last updated 21 January 2022

6 Time-Saving Productivity Tools for Mortgage Brokers & IFAs

One thing that holds a lot of mortgage brokers and financial advisers back is the lack of time they have to develop and work on their marketing strategies.

So in this video, join me as I demonstrate six of my favourite productivity tools that will help you improve your online marketing and save you time as well.

These are tools that I use myself to market my own business. And best of all, the majority of them are either completely free or cost less than £10 a month.

Here are the six time-saving productivity tools you’ll learn about from this video:

Time-Saving Productivity Tool #1: Loom

Time-Saving Productivity Tool #2: Rev

Time-Saving Productivity Tool #3: Thrive Themes

Time-Saving Productivity Tool #4: Vidnami

Time-Saving Productivity Tool #5: Adzooma

Time-Saving Productivity Tool #6: Canva

Since this video was made, Vidnami has been taken out of service, so I recommend you try Pictory instead.

If you’ve been wondering how you can improve your online marketing to generate more mortgage leads or if you need tools to increase your productivity and save more time, then you really must watch this video.

A full transcript appears below.

Full Transcript

Hello everyone! Welcome to all of you who are watching this Live this afternoon. If you're watching later on, on the replay, then hello to you as well. 

I'm David Miles. I'm on a mission to help mortgage brokers and financial advisors to generate a consistent flow of leads. So they never again have to stress about where their next client is coming from. I know that one of the things which often stops you guys from being able to develop your lead generation systems is simply a lack of time. A lack of time to work on marketing strategy or work on any of the other things that would count as working on your business rather than in it. 

Today, I'm going to share with you six tools that I use to save time in my own business. That's to save time but generally and specifically around marketing kind of activities as well. Some of these tools are a hundred percent free. Some of them have a cost attached to them. It will be at a small cost. There are somewhere they are free up to a certain point but if you want to do extra things with them, then there's a charge. 

I'll put details of all of these tools into a PDF with links to all of them. I'll put a link to that PDFnto the comments of this live stream. If you're watching it now, you can get that. It will also be there for any of you to watch the replay as well. Just in the interest of transparency, some of the links in there are affiliate links. So, if you click through and buy something through one of those links, I will get a small commission from that, but that doesn't affect how much you pay. The key thing is that I only recommend tools that I actually think are worth having, not based on whether or not they pay any kind of affiliate fee or anything like that.

As usual, as we go through, if you've got any questions or any comments then, do post them and I'll try and keep an eye on that through phone separately here's. I'm trying to keep an eye on the comments as we go through. Also, if you're watching the replay then you can put comments and questions in there as well. I'll keep an eye on that for the next few days, jump in and pick up on anything that needs a response.

I've got those six tools to show you. I'm going to turn on the screen share. So as you can actually see them on the screen. The first one on my list is a tool called Loom, spelt as L-O-O-M.  It is a really handy little tool utility for creating online videos. Those can be videos either just using your webcam to do a video of you talking to the camera to do it like a video message or what is more commonly used for is to do a screen recording where you can record your screen and have an image of you in a circle in one of the corners. Like you can see in this demo, they've got running here. This would be a video of this person showing herself here on the camera then, recording her screen there. 

The reason I think this is a really useful time-saving tool is that it's something I've started using a lot more in the last sort of six to twelve months. It's often quicker. If someone sends you an email and asks you a question or wants your opinion on something, it's often a lot quicker to just record a two or three-minute video message than to start thinking about the content of an email and typing that email back to them. It's also often a lot quicker for the person who's receiving it to watch and understand what you're saying in a video message than to plough through a lengthy email.

Particularly if you're trying to explain something where it's useful to be able to actually illustrate things on the screen. In my kind of work, I also use it a lot for things like someone's got a question about how to do something in my Google Ads account. Rather than type out a three-paragraph email describing all the steps. I can just open the Google Ads account, either their one or my one on the screen, enable loom, just click a button in my browser toolbar and record it saying, “I've got your message. You asked me this and this is how you do it in Google ads. You go here, you click this, you click that.” Done and send them that. It's so much easier to understand. 

