In the 7 years since she’s started DailyWorth, Amanda Steinberg has seen the word “ambitious” become a compliment when applied to women. That may be due to the success her newsletter has had in communicating personal finance concepts clearly and without jargon to one million subscribers.
And now, her firm is moving deliberately up the value chain with the launch of a new online investment advisory service called WorthFM. Building an investment platform seemed to be an obvious next step to service a strong and loyal personal finance audience.
In order to launch a roboadvisor and transition from being a financial content site to an investment service, DailyWorth followed a clear build and launch plan.
Know your audience
Communicating with a million subscribers via a newsletter has given the firm a lot of data points to deal with when it comes to understanding their audience. DailyWorth’s audience is comprised of 5 different archetypes based on an individual’s relationship with money: the Visionary, Producer, Nurturer, Epicure, and Independent.
These categorizations are determined by the firm’s MoneyType quiz it offers new subscribers. Developed by Dr. Jennifer Leigh Selig, a depth psychologist and expert in Jungian archetypes, the MoneyType assessment not only helps subscribers understand themselves better but influences the way DailyWorth communicates with its audience.
It’s also the cornerstone upon which the firm’s new investment service was built. The WorthFM team wanted to make something from the ground-up that gives women a step-by-step guide to managing and growing their finances.
“E*trade and traditional wirehouses have done a great job taking tools designed for finance professionals and making them generally available to the public,” said Jordan Bastien, WorthFM’s director of business development. “But, we want our platform to speak to people about their emotional connections to money. There are lots of people out there who aren’t motivated by financial plans and charts. They want to understand how their finances enable them to take care of others or feel free.”
Test and iterate
Through its newsletter, the DailyWorth team has a lot of experience acquiring subscribers. When they thought about building and launching an investment service, they went straight to the source and polled their readers to test their appetite for a new service in a crowded niche — roboadvisory. The numbers spoke for themselves: 84% of respondents replied that they would be interested in opening an account.
When the marketers plumbed further, they became even more confident that DailyWorth subs were interested in migrating to the WorthFM platform. The average subscriber has over $200,000 in investable assets, yielding a potential $16 billion asset pipeline to market to.
But earlier in the company’s lifecycle, DailyWorth experimented with advertising investment services and the results weren’t particularly encouraging. Users would engage with sponsored material and click on through, but they just weren’t opening up accounts at partner sites like Vanguard. When the company asked users why, they responded that they just didn’t feel like the partners were speaking to them.
And that’s where the startup investment firm feels like it has a distinct advantage — it’s spent years learning to communicate with its predominantly female audience. The company knows how to talk to its users. In The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans, nearly half of Americans would struggle to float $400 for an unexpected expense. Women, said Bastien, have been the locus for so much money shaming. “It’s not that our advice is different, we’re just delivering it differently,” she said.“We’re a materialistic culture that doesn’t like talking about money.”
WorthFM opened its beta trial just a few weeks ago to just a few thousand people and will be letting new people on to the platform from a waiting list that numbered 30,000 people.
Convert subscribers to investors
From its user research, DailyWorth understood that its subscriber base isn’t looking to max out their investments — they’re looking to maximize their total net worth. So, WorthFM was designed to address a broader focus than just portfolio management. It also addresses personal finance and debt reduction.
WorthFM defaults to create 3 separate accounts for each user, corresponding to short-term, mid-term, and long term financial goals. “We want to help create balance in our users’ financial lives,” said Bastien. “People really do need an emergency savings account.”
With this holistic view of money, the new roboadvisor developed a personalized feed within a user’s dashboard— a Google Now for money — that includes educational content, directions on what to do next, some humor, and encouragement. WorthFM continuously learns what motivates its users, finding a way to tap into that motivation with appropriate encouragement, all in an effort to grow user net worth, not just their investment portfolios.
The investment field has long been criticized that it’s failed women, who have been consistently growing their economic power. Building on DailyWorth’s success communicating complex financial concepts simply, WorthFM hopes it can build an investment advisor with the same ethos.