It’s that time again! We get to showcase another one of our amazing clients that we had the privilege of working with. Recently, we caught up with Ron Guay, Fiduciary Financial Advisor for Rivermark Wealth Management. Interested in finding out about how the process went? Keep reading to find out more!
Could you tell us a bit about Rivermark Wealth Management and how you got your start?
I launched RWM last year as a true startup and with myself being truly a career changer and a new financial planner. Prior to obtaining my FINRA licensing and registering with Garrett Investment Advisors, I worked for approximately 20 years in Financial Planning & Analysis roles in a large corporate setting. While I enjoyed counseling large corporate clients on the various financial strategies that could help them achieve their goals, I found myself drawn to the needs of individuals and families for financial guidance.
Being in my early 40’s, I had just personally gone through a phase of life that involved buying my first home, getting married and starting a family, opening college savings accounts, and the many other important financial decisions people face in their 30’s and 40’s. During this time, I lived in a neighborhood in Santa Clara, CA called Rivermark. Given that I planned to focus on serving clients in this phase of life, I felt that Rivermark was an appropriate name for my new practice.
How would you best describe the type of work that your firm does? What is the main goal for you and your clients?
At RWM, we are a planning first practice. By this, I mean that the majority of our clients are more interested in developing a comprehensive retirement plan or getting a professional opinion on the best strategy to optimize their cash, to manage their debts, to best utilize their equity compensation, to choose their college funding vehicles, etc. While we do offer traditional investment management services (AUM model), our focus starts with helping the client to define and prioritize their goals, and from there we build out their plan and demonstrate to them how the plan puts them in the best position to achieve their most important goals.
Investments are a big part of the overall process of wealth accumulation, but our view is that you first define the ultimate uses of your money (Your “Why”) and this guides all of your decisions that follow, including portfolio management. Our main goal is to help our clients clarify their goals and organize their finances around achieving them. In doing so, we hope to simplify their lives and free up their time to spend on the things they enjoy.
You worked with us to design both your logo and your new website. Tell us more about how that process went while working on both of these elements for your business.
The process of designing both the logo and the overall website went very well. I devoted a lot of time and energy toward developing the copy and content and was able to leave the technical “heavy lifting” to my developer team. They explained the consequences of various decisions in plain Engish and were very prompt in terms of building the various additions and changes to the layout.
We noticed you’re using Calendly on your website so clients and prospects can book meetings. What has your experience been thus far in leveraging a tech tool like this?
I’m currently using ScheduleOnce to book prospect meetings. I initially had Calendly but found the functionality on ScheduleOnce to be more to my liking. So far, it has worked very nicely. The process is much more efficient than receiving an email directly and having multiple exchanges between myself and the prospect before we pin down the date and time for the initial consultation.
We see that you’re creating a monthly newsletter for clients and prospects, that’s great! What service have you found works best for you and have you had success in gaining subscribers since integrating it with your website?
The newsletter is still on my “to do” list. As you mentioned, the functionality is there and ready to go, but I haven’t yet developed the “freemium” to offer as an incentive to signup and also haven’t added functionality such as a pop-up window to prompt the user with a call to action. We hope to have that live on the site within the next 1-2 months.
We are huge fans of FAQ sections and love how you have incorporated a few on your new site! Have you noticed that doing so has helped to cut down on calls and emails requesting the same information?
It’s hard to say precisely what the impact of the FAQ page has had as it relates to reducing calls and emails. To the best of my knowledge, most users reach my website via either an association website (i.e. NAPFA) or through the firm that I’m registered with (Garrett Investment Advisors).
I still need to get up the learning curve on Google Analytics, Search Console, and the other tools that will inform how users are first reaching the site, where they are spending time (i.e. are they reaching and reading the FAQ’s), and from where are they usually leaving the site.
Writing website content can be quite the challenge but we understand you created all of your own content. It turned out great! Was there anything about the content creation process that took you by surprise or that became a challenge for you?
Yes, I have a much greater appreciation for the challenge of content creation after devoting the time to this initial site build. I somewhat compare it to the sculptor who continues to work on his piece until it finally is done. Getting a lot of words on the page is the easier part. Editing and reducing the word count to make it more “consumable” for an online visitor and ensuring that the sequence of information makes sense and does not have significant overlap as a user navigates from page to page is how you get from raw materials to finished goods.
We love receiving feedback so we can improve our process. Do you have any suggestions that you think would have made your site development process easier?
The only aspect of the overall design and launch that I feel has room for improvement is related to the interface with domain registrars (Hover, Go Daddy) and domain hosts (Amazon Web Services, etc). The process and roles and responsibilities are very nebulous and unfamiliar for me and I feel that 20 over 10 can and should take a more active role in getting the site from staging to live and any toll gates that are required with these other parties.
What is your best piece of advice that you would share with other advisors who may be considering redesigning their website?
My advice to other advisors thinking about their website design or redesign is to embrace a “less is more” approach. We all want to communicate our subject matter expertise and impress people with our credentials, but if you step into the customer’s shoes, if they are browsing for an advisor they have specific anxieties or concerns and they want to know if you and your firm can help them. Make sure you speak to who your target client is and why your firm can solve their concerns. Put a skeptical eye on all of your content and remove anything that isn’t specifically addressing who you serve and how you can help them.