Now in the financial services world, you guys could do that with things when a client asks you a question or suppose you're sending the client a mortgage illustration. Rather than have to explain everything that's in there, you could just have the PDF of the mortgage illustration on screen and just scroll through and talk about the main points in there. Use your mouse to highlight bits that you're talking about. 

If you're trying to explain the choice of a couple of different quotes or if a client has sent you a copy of their valuation report and they've got questions on it. You can refer to it on screen when you go back to them. The beauty of it, it saves you a load of time. Also when people receive videos, they generally prefer that than to receiving a lengthy email. Then, You score extra points with the client and you save yourself time. That's a win-win. 

Paul was just asked a question. He said, “Do you need a platform to host videos with Loom?” No, you don't. It is part of your Loom membership plan. You get a certain amount of storage space with it. Every time you create the video, it automatically saves it to the cloud within the Loom website. Then you get a link that you can send to the recipient saying, “I made you this video message, click here to view it.” Then, you just send them the link. 

Loom is a completely free tool. I do actually have the paid version of it which I think cost me something huge, like $10 a month now. I've to be honest, I forget exactly why I upgraded just the paid ones. I think it was because it allows you to do slightly higher quality video. Let’s you do a high-definition video for some of the stuff I'm doing well. 

I'm trying to go into things like Analytics accounts or Google Ads accounts. It's just sometimes nicer to have that slightly higher quality image. But to be honest, if you could do most of what you probably need to do with the free version. It really is that simple. There's no uploading videos at the end, Podtube, YouTube or anything like that. Although, you can actually take the videos and put them on other platforms if you want to. 

The next one I want to show you, again, this is kind of continuing a little bit on the video theme or one aspect of this tool continues on the video theme. That's a tool called Rev.com, R-E-V. As you can see there on the screen, we have a tool for doing transcriptions and for doing captioning for subtitling videos.

Craig just made a comment about Loom. He says, “Reminded one of the differences. So, the free version only gives you five-minute video links.” I know they have revamped their plans recently. That might be a newish restriction because I don't recall that from when I was on the free version. Though, to be honest, most of the videos that I make for people are two or three minutes long. Then, you have five minutes. You can convey quite a lot of info in five minutes. But I would say actually, even if you do go for the paid version at $10. That's money well-spent in terms of the time it's ranging.

Anyway, back to Rev.com. One of my pet peeves when you're watching a video on social media. Let's say on LinkedIn, you're scrolling through the feed and you see someone's put a video on there, but they haven't put subtitles on it. The reason that's really annoying is not that I'm hard of hearing or anything, but because I often am looking at social media in an environment where I can't turn the sound on, or don't want to turn the sound on. I might be, well, not so much these days, but back in the day, I might've been on the train or out in a cafe or something like that. I don't want to necessarily have to turn the sound on. 

Your videos on social media will get much more engagement and will get seen and read by far more people if you have subtitles on them. Whereas with Facebook and with YouTube, they have automatic captioning on there. But one of the big weaknesses in LinkedIn at the moment is they don't automatically provide captioning or subtitling for the videos that you upload.

I see this quite a lot.  There's a lot of people, mortgage brokers, FAs who are making a really good effort to post videos on LinkedIn. Often, it's just them talking to the camera and explaining some development in the industry or something like that, but I never get to see what they see or hear what the content is because I'm not some of them that I can turn the sound on.

It's well worth just spending a little bit of extra time getting the subtitles for the videos. It's really easy to do. You just need a subtitle file with the text of your video in it. You upload that to LinkedIn at the same time as you publish your video. Of course, creating subtitles yourself is time-consuming and tedious and whatever.

That's where something like Rev comes in because you see the price there for $1.25 per minute. That's a pound or less per minute and they will take your video. They will create the subtitle file and send it back to you. For a typical kind of length video that you'd be putting on social media. Putting on LinkedIn a three (3) to four (4) minute video or two (2) or three (3) minutes. It's going to cost you two or three pounds to get it done. They turn it around within a few hours for that little amount of money, rather than you spending the time doing it yourself. That's a very small investment. You could actually have your video get far more reach and far more engagement because people won't be having to listen to it. They can actually just watch the whole thing on the screen.

