How to generate leads in a mobile-tech world

Dec 8, 2013 @ 12:01 am (Updated 5:01 pm) EST

The following is an edited transcript from a webcast, “Using Technology for Lead Generation,” from Oct 29. It was moderated by Greg Crawford, deputy editor of InvestmentNews.

InvestmentNews: We are joined by three folks who are well-versed in the issue of using technology for lead generation. They are Brittney Castro, founder of Financially Wise Women, Ted Jenkin, co-chief executive of oXYGen Financial Inc., and Peter Velardi, chief executive of FiPath4Advisors.

Lead generation is critical to the success of every advisory firm. Where do we stand in regard to technology and lead generation? Things have obviously changed a lot over the past few years.

Peter, you have been in the business for a long time. You have seen a lot of change and are up-to-date with what is going on. Can you tell us what the landscape is like and what top financial advisers are doing in this area?

Mr. Velardi: No doubt, change is happening, and that will continue both near- and far-term. Clearly, lead generation is critical. It is the lifeblood of growth, and that hasn't changed. There is a huge opportunity to connect with qualified consumers online. But from an adviser's lens, that can be overwhelming, so there's a need to simplify it, a need to make sense of it all and create steps for advisers that they can use. So what is really going on out there?

Consumers are just exploding online. They're using new tools to communicate — everything from text to e-mail, smartphones. They're seeking advice online through multiple channels.

While that's happening, the mix of consumers is changing. Millennials right now actually are the largest group at 27%. That group, combined with Gen X, make a very, very large population of qualified prospects that are very tech-savvy. Interestingly, the boomer group is the fastest-growing group online. So that's on one side.

On the other side, from an adviser perspective, organic client acquisition per adviser has been on a decline for the last five years and remains the top challenge for advisers and enterprises. We're seeing the usual adoption curve of resistors on the one end to change to those who innovate on the other end.

3 KEY QUESTIONS

So I believe, as an adviser, there are really three critical questions that need to be answered.

One is, how do I connect with the right types of consumers online, my target market? The second is, how do I build my brand online? Ted calls it “webutation,” and that's very important. So how do I convey who I am online and what I represent, and how I can help specific needs? The third is, how do I create this trustworthy, compelling path so what I do online leads to real leads in real time that have a high chance to convert?

Fortunately, there are some great emerging best practices from advisers like Ted and Brittney. Many walk into their office on a Monday and have more leads and alerts in the inbox than they know what to do with. It seems like the ante in the game is website, optimized profiles, content and blogging, leveraging social media, and then doing all that in a way that can be automated and made very, very easy.

Not all advisers can do all these things, but simplifying the game through automation can really help. In the end, it still comes down to driving the three vital statistics, which is activity times success ratio times case size.

InvestmentNews: Brittney, does what Peter said resonate with what you do in your practice and what you are seeing?

Ms. Castro: Yes, definitely. I think Peter laid it out very clearly. It is all about finding ways to simplify it for you and your own practice. Where I see people have the most success is by creating a niche for themselves in the online marketplace. Financial advisers are still terrified to niche their practice, because they feel as though they're going to be missing out on opportunities if they say, “I am the financial planner for women entrepreneurs.” But the reality is, the most successful advisers I know are the ones who niche themselves according to a specific demographic and really create their web presence around that.

My business, for example, targets women entrepreneurs in usually their late 20s to early 40s. It's had a lot of success online because when people type in “financial planner” and they see my information pop up, and it relates to them, it's a win-win. That's where I get a lot of the leads. I can really visually stand out right away.

I think the state of where everything is today is just figuring out who is your ideal client. How do you build your brand around that and your brand marketing message, and then deliver content on a regular basis? Peter mentioned blogging, video content, e-mails on a regular basis so they're constantly thinking about you. Even if they're not ready to work with you quite yet, you're going to be the first person they think of when that time comes.

InvestmentNews: Ted, what approach has worked for you?

