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The Art of the Plan by Nancy Beck (2022)

"It was a huge success," says Beck. "We saw around a 30% gain in new recurring revenue within six months after the launch."


Financial planner and award-winning portrait artist Nancy Beck, owner of Beck Financial Strategies (BFS), had always wanted to write a book. But when challenged to create a book that would also upgrade her brand, set her apart from other financial planners, and position her for a higher-level customer, she wasn’t sure how to proceed.

The solution? Niche Pressworks helped Beck create a strategy combining her portrait artistry and her financial planning in a unique lifestyle brand designed to target affluent people with creative interests—people eager to enjoy the reward of their diligent savings.

“We’re always looking for that ‘special something’ that makes our client stand out in a noisy marketplace,” said Nicole Gebhardt, Niche Pressworks president. “In Nancy’s case, it was her unusual mix of left- and right-brain passions. She longed to share more of her creative side—the key was doing it in an elegant style that would appeal to her target market.”

With the Niche team’s help, Beck polished and clarified her brand message, defined her proprietary processes, and created a plan for the book as a key brand and marketing asset. Once these were in place, Beck carefully tailored her outline and then plunged into the writing.

Her husband, John White, had suggested she title the book The Art of the Plan, and the book’s theme crystallized when she decided her approach to portrait painting would be a good way to illustrate her unique approach to building relationships with her clients, who seek more than just traditional financial planning. Yet even with an outline, writing 20,000 words felt daunting to Beck, a visual thinker. Embedding her art selections into the text helped her navigate the material. “I knew the real design would be different, but I liked to imagine how the book might look,” she said.
Selecting and writing the stories also required some creative problem-solving. “I had to include enough helpful details of true situations, yet also avoid revealing too much about my clients,” she said. A little coaching from Hollywood storytelling expert Michael Hauge helped her improve her craft as well.

In June 2021, she launched her book with an outdoor book-signing party attended by friends, family, clients, and, of course, her Niche Pressworks team.

“It was a huge success,” she recalled.

“We measure our success based on revenue derived from new client relationships we build. The book really adds credibility to our brand, and it certainly convinced some prospective clients who’d been on the fence to come on board. We saw around a 30 percent gain in new recurring revenue within six months after the launch,” Beck said.

However, Beck had been so busy finishing the book and planning the launch that she hadn’t determined who would execute the rest of the marketing strategy. “We suddenly thought, ‘Ok, now what?’” she recalled.

The book actually helped solve that problem, too. One of Beck’s musician friends who played at the party picked up a copy for his friend, Bethany Alley, who wanted to become a financial advisor. Beck ended up hiring Alley to work as the company’s marketing coordinator while becoming licensed in financial advising.

“I was not hiring, but I really wanted to help her get started,” Beck said. “And when we talked, I saw she had an amazing mind and could help us leverage our new asset.”

Alley, who came on board in September 2021, immediately appreciated how well the new brand’s “Plan More, Play More, Be More” message captured the BFS true brand promise. “It reflects Nancy’s approach so much better than the company’s previous messaging,” she said.

Based on the Niche strategy, rather than selling the book, the team leverages it as a business-building asset. They market free copies through social media, client communications, and networking. Five copies currently circulate within the Indianapolis Public Library system; a sixth resides in their Indianapolis Authors section. The book has been a gift prize at local business events such as the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) Annual Visionary Luncheon, and the team handed out copies from the “Indiana Owned” booth at the Indiana Gift and Hobby Show. And of course, new clients receive copies before their first meeting with Beck. Alley estimated that they gave out around 1000 books within the first six months alone.

“Wherever we go, we bring two or three copies,” Beck said. “Sure enough, we end up sitting by somebody who wants one. We’ve even given one to a senator. It’s a wonderful networking tool.”

“It’s a great way for new clients to get an hour or two with Nancy prior to even meeting her,” Alley said. “And it’s an excellent ice breaker. The readers’ reviews all remarked about how it makes the topic of financial planning much more approachable.” The next strategic phase includes creating a corresponding workbook and workshop program for popular financial education programs Beck provides as an employee benefit for employer groups all throughout the region.

In addition to the positive reviews and initial revenues, The Art of the Plan continues to help bring in business. “We have several prospective clients reading it now,” Beck said. “I’m certain it will continue our growth through 2022.”

Melanie A. Hahn is a writer, editor, and content strategist with Niche Pressworks. She is based out of Crawfordsville, Ind. 

Connect with Nancy Beck at beckfs.com

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