'WRITING.' It’s a word that can evoke strong feelings of angst and emotional turmoil.
It can rouse feelings of dread even if you’re a seasoned professional, or literary scholar. In some cases, a full blown panic-attack.
It can trigger dark memories from comments made on your Year 8 English report: "Room for improvement”…“Reads more like a plot than a story”…“Ben has a tendency to daydream.” Hang on.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can reduce the anxiety of writing for your business, or career, just by putting some structure into your work. And you can do that using the Rule of Three.
Three Billy Goats Gruff
This was one of my favourite childhood stories as a kid.
“Trip, trap, trip, trap. Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” The plot…“Eat-me-when-I’m-fatter”.
The story ends with the third bigger goat flying at the troll on the bridge, poking his eyes out with his horns, and crushing him to “bits, body and bones.” And finally kicking him off the bridge into the river.
Now there’s a bedtime you won’t forget. You know the one. And probably many other as well…
Even artists and designers use the rule of thirds—derived from the Golden Mean or Golden Ratio—for composition.
Most of the time it is just self-evident. Like a natural law.
Four items seems to be one too many for people to hold in their memory. But a proposal, a report, or any other piece of business writing feels inadequate when it’s supported by only one or two points.
So How Can You Put It To Use in Your Writing?
Well, you can start by writing down your three main points as full sentences BEFORE YOU START WRITING. And spell out your logic as clearly as you can.
This way you’ll force yourself to think through your reasons for recommending a vendor, for example, or pitching an offer to a client—and you’ll make a stronger case.
If you try to ‘feel’ things out as you write then you’ll get lost. You won’t know yet what you’re hoping your reader will think or do.
You’ll carry on and on, gradually clarifying your point as you make several runs at it. A few of my aunties come to mind here :)
In the end, after multiple attempts, you may finally figure out what it is you want to say. But you probably won’t say it in a way that you’re reader can follow.
An Example of Finding Your Focus
Let’s say your name is Dot, and you work at a large earth moving business. Your boss, Bob, owns the business and is considering acquiring a 1000-square-foot industrial premise at 427 Burke Lane as the new HQ.
Bob has asked you to think through the logistics. This requires writing up your list of recommendations before the company makes an offer to purchase the new building.
PANIC! No don’t panic.
BEFORE you write your memo, put your crazy person face on and brainstorm a list of considerations:
Bob’s Responsibilities (before acquisition):
It can also take a bit of legwork and sniffing around—for example, talking to similar companies that have recently moved.
Can’t find any such companies? Then think outside the box. A commercial real estate agent will know someone who has.
For each stage above, you can see we have listed three important considerations.
Now Look at How Easy it is to Begin Writing Your Memo…
Re: Possible Purchase of 240 Burke Lane
Date: February 20, 2018
As requested, I’ve thought through the logistics of purchasing and moving into the Burke Lane property. Here are my suggestions for each stage of the process.
I’d like your approval to tackle the following tasks immediately because they’ll give us a more complete picture of how expensive the acquisition and move would be:
While I’m attending to the details above, you may want to:
Phew. Heart rate back at rest. No panic attack required. No need to hide in the toilets looking at your Facebook account.
You can see that PRE-WRITING in three lines paved the way for a clear, useful memo. It helped prevent writer’s block, organise the material, and make concise, well thought out recommendations.
A Three Bullet Point Summary…
If you’d like a 30 Minute Consultation on how to you can use the Rule of Three more effectively in your business then please get in touch with me—contact details below.
You might need a website re-write, a landing page, an email, an important memo or business plan drafted. The list is endless in the Information Age. Let me help you stand out from the crowd and stop walking the tightrope of language.
If you’d just like to connect and say hello then please do so via email@example.com or call me direct on +61 403 757 226. I love nothing more than hearing about other people’s entrepreneurial exploits or career ambitions.
It’s common practice among financial advisors to rely heavily on referral networks and organic traffic to attract new clients to their business.
Any mention of paid advertising garners a mixed reaction. Everything from ‘waste of money’ to, ‘I spent more than I earned’ is the norm.
Rarely will you hear ‘paid advertising is the most incredible investment I ever made in my business.’
And with good reason.
