Snappy Kraken's Francesca McLin Shares Secrets to Digital Marketing Success in Swift Chat - View Video and Transcript Here
In this Swift Chat video conversation, I speak with Francesca McLin of Snappy Kraken. The topic: How communications have changed for financial advisors and their clients due to the coronavirus lock-downs - with special bonus material on the new Half-Time Report that Snappy Kraken will unveil via a webinar on July 28th at 3pm ET. There are lots of golden nuggets in this 15 minute video chat with Francesca!
Francesca McLin and Marie Swift Transcription
Swift Chat Video Interview: Recorded July 13, 2020
Marie Swift: Well welcome back everybody to another Swift chat and I'm delighted to have Francesca McLin who is the Chief Product Officer of Snappy Kraken. So, Francesca, where are you – at a beach somewhere?
Francesca McLin: I wish! I am actually at an AirBNB in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. I'm very excited to be here.
Marie: And I'm in my home office right here in Leawood, Kansas. So, we're going to talk about Snappy Kraken’s mid-year State of Digital Report. I know you guys came out with the first report, what, about six months ago? And now you've got more data.
MID-YEAR “STATE OF DIGITAL” REPORT
Francesca: Yes, we did. This is our midyear update to our State of Digital and we don't know if we're going to do it again, but we knew with COVID-19 and all the lessons and all the data we got to look at that was an important update.
Marie: Yeah. So, tell us what's in the report? What are you seeing especially as we've gone through the past couple months where advisors may have changed their cadence, their methodology, their tone? What are you seeing from the data?
Francesca: Actually, some really interesting things. So, let's talk a little bit about the importance of data. You know, in digital marketing data is everything. We all approach it with certain biases. We all have certain opinions. We all have come to a situation with a lot of experience, but ultimately, the data is what tells us the direction that we got to go and what we're doing right and what we need to tweak.
You know, COVID-19 hit us like a ton of bricks. We had to pivot really quickly to change how we approached marketing and how we trained our members how to approach marketing and so, this report is what we are producing to show what worked, what didn't and what changed.
And we came out of the current study with a lot of really interesting information.
BIG FINDINGS FROM THE HALF-TIME REPORT
Marie: So, what were the big take-aways, did you have any a-ha moments? What were the big findings?
Francesca: It was really fascinating. So, we talked a little bit about “I know” versus “I care” marketing. “I know” marketing is designed to show off and advisors’ expertise, you know, he/she is coming to the table as the professional, as the expert, explaining what's going on in market, what’s going on in economics. But, then we talk about the “I care” type of content, which is all about connecting as a human, as a person, as a citizen, as someone who's going through the same experience.
What we discovered is that the “I care” style of content – the really empathetic, very human, very creative and connection focused content – really outperformed.
Marie: You know, my firm works with a lot of advisors and one of them, Michael Garry of Yardley Wealth, told me that when he started using the Snappy Kraken campaigns, the one around gratitude and empathy was the one got more traction with his current clients and the prospective clients that he'd been courting for some time. To your point about, “I know” versus “I care” – the “I care” is what really got people to interact with him.
Francesca: Absolutely. That was a fascinating email. It was a really interesting one to write because we're all going through this together. Even all of us at Snappy Kraken. And so, it was a really interesting one to kind of really dive into and put a lot of emotion into and then just see how people reacted to it. I think of all the content I have ever produced in my 15 plus years of doing this, that is the one that has gotten the greatest number of responses.
Marie: Wow. So, you're a bit of a wordsmith, I take it?
Francesca: That's what I do. I absolutely love writing. I love copywriting. It's a fascinating business to be in.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CONNECTING
Marie: So, let's talk a little bit about the psychology of connecting. One of the things Robert Sofia ,one of your co-founders, always says is, "You need to stand out.“ That’s one of the things that Snappy Kraken strives to bring to its members; but I'm thinking, since you're the wordsmith at Snappy Kraken, or one of the primary wordsmiths, that you know a thing or two about connecting with people.
Francesca: Absolutely. So, you know, in this particular style of content, it's difficult to use pre-created campaigns, because you have to respond in the moment to what's happening. What is the reality that everyone has experienced that you can meet them where they are and connect with them? And so, we did a couple of things to help our members do that. We produced a lot of timely content – like the “gratitude and empathy email” – and those are made a really easy to personalize. We have placeholders for where advisors could reference their community. Reference the things that they were doing. You know, really make it seem hyper-personal, hyper-local, and with just a couple of minutes of work, you're able to take an email that's written by somebody else and make it sound like it just came right out of your keyboard.
QUICK, PERSONALIZED VIDEOS
Marie: The other thing that I've really heard great feedback on is the video component that Snappy Kraken provides -- so advisors can go in personalize a basic script however they’d like then record and send to Snappy Kraken for the omni-channel deployment that Snappy is known for. I was talking to Victor Gaxiola of TechGirl Financial – he's a big fan, by the way, of Snappy Kraken – and he has been using the Snappy Kraken system for like six months. But he has been using the video component and really loving that because you provide the script but he tweaks it and makes it hyper-local, hyper-personal.
