major problems in their company and they were wondering how my company could help with their marketing. And this was before we were doing podcasting. And I sat in this boardroom for a couple of hours and listened to story after story after story about how they sell their [00:15:00] product.

[00:15:01] And their biggest problem was that the two principals in the company, who were father and son, were constantly the only people that any of their customers ever wanted to deal with. So, they were traveling around doing seminars, promoting their product. They would have them come to client events and present to their clients or their prospective clients.

[00:15:20] They were also the only ones that wanted to talk about it, understand their investment process and all this stuff. It was, and they were tired, and the truth is they couldn't spend any time working in their business. So, after sitting there listening to their story, they had a national sales team as well, which was really odd because they were basically, they had a national sales team that was basically a booking service, if that makes sense.

[00:15:42] And maybe they were managing relationships once they got in, but they weren't really doing sales or more sales support than admin. Anyway, after hearing like 25 stories, I realized that what was happening here is that the sales team was not empowered to be seen as good as the [00:16:00] owners. And what ended up happening was we took their five best stories and we created content that showcase that.

[00:16:07] And then we gave these, we did two things with those videos. We gave those videos to the sales team and empowered them. So, we replaced the need because now, we also gave a lot more empowerment to the advisors who were selling their investment process. And what this did was it allowed the two principals not to be in the business traveling all the time.

[00:16:30] So they get to work on different things in their business. So, they weren't able to outsource something. So, they leveraged their best ability, which is telling stories and understanding how to tell great stories. Sent that out and they grew. Then they spent more time on their business and grew from 800 million assets to 3.6 billion within two years.

[00:16:50] It's a really incredible story. That was, they would never have been there if they didn't figure out how to adjust their thinking and be looking for [00:17:00] opportunities. As it turns out, they ended up hiring a company to help them figure that all out and I'm happy I was a part of it. It really wasn't rocket science for us, but I understand it was hard for them. But you have to be really in the game thinking about how to be different and how to be resourceful and find opportunities.

[00:17:18] It was an incredible opportunity for them because they were so immersed in the day-to-day that they couldn't figure it out. But you gotta be in the game enough that you can figure out how to be resourceful. Long story, hope it’s ––

Matt:

[00:17:28] Good story. That's huge. That's huge, unbelievable growth. It really brought us into the next category here because what you ended up helping them with was building a system. So, what they did was they shot the videos and then they used the videos and then they plugged that into their system so that they were able to scale the advisors’ time and the advisors’ impact and all of that stuff.

[00:17:49] Let's talk about the systems that are also vitally important for you to make sure that when you're in the grind, you're being as productive as you can be.

Kirk:

[00:18:00] There's little things in the system and there's bigger things. The bigger thing is having an automated approach to this. So, you can leverage.

[00:18:06] So you don't always have to be involved. And automated doesn't have to be a good or bad thing. Right? What I mean by that is, automated doesn't mean it can't be personalized and valuable, but you can't be obviously sending individual emails, doing individual videos. You have to figure out who your audiences are, the personas, why they reached out and contacted you, and make that kind of stuff work.

[00:18:30] But the little things are really how involved are you? Can you automate and create triggers for the stuff that you shouldn't or don't need to be involved in that don't detract any value? Making sure that you've got a good capture form that sends a trigger to an automated system that sends out great information, like that kind of simple stuff.

[00:18:52] And are you making sure that in your podcast, that you have a really strong call to action? And that that call to action isn't going to get [00:19:00] lost on people so that people are actually engaging it? So, the little things like that. But the big things are having the system in place and having the right marketing people.

[00:19:10] You don't have to be the person that creates the marketing system. You don't have to be the person that goes out and gets the leads or awareness, but you do have to make sure that the systems all work together and there's no gaps in it. A lot of lead generation systems, one of the big places that they fail is that there's no authenticity.

[00:19:31] There's no way to differentiate you. So, a big part of that is, do you have a brand? Do you know how to tell stories in the stuff that you send out? Or do you seem like a marketing machine? You know that, oh, they're just now in their sales process, their sales funnel. Can you make it seem like they're not in a funnel?

