Five Awesome, Undiscovered Apps for Advisors
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Financial advisors face tough decisions when it comes to adopting new technology. A new app or tool designed to improve our processes is released every day. The problem is there are too many technology tools and you can’t and shouldn’t try them all.
Let me help you learn from my mistakes. I’m a tech nerd. I tend to go all-in when I find new tools that can theoretically improve my business in some way.
I like finding new tools and trying them out – so much so that I’ve been known to let it distract me from doing the hard work.
For example, when I started my retirement podcast, I rushed out to spend $6,000 on a “podcast launch package” to help bring my show to life.
It seemed necessary at the time, but in hindsight it was a giant distraction considering I hadn’t even attempted to record a single episode!
Technology can absolutely make your business run smoother, but only if you have done the hard work first. Before you download an app or try out a brand-new tool, ask yourself if this is really the best place you should be spending your time.
Is this new technology distracting you from hitting the record button or reaching out to a potential new client? If so, you should do the work now and worry about shiny objects later.
Five awesome marketing tools for advisors
I recently shared my five favorite tech tools for 2020 on the Experiments in Advisor Marketing podcast. In case you missed it, here they are.
Loom is an app I ignored for way too long, but now I’m absolutely hooked.
It captures voice, video, and screen on their own or all at the same time. More importantly, the platform makes it easy to share your recording.
What I really love about this tool is that it saves me time and improves our communication. According to Loom, we talk six times faster than we type. Additionally, people remember 95% of a message they watch or listen to, whereas the retention is much lower for information people read.
So, what can you do with a Loom video? I mostly use it to embed recordings into emails and send out to clients and prospects.
Here’s an example of how this might work: Imagine for a moment you meet with a new prospect and want to follow up with them a few days later. After your meeting, sit down and record a personalized two-minute video and email it to them.
You could even use Loom to send birthday messages to loyal clients you want to show appreciation to, or to send follow-up messages to clients to remind them of whatever their next steps are.
At my firm, we have also began using Loom to create screen-share videos for clients that show them how to complete tasks. For example, we created this Loom video to show clients where they can download their tax documents.
Another idea is to send a video showing new clients how to read their first statement or performance report.
Of course, Loom isn’t perfect, mostly because recipients have to head to the Loom website to watch the videos. I hope they eventually improve their product so that Loom users can have their own subdomain with their own branding.
Either way, it’s still pretty awesome. As a side note, I love using Loom with this Vitade HD webcam. It’s less than $100, and it comes with a ring light that nicely lights up your face for the videos you’ll use Loom to create.
Zapier is another tool I love that saves my team countless hours per year while also creating a better experience for prospects and clients.
This technology is unique because it connects two or more systems that don’t normally integrate. For example, I use Zapier to connect ConvertKit to Redtail CRM so I can automate and scale certain tasks.
If someone joins my e-newsletter, for example, I can create a “zap” that adds them as a new contact in Redtail. I can even create an additional “zap” to tag them in the CRM as a newsletter subscriber so I know where they came from.
Or maybe a prospect sets up an introductory phone call through my website. (I use Acuity Scheduling for this.) With Zapier, I can “zap” them to ConvertKit as a new email subscriber, add their contact info to our CRM, create a new prospect folder in Citrix Sharefile, and launch an action.
These are all tasks I had to do manually before, but now Zapier takes the grunt work out of the equation, saving our team time and hassle.
Wealthbox is another CRM provider that plays nicely with Zapier. In fact, The AGC™ – a virtual community for advisors I launched with Justin Castelli – uses both of these platforms to automate tasks and improve efficiency. To learn more, check out this guest blog post I wrote for the Wealthbox blog documenting our processes.
Email sniper links
While it seems counterintuitive to add extra steps for new email subscribers, I am an advocate for using “double opt-in” when people sign up for my newsletter.
Double opt-in requires a new email subscriber to confirm their email address before they are added to my list. This helps eliminate bots and fake email addresses while confirming each subscriber is serious about receiving information from me. Double opt-ins also ensure you’re evaluating your marketing efforts accurately.
Since double opt-in adds friction to the sign-up process, I was excited to learn about sniper links.
By adding a sniper link to your confirmation page, your new subscriber is taken directly to their Gmail or Yahoo! account where they’re shown emails from you only – even if your initial double opt-in email landed in their spam box.
How does this work? The sniper link includes a special line of code that tells Gmail (or Yahoo!) to search the user’s mailbox for emails from your domain only (e.g. taylorschulte.com).
For example, if you sign up to join my email newsletter, you will be taken to a landing page with two sniper links that say, “click here to instantly open my email and confirm.” Here it is:
If that’s not easy and user-friendly, I don’t know what is.
Linkfire and Chartable
Podcasting is still the wild, wild west. Not only is discoverability an ongoing challenge, but only 37% of Americans listen to podcasts monthly. Things aren’t likely to change dramatically until podcasts are fully integrated in cars and more consumers adopt smart speakers.
For those reasons, podcasters wind up trying everything to market and grow their podcast. Most of the time, this means they have a landing page somewhere telling the user all the different ways they can tune into their podcast, plus show notes, newsletters, and a dizzying array of calls to action.
Here is my Linkfire smart link that will take you to a nice landing page and prompt you to choose your preferred podcast player.
Here is my Chartable smart link that will auto-detect your operating system and redirect you to your native podcast player. For example, if you’re on a Mac, my Chartable link will take you to Apple Podcasts.
These smart links also provide analytics that can help you make marketing decisions. For example, I know from using these tools that 8% of listeners found my podcast through my Advisor Perspectives column. For various reasons, that’s incredibly helpful to know!
Finally, make sure to check out an app called Pocket, or a similar app called Instapaper. Both work the same way, essentially letting you save articles, podcasts, and other web pages so you can consume them later when you have the time.
I like using Pocket to save articles I may want to read later when I don’t have an internet connection (e.g. when I’m flying on a plane). This app also saves articles I may want to share with clients and readers later on.
I use three main tags to save content on Pocket – “Friday,” “Books” and “Marketing,”
The “Friday” tag is for a tweet I send out every Friday that includes some of my favorite articles of the week. With Pocket, I can slowly save articles throughout the week I might want to share. Once Friday rolls around, I head to Pocket to look through all the content I’ve stashed away. This has been huge for me since it saves me from having to make lists or racking my brain for the articles I wanted to share but forgot about.
My “books” tag is for books I want to read, and my “marketing” tag is for various content I want to lean on later for marketing purposes. Examples might be a new technology tool I want to try or a new book a friend recommended on social media.
Maybe you send an email to your clients with the top five articles about investing you loved from the previous week. Pocket makes it easy to procure that content as you find it, instead of having to figure out what to include when the time actually comes.
Technology in perspective
Technology should make your job easier. Don’t allow it to distract you from the core functions of your business. Trying new apps and tools can be fun, but technology alone won’t get your practice where you want it to be.
Taylor Schulte is the founder of Define Financial, a San Diego-based registered investment advisor, and host of Experiments in Advisor Marketing, a podcast exploring the world of marketing in the financial planning industry.