Welcome to the GeoWealth Consultant Series! Each article will highlight a consultant, coach, or organization focused on helping independent advisors improve practice management, accelerate success, and drive growth for their business.
Today, we’re joined by Intention.ly co-founder and CEO, Kelly Waltrich. A champion for the role of marketing in the financial services industry for over 15 years, Kelly served as the Chief Marketing Officer at eMoney Advisor and Orion Advisor Solutions, building powerhouse marketing teams from the ground up to fuel the highest periods of growth for both companies.
Kelly and co-founder Meghan Richter started Intetnion.ly to bring the power of modern marketing to more advisors and fintech firms. Along with their team of digital marketing, content, design, web development, and event specialists, Kelly and Meghan have turned marketing into a growth accelerator for more than 30 firms in our space since Intention.ly’s inception in 2021.
Let’s get to the Q&A!
Q: Tell us about Intention.ly. How do you work with advisors to transform the role of marketing at their firms?
Kelly: Everything we do starts with understanding our clients’ goals. We can’t recommend or execute anything tactical without first developing a sound strategy aligned with business objectives. Once goals are established – whether that’s generate XX in revenue, increase AUM by a certain percentage, recruit X number of new advisors to their firm, etc. – we can then approach the tactical piece in a number of different ways. From full marketing plans to social media calendars to new website development to event support, there’s really nothing we aren’t ready and willing to handle.
Q: What are some of the most common marketing misconceptions you hear from advisors?
Kelly: This idea that marketing is a magic bullet. People, marketing takes time! And it’s worth it – obviously, or we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing – but it really requires patience, consistency and being willing to fail in order to learn and improve. Consistency is key. We see a lot of advisors throwing in the towel on one initiative or another after giving it, what, two or three weeks to generate results? It just doesn’t work that way.
I also think advisors have been duped by this idea that marketing can be cookie-cutter or generic. Let me tell you, I’ve seen time and time again that having a unique perspective or point of view is non-negotiable in marketing. Saying the same thing as everyone else is probably worse than saying nothing at all.
Q: What’s the most impactful thing independent advisors can do to improve their marketing?
Kelly: Listening to and understanding their clients. Advisors have this incredibly powerful marketing weapon right in front of them, and it’s the people they serve. They’re already talking to their clients. Why not start asking them why they chose this firm? What value do they get out of working together? What has the advisor done to improve their lives, both financially and otherwise? What’s keeping clients up at night? Advisors can use everything their clients tell them to craft messaging, come up with blog posts and podcast topics, write website copy, create social media posts – the list goes on.
If you take the time to listen, your clients will literally tell you what your unique value proposition is.
Q: Speaking of client testimonials, how do you think advisors should be approaching the SEC’s new marketing rule?
Kelly: I’m pretty cautious when it comes to compliance. I’d hate to see advisors penalized for trying to add social proof to their marketing. So, I would say before you start plastering reviews on your website or social media, definitely consult with a compliance professional to make sure you really understand what’s required.
Once you’re confident you do, though? Treat testimonials like Frank’s hot sauce. Put that sh*t on everything!
Q: You’ve mentioned websites a few times. What advice do you have for advisors who are either in the process of building their website, or who might want to refresh what they have currently?
Kelly: In two words, be yourself. I can’t tell you how many sailboats, watches, and lighthouses I’ve seen on advisors’ websites that have absolutely nothing to do with who they are, who they serve, or what they do. Or messaging that’s so generic, it could describe literally any advisor. Why should someone work with you, specifically? It goes back to deeply understanding what your clients need and what you do for them.
I’d recommend having someone close to you, a friend or family member, look over your website and be brutally honest about whether it reflects who you really are.
Q: How about social media? We always hear that it’s a must for advisors. But how should advisors go about building an audience, especially if they’re just starting out?
Kelly: First, figure out which channels make sense for your firm. Where do your clients spend their time? That’s where you need to be. If they’re not on Instagram at all, there’s really no need for you to invest in building an Instagram presence.
Next, I’d recommend leveraging a mix of paid and organic if you’re just starting out and trying to build an audience from almost zero. Paid social guarantees that your message gets in front of the people you want to see it, which can help increase your organic following. And organic social is a long-term play that requires the consistency I talked about earlier. You probably won’t see a ton of engagement right away, but stick with it and the results will come.
Q: What should advisors do in-house to drive marketing results? What makes more sense to outsource?
Kelly: This is going to come down to resources, skill sets, budgets, and goals. I may be biased, but I don’t think there’s a marketer on the planet who can do everything my team at Intention.ly can do when it comes to strategy and execution. Think about it – you’d need to hire a strategist, designer, copywriter, digital marketing specialist, and event coordinator to tap into all the skills we bring to the table, and that’s going to get really costly. So, if you, the advisor, don’t want to be the one writing, designing, monitoring, and executing your marketing strategy, which is quite a lot on top of serving clients and running a business, I do think outsourcing is a smart and cost-effective move.
That said, we can’t create your value proposition for you. We can’t decide what your client niche should be. We can’t develop your unique point of view. We can help by asking the right questions, but that part of marketing and those answers have to come from within.
If you would like to learn more about Kelly and Intention.ly, click here!
Read the other editions of our Consultant Series:
- Grier Rubeling of Advisor Transition Services
- Sam Kessenich of RyTech Digital Marketing
- Justin Watkins of Native Digital
- SEE ALL
NOTE: GeoWealth has not been compensated for this communication. This is not an endorsement or testimonial of any product or service. The information provided in this article is intended for general information and educational purposes only.