TechGirl Financial has Doubled-Down on Communications throughout the Covid Crisis - Marie Swift and Victor Gaxiola Provide the How and the Why
In this Swift Chat video conversation, Marie Swift of Impact Communications speaks with Victor Gaxiola, co-founder of TechGirl Financial. The topic: How communications have changed for financial advisors and their clients due to the coronavirus lock-downs and why TechGirl Financial decided to double-down on their communications.
In addition to watching this video interview and/or reading the transcript below, be sure to register for the upcoming webinar -- complements of Impact Communications and Inside Information -- happening July 23, 2020 at 4pm ET where Victor and Marie will be joined by Bob Veres of Inside Information, Haleh Moddasser of Stearns Financial Group and Mike Scarborough of Oak Wealth Partners. In the live webinar, Pushing Through the Fog: Marketing that Works for Advisors Today, they will spend an hour unpacking their related insights and first-hand experiences.
The webinar is free for financial advisors and interested others but space is limited so register now to ensure you have a seat and/or a copy of the recording.
Swift Chat Video with Victor Gaxiola
Swift Chat Video Interview: 14:21 long
Transcript of Swift Chat Video
Marie Swift: Hi Victor, thank you for joining me for another Swift Chat.
Victor Gaxiola: Hi Marie. Thank you for asking me to be part of this conversation.
Marie: I'm so excited to be with you today because we want to talk about content and how things have changed for financial advisory firms and for their clients. Digital has more and more been “a thing” for financial advisory firms like yours. Can you tell us a little bit about that and then we can get to talking about content?
Victor: Absolutely. So, at TechGirl Financial we work as financial advisors and we serve women in technology and their families specifically in developing financial roadmaps to get them to what we like to call a “work optional lifestyle.” We are based in Silicon Valley in California. We have always been a digital-first outfit as it relates to working with our clients. We use social media, email marketing, and all kinds of marketing ways to connect with our clients and position our firm with potential prospects.
Marie: So, let's talk a little bit about how you've evolved. We all went through this shock; oh man, we have to shelter-in-place, and we have to be on Zoom calls or GoToMeetings, or similar seems like all the time now. We are going to be on video more, whether it's a webcast like this where we can interact or maybe it's counseling clients or a video that you put out in email. Would you just share with us how that's changed for TechGirl Financial? How are you thinking about client communications today?
Victor: Well, one of the things that happened when the pandemic first started happening is that people were forced to work home and had to set up Zoom or some sort of way of communicating with people and making a lot of adjustments. Because so many of our clients and so many people that we work with are so tech savvy, it's in the name, TechGirl Financial, we really didn't have that much of an impact as it relates to making adjustments to be able to communicate with our clients and also with positioning our firm and our brand with potential prospects.
Since we had already been a digital first offering, so the main change for us was as far as the adjustments we had to make was to increase the cadence of communication, remind people we were here and assure them that we were definitely available and now available in multiple mediums. So, for our clients it really wasn't that much of an adjustment and for people that did know us, the increase in the cadence and amount of information and content sharing certainly got us on the radar.
Marie: So, I'm thinking about that appetite for content. I think that the appetite for content has increased. So, let's talk about that. In tandem with that, would you talk about how you're keeping up with that demand? If you got more frequency and more touchpoints, how do you keep up with that production?
Victor: Well, it really starts with developing a calendar. We use an editorial calendar that we focus on the marketing messaging and we will look over it over the course of a month and then get much more specific for the week, maybe the next two weeks. So, I'm looking out at the next fourteen days. A lot of our content design and I'll sit with my partner and wife Kim and we will discuss what are the themes that we want to cover this month. Once we've established what themes are going to be covered and the things we would like to address, we actually seek out content that will fit that theme and develop campaigns around it.
We also use Snappy Kraken to produce some of our content and ensure that it goes out via email and social media. We like their content and automated system.
Here's a link to a recent Visual Insights landing page that Snappy Kraken produced for TechGirl Financial.
So, the campaigns can either be around email, social media, the videos that we do and then even the podcast. So, recently, one of the themes we've been working on quite a bit, we just recorded a second podcast, yesterday, and that is this whole idea that right now we do not know if schools are going to open up in the fall for college and universities. Just recently, the California State University system, which is one of the largest university systems in the country, with near half a million of students and undergrads are going to be in the fall semester, the fall quarter, doing their classroom online as they are doing it right now.
Kim and I have a senior in high school right now and she is sitting there thinking, do I even want to go to college in the fall if it's going to be what I'm experiencing right now by online or Zoom calls like my high school. So, she has decided to take a gap year. It's a very personal subject for us and we know that there are other parents and other clients that are wrestling with this kind of conversation. So, that was a big theme that we've built out and we are blogging about it, posting about it on social media and we just recorded two podcasts. We actually just brought in our daughter to be part of the podcast as well as our intern who is a first-year student at Santa Clara University to get their perspective. It was great to hear it from them directly and not assume what they are thinking but to ask and recording it on a podcast what they are going through.
It starts with a calendar of developing themes and then a product distribution across our approved channels.
Marie: Fantastic. Let's go back to the video aspects, because when we were warming up you shared some things about how you are thinking about video and publishing video. You were sharing a little bit about IGTV and Vimeo and tracking and would you just go into that whole topic?
Victor: So, video has always been part of our content distribution because we find it's a great medium from the standpoint of being able to share a lot of great information in a short period of time. People's attention spans have seemingly gotten shorter and shorter, what we are discovering is during the pandemic people are home and have a little more time and are hungry for content.
