We recently hosted a Fireside chat with Janney featuring Sarah Kinkead, the Assistant Vice President and Manager of Advisor Marketing and Communication at Janney Montgomery Scott. Christine Meginess, the Vice President of Hearsay System’s Sites Program, asked Sarah why websites have long played a starring role in the firm’s advisor marketing strategy. Sarah shed light on her day-to-day processes, how she supports a diverse group of advisors, and how she manages compliance along the way. Let’s take a look at some of the key takeaways.
Don’t overlook the value of individual advisor websites
“We’ve had individual sites for our advisors for nearly two decades, believe it or not. The firm prioritizes showcasing who advisors are as individuals and highlights how they engage in their local communities—and websites are table stakes in achieving that goal,” says Sarah.
“The Janney brand is really our advisors. We want their clients, referrals, and the communities that they serve to know who they are as a person rather than just associating them with our corporate brand. Hearsay has helped us facilitate that much more easily, especially given the compliance workflows that are necessary to make it happen.”
Consider a ‘choose your own adventure’ content strategy
“Many advisors and teams opt into corporate publishing, meaning our marketing team publishes an article [on their behalf] once a month. That's what we do for the folks who don’t make frequent updates to make sure that there's always fresh content on their site,” explains Sarah.
“People who want to do more can go into their Hearsay Sites editor and make their own changes. We haven't had to do a ton of training on this because it is intuitive and user-friendly. It’s also set up in a way that allows delegates to log in and make updates as directed by their advisor. Hearsay’s support team is also great at talking to advisors and offering suggestions on how to utilize their websites to the fullest.”
Baked-in compliance reduces regulatory burdens
When we asked Sarah how she manages to keep content compliant given the massive number of advisors at her firm, she said, “Hearsay’s [built-in compliance tools] have helped a lot. We also leverage pre-approved content whenever possible, so we're not starting from scratch.”
Hearsay’s suite of tools—Social, Relate, and Sites—are purpose-built to help firms mitigate risk. Universal supervision across all of the products and threaded archiving tools, which provide context for reviewers, help compliance teams operate more effectively and efficiently.
Make video marketing accessible to all advisors
Sarah and her team are huge proponents of the effectiveness of video marketing. She says, “Smartphone cameras are high quality these days, and a $200 lighting and mic kit can make it easy to create quality videos. With that in mind, we created a DIY model where we provide a guide to all of our advisors that explains how to make sure videos are good quality. The guide talks about things like product placement, setting up the environment you’re filming in, and what equipment is good to use. We try to make the whole process as easy as possible, so it’s just wash, rinse, and repeat. ”
Her team also helps make sure video content is fully compliant. She says, “We provide an end slide that includes any disclosures based on the topic or based on where their content came from so that they can stay compliant. We do a pre-film review where we run their script through compliance. After the shoot, the media goes through compliance one more time to make sure everything is on the up and up.”
Advisor websites serve as an evergreen resource for relevant client topics
“The number one question that advisors get asked is, what's going on with the market—especially in times of volatility. Our advisors use their sites to publish a blog or a video market update,” says Sarah. “That way, instead of calling 200 of their clients to tell them what's going on with the market, they can say, ‘Actually, I just wrote a piece on this on my site. Here's a link.’ Or, ‘I just recorded a video to explain this. Why don't you pop on my site and check it out?’”
Advisors also use their websites as a resource center for all sorts of information. Sarah explains, “There are tons of other topics that might be useful to educate clients on. Tax season is a big one.” Advisors share deadlines and form details, answer frequently asked questions, and prepare their clients and prospects for what to expect as the tax day approaches.
Websites are great for recruiting new advisors, too
Janney’s branch managers also use individual websites, but the content is different. Rather than answering prospect and client questions, these sites showcase what’s great about Janney and why it’s a good place to work.
Offering sites to each advisor has proven to be a strong value proposition. Sarah says, “The team shows off Janney’s website capabilities during recruiting meetings.” Being able to launch a new advisor quickly is also a big benefit. Sarah says. “I don't want to brag, but I can whip up a Hearsay site in fifteen minutes, have it approved by our regulation team in two hours, and then it can go live. This is huge because when an advisor tells their clients that they’re moving, those clients want to look them up and read about where they’re going.”
Hearsay Sites helps both firms and advisors to successfully meet a range of goals
“From a corporate perspective, my advisor’s satisfaction with the tools they’re using is a good measure of success,” says Sarah. She explained that Janney sent out an advisor survey, which revealed that having the ability to personalize their website is critically important to their team. She’s thrilled that Hearsay Sites allows them to do that.
She continues, “Success for the financial advisors and teams is really dependent on their goals, and that differs across the board. For example, some advisors want a site so they have credibility when a referral checks them out. Others want to highlight specific offers or services. Maybe they want to promote complimentary portfolio reviews or consultations, feature their value proposition, or spotlight their team. [There are] lots of different goals, and we try to let our advisors do whatever they need to do [with their site] to get that message out there or to meet their goals.”
In short, when an advisor’s goals are met, the program is successful!
We’d like to extend a huge thanks to Sarah for sharing her valuable insight with us! If you’re interested in learning how you can offer personalized agent or advisor websites to your team, visit our Hearsay Sites page to learn more.