Francesca: Absolutely. And that's I think one of the best ways to use content from Snappy Kraken. We make it very easy for you to take what we've given you, tweak it a little bit, put it in your own words, and especially something like a video script, because it needs to match your own delivery. We tend to make it very conversational very much like we're having a one to one conversation, but everyone's a little bit different. Some people tend to be a bit more formal. Maybe a little bit less formal. And so you take the scripts and you can just tweak it to fit exactly who you're talking to, and the kind of advisor, you want to be.
Marie: So the other thing that Victor said to me recently – he and I were doing a Swift Chat just like this, so that's why I know all about what Victor is doing – but he said that from their perspective at TechGirl Financial they changed the cadence and the tone and some of it was Snappy Kraken content that they had customized or used as is. And they love the landing pages, by the way, but also just what they were saying – the “I know” versus the “I care.” So, could you just address what you're seeing from where you sit today either from the data in the report, or just from being in the chair that you sit. What about the cadence in the methodology have you seen shifting through the whole pandemic crisis?
TOPICS AND CADENCE OF COMMUNICATIONS HAS CHANGED
Francesca: Absolutely. So, I think advisors, you know, smart advisors are sending out even more content. You know where prior to the pandemic, it was pretty good to send out maybe once a week, once every couple of weeks know depending on the cadence of marketing that you're used to.
But in the pandemic, it's really more about crisis management. More than marketing, you have to communicate regularly.
You have to stay on top of what's happening. You have to reassure people: You have to let them know that you are there with them because otherwise they're going to get worried; you know they're not going to be like “I had this this person but he/she isn't really reaching out to me. I might go with someone else.”
And we also saw a real shift in the type of topics that advisors were sending out and that people were responding to in the report, actually, we talked about one of the lessons is that the topics really shifted into volatility oriented, crisis oriented content. But then there were some old standbys that still remain top performance. For example, Social Security. You know, and you think about that, like, wow, Social Security in the middle of a pandemic why is that so important? But then you think about what Social Security is. It's not just a planning area which is the way those of us in the industry tend to approach it. It's all about security guaranteed income. Where's my money coming from even in the middle of a pandemic.
I think that's why certain topics like that, you know, resonate. We give you ways to modify them so they reference the pandemic and they stay timely, but they still go back to those principles of good planning.
Marie: For sure because people still have all the same concern is always – it’s just harder to shop for groceries and things,
Francesca: Like toilet paper, apparently.
Marie: Ha, yes, apparently. We live in interesting times. So, I know that my family were having better conversations than ever so I have to imagine that parents like me who have kids are in the 20s or 30s are wanting information that can be a conversation starter, especially around being financially responsible. Any comment on that?
Francesca: Absolutely. I'm not a parent myself, but I imagine that it is a little bit of a challenge, you know, especially when you've got grown kids to give them good information, stay involved in their lives without preaching, without being a little bit too overbearing. And we know that one of the styles of topics that tends to resonate a lot with a younger audience is behavioral finance. Everyone loves optimizing their own behavior, optimizing themselves. We've released a lot of content around that. How do you be a smart investor? How do you be better about money? How do you beat the invisible scripts that we all come to the table with? That's a great kind of content that parents can share with their kids or say, "Hey, take a, take a look at this. This is interesting."
FRESH, MODERN LANDING PAGES WITH “LEAD MAGNETS” AND “CALL TO ACTION”
Marie: And the Snappy Kraken landing pages and all of the content is so fresh and modern. I have to imagine that it really resonates well with Millennials and even the Gen Z who are wanting that simplified and visually compelling content, which is something else that Snappy Kraken is known for.
Francesca: We're really proud of that. I work with the best designers in the entire industry and they have just really opened my eyes. You know, I come to from a copywriting background, but being able to really work with top notch designers who take your fairly dry topics and move them into this amazingly creative direction is really impressive to see. We can see from the data that it resonates with folks of all ages and yes there is a large bump in some particular topics. With younger investors, for example, sustainable investing. But like we said behavioral finance. Anything that's less dry and more creative and we would even say almost lifestyle focused.
FACEBOOK ADVERTISING HAS PERFORMED WELL
Marie: Yeah, for sure. Well, what else about the report, let's get back to that. Is there anything else you want to unearth for us?
Francesca: So, one of the really interesting things that we pulled out of the report is seeing how online advertising on Facebook has performed. Facebook has been in the news a lot, some advertisers are moving away, new advertisers are coming on because it's such a digital platform. So, we weren't really sure how advertising was going to perform, we actually have seen that it's performing quite strongly and we're really proud of how our landing pages have performed. You know, you talked a little bit about how creative they are, but we also use a lot of data and a lot of research to make sure that they generate leads and they perform really strongly with cold traffic which one of the biggest parts of building a business online.