Mr. Jenkin: Five and a half years ago, we focused on building a market within the X and Y Generation, which is where the name oXYGen came from, as opposed to the traditional methods that I had learned in the first 15 years of my career — cold calling and doing dinner seminars and all those types of what I would call traditional push marketing. The build with social media and technology was to create pull marketing, which is more about being able to come into your office Monday and having the dream that every adviser dreams, that there are leads in your mailbox.

So when we started out, we wanted to build our entire platform of social media with the end in mind that the consumer would find us, they would work their way down the prospecting funnel themselves, and ultimately, they would make a decision to join us, as opposed to the traditional methods, where you would go out and work hard to chase down a prospect.

ON THE GO

That's really one of the big flips I see happening today. It's because information is so accessible: mobile phone, tablet, PC. People are going to have to be drawn to you, as opposed to the traditional methods of push marketing. Less and less people have home phones; more and more people are just on their mobile phone. It's getting harder and harder with rules and regulations to do traditional seminars.

InvestmentNews: Ted, how does someone go about using social media to make connections?

Mr. Jenkin: You can build a website for a few hundred bucks. Some of you may have gotten quotes for $50,000. There's all this fancy jargon and language, which to you is as difficult to understand as it is for your clients when you discuss financial jargon. I will tell you it's really important, first of all, on your website to have some trapping mechanism where somebody can convert themselves to a lead.

If you look at your website and the only way somebody can become a lead is to click your “contact us” page, then you've basically missed the boat already. Clients are looking for content, and whether you have a niche practice, like Brittney and I do, or you're more of a generalist financial adviser, you've got to give a free e-book or some document that makes them want to engage with you on the website. Because they could be looking at your website at 11 o'clock on a Sunday morning or 11 o'clock on a Wednesday night.

If you're [a registered investment adviser], you're probably already on LinkedIn. There's a website called LinkedIn Labs. It's a separate website than LinkedIn, but it actually links back into LinkedIn. There's something called the Year in Review. If you click that, it basically simultaneously syncs with your LinkedIn, and it will show you in the past three years every single person in your LinkedIn database who's changed jobs.

Now, I'm not saying you get happy when your clients lose their jobs, but there's an opportunity for a 401(k) rollover. If you're the first to pounce on that opportunity, it will give you the ability to get some assets under management. Sometimes your clients don't call you, or you don't find out for a month or two. I can find out immediately.

InvestmentNews: Brittney, as a founder of a relatively new firm, you have gone through this process. Will you share with us your experience and how you went about identifying how to optimize your website and your presence online?

Ms. Castro: From the beginning, I realized that you need to capture their e-mail address. I know that Ted just mentioned that, but I think that's so critical for people to understand, because your website is great, but it could go away at any time. It's great if 2 million people are seeing my site, but if I don't have any of their information, what good is that?

FREE INFO?

In the beginning, I gave away a free e-book. So over the course of a few years, I was able to build an e-mail list that opted in. They wanted information from me, and those people are all prospects, and I continue to give them free valuable information and content to help them on their financial journey. I think one of the things I also had to get over right away was that there's this misconception out there that if you give away the information for free, then why would they hire you as a financial adviser or a financial planner?

But the reality is, the more information you give away for free, the more likely they are going to hire you, because they see you as such a valuable resource.

I think it's critical for people to understand that it's not possible to give away too much free information.

InvestmentNews: There is a question from our audience. When you offer that e-book, did you actually write it or was it just one that you found valuable, or a little bit of both?

Ms. Castro: That's a great question. Initially, I wrote the e-book myself, and I still write 99% of my content. But in the beginning, I also put some LPL [Financial] — which was my broker-dealer at that time — preapproved material on my website just to build content right away. But I did that only in the beginning until I had enough momentum with my own writing schedule and was producing content on a regular basis.