I would highly recommend it if you haven't tried it. I've also found out that the quality of what comes back is really good. I use them quite a lot, and it's very rare that I have to make any corrections. I would say the bulk of the corrections I have had to make on them are basically correcting American spelling into English. That's a little bit annoying but it doesn't take that long. That's the second one. 

The third one I wanted to talk about, some of you will have heard me rave about this particular tool before. It's actually a suite of tools called Thrive Themes. Thrive Themes is a selection or a collection of plugins for people who've got WordPress websites and may allow you to do a lot of things that are designed to improve the conversion rate of your website.

The conversion rate, if your website is a measurement of all the people that come to your website, how many of them take the desired action, like submitting a mortgage inquiry or whatever your goal is. A lot of the things that are known to be best practices and conversion rate optimization, like having a clear call to action, doing things like having countdown timers on things or trying out different versions of pages and split testing them. What Thrive Themes does is it provides tools that make doing all those things really easy.

The two biggest things that I use it for are actually building web pages and building landing pages. It's got a fantastic drag and drop editor where you can just take different elements and drag and drop them onto your page and build up an entire landing page or an entire website, even if you don't have any web design skills. I can say that because I have no web design skills and I build loads of web pages and websites using Thrive. 

That gives you an indication of how intuitive it is. The fact that someone like me with no design skills can do it. To give you an example. Just hang on. My zoom toolbox just got in the way of what I'm trying to do. This is the landing page that I bought. I've lost a couple of days for my new membership program. I did that with Thrive Themes or with Thrive Architect components in Thrive themes. You literally can start with a blank page. 

I'll start with a template and you can go to a tool. Let’s say, I want some texts then you drag a text block in and you type the text in. But if I want the video, you drag the video element across and you tell in the link to where your video sits on YouTube, Vimeo or whatever.

Also, you can drag in ready-made buttons and timers. You can easily split things into columns. You can put images in. All of this kind of thing, it's got lots of ready-made icons and things in it. There's a whole collection. It's got blocks for what automatically pulls in testimonials for you from a database of testimonials. Automatically put the white person's photo with them and everything. All these kinds of blocks are again made from predefined elements within it. It really does make the whole process really easy. It was one of those landing pages if you just look at my whole website. 

All of that was built using Thrive. Again, this kind of thing here is a ready-made block where you can just pull this in and fill in the text and icons for each one. It's all sorts of styled lists and things like that. I think it is a really worthwhile tool to have. The other thing that's really good is the Thrive leads component of it. It is really good for helping you build a mailing list. 

As you'll know if you've been on some of my previous Facebook lives or those of you who've done my training courses online. I'm a really big believer in having a mailing list thing. Having a mailing list is really important. It's a really great way of building that kind of predictable pipeline of future clients. Thrive Leads, a component of Thrive Themes, allows you to have pop-up forms, offer people, lead magnets and downloadable guides and things in return for giving their name and email address. It links in with your email system like an active campaign or converts kit. An automated he puts the people into there

All of these components, you can buy individually. I think it's about £69 each, you can buy these as a one-off. If you're going to want to have more than a couple of them which you probably will, then you can go for the Thrive membership which is something like, uh, $29 a month or something like that. It's about £200 a year basically. That gets you to access all of them. All the ongoing updates, support and everything. 

So, if you've got a WordPress website and you have any kind of intentional desire to start building your own landing pages then I would strongly recommend looking at that. Those of you, by the way, who've joined the predictable pipeline program. You'll find that within the online course area of that. There's a whole load of lessons on actually how to use Thrive Architect in Thrive Themes to build those kinds of landing pages as well. They've also thrived in their whole university, that's got lots of stuff on this as well. Highly recommend it. That's number three.

The next one is Vidnami. This used to be called Content Samurai. Some of you may know it under that name. This is another video creation, particularly for social media. Vidnami is a really big time-saver. I think most people are aware that video in social media tends to get more engagement than written content because it's just more appealing to the eye. It's easier for a lot of people to consume because it requires less attention span. But of course, creating videos can be quite time-consuming. What Vidnami does, it gives you a really quick and easy way to create a professional-looking video without spending days on it or having to hire lots of professional equipment, video production facilities or anything like that.

