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With Scott Orn

A Startup Podcast by Kruze Consulting

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Scott Orn

Scott Orn, CFA

Healy Jones of ForUsAll - 401k's for Startups

Posted on: 01/15/2017

Healy Jones

Healy Jones

Head of Marketing - ForUsAll

Healy Jones of ForUsAll - Podcast Summary

Healy Jones of ForUsAll discusses Startup 401k’s, including why startups should offer them and how to make them cost effective for employers and employees. ForUsAll is the leading 401k provider for startups and Kruze Consulting is a huge fan.

Healy Jones of ForUsAll - Podcast Transcript

Scott: Welcome to Founders and Friends Podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze Consulting, and my very special guest today is Healy Jones from ForUsAll, the 401(k) provider. Welcome, Healy.
Healy: Hey, Scott. How are you?
Scott: I’m doing great. We have been friends for, God, 20 years.
Healy: Basically. Well, not quite, but close.
Scott: We had a lot of very late nights doing investment banking together as young analysts and have been friends for a very long time.
Healy: It’s amazing how pain bonds people.
Scott: A lot of late nights. A lot of late-night pizza, and putting on 20 pounds and working too hard.
Healy: Yeah.
Scott: Hey, so I wanted to have Healy over because he’s one of the best marketers in The Valley I know. He’s amazing. I think I’ve referred you to like a million of our clients and a million startups. Healy’s at a really cool company now, ForUsAll. I wanted to have you give your background and then also talk about what ForUsAll does.
Healy: Great. Thanks, Scott, first of all, and for the record I definitely think you’re one of the best people in The Valley, which is, I don’t know. You’re great. Amazing, like the people you’re getting on this podcast, is amazing, but just really enjoyed …
Scott: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Healy: … Being your friend over however long it’s been.
Scott: It’s more than just pizza.
Healy: It is more than just pizza. There may be the occasional beer involved, although I guess you’re not drinking as much beer anymore.
Scott: I’m slowing down these days.
Healy: Let’s talk about ForUsAll for a second. I run marketing at ForUsAll. We’re a small business and mid-sized business focused 401(k) advisor. Our goal is to help small and mid-sized businesses offer an attractive and safe benefit to their employees. I don’t think a lot of business owners realize all of the work and liability that comes with offering a 401(k) but it’s a very highly regulated space. There’s the Department of Labor looking at you, there’s the IRS, it can be the SEC. That’s a lot of scary institutions that are potentially looking at you while you’re offering a 401(k) plan.
Scott: It’s not something you want to mess around with, and speaking for the founders that we work with, everyone just wants to run their business. This isn’t a core competency for them, so for them, they’re looking for someone who’s super-knowledgeable and can handle all that regulatory, all that work. That’s why they’re reaching out to you.
Healy: The company was founded by a group of friends who were working at Financial Engines, which is the original robo advisor. It is the largest and most successful robo advisor. I think they would probably call themselves managed accounts, but it is a robo advisor focused specifically on 401(k)s. These guys have the background to understand what to do in this space, and they’ve come from advising Fortune 500 companies like JC Penney or Motorola, and Citibank even on their 401(k) plans. They’re trying to bring that knowledge to the small business space. What they very quickly realized as they moved to the small and mid-sized business space is that a small company does not have a team of people focused on managing the 401(k). I’m trying to remember which company it was, I think something like Citibank maybe had three or four people full-time all they did was manage the 401(k). You’re not going to get that at a 50-person company. That would just be an insane human resources investment. Our goal is to offer a very attractive benefit that does not require a ton of work by the business owner or whoever’s running HR, the CFO. At the same time, we want to pull a lot of the liability and financial risk off of the business. There’s risk associated with picking the right investments, which you are a fiduciary when you offer a 401(k). We want to take on all that fiduciary risk for you. Then there’s a lot of administrative risks, so every time an employee changes how much they want to defer on a paycheck, you are required by law to make that change assuming that it happens within a particular prescribed amount of time prior to payroll being run. Then you have a certain number of days after payroll is run to deposit that into their 401(k) account. If you don’t meet those requirements, then you could potentially owe money back to the employee and maybe sometimes the Department of Labor could assess a fine. It can get pretty nasty pretty quickly.