HORSE'S MOUTH

I also realized the most important thing is, clients want to hear it from you. They want to build a connection with you. You are the brand of your business. They want to hear it in your own words. So as easy as it can be for you to just pull information from other sites and post it on your website — I mean honestly, why would somebody want to read that? They could Google that and find that on InvestmentNews, right? There are so many online publications.

So I think when you tailor it and put it into your own perspective, that's what's really the connection between you and the prospect, and that's why they're wanting to engage with you.

InvestmentNews: Peter, when you are working with advisers, how do you come up with plans for online marketing and profiles?

Mr. Velardi: How you portray yourself online needs to be authentic. In any profile, or on your website, what's the ante in the game that we teach people? Well, the first thing is, make sure you start by looking at your current baseline. That is, if you were your targeted ideal client, and you Googled you and looked at all the touch points — whether it's your website, your profile, both resonate — do you really get a sense clearly of somebody's character and values through pictures and videos, through quotes, through whatever you do that talks about you as a person, who you are and what your interests are?

Second, which is more common, is the résumé, but the biggest mistake we see is people just throwing all their credentials online without consideration, as Brittney said, to exactly who is your audience. What are their unique needs, and how does what you have address those needs in a unique way so it really pops in terms of your brand online? Those are some of the things we teach.

Then it's very important where somebody tends to automate those things. For example, we have a great profile system that has a push-button application where you can simply push buttons to brand exactly what you want and where you want — pictures and videos and interests.

What we're seeing out there lastly is what we call the Big Three, and I think there is some confusion with advisers around: Do I brand myself, do I brand my boutique name in the local marketplace, or do I brand LPL or my big brand? There's no one answer. It really depends again on exactly who the target is you're trying to address and what the compliance requirements of your firm might be, whether you're under [the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.] or [the Securities and Exchange Commission]. But making sure you're conscientious and you have a clear plan about which one you want to optimize, I think is very important.

COMPLIANCE CONCERNS

InvestmentNews: Peter, around this idea of compliance, Brittney talked about using preapproved content, which — let's face it — can be pretty bland stuff. It goes through that compliance channel, and they can sort of suck the life out of content that otherwise might be engaging and interesting.

How do you help clients through that issue of getting things up that aren't going to get them in trouble with Finra or the SEC or whoever it may be?

Mr. Velardi: You really can't talk about lead generation without talking about compliance. So it is a very important piece to all this and really does require attention, both by the adviser and the firm, but also by whatever providers you might use to make sure they're keenly aware of it. As a former registered principal myself, I certainly understand that world well from all sides.

Generally, it breaks down to three issues, and you've heard some information around the bend with all of these. The first is advertising or anything that would be viewed as advertising that would require preapproval. You hit the nail right on the head in terms of the great act of how you balance the fact that you want to have compelling content but you can't commit to things that are not within compliance guidelines. So some of that is a negotiation, some of that is working with your firm, with your [registered principal] if you're under Finra, and really becoming clear on what the parameters of the firm are and then influencing that when you can.

I think a lot of advisers just kind of accept it, but there is an openness and there's a huge growth curve of compliance departments in all firms right now that want to attract and want to retain advisers who play hard in the space. They're going through a learning curve, and they're behind the advisers, actually, in the adoption of this.

The first thing is to look at what needs to be preapproved — specifically, things like e-mail templates, any kind of content you might have, your profile, your website. So that's kind of the first bucket. The second is always around privacy and security, making sure that whoever you use has all the traps and the doors closed to make sure that anything that gets put in, any type of [customer relationship management] is private and is secure. The third is archiving and making sure that everything can be discovered, that everything is there for a registered principal to review.

Those are the three big issues, and the strong providers will have a look at all that. So when we provide the automation for an adviser, for example, we provide templates that we know can be easily approved. We integrate with other firms, CRMs and systems, and we use only best-of-class people. So anybody you might use for any form of lead generation, you want to interview them and make sure they understand what's out there and they build their engine in a way that supports you as an adviser in your compliance. Then your role is to learn that and then work with your RPs and your compliance people to make sure you understand the rules, but also that you understand you can influence that for the growth of the firm and for yours as well.

