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In this week’s episode, Steven takes a break from technical tax talks to welcome digital marketing expert Olivia Luper to the show. Olivia shares how she helps Financial Advisors level up their marketing efforts, including why taxes can be such a powerful topic when it comes to helping prospective clients move away from pain. Steven and Olivia share specific examples of ways they have found success incorporating taxes into their marketing messages and give advice on how listeners can do the same in their practices.
Steven and his guests share more tax-planning insights in today’s Retirement Tax Services Podcast. Feedback, unusual tax-planning stories, and suggestions for future guests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Hello everyone, and welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services Podcast, Financial Professionals Edition. I’m your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA, and this week on the show, I don’t have a CPA or a financial advisor here with me. So I’m sure everyone is immediately more interested. I have someone who’s here to talk all about marketing. Olivia Luper is the host of the Get Advisor Fit podcast and the founder of Lexicon Advisor Marketing and is here to chat with me about how we incorporate taxes into marketing. So, Olivia, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited too. I didn’t realize that you only usually had tax professionals and financial advisors, so this is exciting. I guess I better bring my A game.
Typically, a lot of my guests are very much on the number nerd side of life, so it’s fun to hopefully you’ll take it as a compliment that I refer to you as a marketing nerd. I think it’s a compliment. Yeah, and I’m really excited to have this conversation because especially for my audience. I mean, people are here listening to this podcast because they know there’s value in tax planning. I don’t have to get on here every week and convince someone that taxes are important. And so that’s a really easy connection to make then to, oh, if this is important, it’s something I should be talking to my clients about, something I should be talking to my prospects about. But where the challenge comes in is, okay, but how do I do that?
How do I do that effectively? Like, how do I go from, oh, Steven said something great on the podcast last week, but now I want to go and put that into a newsletter, into my online content or into my podcast. And so that’s where I think a lot of people struggle is, well, what do I do with the information? And so you spend all your time working with financial advisors. So I think it’s important to highlight that for the audience, that you’re not just marketing for everybody. You’re not selling cars on the weekend, and then coming back to financial planning like this is what you do. And in the conversation we had before we started recording, I know you specifically work with advisors who have taxes as part of their offering. So, I’ll just stop for a second here. Why don’t you give us a little bit of your background of how you ended up where you are and what you do with advisors, and then specifically talk about how you see taxes fitting into all of this.
Yeah, sure, no problem. So I actually started in the industry in 2018. I do not have a financial background. In fact, numbers still scare me. I’m trying to rewrite my own money scripts about being terrible with it. But, you know, it’s one day at a time. As I get older, I seem to get a little bit better at it. And my advisor is great giving me guidance. So I drink the Kool-Aid. I have an advisor too. I firmly believe in how much value that they add. But, so I have a writing background, and I came to the industry as a content producer. I used to just write blogs for a financial advisor as my baby was taking a nap, and then I found that they really didn’t know what to do with it once they got it, or they were only putting it to limited use.
And I was like, wow, you’re really not getting the most out of your investment here. Here’s some recommendations about how you can use this article in other ways to, you know, get bang for your buck. And they’re like, well, we don’t have time for that. Can you just do it? And so it evolved from just writing to helping people market their business the same way I was marketing my business. And it worked really well. And I was like, okay. So, you know, it evolved into a more robust service offering. And recently in the past year we’ve added SEO lead gen. And so we’ve sort of really moved from just a content model to a full service outsource digital marketing team for your advisory firm. All done for you. Of course, we like your input. We like to put your pretty face on everything.
We get details about who you are and all these things and about your unique services. And especially if one of your unique services has to do with tax planning, because as I know that you’ve mentioned before on my podcast that taxes are very emotional and they’re ubiquitous. Everybody has to pay taxes. Nobody wants to pay more than they have to. I’d rather go out, you know, go on a extra vacation with my family than pay the IRS. And I think that everyone feels that way. So what I love about working with advisors who have tax planning as part of their service offering, even if they’re not necessarily doing the tax prep themselves, in which some cases some of our clients do, but it’s a great entry point to get people’s awareness about your firm, is to touch on this trigger, this emotional trigger, which is tax planning.
So when we work with advisors, when we start working with them, the first thing we do is review their messaging before we build any other thing out. And what that comes down to is identifying three to five of the top emotional problems that they have that your service solves. And many times taxes one of them. So if you’re able to help with that, it really gives you a leg up compared to, you know, when they’re sitting there looking at, okay, well I interviewed Rob, Dick and Harry, and you know, Rob is the only one who’s actually gonna be looking at my taxes every month or every year. And, he’s got this, you know, I know you mentioned a checklist that you guys provide for your clients. He’s got this checklist and he checks in with me every year, and I know that he’s on top of my taxes as well as my investments. So I’m not paying more than I should. All of these concerns are great thing to bring to those three to five pain points as an advisor.