EMAIL IS STILL BEST DRIVER
Marie: What else have you seen in the data? I'm just so curious. I think email was a big driver of interaction and engagement last time. Is that still holding true?
Francesca: Absolutely! Dollar for dollar email is the most powerful digital marketing channels, simply because you've already got folks. They've already thrown their hand up to say, hey, I'm interested, so, you know, as a warm prospecting audience email is going to be really powerful with them. But if you don't have a big email list, we know that a lot of advisors come to Snappy Kraken without having a ton of prospects, they can market to online advertising is a great way to build a list that way. And we designed a lot of our campaigns to help them do exactly that.
MODERN BUYER’S JOURNEY
Marie: Fantastic. So, it's all about that modern buyer’s journey. I know I've heard Robert speak at conferences and do some webinars on that it's just fascinating to think about how people want to get their information in smaller chunks, with more visuals. I think we all had a little bit of information-fatigue, even before COVID.
Francesca: Absolutely, you know, and kind of going back to being relevant and making connections, folks are bombarded with information no matter which channel you're contacting them. Whether it's social media, whether it's email, you're fighting, you're screaming across a crowded intersection to people that you know may or may not be able to hear you.
But if you can be relevant, if you can be creative, you can be interesting, you can stand out. You can get the open. You can get the click on the social posts, and that's something that we spend a lot of time, money, and effort on trying to figure out which is one of the reasons we're so proud about this report because nobody else out there is releasing their data this way. I don't know if it's because it's proprietary. I don't know if they think they're ashamed of their results. I don't really know what it is, but we want everything to be out there. Loud and proud, whether it's good, whether it's bad, whether it's ugly. It's all teaching us something.
REAL DATA FROM REAL ADVISOR MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
Marie: Yeah, I don't know of any other companies that are doing marketing solutions for advisors that release their data like this. That's why I think it's so intriguing to see, here's the real data, real advisors using marketing content and what's resonating and what's pulling the engagement.
Francesca: Absolutely. And it's not just in the in the advisor space. There are very few marketing companies that release any data, simply because I think they just consider that the secret sauce. When, it’s, it's not. It’s part of the whole thing. It's what helps us make better decisions. It's what help us make better products. It's what helps us give our advisors better advice, but the secret sauce is really what we're doing internally. So, we're happy to release this.
Marie: So, before I asked you how we can get a copy of this report, or maybe if there's a webinar or something, Is there anything else that you'd like to leave with our viewers is just kind of like a golden nugget?
Francesca: Absolutely. So, you, you probably heard this before. Marketing is all about the right message to the right person at the right time and getting that right mix is always going to be a bit of an experiment. You can't walk in the door, even as a professional marketer who does this every single day, and you can't know exactly what's going to hit right now with a particular audience. So, what we encourage our Snappy Kraken members to do is make a lot of small bets, launch a bunch of different campaigns. You know, work through our library, work through all the customizable bits that we give you and see what hits. You know, you might be surprised. You might think that one particular campaign is going to be stellar and then you find out no, actually it's this campaign over here that's resonating right now, and we make it super easy for you.
REAL HUMANS WHEN YOU NEED HELP
Marie: Yeah and there's a dashboard, where people can go and look. And isn't there some kind of support person Snappy Kraken and that can help with all of this?
Francesca: Absolutely. We have an amazing team, the Advisor Success Team, who are there with webinars, with lots of really good information. They're there to help you if you've got questions. We want to be part of your overall marketing solution.
Automated marketing isn't going to fix everything, it's not going to be the one thing that takes your market to the next level, but we want to be a big part of it.
Marie: Fantastic. Well, with that, I've loved this. So, let's find out how do people get a copy of the report and is there going to be a webinar?
Francesca: There is absolutely going to be a webinar. Angel Gonzalez and our amazing marketing team are going to take the report once it's ready and build a whole webinar around it to teach our members and prospective members everything that we've learned in it. So, click, the big button that Marie is going to put right here, and you will be able to attend a webinar. We are super stoked to see you there.
REGISTER NOW TO GET A FREE COPY OF THE REPORT!
Marie: Yeah, me too! And you and I are recording this, in anticipation of the full report coming out. So, I so appreciate that you gave us a little preview and by the time this video comes out, we'll know even more.
Francesca: Absolutely. And we're collecting more data as we speak. And we look forward to releasing the next edition of it.
Marie: All right. Thanks again, Francesca McLin, Snappy Kraken.
Francesca: Take care.
REGISTER NOW TO ATTEND THE WEBINAR + GET A FREE COPY OF THE REPORT!
On Tuesday, July 28 at 3 pm ET / noon PT, Snappy Kraken will host a webinar revealing key insights from the report. Highlights include:
Those who register will receive a free PDF copy of the new 14-page report, How 2020 Has Changed Financial Adviser Marketing.
To register for the webinar and receive the free report, click here:
How 2020 Has Changed Financial Adviser Marketing
Read the full news release by clicking here.