InvestmentNews: Ted, how do you deal with the compliance issue?

Mr. Jenkin: I would not fear compliance departments. You know, compliance departments are still trying to figure out this very fast game. It's moving quickly. There are lots of new social-media sites that pop up every day. So you want to try and educate your compliance department, because don't assume that they know how the social medium works. You'll have some compliance people that aren't on some of the social-media platforms that you're on. If you explain to them how it works and what you want to do, the truth is that a newsletter that you put in the local newspaper and a blog post — they really aren't any different. They're just going on a different platform.

WRITE IN ENGLISH

I will tell you, and my guess is Brittney will probably agree with this, that what I've learned in doing all this posting is that no matter how smart you are, hardly anybody is going to read technical financial jargon articles if you write them. So if you've got this really cool article on how to deal with incentive stock options and alternative minimum tax, you can write it, but nobody is going to read it.

Most of the readers out there are searching for lowest-common-denominator articles. They want to know how to save money on shoes, and I'm talking about wealthy people. Even people on the phone who have high-net-worth clients, they're looking for things like: How do I deal with getting an electric car in my state, and what are the tax credits? Those are things that compliance people, to be honest with you, really don't have much of a hassle with. They have a hassle with if you're recommending stocks or you're providing guarantees or you're making specific investment recommendations.

Most of the people aren't going to read that content anyway. So I would tell you to educate your compliance department. Don't be afraid of it. Don't be afraid of posting something and saying, “Uh-oh, the compliance people are going to be all over me.” The truth is, if you link to an article in LinkedIn, as long as it's a reasonable article — it's not, “Buy Apple [Inc.] now”; it's an article that's a very generic article — nobody's going to have any hassle, and you can still improve your online visibility.

InvestmentNews: Brittney, if you are looking at the ultrahigh-net-worth area as the niche that you are either in or want to be in, does using social media and this new technology to find leads in this niche diminish the “eliteness” of the brand? Is there a risk that your brand is somehow diluted when you market yourself online?

Ms. Castro: I would say no, because the reality is, so many people are online. I mean, everybody these days has a Facebook account, whether you're high-net-worth or not. I would say that for you and your business, what you really have to assess is, where do your people go already? If you're marketing to high-net-worth individuals and you know that most of these individuals are small-business owners and maybe they play golf on the weekends, what kind of sites are they on? Are they on Facebook? Are they on LinkedIn more? Are they on Twitter? Maybe they're not on any of them, so you don't have to be so active on those sites, but I think you still need to set up a profile. Because when people search you, they want to make sure you have a credible website and you're a leading, innovative business.

I always think of my brand role models, like Richard Branson and Apple. Those brands are constantly creating new ways to engage with their tribe, their customers and their people. I really just don't see the net-worth segment being a reason not to. I would just say be super clear about where these people are going already, and like I mentioned, if they're not on Facebook all the time, then you don't have to do much marketing there. But at least have a Facebook page for your business, so if they did want to search you, at least something would pop up there.

Mr. Jenkin: For most of your high-net-worth people, especially people you meet now in their late 30s and 40s and 50s, their issue isn't a competency issue. They're smart enough to figure this out. The issue is a capacity issue. They don't have the time. When they get on the Internet and they start searching for your profile, the question is, how will they decide whether you're a high-value adviser or not?

One easy thing to do is to use a website like HARO, which is Help a Reporter Out. I know Brittney has probably been quoted in 20, 30 or 40 magazines, and so have I, and when you Google stalk us later and you all check us out, you're going to see us in The Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report, Business Week and all these magazines.

InvestmentNews: Probably InvestmentNews, too.

Mr. Jenkin: Yes, that major publication. When consumers see that, they're drawn to us. Because they're not going to read the whole article; they're going to scan it and see that you were quoted in 10 or 20 publications. By the way, it's not local in your marketplace anymore. Now it's national because it's all over the United States, and they're going to be very drawn to you. That provides instantaneous credibility on the web.