One of the best ways to use it, you can take an article that you've written, like short blog articles. Again, it's a good way of repurposing existing content as one. I'm a big fan of that. If you've created a piece of content, the more different ways you can use it and get it out there. The better use of your time. It lets you do things like upload a short article. I'm going to show you an example here. 

This is one that I did with it a while ago. Gonna clip to play on it. There is a sound in the background. It was actually narrating what you're seeing on the screen. Obviously, I've muted that so that if you don't get to have me talking at the same time. 

Basically what I did to create this video was just upload the text that is appearing in the captions. I uploaded all this text here and the software automatically takes that article or content and inserts stock video footage that matches it. It's actually clever enough to find sort of the keywords. Like there, it highlighted the word email or the phone call and it automatically pulls in video footage of someone making a phone call or someone looking at emails on their phone.

Obviously, it doesn't always get it to spot on but I would say it gets about 95% of the way there. If it pulls in a video clip that isn't appropriate to the content you are actually doing, you can always go in and manually edit stuff. Then once it's finished the video, you can either use it as just background music or whatever, or you can as ID, but this one, you can record your own voice over to go with it as well.

Then, If the thing that stopped you from doing a video on social media so far is not having the time, the equipment or the skill set, whatever to create this kind of stuff. This is a massive time-saver. Again, when I've posted this kind of thing on LinkedIn or whatever, it gets far more views a lot of the time than if I'd taken the same and just put it up as an article.

Number five is Adzooma. This is a really useful tool. It's probably the best one on my list in terms of value for money because it does a hell of a lot of stuff. Also,  as of about four months ago, they made it totally free.

It used to have a monthly subscription, but they initially suspended the monthly subscription as a temporary measure, never starting the first lockdown. Then, back in the summer, they decided just to make it totally free for life and they've changed the way they monetize it. They now make their money from agencies advertising on their platform. But for end-users like you, it is now totally free.

What Adzooma does is, if you're using any of the major pay-per-click advertising platforms, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Microsoft Ads, and seeing what we'll do, two things really, it will monitor your advertising accounts. It will monitor, for example, your Google Ads account. It will make suggestions for improvements that you could make. So if for example, it finds that one of your keywords is spending a lot of money, but not generating you any leads.

It will recommend that you reduce the bids on that keyword or pause it altogether.

 Also, if it finds that you've got three different adverts running and one of them is attracting significantly more clicks than the others, it will recommend you pause the ones that aren't performing so well. Keep running the winner or create another one to try and beat the winner. A little while ago, I wrote a whole review of Adzooma. You can find this on the blog if you want more details.

There was a screenshot that gives you lots of stats about how your campaigns are performing. Down here we identify opportunities. Down here, you see it, particular things are not performing well or make suggestions. If you like a particular suggestion that it's making, you can just click the button and it will automatically implement that suggestion for you into your account. Let’s say, it does just for Google Ads, Microsoft ads and for Facebook as well. 

If you don't want to have it running all the time and give suggestions, it will do a one-off audit or performance report. Again, you connect it to your Microsoft, Google or Facebook advertising account run at performance report. It will grade all the different things in your account as red, amber or green to show you where there are opportunities to make improvements or where you're losing money unnecessarily. Highlight the things that you're doing well and the things you're not doing well.

Any of you who are currently using any of those platforms: Facebook, Google or Microsoft to run paid ads. I would recommend checking out the review at theppcmachine.co.uk/adzooma-review. I'll give you all the details. As I say, it's a completely free tool. You might as well install it if it only gives you one useful insight then, given that it costs nothing. It's more than paid for itself, isn't it? That's the fifth one.

The final one, this is what I almost wasn't going to put on my list. I thought everyone's heard of this one. In the last few days, I was talking to someone who hadn't ever heard of it. So I thought, I'll put it in just in case there are others.

Who’s not heard of it. Number six on my list is Canva. Canva is a graphic design tool. Again, it's a very useful thing for helping you save time, creating posts for social media. because Canva can be used to design any kind of graphical things, posters, cards. It's particularly useful when it comes to doing social media posts. 