[00:19:49] Can you create so much value that they don't even care that they're in a funnel because you're blowing their mind, where it's all about them and not about you? So, when you create [00:20:00] that system, do you have a brand? Are you telling stories? And one of the most important things of all: Are you actually educating them?

[00:20:07] That's why I talked about value. If this is all about them, they'll know that. They'll be way more likely to be engaged. But how many times do you start off, does your LinkedIn profile talk about you? Is it talking about your audience and getting them to where they want to go?

[00:20:22] Like, how, are you really committed to educating them? And put that in a system and do the little things, and you are way further ahead than most people are in marketing. But if you think you don't have to do that, and you can just hire an authentic marketing company, like the people that work with us best have other things that they're filling the gaps with.

[00:20:43] And as a company, ProudMouth, we are challenged every day to try to figure out what the best formula is. We're getting closer and closer to it. Please don't take that as a “I'm not going to come work with you guys for a couple of years because we're already doing great stuff.” But [00:21:00] we are constantly evolving and getting better and looking at new partnerships and that we definitely don't have our head in the sand. I can tell you that much.

Matt:

[00:21:08] Well, and it's important for us to stay agile, right? Because digital marketing is a constantly moving bogie, right? You have to make sure that you're keeping up to the times. I just had a call yesterday, Kirk, with this gentleman who was referred to us, which is how we generally go through LinkedIn.

[00:21:27] Right? So, I listened to the podcast. And one of the things that he said was, “Matt, I don't know what I'm going to talk about on the podcast.” And I was on his website and I said, “Well, hold on here. You say this, this, this, this, this on your website.” And he's like, “Well, yeah, of course I do.” I said, “Do you know that there's a big difference between the name of your company and your logo and you living your brand?”

[00:21:50] Of course, I learned this from you, Kirk. And so, I went on this three-minute, little explanation on living the brand, and that's one of the things that I'm hearing from you right now when [00:22:00] you're talking about any of the things that we've talked about up until now. Attitude and mindset. You need to live your brand. Being all-in.

[00:22:06] Well, you need to be all-in on your messaging all the time when you're sitting down meeting with clients, prospects, and centers of influence. You need to be resourceful, but in being resourceful, you also have to make sure that what your resources are, are going to reinforce your big picture brand message.

[00:22:22] And then the systems. This is where I think we have found a major epiphany, at least more recent epiphany, which is how we plug into systems, right? We add the authenticity that you were just talking about. We add your voice. We add your thought leadership by utilizing our system here because we're capturing not only your voice and putting it out as a podcast, but we're capturing your voice as a social media component to make sure that your voice is getting out there.

[00:22:51] And then you take those things and you plug that into the system. And so, if there are gaps, I believe that we fill those gaps very, very [00:23:00] successfully, no matter what other marketing.

Kirk:

[00:23:02] I'm not sure enough companies really understand who they are. And it's hard to be a thought leader if you don't know who you are. Having a propensity to want to educate is great. And that'll help you get there. I'm not saying that you shouldn't start educating people before you figure it out, because that can really help you fine tune it.

[00:23:25] But I can tell you this. Here's a story about a company I worked with many years ago. I was in their boardroom in California, and had a whole bunch of executives around the table. They wanted to do better at marketing. They thought they needed a new brand and they thought their brand was A, and it was really like K. What I mean by that is the thing that ended up being a huge driver for their brand was something they didn't even realize.

[00:23:52] It was way down the list. And somebody started talking about their, what do they call it, the transition? So, when an [00:24:00] advisor transitioned to this company, they had a process, a transition process. And when I learned more about the process and knowing enough about other broker dealers, I realized there was a distinct competitive advantage for them. The story of it would ease almost every, the most –– What's the biggest problem with when people transition? What's the number one fear advisors have?

Matt:

[00:24:23] Oh, sure, losing clients.

Kirk:

[00:24:25] Losing clients and then it's going to be a huge distraction in their practice. Those kinds of things are almost equivalent, if this makes sense. This one thing obliterated the need for that to be a fear because their transition process was so amazing. I couldn't believe the amount of resources they dedicated to it and how easy they made it. They use that as a much bigger, it became a big part of this whole section of their website.

