Happy Valentine’s Day! We always jump at the chance to show off redesigns that have recently gone live and look more into the experience our clients have working with our team and our platform, but today feels even more fitting to share a website redesign we love. Recently, we got to chat with Sonny Blanchard, President and CCO of Blanchard Wealth Partners. Blanchard and his team work to build comprehensive and focused financial planning for their clients. Keep reading to hear what they have to say about the Twenty Over Ten process!
Tell us a little about Blanchard Wealth Management. How did you get your start in this industry and who do you serve?
I’m a CPA and held positions as accounting firms of all sized throughout my career. My last role before getting into financial planning was as a senior auditor at a large firm. I got tired of being the person in the room that no one wanted to be there, and generally, businesses need audits by necessity, not want. I wanted to get back to working one-on-one with individuals and small business owners, using my knowledge and expertise to make a difference in their lives.
I started my own CPA practice in the beginning 2017 and transitioned into a financial planner role at a small RIA in Houston in the summer of 2017 and had been working both jobs until I started my RIA alongside the CPA firm this past November. I enjoy using my background to focus on helping the specific needs of small business owners, which I feel can be overlooked by many planners who do not share my same background. I took and passed the CFP® exam back in November of 2017 and used the experience I had to start using the CPA/PFS credential. I recently met the experience hours for the CFP® certification and hope to be approved by CFP Board soon.
What was it that pushed you to build a new website for your firm?
As a new RIA, I know I needed to have a site that stood out and had a “wow” factor when the occasional visitor stumbled upon it.
We love that you’re encouraging newsletter sign-ups throughout your site. Tell us more about your email marketing strategy. Have you seen any results yet?
Any emails we capture, we feed into Snappy Kraken. They put together some amazing infographics and prospect nurturing campaigns that we send out to prospects and CPA firm clients. We have not had any conversions yet.
We see that you’ve incorporated live chat into your website, which is one of the top digital marketing trends for 2019. What service did you decide to use and have you seen success with it so far in helping to nurture leads?
I use Tidiochat for my website. It starts at FREE with some decent functionality and works well to get someone to contact you immediately upon visiting the website. I started using this on my CPA firm’s website and have gotten several new clients just by allowing them to get in touch with a real person so quickly. I have not seen results yet on my RIA’s site, but our traffic isn’t much to speak of yet.
Tell us a little about how you’re using Riskalyze for your clients and the benefits you’ve seen leveraging it on your website.
Riskalyze is a great tool to start the conversation with perspective about thinking about risk in a different way. We use the lead generation URL provided by Riskalyze on the site to try and get folks to get their “Free Risk Score.” Again, traffic is slow at this point so we haven’t gotten any activity on this yet. The idea is that we’re offering something for free but it can start the process of discovering if a client has any misalignment in their portfolio with their risk tolerance.
You have a great start to your blog! What is your blogging process like so far and what are your plans for your blog moving forward?
My blog process is pretty random. I am the sole owner of my CPA and RIA practices, so I tend to have trouble keeping consistent. That said, I get a lot of great articles and materials from the AICPA, NAPFA, Broadridge, etc. that we use as a foundation for our blog entries. I try to schedule multiple posts in advance and just turn them on as we go.
We also noticed you’re using Acuity for your meeting scheduler. Tell us more about how this tech tool has helped streamline your workflow and the benefits of making it available via your website for clients and prospects.
I evaluated many, many (so many) scheduling tools when looking for a good solution for my previous employer. Acuity was the best in terms of customization and flexibility. It aggregates my availability from my CPA firm, RIA firm, and personal calendars. It allows me to avoid the back-and-forth emails of “when are you available?”, “how about this day?”, “oh, I have something at XX time, how about…” I simply say, “you want an appointment? Great; go here to pick something that works for you.” They pick a time and duration and it’s done.
It saves me so much time and I’ll never be double booked for anything. I also secretly blocked off all Fridays and Mondays, so no one will ever mess up an early or late weekend. For interested prospects, they simply click the link and schedule a time and we’re off to the races. It’s pretty foolproof as long as you spend some time setting it up correctly.
Starting out on our platform as a DIY client you laid a lot of the groundwork yourself. That’s so great! Was any part of building your site easier than you expected? Or harder than you expected?
I’ve got a minor in Computer Information Systems, so anything related to technology typically comes pretty easily to me. I was able to figure out how to manipulate the layouts, add content, manipulate the navigation, etc. As I suppose would be common with most people, pulling all the information together with a seamless design and engaging content is the most difficult part. I was glad to engage you guys to pull it all together.
What part of your new Twenty Over Ten site is your favorite?
I just love how modern the site is. The menus have smooth transitions. It’s flat, and it’s just overall easy to navigate. The home page is the best display of this.
You’ve had experience in both designing your own website and working with our team, what advice would you give to advisors looking to build a new site?
For advisors looking to build a site, I would say that if you are comfortable working with this type of technology, it’s worth getting in to play around and see what you can do for yourself. But, your site will never be as good as it can be without a second set of eyes and some professional help. We are finance professionals – not design professionals. Like we teach our clients, sometimes its just best to rely on an expert to get the job done. Going back to my first statement, it’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the tools available to make small changes and tweaks.