Scott: IRS because payroll taxes weren’t paid or something weird happened there.
Healy: Yeah. It gets really messy.
Scott: Going back to it, it’s like the people when they ask us, they’re like, “Hey, who do you recommend for a 401(k)?” They’re really just trying to provide a perk. It’s like sometimes it’s that one extra thing that helps you get a really awesome candidate who they’re on the fence about joining your company, and the fact that you offer a 401(k) and other great benefits is one of the reasons they choose you. They’re not thinking about all those kinds of … They want it to be as easy as possible while also being affordable, and it sounds like you guys have cracked that nut.
Healy: That’s really what we’re focused on. I think there is a difference between business executives who have offered a 401(k) before or currently have one and those who haven’t. If you haven’t, you just assume it’s kind of like an off the shelf purchase. You go and you check the box some online form, and then next thing you know you’ve got one. Unfortunately, that’s not it. There’s more involved. We’re trying to make it as check the box as possible. Then the folks who have offered one before are often slightly traumatized by all of the work that comes with it and is just looking to see if they can outsource as much of that as possible. Even if it’s only one day a quarter, can you imagine a 50-person or a 20-person business having to take one human body and have their brain completely to be devoted to some non-core function?
Scott: Yeah. That’s four days a year. That’s probably $4,000 worth of expense right there they’re spending on it internally. That’s not even with the fees and paying the service provider. You guys actually have a really good client list. Who is so many of the companies you work with?
Healy: Let’s think about publicly who were allowed to talk about. We have a company called Lever which is a well-known HR software focused on recruiting space. It’s a very exciting, awesome business.
Scott: I see a lot of the Kruze Consulting clients using Lever actually.
Healy: We use it. It’s an awesome product. I would definitely recommend it [inaudible] power your recruiting page and to help your recruiting team. I love the interface. It’s awesome. We have some other companies though that you’ve never heard of that we’re really proud of. One is called NVN Hotels. It’s a hotel holding company, and they have multiple locations across the United States. If you can imagine, how do you get a valet in their Cincinnati hotel, and the housekeeping staff in one of the New York hotels to enroll in a 401(k)? You’re not going to. You don’t want to send an advisor crew there and pull them off the floor wherever they’re working and do a chat and chew, lunch and learn seminar thing. Is that going to provide the benefit? Is that going to get the people to enroll? It’s not. What you want to do is you actually want to go and you want to use modern communication tools like text messaging or email. That’s how you want to get these people on.
Scott: You do use that?
Healy: Yeah. We can get you into a 401(k) over a text message.
Scott: No way. That’s amazing.
Healy: Yeah, and it works, and it really works. It works particularly well with mobile workforces or manufacturing companies where you don’t have people sitting at a desk. It is a mission-driven company. We want to help solve the retirement crisis in the United States.
Scott: I was also going to say, that might be a financial literacy thing where that’s actually really cool. Not to stereotype too much, but it tends to be that financial literacy is a skill that people on the lower rung of the economic environment don’t have because they just don’t learn it, or for whatever reason. A 401(k) is like the greatest saving tool of all time. Bringing out the people who maybe don’t have access to some of these tools or know about a 401(k) is really powerful. That’s really helping those people.
Healy: I think it provides a very valuable benefit. If you actually talk with the end employees, they are very thankful to have this. We did some research before launching the company, this was prior to me joining, but we surveyed employees who had not joined a large company 401(k) plan to try to understand why didn’t they join. The common wisdom is that it’s I’m living paycheck to paycheck. I cannot afford to not get my entire paycheck every month. The truth is something like 60% of the people just couldn’t deal with the paperwork, or said, “You know what, I’m going to get to it later. It’s a little bit of a hassle,” and then just never got around to it. That’s why we use these electronic tools to bring people in and educate them pretty quickly. Then our goal is to get them into the right age-appropriate and risk-appropriate funds. We at the moment are using Vanguard target date funds, which are pretty amazing.