[00:24:56] It made it to the front page of what makes them different. And I'm going to [00:25:00] tell you they've won awards and they grew like crazy. It had nothing to do with really anything that I did. I know that it sounds like I'm being modest. And what I mean is that sometimes, you can come in and pinpoint something small and It makes such a profound difference.

[00:25:17] It wasn't really that difficult, but you need to figure it out sometimes. You get out of the office and think about what really makes you different. Talk to people. Bring people into your world. Have people that you can go to. For us, we have a branding expert. A cult branding expert on call, he's on retainer.

[00:25:36] And we leverage him all the time. Just sometimes, it's just to run things by, that we're thinking, and it can have a huge impact. It's like constantly having your wing man. You and I do that for each other, but we've got this other person with this different perspective that comes in and really keeps us on track and tells us what is a great idea and what maybe doesn't resonate as [00:26:00] much.

[00:26:00] And it's been really helpful. So, I think you need to figure out what your story is. You need to figure out what your brand is. You need to be dedicated to educating and then put all that stuff into a system.

Matt:

[00:26:10] Right. Now, I want to just pause because this next section is going to be a little expansive and I'm going to –– Before we get into this, you and I, my son asked me about this so I have to personalize this for a moment. My son and I were driving around yesterday. We were talking about him starting his own business. So, he's been very interested in starting his own business. He wants to create a game store where people can play games and play D and D and all of these games that he plays.

[00:26:38] And there's a couple of them in town, but their business models are terrible. And he's realized that. He's like, dad, I don't even understand how these people make money. He said, well, how did you not make as many business mistakes this time around as you might've had in the past? I said, the big difference is our resourcefulness.

[00:26:53] So Kirk and I have, since we were both consultants, hired a lot of consultants to make sure that we [00:27:00] find people who are better, smarter, faster than we are that help us make those decisions in their specific area of expertise. And Kirk, that's what those people hired you for. So, here's the full circle. You might've thought it was easy to identify what about their process was so fundamentally unique and different.

[00:27:15] But the fact that they hired you because they knew that you would find that thing is the reason why we, or I, believe we have made such an exponential growth because we've surrounded ourselves with wicked smart people, because we are continuously educating ourselves and you and I both know that on the grand scheme of stuff, we don't know that much.

[00:27:34] We know what we know, but we want to be able to bring in other people to help us educate ourselves so that we can be better business owners. Is that a fair statement?

Kirk:

[00:27:41] Yes. And I'll also tell you that those, both those companies, the examples I showed, they were all-in on those meetings. I was worried that it was a little inefficient when I think there were eight executives in that one in California at the table. It [00:28:00] wasn't the top three or four people that came up with the idea that really said, well, it was somebody else. And I know they are an important part of the team because they were there, but you never know necessarily sometimes where the best ideas or the right ideas are going to come from.

[00:28:19] They were engaged and they had their whole team there. It was the same with the other one too, the father and son, there were other people in the room, but they had so much good stuff going on. It was really just helping them focus on the stuff that was the best.

Matt:

[00:28:33] Right.

[00:28:34] And stop worrying about the rest. The other 25 stories, only five really mattered. The other five or so, the other 20 were complicated. And they just didn't have the oomph. They were good, but five rose to the top. And man, did we ever leverage those? I think they ended up adding a couple more after we stopped working with them and they just got so big, they ended up kind of creating their own internal [00:29:00] marketing department. I would've liked to have stuck around and been a consultant, but it wasn't really part of our model then. So maybe my mistake, but anyway, are you ready for the next one?

Matt:

[00:29:11] Yeah. Yeah. I absolutely think that, but I want to warn everybody we're about to switch pretty substantial gears here, because Kirk is going to challenge you by asking you one question that might, if you're driving, you might want to pull over for this one.

Kirk:

[00:29:25] The question is, are you even a thought leader? If you come into wanting to do a podcast, as an example, and being really good at marketing, it's really important to figure out whether you're really committed to being a thought leader and what that actually means.

