First, tell us a little bit about Trace Wealth Advisors and how you got started.
I’ve worked in the wealth management business for over 15 years now (hard to believe it’s been that long)! All of my career before forming Trace was spent working at large firms (two wirehouses and a trust bank). Those experiences were formative for me in that they opened my eyes to some really great opportunities that I believe exist in the wealth management business. The industry is undergoing some radical changes due to better technology, greater transparency, and fee compression (I know a lot of people debate this but I believe it’s real)! I wanted to start a firm that got out ahead of these issues and offered clients a great UX that integrated leading-edge technology and objective advice…all at a competitive price point. I think we’ve been able to do that and I’m proud of what we’ve built over the course of the past year.
Standing out in a crowded marketplace can be incredibly challenging. In a SURVEY WE CONDUCTED, we found that around 50% of advisors who reported receiving 6-10 or 11+ or more clients per year included an “As Featured In” section on their site. So we were excited to see that you’ve included one on your homepage as well. Could you tell us more about how you went about securing these media placements in the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, etc. and have you received leads off of this publicity?
I suppose I’m really just a shameless marketer at heart. When I was first starting the firm, I did a little bit of online research and reached out to some media contacts/reporters for whom I could find information (helpful tip: you can find a lot of them on Twitter and many of them list their contact info in their bios). I would tell them a little about my firm and ask them if I could add them to my weekly newsletter that I send out via Mailchimp. As you might expect, a lot of them didn’t respond but the ones that did were interested in what I had to say and so they reach out from time to time to get a quote or some color on stories they’re writing. At the end of the day, they have a job to do and if you can make their lives a little easier by explaining a topic that they don’t understand or helping them out in some other way, they’ll help you out by getting your name out there in an article.
The leads are hard to track in the sense that I don’t recall receiving inbound communication solely from the media placement but it has undoubtedly helped with name recognition. Additionally, I’m able to send those placements out via my weekly newsletter which also definitely helps with my overall story.
The financial industry is moving at a rapid pace, and in order to keep up, integrating tools on your website is really key. We love to see that you’re leveraging some of the top tech tools like Riskalyze, Orion and eMoney. Tell us – how did you decide which tools to use in the tech stack for your business and how have they helped drive leads and make your client relationships stronger?
Our tech stack is the centerpiece of everything we do. The basic pitch is that those tools help us to create operational efficiencies, which in turn leads to a more favorable cost structure. We are able to pass those efficiencies on to clients in the form of lower fees. Think of our technology ecosystem in this way:
Clients love it because it allows them a better experience and they can own all of that data. We don’t stand between them and their information, and the access allows for such a seamless user experience for them. It’s a big win for everyone!
We’re thrilled to see that you’ve committed to blogging since going live and are integrating your blog with the rest of your marketing through sharing on Twitter. Since you started blogging what is the number one tip you’ve adopted that’s helped you stay consistent?
Write about something every day. I have accumulated a backlog of content that I will likely never use but writing every day is equal parts cathartic and interesting for me. It allows me to stay accountable to myself while also creating content that I can come back to later and post when I need it.
We love warm fuzzy’s – tell us more about your “Trace Some Good” campaign and your connection with the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Oh, man…well…here we go:
My son Oliver was born in 2015 with a lymphatic malformation – a rare and serious medical condition. It presented as a large 12-ounce mass (representing over 10% of his body weight) that wrapped around the right side of his chest and back and prevented his right arm from coming down lower than the level of his head. The malformation was undiagnosed in utero (they’re very difficult to see on ultrasound) and so we were obviously shocked and scared when he was born. After a brief stay in the NICU at the hospital where he was born, we were sent to the Vascular Anomalies Clinic at CHLA for some further testing. It was there that Oliver’s condition was correctly diagnosed and a plan was created to treat it. Oliver underwent six surgical procedures at CHLA over the first 15 months of his life and so we obviously spent a lot of time down there.
The fear that you feel as a parent going through something like that can only be described as crippling. We spent an incredible amount of time struggling with the “what ifs” of Oliver’s condition. Well, the story is a happy one in that Oliver is now a totally healthy and thriving 4-year-old boy.
CHLA forever altered the course of Oliver’s life and I believe that they saved mine as well…I’ll always be indebted to them for what they did for our family. As a result of our experience, I wanted to use my new business as a way to not only help clients but also help people in my community who are in need. We came up with the idea of “Trace Some Good” as a way to give back. The program works like this:
We give clients a $1,000 credit on their December statement in exchange for their promise to donate $1,000 to charity. If they’re willing to donate to CHLA, we’ll match their donation dollar for dollar up to $1,000.
CHLA is as much an idea as it is a place. They are the only top 10 children’s hospital in the country that also serves as a “safety net” hospital, meaning they’ll treat any child, regardless of their ability to pay for that care. I think values matter when you’re running a business and CHLA’s values of world-class expertise, compassionate care, and groundbreaking innovation perfectly align with those of Trace.
Designing or redesigning a website can be a labor-intensive process, there is a lot that has to happen to create the perfect site. What would you say was your favorite part of the process and on the other hand, what was the most difficult part?
My favorite part was definitely the copywriting process. Rachel worked with me seamlessly to integrate my messaging and points of differentiation. I’ve always considered myself to be a decent writer but the skillset required for copy is totally different than that of writing a blog or other forms of content.
The most difficult part for me was the overall design. Yea, I’m just not creative and I suck at that. That said, Nick was great to work with and was able to take my vision and implement it for me.
Give Twenty Over Ten a call! You won’t regret it.
peter heilbron – trace wealth advisors
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received either about marketing or running a business in general?
My dad is my hero. His advice to me when I first started was to “watch your cash flow and be kind to everyone…you never know where your next opportunity might come from.” I think that’s both good life advice and good business advice!
What is the most important thing that you would share with other financial advisors who are looking to redesign their website?
Don’t be afraid to tell your story a little differently than others. A big part of my story is about expense reduction for clients. Everyone told me not to put my fees on my website because many in the industry don’t. I went against the grain and I’m glad I did since it’s one of the things that helps me tell my story a little differently.
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