So Olivia, I like to make what we talk about as actionable as possible. And so, again, I don’t think there’s gonna be people listening who are gonna disagree and say, no, taxes in your marketing is a terrible idea. Why would I ever do that? So talk to me about what advisors really need to be thinking about because, it’s one thing to, again, sit and listen to two people talk on a podcast that, Hey, I should incorporate taxes. But it is totally different to then to tomorrow go and say, okay, well what do I talk about? Where do I talk about it? How do I go from talking about it to getting somebody to take action? So, what are things that advisors need to be thinking about if they wanna get serious about including taxes in their marketing?
Okay, so what I heard was what, where and how. So let’s start with what, and the, what is really gonna come down to what said, just those main pain points. So for example, I’ve worked with an advisor who worked with, now it’s been a few years since I worked with him. And when we worked with him, he was only just buying content from us. We weren’t doing his full digital marketing plan, but he worked with federal employees and they had certain tax things going on with the way that they received, you know what I’m talking about?
So we wrote a lot about that for him. And so a lot of it is gonna come down to your audience. What to say is depending not on what you wanna talk about, sorry, it’s on what is the most important to them. So what is most important to them about taxes? What is the worst thing that they think is gonna happen? Or what is the best outcome? And now there are, when to say it is also very good question for two reasons, because what you say, where you say certain things is important in marketing. So at the top of the funnel, at the awareness stage, people don’t like to know, they don’t like to be told what to do by strangers. So if you are putting out content out there for prospects or whoever your audience on social media, do not just say, do this with your taxes.
Five things you need to do today to whatever. At that stage, what we do like to do is lead people away from pain. So avoid these five steps to take, to avoid these mistakes instead of five things to do today. So we have to acknowledge what stage the content is being presented at. So in the top of the funnel at the awareness stage, before they are on your email list, meaning they’re just getting exposure to you either through social media or well, social media is what I’m thinking of, or advertisements or PPC, things like that. We wanna lead them away from pain toward pleasure. How so how are we gonna say it? That also goes along with the away from pain and toward pleasure. But then when you get lower in the funnel, you can talk about things like case studies, like how we helped XY client save, oh uncover 10 million in save taxes over the next 20 year period or whatever.
And also testimonials. So there’s really a sword, there is an art in science to what you say when, so I guess as far as the most actionable item goes, I would say what is determined, what you’re gonna say is gonna be determined by what your client’s problems are, your most pressing problems. And if you don’t know, you can go do some market research. So you can do surveys of your current clients yourself, or you can have a third party do them asking things like, why did you come to us? Why did you choose to work with us? Is that tax planning piece valuable to you? Why? And, you know how did you feel before we solved this tax problem? How did you feel after we solved this tax problem? And that is really gonna help you guide what to say to people who don’t know you.
And then you can also ensure that they’re coming to you for the right reasons. Because you’re not putting out some bogus crap out there. We’re gonna save you $10 million on your taxes or whatever. You are actually using the reason that clients work with you to get the same kind of clients that you want to work with you. So you that this your clients like milk and honey, put out the milk and honey to get more of them. Like, that would be the what. And then the, when, you know, you can do some research or consult with a marketing professional if you need more help figuring out where to put certain information. But you know, in the awareness stage, if you haven’t brought them into your network yet, meaning they haven’t opted into your email list in some way, then think about leading them away from pain toward pleasure. You know, and psychologically that works better at that stage. I think that’s a lot. Sorry. That was that.
No, that’s great. I’m taking notes here ’cause there’s quite a few great things in there. I love that you’re reinforcing this away from pain and towards pleasure because the way we say things is really important. This is one of the things that we get the most positive feedback from the advisors we work with, especially the advisors within the RTS community, is that you know, it’s not that I’ve come up with a tax strategy that no one’s ever heard of before. It’s that I can help advisors with, how do you sit down and actually say this to a client? Or how do you say this to a prospect to help them see the, the value. So I love that you reinforce that several times. Keeping that mentality is really important. If all you’re ever doing is citing tax code at people, that those are not people that are gonna become clients.