[00:29:42] So the first thing I would ask yourself is, do you want to educate or do you want to sell? If you want to sell, you're not a thought leader. Thought leadership marketing is not going to work for you. You need to get beyond that mindset. You have to be prepared to educate. The second one is, do you [00:31:00] actually enjoy educating?

[00:30:02] That's going to probably, if you do, it's probably going to dictate whether or not you can be consistent with this. Do you enjoy the process of, I'm going to list a couple of things here, understanding what your audience cares about? Do you actually know what your audience cares about? Do you listen to them? Or are you just one of those people who tells everybody what they need or what you think they need to hear?

[00:30:24] If you can really listen to your audience and you understand what they care about, you're going to be way better equipped to educate them on what they care about. Do you understand the process of what's important? People might say there's five things that are going on. Do you understand how to pick the top two?

[00:30:43] Do you understand how to do that? The other one is, do you understand the process of how to talk to your audience versus about yourself? If you take their problems and you don't spend much time talking about those and you jump right into solutions, do you understand the nuances of that? How to have a conversation, how to [00:31:00] tell stories, how to make people understand you care about them, things like that.

[00:31:04] And as I'm saying that, I'm challenging myself. Did we do a good enough job of that today? Preparing, do you understand the process of preparing for each podcast, blog, and video? We just talked about that. Are you all-in on showing up and giving your best in a podcast?

[00:31:21] Now I'm not talking about preparing for seven hours per episode. I mean, yes, we could do that. It's not practical. We actually had a client who was doing that. And about four months into podcasting, we didn't realize, I didn't realize anyway. And they came to us and they said, I'm really not sure I can sustain this podcast thing.

[00:31:43] And we're like, what do you mean? And he said, well, I'm putting about four hours into, four or five hours into each episode prepping for it. And we realized that they were writing against our advice. They were writing scripts out. I thought it was wonderful [00:32:00] preparation. Having said that, sometimes, the beauty of a podcast is having bullet points and having an outline to keep you focused, but letting this stuff just roll off the tongue. Anyway, that's not always good cause I get on rants, but hopefully there's some beauty in the rants more often than not.

[00:32:20] This last one I think is a really big one. We're seeing this as a challenge. And I've talked about it a little bit earlier and you talked about it. It’s being on when you use social media. If you're doing fly by social media. So, fly by social media means somebody that you know posts something that you like, it could be somebody else in your company.

[00:32:40] It could be somebody you're connected with, a partner. And if you just say, “Great post,” that's what I call fly-by. If you're not adding value to the conversation, I mean, if somebody has an award they won and you want to say, “congratulations,” you could get away with that, but you could also say, “Congratulations, you deserve this for [00:33:00] this reason, or here's why I know this is important to you.”

[00:33:04] Anytime you go, you really buy in and you're really on when you're in social media and you're trying to add value, your social media is going to hit a whole other level. And until you embrace that, it's really difficult to be good at social media. Your listeners, and as Matt and I were sharing earlier, the more engaged we are in our social media and commenting, that fuels more content. It fuels me developing as a thought leader because I understand I'm paying attention. I'm trying to go deeper and more detail and understand how to respond to people.

[00:33:44] I'm getting them thinking more and people recognize that. The engagement we've had since one, we're doing longer form posts on LinkedIn as an example with really thoughtful things for our audience to try and understand where they're at. And the second one is, me [00:35:00] being way more engaged in commenting and being thoughtful.

[00:34:06] Our views, we have like five to 10X-ed our views and engagement. Here's another trick that, I know I said, it's one thing to tell everybody what they're doing wrong, but it's also important to tell them how to solve stuff. I'm not going to break this down today, but I'm going to lay a bomb or an egg, if you will.

Matt:

[00:34:22] There's a big difference between bombs and eggs there, my friend. Alright, keep going, keep going.

Kirk:

[00:34:26] I'm a part of a LinkedIn engagement pod. So, that is a group of like-minded professionals and there are about 25 to 30 of us. And we commit to each other to try to be involved in each other's content because for the most part, we're philosophically in line, but not necessarily on all things, which actually is really good for a group, by the way.