Scott: Vanguard’s like the most efficient fund, right?
Healy: They averaged-
Scott: They have a super-low management fee.
Healy: Yeah. 12 basis points are our average-
Scott: Can you explain that for the audience, like what a basis point is, what a fee ratio is?
Healy: Sure. A basis point is a fancy way of saying a percent of a percent.
Scott: There are 100 basis points in 1%, think about it that way.
Healy: Maybe I should have said it like that. Exactly.
Scott: No. I’ve explained this many times.
Healy: That is a lot of the costs associated with owning any type of an investment, particularly like a mutual fund or an ETF is calculated as a percent of assets, and it’s generally as a percent of basis points. If you are paying 50 basis points a year, that means half a percent of your investment goes away in terms of fees every year. Generally published returns are net of fees.
Scott: Those fees add up. That’s one of the things that robo advisors figured out was getting the fees as low as possible really helps your return over time. Actually, Vanguard’s the one who really figured it out.
Healy: Yeah. Vanguard figured it out and then the robos are putting a little bit of value-add on top of it. That’s what their claim is. Now, if you take a similar asset mix of fixed income to equity from, say, like a popular robo advisor like Betterment, they’re very transparent. They publish all their fund performance online, which I think is wonderful. If you take a similar mix, say, like a 70% equity, 30% fixed income and compare it to a Vanguard TDF that has the same performance, you’ll see almost no difference in performance. I think if you look at the three or five years, the Vanguard is slightly ahead, and if you look at the three months, the Betterment is slightly ahead. Basically, all Betterment did was recreate target date funds. Our founder basically says, “You know what, I built the first robo advisor when I was at Financial Engines.” He led the product team that did that, and he said, “It’s really not that hard. If you run the analysis, at this point it’s pretty similar to what Vanguard has produced.” Guess what, Schwab has target date funds. A large number of well-known financial institutions have low-cost target-date funds that have pretty similar glide paths to what a Betterment might put on it.
Scott: I think people, this is where it’s a little bit of digression because we’re talking about investing, but our friends or family will email me and be like, “Hey, I have some money. What should I do with it?” I always tell them just index it. Put it in an index like the Vanguard funds that have a low expense ratio. Indexing means buy the S&P500, buy the Russell 2000, or buy the Dow, and some bond funds and things like that. By being very diversified and keeping your expense ratio low, that’s how you outperform. I think most people have heard that whole theory about how only 10% or 15% of mutual funds outperform the market in any given year. Then when you start looking at two, three, four, or five years, no one outperforms the market. Just doing it in indexes and keeping it cheap is the way to go in my opinion.
Healy: That is basically ForUsAll’s investment philosophy. We have found-
Scott: That’s one of the reasons we recommend you guys.
Healy: Thank you. Appreciate that. We have found these low-cost target date funds, and we evaluate their performance every quarter, and we look at them compared to competitive funds which we could also potentially recommend, and they continue to perform completely in line at a very low-cost point. They’re at the moment the selection that we are recommending. We evaluate it. We’re not going to ignore it. We will keep looking at that. That is, again, something that’s a little different, I would say, for an independent advisor like us versus somebody who has their own robo shtick is they’re not going to ever recommend you go with a different lineup because they have a vested interest in their own lineup. I don’t think they’re doing anything nefarious, just to be clear. As an independent 401(k) advisor, we can recommend anything on the planet. We can recommend any record keeper. We can recommend any fund lineup. We can find the right thing for the employee base at any given company.