Just as a quick example, like when you see commercial for something like, I don’t know, Applebee’s, I don’t know why I’m thinking of Applebee’s. ’cause I love hamburgers and I don’t even know if they have good hamburgers to be honest with you. But they don’t talk about in their commercials, Hey our food is so good. Everybody knows that app. The food at Applebee’s is crap. But, they’re talking about what the experience is like. So when you’re talking about tax strategies and tax opportunities, they don’t care how you’re gonna do it. They just wanna know what the experience and the outcome is gonna be like. What is the advantage of having your advisor give you tax planning strategies, maybe that you’re not gonna overpay in capital gains because you people were actually on the same page about what was happening and you didn’t go liquidate a bunch of crap that shouldn’t have been liquidated and endure this huge, I mean, talk about and what is, and okay, so then what is the benefit of that to your client? They can go on more vacations, they can do, you know, use their money to build more wealth. They can, whatever your target audience wants to be doing, that’s the thing that you focus on. So I get you over this hump. This is the outcome. The way you get over the hump is with me. Let’s go.
If a client walked through your door right now and asked to see their 10 year tax plan, what would you do? How would you answer that question? What would you show them? What actions have you taken as a financial advisor to ensure you’re delivering massive tax value to every single one of your financial planning clients without being a CPA? If you are like the hundreds of financial advisors that reach out to us from across the country, you know, you need to do a better job for your clients when it comes to tax planning. And that is why leading financial advisors across the country will be going to Las Vegas, Nevada, September 27th through the 29th to learn directly from Retirement Tax Services, how they can improve their tax planning for financial planning. Clients go to retirementtaxservices.com and register to attend this incredible tax planning session September 27th through the 29th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I love the way you’re describing that. Applebees is a great example. As we’re, you know, as we talk to clients, to advisors about what we do at RTS around taxes we definitely take that approach of we’re not coming to them and saying, Hey, we’re gonna make taxes fun like that. That’s not not something I can promise. Like, I can’t make taxes fun for most people. It’s gonna be a little bit painful. And so I just lean into that. I say, Hey, we’re gonna make the tax, we’re gonna make the tax experience less painful. We’re gonna help you only pay what you owe and not leave a tip. We’re gonna help you have more power to do the things that are really important to you. So those are the things that we focus on and that’s where we see people have a really good reaction to what we’re putting out there.
You brought up a question for me and then you actually answered it as well, but I wanna make sure this stood out to other listeners, because you talked about that it’s important that what in your content is what they want to hear, not what you are excited to talk about. And that really stood out to me and you said that I think that’s super important. And then later, I think you really just answered that for us, of the way you find out what they care about and not just what you’re excited about is you ask your existing clients that I love that you recommended having a survey in there. When I decide what I’m gonna post on LinkedIn or what I’m gonna talk about on the podcast, it’s not just because I fall asleep every night reading the tax code and something sticks out to me and it’s like, oh, that would be interesting. I’m creating my content based on the questions I’m getting, based on the feedback I’m hearing based on the real world problems I’m coming across. Because then I know they’re real and tangible and are going to resonate with my audience because I’m seeing them in practice.
Yeah, actually, so one of the ways that, so I’m huge on personalization in advisor marketing. I do not believe in selling a service where everybody’s marketing looks the same. We just changed the logo and the colors and said, you know, have a nice day. But, okay, so let’s be real though. I mean, content on a Roth conversion, it’s content on a Roth conversion. But what matters about that Roth conversion is gonna vary from audience to audience. And what is important is that you understand your target audience so well, that you know exactly what that is to them. And that’s what you’re talking about. So someone who’s nearing, you know, retirement versus someone who’s earlier in the accumulation phase is gonna have different concerns about taxes and they’re gonna need to hear different messages. Someone who is near retirement might have a better idea about, you know, lifetime tax savings, whereas maybe someone earlier in the accumulation phase is more worried about how I’m already struggling.
Like I’m early in my career, yes, okay, I make over $500,000 a year, but you know, I also live a nice lifestyle and I don’t really wanna do any more than I have to do. I don’t want my life to be more painful than it has to be. So they’re thinking, oh, what can I save on taxes now? So, and that’s, you know, that might be a certain group of young people and another group among young people might feel completely different. The point is that you need to understand your target audience so well that you’re like inside their mind. And the way to do that is to ask your current clients.