[00:34:49] It's good to have people who think differently. I started off a conversation with one of the largest, most respected lead-generation companies. I started off the conversation and I wish I was recording it because [00:35:00] it was just a golden conversation. I'm sure people would have loved to listen to it. I think we were at the opposite ends of the spectrum from a marketing perspective.

[00:35:07] You're here and we're over here and I'm not afraid to start this call by saying, I don't like the idea of how lead generation works in this industry. I have a real problem with it. It's short-term thinking. There's no relationship to it, blah, blah, blah. And oddly enough, the person on the other end says, yeah, totally get it.

[00:35:28] Actually, we’re there with you. We're trying to evolve how we do that. And if we hadn't set up this conversation and I wasn't honest with where I felt about it, having said that, I understand you're never going to get away from the need to create leads. I just prefer thinking it to be starting a relationship versus creating a lead.

[00:35:50] And that's that whole, do you want to talk? When somebody finally wants to work with you, do you want them to be a skeptic or do you want them to be a fan? And lead generation, the traditional sense of it [00:36:00] creates a lot of skeptics that you have to sell, sell, sell to, and that's very painful for most businesses.

[00:36:05] The idea of the fan and building relationships. The problem is, how do we get people that we start relationships with becoming actual leads? And that is the chasm. And that's a chasm that at ProudMouth, we're so dedicated to solving. We're getting better and better at it all the time. And that may feel like a cop out like, oh, you guys must not be that good.

[00:36:28] Now, I can tell you this, whether or not the lead thing is happening at the level that you want to, if you're doing authentic content, you're creating equity in your marketing that most other marketing never happens.

Matt:

[00:36:43] Right.

Kirk:

[00:36:44] When I give you an example, if I was at 50 recorded episodes on my podcast and I was putting into it and I was getting better and I was evolving. At the end of those 50 episodes, my marketing, if my lead generation is not working out the way I want it to, I still have 50 episodes. [00:37:00] At some point, I'm going to figure it out. You're going to figure it out and be better at how to leverage that. Build hype, have the systems, you got 50 episodes. Those 50 episodes are worth a lot.

[00:37:09] Like it's huge. So don't give up on authentic content because you haven't figured out the system, you haven't dedicated the right resources. Figure out how to move and fix that and leverage those. Do not put off authentic content creation because you're not quite ready yet. Like, you can still have a lot.

[00:37:30] Maybe what you do is you don't spend a lot on the marketing side and you just focus on the content creation until you're ready to put the systems in. So, in other words, you just do a podcast with us or somebody else and don't worry about all the social that goes with it yet. But by all means, it's huge to start being a thought leader, figuring out how you can be better and better at it.

Matt:

[00:37:47] Oh no. Hold on. You said something that I need to, we need to transition here cause we're running a little long in the tooth there, homie. So, here's the first thing. You said something I've never heard you say before. [00:38:00] And do we talk all the time? And here's what you said. You can't sell and be a thought leader. That came out of your mouth.

[00:38:08] That was such a powerful statement because it's the antithesis of being a thought leader. I'm not saying thought leaders don't sell, but you can't sell as a thought leader. Does that make sense?

Kirk:

[00:39:22] Yes. And what's funny is, I have that. Where did I have that?

Matt:

[00:38:27] It’s not on this thing, dude. I totally just looked for it. It's so funny. I love it, this is one of the other things that is the other value of podcasting is, you have the opportunity generally as a conversational based podcast, which is what we recommend that you do, to have people reflect things back to you. And also, what I do with you often is give you the space to continue to flesh out ideas.

[00:38:52] And what ends up happening is you come up with brilliant crap like that. Now here's the thing, hold on, before you go, hold on, hold on, the summary [00:39:00] that you have written on the mind map is going to clarify that point and allow us to go ahead and have a nice book-end to this podcast. So why don't you go ahead? And let's take what we've said here, the major key points, right?