So, we've increased the amount of video that we are doing both on messaging videos that we are sending out through email marketing as well as we did a 5-minute, I would call it the reassurance videos called Gratitude and Empathy, oh no sorry, Gratitude and Optimism. It was really a general message that we created through the video to send out to our clients but then we broadly distributed across our social media platforms because we wanted people to understand how we felt about what we were going through but at the same time reassure our clients and let them know that this fight and all the negative press and news, we were still very optimistic about our future. We were grateful for all the people keeping this country together. First responders, people at the grocery stores, banking, police, fire, all these people keeping our country together.
So, when it came to looking at video, we noticed we were getting a lot of great feedback. Our insights on our social media channels were going up. Before, we would only post our videos on our website and then on Facebook we discovered we needed to expand the networks for our videos to be seen.
So, we expanded our YouTube channel and we also have a Vimeo channel. The reason I like Vimeo is because of the analytics so we could see the views, all the information about the sources of where people are coming from. How many people are viewing videos and what is resonating. They had a great feature called Showcase. You can look at your library videos and create a landing page showing all your videos. So, you can create a single link and send it there.
The other thing is we are very fortunate that we can use Instagram. As you know Instagram videos are limited to 30 second spots or small stories that may be available, we started to post the longer form videos on IGTV, which is Instagram television, uploading the entire video and then start to track to see how many people are actually watching it. It does appear to be gaining traction. So, we are going to be continuing that.
Marie: One observation I will say about the new world that we are living in, I mean it's the same world, but I think people are a little more forgiving, right? If I were to have a dog or a child walk in, you'd just go, "hey we get it!" We are managing a lot of stuff. Our Internet could go out because everybody in our neighborhood is trying to get the bandwidth.
Victor: I think there is a lot more empathy for that one gentleman, where was it South Korea, where the daughter walked in while he was doing the news story for the BBC. I think we can all empathize with him now.
Marie: We can! Well, let's wrap up. Is there anything that you want to mention that may be helpful for our viewers, our listeners today? I know we are speaking primarily to advisors many of whom are small business owners really but I think much of what we talked about today could be helpful for any small business owner or professional even just to think about communication in today’s new world.
Victor: What I would say is this. For those of us advisors that have been through this before, if you haven't been through this before, we know right now clients, prospects, and people who need financial advice are looking for guidance. More importantly, I think they are looking for leadership and confidence.
So, what I really like is that these mediums really allow us an opportunity to show that leadership and to show that confidence and to be that voice that is reassuring them. Despite what they are seeing in the headlines, and what they are reading in the newspapers, or watching on TV, that they've got someone whose keeping an eye on their finances. Someone who is keeping a pulse on what's happening.
A lot of it is looking at the market and it’s hard to explain the uncertainty that's happening there but reminding people that this is a blip and we've had blips before, and we've recovered from those blips. So, it's painting a picture not so much of where we are but where we are going and where we anticipate where we are going to be.
I think this for advisors is a Super Bowl. I mean we get a few opportunities like this to really illustrate our value and you saw what happened when the markets first started making their adjustments how Robinhood crashed. I think it's crashed multiple times. People want to talk to someone. So, it's very important that you are visible and that you are easily approachable and to continue to show that strength.
The ways we've been doing that is by increasing our content, by increasing our presence. One thing that this pandemic has helped us do was it stirred as a catalyst for us to do Facebook Live. We had always wanted to do Facebook Live and we didn't really have a strong enough case or reason to do it or even an audience for it, well guess what? Everyone is home, everyone is on their computers, so we started experimenting. We did weekly updates through Facebook Live. Not only have we enjoyed doing it because it's a much more casual way of sharing information but just being able to establish that cadence of where they can find us and get that reassuring word, or confidence, or optimism I think has really helped us. I hope it's helping our clients
Marie: I think we've all had the opportunity to trench into our foxholes and now stick our heads up and see we can exist just fine. In fact, we can thrive right now. Be human, don't hide out. It's basic stuff. We crave the relationships as human beings. We are better off if we can keep in touch, share, and help each other as we go through this.
Who knows how long we are going to be without conferences? Say, speaking of conferences, last year you and I were at the McCormick Place and the Morningstar Conference where we did that Social | Digital Hub and you were so kind to be one of my experts in The Hub. We were going to do it again this year, but of course it's not happening given that in Chicago they turned the McCormick Place into a Covid hospital. Thankfully, they are just dismantling that hospital but there is no Morningstar Conference happening this year. It's going to be virtual. Victor, I'm thinking maybe you and I can do an encore with some of our other social/digital experts and maybe do a nice little Zoom on how things have changed and how we are doing one year later.
Victor: Wow, that would be fun!
Marie: Well, I so appreciate everything that you've shared today. I wish you well. Say hi to Kim and the kids for me and I'll see you around.
Victor: Thank you for the invitation and for all the other advisors let me say you have a very powerful tool, right here to communicate with a great camera, great connectivity. [Holds up iPhone] Make sure to use it and be present. Thank you, Marie, for inviting me to be part of this. Hopefully, someone got a little something out of it.
Marie: Thank you Victor!
Independent financial advisors (and those considering going independent) are invited to attend a special 60-minute webinar on June 23rd, 2020 at 4pm ET to hear more from Victor Gaxiola, Marie Swift, Bob Veres, Haleh Moddasser and Mike Scarborough.