Scott: That’s awesome. To summarize, you guys have taken a lot of the expense out of the process, and you’ve reduced the liability. Can you talk about just quickly how you reduce the liability for startup founder or management teams that just want to offer this? They just want that perk. It’s like you said, they’re thinking it’s a click the box kind of type of process, and it’s more complex than that. How have you reduced the liability for them?
Healy: The Department of Labor has very helpfully labeled everything in the legal code if you will, so there’s something called the 3(16) fiduciary, or 3(16) fiduciary services, which is the part of the legal code that talks about your liabilities as the plan administrator. The sponsoring company has certain liabilities around the administration of the plan. That includes everything from making sure that the payroll deductions are run on time and correctly, to making sure that you’re filing your governmental paperwork on time, that you are appropriately processing loan distributions and hardship withdrawals, and that in general, you’re following the letter of your plan documentation. You write a plan document, which is basically the by-laws of your 401(k), and you need to follow those. The government holds you accountable.
Scott: They’ve also got a compliance manifesto or something like that.
Healy: Exactly. That’s a great way to say it. What we do is we offer 3(16) fiduciary services alongside our other 401(k) services. We take on the burden of making sure that your payroll deductions are run correctly, and we actually run those. Depending on which payroll you work with, we have payroll integration or payroll sync. We will adjust the deferrals for you.
Scott: That’s huge.
Healy: We will make sure we run checks to make sure that it’s correctly executed on the record keeper’s side as well. If there are any discrepancies, we’ll jump on that and try to figure out what happened and then make it right. If an employee needs a hardship withdrawal, again, your plan documentation will explain what forms and what proof they need to put forward for you to be able to approve or deny that. We will soup to nuts run that for you so you don’t have to worry about it. Then at the end of the year, you, well, it’s actually at the beginning of the year for the previous year you have to file what’s called a Form 5500. You put your name on there. You sign it. When you sign it, you are taking personal liability.
Scott: Wow. Personal liability.
Healy: Personal liability. If anybody is signing a Form 5500, you may wish to see what kind of directors and officers insurance you have, because if the company gets sued for a screw up in the 401(k), it may have to come out of your personal bank account. We sign that, or our 3(16) service will sign that for you. We’re going to take on that liability.
Scott: That’s huge. My two favorite things you mention are, A, the signing and taking on that liability, because no one wants to take that on. No one wants to have some stupid mistake or paperwork mistake come back and bite them and cost them their house or something ridiculous.
Healy: That’s pretty extreme, but the truth is that I think it’s 2014 the Department of Labor audited a certain number of 401(k)s. That’s just like the IRS will do an audit, they will do that. 75% of them failed some sort of administrative thing. I don’t remember what percent resulted in fines, but there were a lot of fines. Some of the fines were massive. Now, if you have a small business, the fines will only get so big, but that’s money. That’s scary.
Scott: It’s also stress.
Healy: Yes, in fact, one of the clients that we worked with talked about how much work it was to even go through an audit, even though they didn’t end up with any fines. One of the other things that we do is we provide an online fiduciary vault where we try to take all the important paperwork that your plan has and put them in one place so that when you’re audited you can log in and get all the paperwork in one place.
Scott: That’s amazing. That’s amazing. We do the same thing for our clients, and the tools we use are the same. We’ve had clients go through audits. Being able to send over five Expensify links to the auditor, it solves all of the … It’s crazy how efficient it is and it makes it easier for them, and it makes our clients look good. It shows how organized they are. This is another step of that. Having that feature for if you get audited on your 401(k) is huge.
Healy: There are other things that can be audited by the Department of Labor on the investment side, like are you conducting investment reviews. One of the fiduciary services we provide is we offer what’s called a 3(38) fiduciary, which means we take on full responsibility for making sure that you have an appropriate fund lineup in your 401(k) plan.
Scott: This is basically like a large cap, small cap.
Healy: Targeted date funds.
Scott: Diversified, maybe some international funds, like all that. Making sure people have enough choices and they’re balanced.