[00:39:14] Which is that, you have to have the right attitude and the right mindset when you're going to truly be the driver of marketing success. Number two is being all-in. Three, the resourcefulness. Four, building a complete system and then five, asking yourself the big question, which is, are you even a thought leader? Which led me to ––

Kirk:

[00:39:32] Or are you committed to being a thought leader?

Matt:

[00:39:34] Yeah. Committed.

Kirk:

[00:39:35] I think probably it’s the better question, but I’m realizing that now.

Matt:

[00:39:39] And the number one driver to all of this success in marketing is knowing where you have to be all-in. You don't have to be all-in in the content creation. You don't have to be all-in in the syndication, in the show notes, in the blogs, and the videos that you do.

[00:39:58] That's the component that you [00:40:00] can outsource. Outsource that stuff to the professional. But we call it the rockstar approach here, right? So, when you come in with us, we hand you the microphone, you do your gig, you drop the mic and we do the rest up until the point where you have to be all-in. And that's what Kirk is talking about, bringing it up in your client meetings, being interactive on social media, talking about your podcast when you're out and about, and making sure that you are highlighting different opportunities to have people listen because you're so proud of the content you've created that you want to tell the world.

Kirk:

[00:40:31] Well, I'm going to use your analogy right there to tell the summary, if I can. So, a rockstar focuses on their craft. They got to write great music and that music is going to showcase who they are and their talents, but ultimately, it's for the people that love their sound and their style and what they do.

[00:40:55] And the best rock bands know exactly who their audience is. [00:41:00] They don't try to sing for everybody, but they put the time in where it really counts, in there. And I guarantee you, they're talking or building hype around how excited they are about it. They don't just put an album out and they don't show up for PR and be excited out of love. They have their heart and soul into it and talk about it all the time.

[00:41:20] They're going to do that. The same goes for what you're doing to be all-in. And when Matt said you don't have to be all-in in your content creation, you don't have to be all-in to every part of it. You have to be all-in to the most important part, which is how to be a great thought leader.

[00:41:38] The first thing to do in summary is really your mindset. If you get the mindset straight, these other things are going to fall in place. Everything flows from here. So, here's my question to you. What's keeping you, if you've got the right mindset, the next thing is what's keeping you from the effort? Right?

[00:41:55] First one is attitude. We get that straight, everything rolls. And part of [00:42:00] that attitude is being accountable for marketing success, not trying to push accountability to other people because ultimately, it's you. The people that get, I find that I've always gotten the most out of any project I've been involved in are the ones that take accountability beyond themselves to make sure that we're doing the right stuff for them.

[00:42:18] They're always questioning. They're challenging in a really constructive manner versus just trying to aim for perfection or their way versus the professional's way, but they're always there understanding and they're involved and engaged. The second one is the budget. Do you actually have the right resources? Or are you putting enough resources into actually getting something out of it?

[00:42:41] If you show up, if you don't have the right amount, time, energy, money, whatever it is, to commit to it, you gotta figure out what you can do well, and you gotta focus on that. So, speaking of focus, are you, do you have, or have you identified a niche? Do you even know where to spend your time?

[00:42:59] If you're trying to [00:43:00] be everything to everybody on your social media or in your podcast, good luck. It's very difficult, right? You got to find your focus and your niche and you got to stick to it. So, a niche reflects your expertise and your audience and those things better connect. In other words, your audience better really care about what your niche expertise is. If they don't, you gotta figure that out. Go hire somebody, a coach, a consultant, a branding person, to take you through that process.

[00:43:27] The next one is the role. I find a lot of, it's really difficult for any business owner to be involved in all areas that they need to be strong and to be a successful business. We have, I don't know that there's this in-house mentality, I still find exists more often than it ought to. For us, outsourcing has been a tremendous part of our growth as a company.

[00:43:48] We have a fractional CFO who adds a ton of value. Guy has been doing CFO strategy and stuff for 30 years. How can I compete with that? [00:44:00] Can I hire an operations person? We can't afford to have a full-time finance person in our company, but the fractional CFO comes in and he's got us structured in a way that if a big company or anybody wanted to know how well organized we are, I mean, we're organized now.

