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Timothy Welsh: Organic growth for financial advisors

There is a shift towards organic growth versus traditional referral methods in the world of wealth management.

Referrals, word of mouth and traditional methods aren't the only channels for obtaining new clients; digital platforms present boundless opportunities. Leveraging niche content and strategic engagement can propel your business success.

This transition underscores the importance for firms to adopt digital channels and digital marketing in their outreach efforts. Digital outreach is instrumental in nurturing organic growth for advisory firms amidst the continuously evolving industry. Advisors should also embrace AI tools to get ahead in digital content creation. 

Tim Welsh, CEO of Nexus Strategy, shares invaluable advice for newcomers and seasoned professionals alike. I caught up with him to learn effective ways to navigate the evolving terrain of digital marketing. Welsh advocates for embracing imperfection and harnessing innovative tools like ChatGPT to overcome creative hurdles. Click on the video to watch the entire interview. 


Suleman Din: If you could talk a little bit about the importance of why firms need to understand the power of digital marketing? 

Timothy Welsh: Well, then it gets back to the other topic that's a little bit bigger in terms of what's driving the industry right now, which is organic growth. Advisors have been fantastic through the years of picking up the phone, there's a referral, and you close the business, but with new competition and more people going after those same clients, it's becoming harder and harder for advisors to rely on referrals. 

So the next best channel available to them is digital, which is low-cost and extremely targetable. You can find your niche, publish some content, get it out there, and really start to network not only in your local community. I think of that aspect of digital as being no longer bound by geography. 

People want the best person for the best advice, and they're happy to do it over Zoom or video, so you don't have to be fishing your little geography anymore. So digital really becomes this playbook in order to drive business growth for your firm. 

Din: What kind of capabilities are you seeing small firms having access to when they tap into digital marketing that wasn't even maybe available to them a couple of years ago? 

Welsh: Well, obviously, the platforms are there. By platforms, I mean Facebook (Meta), Instagram, YouTube, X (formerly known as Twitter) and LinkedIn. These channels are all available, and all advisors have to do is self-publish some content on a personal finance topic that they care about and that they want to be known for. And lo and behold, people search for that. 

So the more specific and niche you can be, the better you are in terms of having people find you through the search engines. For example, if you're a cross-border financial advisor in Arizona and you are working with folks in Canada, you know, if put something on there like the tax implications of a retirement rollover for US national citizens living in Canada or vice-versa, people will search on that and just show up in your content expertise and that really drives a lot of lead flow your way. Again, very specific. So the one takeaway here is the more niche you can be in these digital channels, the higher your success rate. 

Din: What kind of advice would you have for anybody just thinking of starting out? What would you tell them to do? 

Welsh: With us, a great quote in the magazine, I think it comes from Gary Fudum from Mercer Advisors where he says, don't let perfection hold you back because again, we're all trying. All of this is made for trial and error. So don’t try to be perfect. Just get started. I think that's the basic message here. And try something. What is your niche? What is you message? Who do you want to reach? Write that all down. Craft some form of content that will engage with the viewer, the reader and the searcher. 

It will have these questions and drive them to your website, where you can showcase your knowledge, your expertise, and how you work with clients so that they will want to work with you. And also don't forget, you know, the regulators gave us a huge benefit here with the SEC marketing rule where you could actually use your client testimonials. Just ask them the question, hey, why do you work with me? What do like about me and whatever they say, there's your testimony. That becomes a great social proof point on your website to engage with.

Again, all part of the digital process, start with strategy, try some of these tactics that are in your magazine there, the great article that Charlie [Paikert] did, and I think they can walk away with a real solid plan. 

Din: You have any advice for curing writer's block?

Welsh: You're not going to like my answer, but it's called ChatGPT. You can at least throw something up there. Put a prompt in there and it'll come back with something that's maybe half right, but at least you have something to work with. 

Don't be afraid of AI tools. Definitely don't just go verbatim what that thing says, but if you have writer's block, put a prompt in there and it's quite remarkable. The building blocks you'll get, which will then connect the dots in your brain and then be able to craft that 400 to 600-word post. 

Again, we're not doing War and Peace here, this is snackable content. As my friend Meg Carpenter at FiComm Partners likes to say, keep it short and simple. 

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