TOUCH POINTS

InvestmentNews: Peter, this question is from our audience. How many prospect touches typically convert that prospect to a client? How has that changed?

Mr. Velardi: That's a really interesting question. Ted and Brittney I'm sure could add some light to that, too. But what we're seeing is, math is math, and numbers are numbers, and it really varies on medium and on the skill in terms of the content. What keeps coming out is also kind of the law of the number, and this 10% seems to continue to resonate throughout a lot of techniques.

It's very interesting when you look at the law of large groups, on average, from all the touches you may get, when you look at open rate, and you look at everything. I've seen 15, I've seen two, and that does not relate to open rate. But about 10% of all the touches online lead to some kind of meaningful relationship, whether it's banks or where there's a conversion to a client. That seems to be — though I hate rules of thumb — something to think about.

EVALUATION

I would ask: Is what I am doing driving meaningful change in my practice? Am I tracking what I'm doing so I know my open rate, I know my conversion rate, and I have that?

Second, is it something that adds value to my practice? Are my seen appointments going up? If they aren't going up, is my success ratio improving? If that's not going up, am I attracting a higher-wealth client because of it? If you can't answer yes to one of those three, then what you're doing is a waste of money. Tracking, looking at conversion, making sure that you know what result it's having on your practice, and having a tool to evaluate that, is very important.

InvestmentNews: Brittney, what's your experience doing this in practice?

Ms. Castro: It's so interesting, because you try to track as much as possible where these leads are coming from, at what point in the touch campaign was the request for consultation initiated. For me, I just know traditional marketing says seven touches for every prospect is usually what it takes, and it's across all different mediums. So that's why I spread myself out and I have presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, my e-mails that go out weekly, because I want to constantly be in my communities, in their mind. I want them to see me as that trusted, valuable person for them.

What I've seen for me and my practice, Facebook is my No. 1 driver. A lot of women who I want to market to are on Facebook constantly, and I promote their Facebook groups. There are a lot of women entrepreneur groups and subgroups that I post in, and I really build the relationship with prospects there. It's really me just engaging on a regular basis, having a conversation with people just like I would in a normal real-life scenario.

If I'm meeting someone face to face, it's really difficult to say, “OK, are you ready to go? Are you going to hire me as your financial planner right now?” in that initial conversation. The same is true online. People want to get to know you and trust you first, and then make the decision to reach out and schedule that consultation. So it's still kind of that word-of-mouth slow building of the relationship, and that takes time. So I really don't have a specific number other than the traditional role or a number that I've always used, which is seven.

InvestmentNews: Ted, does that align with your experience?

TRACKING SOURCES

Mr. Jenkin: I would just say two other things here. On your website, if you don't have a dropdown box for lead source when people go to your contact page or wherever they're getting your information, you really ought to, because you have to know how the person found you. Did they find you from a referral? Did they find you from the radio? Did they find you from the newspaper? Otherwise, you aren't going to have a sense about your cost per lead and ultimately your cost per client.

I will say that I'm a heavy online newsletter writer, and I use an auto-responder system.

In the old days — Peter will laugh when I say this — but we used to have a tickler file with orange note cards. Then you'd move it 30 days forward, and 30 days forward, and you eventually call until you could get somebody.

In today's world, you have auto-responding systems that can do that for you. You can either write the copy yourself or have somebody else do it. I'm in Atlanta, so really I'm sort of partial. I use MailChimp. Certainly, you could use a system like AWeber or List Wire, which are all systems that once you capture a lead, it can auto-respond the marketing process. It takes us about five auto-responds to get somebody to convert into a lead if they haven't already said, “I'm going to be a lead.”