Healy: Yes. The thing that is insane to me is that 401(k) providers like Transamerica have been sued by their own employees over the fund lineups that they put together, which were their own funds because the expenses were so high.
Scott: Can you talk about this, because I think a lot of people don’t realize that there are two expenses they have to worry about. They have to worry about the expenses in the funds that people are putting their money into, and then there are the normal plans. I’ve heard people say to me, and I’m not going to name names, but other 401(k) providers, they’ll be like, “Oh, it’s free. It’s super-low fee.” But there’s no free lunch. Can you explain that, like where the fees are getting picked up and who’s bearing those fees?
Healy: There are employer-based fees and employee-based fees. It’s very common for a small business owner to be sold something based on the employer-based fee. It’s possible that there’s a per participant fee each year or some sort of a platform fee or something, where the business is writing a check to generally the record keeper every year.
Scott: The business is like, “Oh, it’s only-“
Healy: It’s only $1,000.
Scott: $1,000. What a deal? I can’t believe I can get a 401(k) that cheaply, right?
Healy: But then there are those asset-based fees, which are measured in basis points, like remember we talked about basis points earlier. That is where a lot of the expense happens, and those fees are paid by the employees who put their money into the fund, or funds lineup. A certain percentage of their assets go away every year and end up in these fees. The average small business is paying somewhere north of 138 basis points up to 2%. We’ve seen plans even more than that. Think about if you’re going to have a 6% return in the stock market and 2% of that goes away in fees each year, it’s going to be very hard for you to grow your asset base as an employee trying to save for retirement. Yale University, I think one of their business school professors, I believe, did a study for young people who don’t make a ton of money, the 401(k) may not be worth it if the fees are over a certain amount, because all the tax savings or tax advantages get eaten up by these fees.
Scott: By the fees. Well, if you just do the math, say a small business has $500,000, which it sounds like a lot of money, but if you have a lot of people contributing, that’s actually not very much money in the grand scheme of things. At a 2% management fee that’s $10,000 a year that you’re spending on fees. The small business owner thinks they got this great deal because maybe they’re paying $1,000 a year, but really they’re paying, fully loaded it’s $11,000 a year for the 401(k).
Healy: Which is a very lar-
Scott: That’s a lot of money.
Healy: That would be over 2% a year that they’re paying in fees. We can provide that at 52 basis points in terms of asset expense, and then a pretty nominal per participant expense that’s usually paid for by the business.
Scott: You’re saying you could do it in that example for 2,500 bucks or something like that. If I do the math really quick.
Healy: We could run the math, but it’s going to be …
Scott: Just to show the difference.
Healy: I’m going to bet it’s going to be in the 60 or 70 basis points fully-loaded, which is less than half. A lot of times we can cut the expenses to a third, which is insane.
Scott: That’s crazy. That’s awesome.
Healy: People really pay a lot of money. Those asset-based fees are paid in a few different ways or a few different … There are a lot of mouths to feed if you will.
Scott: That’s what I’m saying, there’s no free lunch on this kind of stuff.
Healy: Exactly. You might have an advisor, so we’re an advisor, so take an advisory fee. We provide all of the fiduciary services that we just discussed, and payroll integration and things like that in our fee there. Your record keeper, which is usually the thing that your employees would go log into to manipulate their fund lineup and things like that, and that’s where if you didn’t have payroll integration, as the administrator you’d log in to change deferral amounts and things like that. That’s your record keeper. They’re going to take a percent of assets often, and usually, they’re ones that might get some of the participant fee. You might have a custodial fee. You might have a third-party administration fee. There could be another kind of fees in there, which is where it adds up. The big thing that a lot of people don’t necessarily think about is the mutual fund fees can be egregious. Some of these actively managed mutual funds have enormous fees each year, and so you as the business owner are responsible for making sure that if you’ve picked expensive funds, they’d better be returning really well, and you’d better have a program in place to pull out bad performing funds and replace them with ones that are better. Again, is that what you want to be doing as a business owner? Do you want to be using Morningstar to figure out which actively managed small-cap funds you should have in your …
Scott: No.