As you can see here, they've got a lot of predefined templates that are all in the correct sizes for things like an Instagram post, all a Facebook banner or whatever. They've got lots of different templates already in there. If you wanted to do something like a social media post for the Halloween theme, they'll have those there. Also, they'll be ones coming up for Christmas and all that kind of stuff.

The Facebook banners that I do for these live streams. You would have seen at the beginning of this, as for holding the screen, those kinds of things have been done in Canva. Again, as  I said earlier on, I am in no way, a graphic designer, but even for me, it takes about five or 10 minutes to create something like that. Also, they're already correctly sized for the platform that you want to use. 

Canva is a free tool. It has paid upgrades but even with the free level, you get lots of different templates. You get lots of stock imagery, icons, shapes and things that you can use in your designs. What I actually think is, the best thing about it is, obviously, a lot of the sort of gold standard when it comes to graphic design. It is something like Adobe Photoshop.

The thing with Photoshop is even if you are willing to pay the money that it costs to get Photoshop. Something like that actually has far too many features for the average person. Then, for the likes of you and me who just want to create something to use in a social media post or want to create a diagram to put in a blog post. Something like Photoshop is just overkill.

You spend longer trying to learn how to use the thing than you do actually produce the design that you're trying to come up with. Whereas the beauty of something like Canva is because it is deliberately stripped down to just the bare essentials image. You don't waste hours, weeks, months trying to learn how to use it.

You can actually just get straight in and within a few minutes. You can knock out the design that you want to come up with. There are a few things there that I've deliberately included because they're sort of geared towards the idea of overcoming those barriers that stop people from exploring social media marketing because very often the reason people don't do that is for the time it takes. I haven't got the skills. I haven't got the equipment. I'm not a designer. I'm not a videographer. Heads up to the included two or three tools in my list which address, those particular issues. That's my list of six tools. As I said, we will put a link to a document with all of those in the comments as soon as I'm done here.

Have you found that might be useful?  Let's say it's a bit of a different format this week because it's kind of a tour around here. I know this is the kind of thing where it's very easy for me to say that everyone knows about those tools, but hopefully, from past experience, there'll be at least one in my list where you're going, “Wow, I didn't know that existed. That's going to be really useful for me and be a big time-saver.” 

The key thing is if you do use one of these and you do save time. Then, use that time to do something around working on your business to grow it. Because ultimately, that's what I want to help. You guys do it to grow your businesses and get systems that are generating you leads. Creating that predictable pipeline of future business.

Hopefully, tools like these will help you free up the time to do that kind of thing. My biggest challenge with this Facebook live is selecting which six tools to show you because there were loads more I could have done. If you like this kind of thing put something in the comments or ping me an email. I'm quite happy to do another one of these. Looking at another six tools at some point in the future. 

Hope you found that useful. Say if you've got any questions or if you've got any suggestions of tools that I didn't feature here which you think of the absolute whatnots, then put those in the comments as well. Share those for other people as well. Other than that, thank you very much for watching and I'll see you again in a couple of weeks. Bye now.

  • "The key thing is that I only recommend tools that I actually think are worth having, not based on whether or not they pay any kind of affiliate fee or anything like that." - David Miles
  • "You could actually have your video get far more reach and far more engagement because people won't be having to listen to it. They can actually just watch the whole thing on screen." - David Miles
  • "I'm a really big believer in having a mailing list thing. Having a mailing list is really important. It's a really great way of building that kind of predictable pipeline of future clients." - David Miles
  • "It's a good way of repurposing existing content as one. I'm a big fan of that. If you've created a piece of content, the more different ways you can use it and get it out there. The better use of your time." - David Miles
  • "The key thing is if you do use one of these and you do save time. Then, use that time to do something around working on your business to grow it. Because ultimately, that's what I want to help. You guys do it to grow your businesses and get systems that are generating you leads. Creating that predictable pipeline of future business." - David Miles

About the author 

David Miles

As a digital marketing consultant, author and trainer, I specialise in helping businesses in the financial services sector use the internet to get more enquiries and increase profits.

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