[00:44:21] We weren't before he came. So, what's another couple examples? Oh, data and analytics. We just hired somebody. But before that, we had a consultant help us find out how to take stats and bring them to our clients, stuff like that. Like all kinds of good stuff, anyway.

Matt:

[00:44:41] So, we've also got, so we also outsourced somebody to help us build the Influence Accelerator Academy. We outsourced somebody to help us with our email and marketing campaigns and making sure that our contact management system is set up. We've hired a social media writing consultant. I mean, dude, the list is very, very robust, but, [00:45:00] where else do you want to go with this?

Kirk:

[00:45:02] One of our more successful clients has three different key outsourced help. One is SmartAsset, and one is us, ProudMouth. And one is Indyfin who connect the two of those companies and focuses. And they're having lots of success using all three of those companies. And actually, the guy's name is Jeremy Keil. And he actually just did a very robust go-through on a Michael Kitces podcast, which is available on kitces.com.

[00:45:36] And I know that he's doing another one upcoming. So, if you follow Jeremy and I don't think he minds that, I think he loves helping his peers. He's just so into what he's doing and what he's learning and the successes that he's having. And really, he's just getting started. I can't wait to be five years in with Jeremy.

[00:45:54] Anyway, we give him shout outs all the time, because he took a picture of himself wearing one of our hats. [00:46:00] And we love that. The role is a big one. You gotta choose what you want to be good at to get to the next level. And you got to figure that stuff out. You can't do all of it, but you gotta be involved enough in it.

[00:46:10] Right? So, we hired a fractional CFO. We're really still involved in it, but we hand out a bunch of work that we're not good at for them to come back and we learn. That's another big thing. Sometimes you can outsource to experts and slowly have your team learn how to do it. And then your team is way more competent at it and you don't need that expert anymore.

[00:46:30] And you're paying them to train and to set you up for success and avoid a lot of mistakes and headaches, and then your team can take it over. So, you have even more cost control. Like it's an amazing evolution. I call it like the draft-and-develop model in sports, where you bring in an expert, a consultant, to help advance the experience and wisdom and expertise of other people that can make a huge impact. Time management is another one.

Matt:

[00:46:56] What the hell is that noise?

Kirk:

[00:46:57] Yeah, let me just, I'm just going to wait and we'll just edit this out. [00:47:00] It's my family burning stuff. And honestly, okay, let's not. Let's leave this in. It's not, I got to be really honest here. That's usually me.

Matt:

[00:47:13] Oh my God.

Kirk:

[00:47:14] In my 21 years of working at home, I've burned food at least 50 times, more than 50. Probably a couple hundred because I put something on and then I realized, “Oh, I gotta go. I forgot I didn't finish that social message or that tweet or something. Or somebody replied, messaged me on Skype, and I want to come back to my desk.” And then 10 minutes later, because I am an absolute train when I get on something, right?

[00:47:41] I miss notifications when I'm focused. I was watching the Leafs hockey game last night, and somebody in my family was trying to talk to me, I think it was my wife. And she's like, are you there? I'm just like, I was so [00:48:00] excited about the hockey playoffs coming, mostly because of the Leafs. I feel like they have a chance.

[00:48:06] And of course, in the first couple of minutes, their captain gets destroyed and he's in the hospital and we're hoping that his career's not over. It's bad. Yeah. It was absolutely horrific. And then, anyway, so let's leave this in. Back to the thing at hand. The other part of focus that I worry about for lots of people.

[00:48:25] And we're trying to get better at this even inside our organization, it’s time management. How do you make time to do all these things? Be challenging yourself to go back and be better all the time, but really, your attitude. Do you have the budget? Do you have a niche focus? Are you trying to do too many roles?

[00:48:43] What you want to do is outsource the roles, but spend your time being engaged enough to move them forward. And what do you need to focus on to move your business to the next level? Sometimes, it might not be marketing right now. Maybe your business or your infrastructure is a mess or it needs to get way better so that you [00:49:00] become referrable internally, right?

[00:49:02] Just by having a great business model. If you're not there yet, maybe you shouldn't think about being a thought leader right now. You should go back and fix that stuff. Our academy, so I can throw in a wonderful call to action here, which I've been preaching to you guys to do, our Influence Accelerator Academy is not just about marketing. We've got some really cool professionals doing courses.