Healy: … 401(k) each year? That’s insane.
Scott: Yeah. I totally agree. There’s another point you made earlier. By the way, thank you for explaining those fees, because it’s hard for the normal employee to figure these things out. That’s one of the reasons we like you guys are you guys make everything super-transparent, and there are no crazy fees on the back. It’s all very upfront, this is what it’s going to cost, which-
Healy: Actually, I would say that a lot of the startup 401(k) providers are trying to have a very transparent fee structure, which from a mission-driven perspective I think is phenomenal. I think that this industry has really been hiding behind all the different fee layers and confusing people. It’s phenomenal that there are a number of companies that are out there trying to change that. It’s pretty amazing.
Scott: I totally agree. One thing, and I want to circle back to that, but the integration with the payroll systems is actually really important. I’ve heard this used as a scare tactic when other 401(k) providers try to sell their services, the high-fee services basically, and they say, “You better watch out. Those withdrawals are super-important and super-risky, and that’s why we charge so much,” or something to that kind of logic. The fact that you guys integrate with all the payroll providers means that money gets pulled out automatically. It’s pulled out based on basically algorithms are pulling that money out instead of people sitting there doing math, a human being doing it. Can you just talk about a little bit of that and how you reduce the risk that way?
Healy: Let’s say you are the HR director or manager for a 100-person pretty well growing company. You got a lot of things on your plate. You’re probably trying to hire. I’m sure that you are worried about open enrollment and health care benefits. You may have some stuff you’re working on with some employees who need to get up-leveled or may be moved out of the organization. There’s probably the occasional human resources crisis, because people are people and people will do dumb things, and it’s your job to make sure no one’s being harassed or whatever. You got a lot of things on your plate. For most 401(k) providers, every time somebody logs into the XYZ provider website to change their deferral amount, you’re going to get an email.
Scott: Oh God.
Healy: Now, you got to go and match up that person’s name to their payroll record and change whatever change they just said-
Scott: Like manually change it.
Healy: Yeah. You’re going to log into your payroll provider and make the change, every time. They might elect to go from 10% to 5% or they might elect to go from 8% to $200 a paycheck. You got to do the math. You’d better make sure you get that done before payroll is run because it’s your job to do that. These are two software. Why do they not talk to each other? Isn’t that crazy? Why is there a human involved?
Scott: You guys handle that.
Healy: We take care of that.
Scott: Which is huge. One of the reasons we like Gusto for payroll so much is because they have AutoPilot and they do a lot of stuff automatically. We don’t have to log in all the time. I always explain to our clients, like these type of services, like you guys logging in to the payroll system, pulling the money out, it actually saves our clients so much money because we don’t have to do that. By the way, we hate doing that work because it’s super-menial and it’s not fun. It’s not strategic. It’s a waste of time. If we can automate something and recommend people like you, like ForUsAll, who can automate the stuff, we’re going to do it. That’s what we want to do for our clients.
Healy: Then guess what we can do when we have that, we can figure out who’s not participating and see if we want to get them to participate.
Scott: That’s super-smart.
Healy: We can run compliance checks to make sure you’re not going to bust any top-heavy tests, or have the IRS come down on you and make high earners give back money, and pay big taxes on it, which has happened to me at previous companies I’ve worked at. The IRS does not want the 401(k) plan to be solely for the benefit of the owner or the high-income professionals. There are tests that are run to make sure-
Scott: Like how many people are participating in the test.
Healy: Right. In particular they classify the highly compensated and the non-highly compensated, and you have to make sure that you’re at the right ratio of non-highly compensated people putting enough into the plan, or else you fail these tests, and then the high-income people have to go and get a check sent to them, which they then owe income tax on.
Scott: Oh my God.