We're in that world today where with e-mail, most of you are probably at less than a 50% open rate. You've got to really write good copy and get mind share if you're going to go through e-mail. It's different if you're going to use texting, if your broker-dealer will allow you to do that. My whole thing is, I'd probably look at some auto-responder system, or if not, the leads are probably going to sit in a pile.

InvestmentNews: Ted, what do you consider the top three technology tools that produce quality leads? When we talked ahead of our webcast, you mentioned that you use SalesLoft. Could you tell us about that and share some other tools that can help folks with lead generation?

MOBILE BUSINESS CARDS

Mr. Jenkin: If you go on the digital InvestmentNews, I wrote an article about the mobile business card. But I really feel like for those of you who haven't at least moved to carry both a regular card and a mobile business card, I think you're missing out on a huge opportunity.

The mobile business card is much more effective at displaying everything that you have to offer: your social media, directions to your office. I'm not talking about a mobile website. I'm just talking about a business card, including having imbedded video in there that could show a prospect instantaneously your entire office or your financial planning process or wealth management process all in one shot. Every time somebody requests your mobile business card, you can get their phone number right back in your phone, which is an unbelievable way to be able to capture data, rather than going to the old world of a networking event and walking home with four crumpled business cards in your pocket at the end of the night.

SalesLoft, you can download this only on Google Chrome. What I like about this is that if you go for the free version, every single day, it will push your LinkedIn contacts into your e-mail box. Then it will show you who changed jobs or who got a promotion. Our business is still predicated on money-in-motion triggers, so when you've got somebody who's making a move, that's going to be your opportunity to have something to talk about — assets, insurance, redoing the financial plan.

There are several data-mining systems like SalesLoft that, when used effectively, you can really bring in a lot of assets under management and create a succinct message to your market. Those are a couple that I think are pretty darn good.

InvestmentNews: We have a question from your comment, Ted. What exactly is a mobile business card?

Mr. Jenkin: Here's the easiest way to think about it: Say you have a mobile phone in front of you and you set up a new text message, and you put in 90210, like Beverly Hills. I wasn't a fan of the TV show, but that's a number that you put in there. Then, in the body of the message, you just put the first four letters of my name, TEDJ, and you hit “send.” What's going to come back is a box that says, “Would you like to learn more about me?”

If they do, you'll be able to click a link and that link will bring up — it almost looks like a web page on your mobile phone. It will show a picture of me, my title, a video of my company, directions to my office; it's got disclosure on there for compliance.

Here's the thing — texting obviously scares compliance today because it's hard to monitor, but there's a difference between a one-way text and a two-way text. One way means nobody can get back to you. It's just like if you send out a direct mailer. Compliance is not going to have a problem with a direct mailer, because what are people going to do, direct mail you back? This is one-way. It's just like handing out your business card, just doing it through the phone.

AUTOMATION

InvestmentNews: Getting back to the idea of automation, Peter, do you recommend any platforms?

Mr. Velardi: There's of course the whole area of CRMs and Salesforce.com. I know a lot of people are doing a lot of cool things with that. There's an emerging area called “referral automation.” We have something called Refer My Advisor, for example, that is very easy to use. That's still the Holy Grail of leads. They just plug in and upload their clients and/or prospects into the system, and leads come into their system.

There's a lot of social automation, as Ted said, HootSuite, and there's lots of sites where somebody can both measure and automate what they do. Clearly, there's profile automation out there where you can push and play, and plug and play, and build an online profile and have it [social-content-optimized] and have that listed in top directories. There's a great platform called WiserPath out there for that.

CONTENT GENERATION

Then, I think one of the emerging areas where there is huge demand is around content generation. You heard Brittney and Ted talk about how they still write a lot of theirs. We hear advisers say all the time, “I really don't want to do that,” or, “I'm not skillful at that.” So there is huge demand for a provider to step up and provide turnkey content that is either Finra-approved or can be easily. That I think that is going to one of the big roles that we'll see over the next year or two.