The cost per lead on direct mail campaigns, radio advertisements, TV ads and print ads can be very expensive. For example, the typical cost per lead for direct mail is in the range of $200 to $300.
If the average annual fees for a client are around $5,000 to $6,000 then $300 on ad spend is a good investment. But the stakes are high. One spelling mistake or an offer that doesn’t resonate and it could be $10,000 down the toilet.
A simple way to overcome this risk is to test the market first before committing large chunks of money to paid advertising. And the best way to do that is using Facebook Ads.
More Than 2 Billion Users and Counting
Facebook Ads are another source of consternation for a number of advisors. It’s a glancing in the distance, eyes-rolling-slowly with segue-into-AFL chat type reaction.
The figures are hard to ignore though. There are now more than 2.2 billion monthly active users on Facebook. That’s one third of the planet. And the fastest growing segment of users are baby boomers aged 55+.
Chances are your favourite high income/wealth delegate/non-price sensitive clients are on there waiting for you to say hello. But how do you attack it?
How do you build a sales funnel consistently producing high quality leads for your advisory practice with a small ad?
Well, here’s a three step process you can use to get the ball rolling today.
Step 1 - Ask: Who are the 4% of people you are most adept at serving?
Yes 4%. Not, ‘everyone is my client’.
4% is derived from Pareto’s 80/20 principle. So first you look at the 20% of clients who produce 80% of your revenue. This might be high income earners aged 35-45 or couples aged 55+ with lots of free cash flow. Then you take this 20% and multiply it by 20% to get 4%.
Now we are very focused on a valuable customer segment that we can offer something of value to. This brings us to…
Step 2 – Identify your audiences…
An example, ‘I’m worried I’m not going to have enough savings for retirement. I hate having to read the business pages to keep track of my share portfolio. I want enough savings for retirement and I don’t want to have to worry about managing my share portfolio’.
And on, and on…
You know your clients better than anyone so this step should be a cinch.
Step 3 – Is offering really specific information to your audience
Information has officially been commoditized. So much so it has become a paradox. It seems the more information we have the less we know and the more confused we get.
So how do you stand out from the crowd?
Well, you need to craft what’s called a lead magnet. Not just any old lead magnet. It has to take into account the factors you identified in step two and be highly valued by your prospect.
You can use the following four letter acronym, courtesy of Facebook Ad King Nicholas Kusmich, to satisfy ‘highly valued’. According to Nick, your lead magnet should be a simple document that is:
Built On Solid Ground
This three step process builds the foundation for an online sales funnel you can roll-out using paid ads on Facebook. The funnel from start to finish can be as simple as follows:
Of course, you might still be thinking…what on earth can I offer in the form of a lead magnet that truly resonates with my prospective audience?
There’s no point re-inventing the wheel here. The following documents have proven to be highly effective lead magnets time and time again:
In most cases you are already sitting on your most valuable content. Think of the most popular blog or podcast you’ve done. This will usually suffice as a valuable lead magnet once packaged up for your prospects.
If not, then put yourself in your client’s shoes and think about what’s really valuable to them.
Stepping Into the Cauldron
The next step and most important step is to get into the market and test your ad and funnel. You can do this with as little as $100 of ad spend on Facebook. You can set a budget for as little as $3 a day and get in front of prospects who look exactly like your most valuable clients.
The cost per lead is unmatched using Facebook Ads compared to traditional advertising methods. I know of advisors paying $35-$65 per lead using simple ads with a static image. That’s on the high side for Facebook Ads but very much on the low side for financial advisors.
Once you start getting clicks and downloads you can up your ad spend to $1,000 per month. Imagine getting 15-30 highly quality leads a month for every $1,000 you spend. And once you have a list built you can retarget these people and promote upcoming seminars and all manner of products and asset management capabilities. This is a subject best left for another day though.
For now, just remember the three step formula above so you can start bringing in high quality leads on autopilot for your advisory business today.
Ben Hucker is the founder and principal of iEvoke. He has 10 years’ experience consulting to listed and private companies in Australia. Ben thrives on helping financial advisors with their digital marketing needs and uses his passion for writing and business to help advisors get new clients and scale funds under advice.