[00:49:22] One of them is Stephen Wershing who talks about an advisory board, which is an incredible thing to do, as I just spoke about what areas in your business do you focus on? And if you have an advisory board and they tell you, well, honestly, your communication or your reporting or the transition to your company when you move broker dealers or whatever that was, it was excruciating. Focus on making those things better.

[00:49:44] Maybe not your only focus, but figure that out. So, in our academy, we're going to be having more and more of these types of experts. We've got Bill Cates for heaven sakes who created a custom course for how we work in a new business. And we're really excited to push that one out soon [00:50:00] if it's not already there.

[00:50:01] And we get other incredible people. Plus, the amount of time that Matt and I are spending creating courses, and our team here at ProudMouth. Yeah. So, we hope you can visit our Influence Accelerator Academy. You can get to that through our ProudMouth.com website. We look forward to hearing from you and thanks so much for listening to our ramblings today.

[00:50:20] So sorry about the irritating fire smoke alarm. Good news is that they're working. It's a system in our house because every single one, they're all connected. So, the entire house, all of our smoke alarms go at the same time. Because they're wired through the house. Which I don't know if that is in the US, if that's a requirement.

Matt:

[00:50:40] It’s not. You guys are so far ahead of us. Yeah. All right. All right. So let me go ahead and that was a wonderful call to action. I'm just going to do one quick wrap up, and we’re going to go ahead and wrap up today's podcast. So, if you take anything away from the podcast, the number one thing is, you gotta be willing to do the work, right?

[00:50:57] And then you need to choose what that work [00:51:00] looks like, how involved you're going to be in that work and what you're going to outsource. But Kirk said something that I think I need to really pick up on and remind all of you, which is this. If you don't have focus, what Kirk talks about, niche, role, and time management.

[00:51:17] But if you don't have focus, especially on your niche, you are going to try to market into the sea of sameness and you don't have the budget to win that game. You don't have Ken Fisher's budget. You don't have Rick Edelman's budget. You don't have Dave Ramsey. You don't have any of these people's budget who are existing within our marketplace who are marketing into the sea of sameness.

[00:51:40] Now, do they pretend to be a little different? Yes. But are they really? No. Right? You don't have Edward Jones’s marketing budget. You don't have those sorts of things. So, you have to focus and the more focused you get, the more powerful your marketing is going to be, the clearer and more succinct it's going to be. And more people are going to understand, you're talking to me, not to [00:52:00] everybody.

Kirk:

[00:52:01] Did you just pick a fight with those three guys?

Matt:

[00:52:03] I did. I totally did. Bring it on. Anybody from Ken Fisher, anybody from Edward Jones, anybody from Rick Edelman, anybody from Dave Ramsey, you want to come on the show and you want to go toe to toe with me and Kirk, bring it on because I'm ready to go because it is the sea of sameness. And I'm really, really passionate about the fact that you and we need to take communication away from these huge firms and bring it back.

Kirk:

[00:52:26] Listen, before you sign off, before you sign off, I'm going to ask our social team, so Jessica, we're going to come up with a post about the fire alarm. So, pay attention to that. I hope that when you see that, you can say that was, you should have edited that out of your podcast or I'm so glad you kept it in. So let us know when we post that. I think we're going to have a little bit of fun with that. Anyway, thanks for listening.

Matt:

[00:52:51] Thanks for listening. Subscribe. Share. Do whatever. Keep us posted. So for everybody at ProudMouth, we'll see you on the other side of the mic very soon.

Outro:

[00:52:58] Thanks for listening to the [00:53:00] Top Advisor Marketing Podcast brought to you by ProudMouth. If you want to learn more about how you can Be Your Own Loud, visit ourwebsite, read ourblog posts, and sign up for our newInfluence Accelerator Academy where you too can learn how to truly be an influencer in your space. Have a wonderful day.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Kirk Lowe

Kirk Lowe is the co-founder and CEO of ProudMouth. 

Read Kirk's Bio