InvestmentNews: Peter, you've been in the business a long time, and so you've seen this technological evolution take place. Do traditional methods still work or is it sort of, throw out the old playbook totally and start from scratch?

Mr. Velardi: We hear that all the time. Should I continue to use old-world techniques like referrals and events and [confirmed opt-ins] or should I switch to these online techniques: website, profile optimization, content push? The answer that we're hearing from top advisers in essence is yes. So both certainly are very relevant, but they need to be integrated and they need to be intentional.

What we see across the board is the top advisers that do both are intentional. They target exactly who they want as clients. They almost all do something in niche, whether it's Ted with Gen Y/Gen X, Brittney with women. Ted also puts a lot of emphasis on small businesses and execs. So when Ted or Brittney go online or offline, they are very clear of who they're talking to, what their needs are, and everything they do in both online and offline worlds aligns with that. That's one.

The second thing we're seeing across the board is, most advisers who do well with both worlds have some type of a marketing plan. It's amazing to me how many advisers don't. It does not need to be a 70-page report. It can simply be one page that defines who you're going after, what your strategy is going to be, how you're going to actually implement that, and what resources are required.

So this whole notion in the past of having a three- to four-legged stool I think is still highly valid within a plan. Online marketing might be one of those legs to the stool and they're leveraged together. In fact, that's kind of the key word: “leverage.”

I'll give you two quick examples.

One is what Ted referred to and I did with referral prospecting. Top advisers are doing both. They continue to try to build a referable practice. They ask when they feel it's appropriate to ask, but they also back it up with modern automation, whether it's a CRM or a Refer My Advisor program like we have. Both of those work very well together.

OFFLINE EVENTS

Another example that I give is, I'm in offline events. So events right now an adviser could spend X amount to do a traditional event, but today there are all sorts of ways to put the word out on the event in multiple channels. Then do what you've heard on the phone today to capture the leads back far beyond anything that we did in the past that in the end dramatically reduced the cost per client acquisition of the event through leveraging the online channel in order to both get people to show up and “get the butts in seats” as we used to call them, to convert to the endgame of a meaningful and happy client.

InvestmentNews: Brittney, what is your sense of traditional marketing versus new methods?

Ms. Castro: This is something I struggled with honestly all year because I was really diving a lot deeper into online marketing. I basically have a virtual-based financial planning practice. So I don't meet with clients nearly as much in person as I used to. Most of my client meetings are on Skype or over the phone. Everything is automated. I use TimeTrade to schedule all my meetings. I have auto-responders going out, which eliminated a lot of time for my assistant, which then allows us to do a lot more content creation and marketing and speaking, and all of that.

But I found that I also need to be in real-life situations with people. I need the human connection.

It is a balance between, yes, I'm able to leverage myself a lot more by using online marketing and social media to grow my business to receive the leads weekly. But at the end of the day, I still want to be able to have that human interaction with them, so definitely I'm still going to do live Financially Wise Women workshops in addition to online webinars. For me, personally, I think it's a combination of both that works. My prospects want to see me in real life, and I want to see them in real life.

InvestmentNews: Ted, what do you think of traditional versus new marketing methods?

Mr. Jenkin: We still do some traditional stuff. The word I would leave people here with, because I like made-up words, is “infotainment,” which is kind of the way the world is headed. You know, what you do today is important, but you can't just be informative. In a word, you don't want to be too much on the entertainment, but you want to be both.

So our client appreciation events, to be honest with you, I took a lot of stuff from Living Social and other companies that have spent a lot of money creating events that they knew they could get people out to. We've done glass-blowing events. We did a sake-tasting and sushi-making night. We have those kind of events that you get people out and really even with your high-net-worth people, you don't really have to sell.

People are looking for an opportunity to get out and blow off some steam. I know some of you probably still do it, but less and less people want to go to a steak dinner. They want to get out and have some fun. So I would encourage you to look at that infotainment-type stuff, and I think you get a better “call to action” on your hard marketing.