Healy: Then the other thing that I think we do that’s different than a lot of other either advisors or providers is that our team has a lot of experience in the 401(k) and retirement space. We can provide pretty personalized tax help to the executives at the companies that we service. Let’s pretend you had a very profitable professional services company that was maybe providing accounting and other related services.
Scott: Someday I hope this example is me.
Healy: I would ask has your 401(k) advisor or provider come to you and talked about profit sharing, because perhaps you and your co-owner should have saved over $100,000 this year into your 401(k), and if you haven’t then I don’t think your provider’s doing their job.
Scott: Yeah. That’s actually huge. There are a lot of advantageous programs you can take advantage of and things like that. That’s huge. We’ve covered the 401(k) world. Maybe just summarize how the audience should think about this. Before we turned the mics on we were talking about just marketing. You had this gleam in your eye talking about how much you love financial services. I just wanted to ask some high-level questions on that.
Healy: Okay. Let that roll.
Scott: Yeah. Maybe just summarize how you guys see the world and why you guys are a good partner to work with. I certainly believe so, and we refer a lot of clients over to you guys.
Healy: Thank you. I appreciate that. ForUsAll is built to service small and mid-sized businesses. What we really, really strive to do is to take the administrative burden and the risk off of the business executives and let them focus on running their business, and we will focus on providing a benefit that we believe your company and your employees will appreciate, and that they’ll participate in, and they’ll engage with this benefit. We think we can drive a lot of financial wellness through a well-designed 401(k) program. We think that we can take a lot of that risk and work off of your plate or your HR director’s plate and automate that for you. You’re going to get, we believe, a safer and more desirable and more highly-engaged with benefit.
Scott: By automating it, you drive the cost down. It’s like a win-win-win.
Healy: It’s lower cost. I probably should have put it in there.
Scott: That’s the new world we live in. It’s awesome. I was super happy when you joined ForUsAll, it was like, “That’s interesting you picked a 401(k) company to join.” People may not know this, but you had a lot of choices. You could go pretty much anywhere you wanted to. Getting into that financial marketing for financial services, what do you love about marketing financial services so much? Again, you had that gleam in your eye when we were talking about it off-mic.
Healy: One of the types of marketing that I really love is content marketing. This is a very confusing industry. There’s a lot of great content to be written. Because a lot of the existing providers have a vested interest in not really putting answers out there online, we’ve been able to very quickly gain a lot of very targeted web traffic through producing pretty neat little content pieces. That’s really fun.
Scott: What’s an example of that? People probably have heard the buzzword “content marketing,” but maybe explain that a little bit, and maybe just give an example of something you guys have done.
Healy: Some of your listeners may actually be shopping for a 401(k). We have a 401(k) shopping checklist. It’s a downloadable asset that it is literally a checklist with a bunch of boxes, where you can write in the details from the different providers that you’re talking to. Obviously, we’ve helpfully filled it out for ForUsAll. We have found that people in small plans and then people who have $3 billion plans are downloading this because it’s just not a thing that people have published. Guess what, it’s actually helpful. When the benefits manager to a massive plan downloads it and you call them up and ask them, “Why did you download that?” They’re like, “Well, this is an interesting piece of content to me. This is my job.”
Scott: Makes their life easier.
Healy: “This is helpful to me.” I really enjoy content marketing quite a bit.
Scott: That’s awesome.
Healy: It’s fun.
Scott: You’re also just really amazing at SEO and SEM and Facebook and all that kind of stuff. That works really well with content marketing.
Healy: It does.
Scott: You can use advertising to drive people to or show them the content that you produce, and it’s this nice win-win thing.
Healy: Exactly. Facebook, for example, is pretty amazing. You can really pick specific targeted groups, and you can advertise your content, and people see it in their stream, and it’s just another thing in their stream. If it’s relevant to them, they’ll click on it and they’ll take the time to read it. They’ll share it too. People are sharing our ads. It’s like, “Sweet. Thank you.”