Well, Olivia, I’d love your perspective on this. One of the things that I do as I think about, okay, what am I gonna present, whether it’s to advisors or taxpayers, and this was a hurdle I had to get over early on, is that I am not looking for something that no one’s ever heard of before. I’m not getting hung up on, well, do I have something so unique and different that they couldn’t just go and Google it? Because it turns out Google has all of the information. And so whether you’re a tax professional like me or you’re a financial professional you can’t get hung up on is this information they never heard before. To your point, it’s how can I personalize this and can I organize it in a way or can I provide it in a way that Google cannot replicate, or that at least that Google hasn’t replicated yet?
You mentioned Roth, so I’ll give you a recent example of something that we’ve put out that we’ve gotten great feedback on. Backdoor Roth contributions. This is something that, again, Google has all the information, and this isn’t a strategy I came up with on my own. I don’t have any proprietary secrets on how to suddenly triple the value or anything like that. What I do have though, what we did create is a step-by-step guide on how to get this reported correctly. Because we are constantly helping people amend returns when they do it wrong. We’re constantly answering questions on does someone qualify and what are the steps and which forms have to get filled out. It’s one of the first things I look at in a tax return review. It’s on my 37 point checklist to say, wait, did the 8606 get done correctly? So rather than try to pretend like I’m the expert who has previously unknown knowledge about Al Roth contributions, I said, well, what if we created a tool to help you take action in a really effective way? And the feedback has been fantastic.
Yeah. So that’s another thing that I see that you like and that advisors should be aware of. When you’re thinking about you creating a guide or a resource or something, I really want you to keep in mind what problem can this help solve for my client? Now, you might think that this one page PDF checklist, what power is there in that, you know, okay, they downloaded it, whatever, but that’s not it, right? So we need to deliver on the promise. If they’ve gotten to your landing page or they’ve gotten to your website with the pop-up for the opt-in to download your tax guide or whatever, it’s make sure that it’s going to help them get a quick win. So maybe more than one quick win. And you don’t have to give away the secret sauce.
I mean, none of it is really that novel. Like you said, we can all Google most things, but we don’t have the time and we don’t have the expertise or the knowledge to know ins and outs, ups and downs, things like that. But when you’re thinking about creating content for this type of promotion, promoting your tax planning services or financial services, make sure that your downloadable has some sort of win that the client can get. Because what that does is create a positive feedback loop between your brand and their reaction to your brand. They always say, people don’t, you know, they don’t work with businesses, they work with people and they’re not gonna remember what you said. They’re gonna remember how you made them feel. So if you can give them a checklist that says, oh, wow, that’s been, you know, that’s something that I’ve been meaning to do, I totally forgot about it, and so glad, like I am gonna go take care of this now. Or, oh wow, I never knew that. Maybe I should look into that. You are gonna give them a sense of accomplishment that they weren’t able to get without you. And then what that does is create that positive feedback loop so they keep coming back to your content, your website, your podcast, to get the information that they need.
I love how you frame that of, what’s the win? What’s you know, I’m just thinking back through other things that we’ve helped advisors with, and I don’t think I consciously was thinking about it that way, but especially on a topic like tax, most people aren’t out there just thinking, Hey, I would love a newsletter where I can just get some neat information and just to tuck away for later, no people wanna be able to take action. They wanna know how it applies to them. And so whether you’re developing content or it’s a lead magnet, something you can download whatever step you are in the funnel, that’s a really interesting lens to think about through of, okay, if I’m taking the time to put this together that I want a prospect or a client to download, what’s the win for them? What’s the problem I’m solving right now?
So you have to think, we are all thinking whenever we open an email or we go to social media or we go to the mailbox, we’re looking at these things that come to us that are, we’re flooded all the time. All we’re all thinking what’s in it for me? Is this helpful for me? Yes. No, we just left swipe right. Mentally, we know, yes, I wanna keep this mail. No, I want to, Nope, I don’t wanna read that. I have no interest in that. So yeah, you wanna give them some sort of reason. And the reason is, I mean, can’t be what you wanna share, it’s gotta be the answers that they’re looking for, the types of things that they wanna know. So for example, one of my clients who does tax planning, financial advising, and also business consulting all under the same roof one of the things that we talked about, a timely topic was, is your business eligible for the employee retention tax credit?
And, you know, this is the way that it works in this state that they live in. This is who’s eligible. This is the deadline that you have to like, make a choice about it. You know, there are moments like this timely or otherwise that give you a really good in because people are concerned about it and they know there’s a deadline. So, or maybe they don’t know there’s a deadline and you’re the one who makes them aware of it. These are great opportunities, you know, like little insertion opportunities. There was another one in California that had something to do with taxes and businesses there’s a few years ago. But just like opportunities like this, that there are things that are trigger moments that they need help with right away or great ways to get in the door with people.
Well, and that employee retention credit is a great example of, it’s not just that people maybe don’t know what the opportunity is, but there’s lots of really bad information out there. That’s an area where there’s been a lot of companies who’ve really taken advantage of people. But that’s not to say it’s not a great opportunity when it fits. And so, again, coming back to, you can’t just put information out there. You gotta help people realize how they can take action, how it’s applicable to them, and what you’re gonna do to help with that process. So Olivia, I’ll give you a chance in just a second to tell people how they can learn more about what you do and how they could potentially work with you. But before we do that, just real quick, for advisors who aren’t to the point where they want to outsource, I mean, what’s something you’re typically recommending to advisors or you’re seeing being effective, a step that they can take to elevate what they’re doing on their marketing, whether it’s around taxes or another topic they’re excited about.
Well, here’s what I think, because we don’t wanna just throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks and that’s okay. It can work. You can see some success, but every single advisor out there, whether they’re new, old, lots of billions under management or, you know, just a few hundred thousand just getting started, everybody needs to be very clear on what their message is. They need to know exactly who their ICP is, and I’m not, not just saying men in their sixties who like golf. What are their behavior patterns? What do they, how do they make purchasing decisions? What are their hobbies? Like, what are their behaviors around finances and their retirement and things like this. You need to be so clear on your ICP and then you need to make sure that your message is speaking to their most common pain points.
And then use that to build your website. And then from there, if you, especially if you’re DIY, then you can start experimenting with some social media posts and some sales emails. Always, always monitor what you’re doing so that you can see what’s resonating with people and then double down on that. Or if then, you know, if there’s some stuff you put out there that really hasn’t done well, just, you know, don’t use it again. And you’ll be able to really go from here with monitoring to like really get to a nice, like, okay, I know that this handful of content that I put out is really great and here are the common threads and this is what I’m gonna go with, you know, until I can afford to get professional help. So that can be worked really well. And you can even just use, you know, you can hire coaches to look over it for you for a couple hours. You don’t have to do like a full engagement. Get very clear on what your business message is, your vision, your message, and then start doing the implementation pieces. And I think you’ll see a lot greater success than just trying stuff.
So Olivia, I always try to be really conscientious especially as a tax professional that I’m not assuming people know my acronym, so tell us what ICP is and then tell people how they can reach out and learn more about what you do if they’re ready for someone to help them do this for them.
Yeah. So your ICP, your ideal client profile, and I like to say if there is one client that you could clone, who would they be? And, you know, there might be a few and then find the commonalities between those clients and do some market research if you have to. But yeah, your ideal client profile if you wanna learn more about Lexicon Advisor marketing, you can go to www.lexiconadvisormarketing.com. I’m very active on LinkedIn. My personal page, Olivia Luper, I also spend time on Instagram under Lexicon Advisor marketing. And you can hop on my email list from my LinkedIn featured section. It’s a weekly newsletter that goes out on Fridays. I like to call it the last marketing newsletter you’ll ever need. It’s a mix of research tips, things to do, curated content, and also some fun stuff at the end each week, you know, because not everything has to be about work. So you guys, I hope to see you there and thank you for having me, Steven.
Yeah, of course. I really appreciated all your insight. We always like to wrap up these episodes with action items, and you already gave us our first one, and I just wanna make sure it’s real clear to our listeners that what Olivia’s talking about there around your ideal client profile, this isn’t something that you just need to sit and think about for a couple of minutes. I mean, you need to block out time, you need to write this stuff out. You need to really think through this if you want it to be effective. So that’s an action item that you really need to take. The other ones that stood out to me, we talked about it early on, of making sure you’re getting feedback, whether that’s formally through a survey or it’s a question you’re asking in client meetings, that’s gonna really level up the content that you produce, if it’s based on what you’re actually hearing from your existing clients, especially around taxes.
Not everyone’s always really clear on what different tax term means. And so, like I do on nearly every episode, I’m also gonna recommend that you’re getting tax returns from every client every single year. That’s another great way to be able to narrow in on, here are the things that are most relevant to my clients. Here are the things I should be talking about in my tax marketing. So again, Olivia, thank you so much for being here on the episode. If you’re listening and you’re ready to learn more, go out to Lexicon Advisor marketing and learn more about what Olivia’s doing. Really appreciate having you on the show, Olivia.
Thank you, Steven. It was great.
And for everyone listening until next time, good luck out there. And remember to tip your server, not the IRS!
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