Scott: It’s interesting to think about that, because it’s like you guys are producing really high quality stuff. With the whole election, it feels like there was this weird race to the bottom of fake news, or whatever you want to call it. There’s also a huge appetite. I think that in a weird way it demonstrates there’s this huge appetite for just information. The fact that you guys are producing really great content is getting picked up by everyone. People want this. They’re finding it. It’s the classic win-win, because the people who are looking to use this kind of program or put this program in place, this is kind of a one-time shopping thing for them. They’re not picking this once a week. They’re picking this once a year or once every couple of years. By you guys putting all the facts out there and making it really accessible, and even spending some money on advertising to make it even easier for people to find, it really helps the consumer.
Healy: Yeah. I think you guys at Kruze Consulting have done a great job with your social content promotion.
Scott: Yeah. We tried.
Healy: They’re phenomenal. I watch a lot of those things. They’re great.
Scott: Thanks, man.
Healy: I think that, I’m preaching to the choir here, but it is a really nice way to not interrupt someone and get a potentially valuable piece of information in front of them that will help them engage with your brand. Prior to ForUsAll, I was at a company called Sunrun, and one of the-
Scott: Big solar financial services company.
Healy: Big solar financial. Yeah. Essentially we did solar loans or solar leases, so we would help homeowners put solar panels on their roofs, and pay a monthly fee as opposed to buying them upfront, and save money on their utility bills. One of the things that I found that was very successful or impactful was we had a strong brand team, and I was able to leverage a lot of their work and essentially infuse it across all the different content and different ad channels. When someone saw one of the ads that my team was putting out, it could very clearly be identified as Sunrun. I was trying to build the brand affinity, which I think worked very well, because people began to recognize that we were the blue solar provider. If you get enough impressions, your acquisition spend can actually drive brand recognition, but you have to do it so that it’s consistent.
Scott: People don’t normally think that way. They think just purely response, like spend money, pay per response. What you’re saying is that not only did it generate leads or pay per result, but it also helped the overall brand.
Healy: Right. Exactly. That overall brand is a valuable part of your marketing. If you’re going to stick around for a while, you do want to build some sort of a brand so that people will recognize you and start to realize that they’ve seen you before. “Oh, yeah. I downloaded that piece of content. It was helpful. I saw that video and it was helpful. Now, that I have this important question, maybe that is the company I want to talk with about that important question.”
Scott: I learned a really interesting thing early in my career, or maybe 10 years ago when I worked with companies like Angie’s List and Zoosk and other companies that were spending money on TV advertising. It was usually cable. It was like Comcast, just remnant TV advertising. What they found was that, it’s exactly what you’re saying, they found that if they spent a little bit of money on TV, it was this validation moment for the consumer, and the consumer would remember the TV. It ended up making all their other advertising higher converting. They found this broad lift as soon as they started spending money on TV. It’s what you’re talking about. Investing in the brand, letting people put a color or a face or whatever it is with that brand is actually really powerful.
Healy: You have to make it pretty easy for the viewer or whoever it is to understand that it’s your brand. If it’s too subtle, then it can be kind of challenging. I mean some companies like GEICO.
Scott: They’re amazing.
Healy: Yeah, but they’re so random. You see it a few times and then you remember it. It’s like you have to have a massive budget. It’s really cute, but a startup you can’t get too cute. You have to be a little more direct in general.
Scott: A little meat and potatoes. Well, Healy, this has been awesome. Let’s wrap it up here, but maybe you can tell everyone where to find you, where to find ForUsAll. We’re going to have you back on to talk, maybe two different podcasts, about just marketing tactics, purely marketing tactics. Then, also, you threw out talking about Boston versus San Francisco, or East Coast versus West Coast in the venture. People don’t know, Healy used to be a venture capitalist. Then he saw the light and actually wanted to help build a company.
Healy: That’s right.
Scott: Actually do something a little more productive than just giving people money. We’ll talk about all that in a different podcast. Maybe just let everyone know where they can find you, and find ForUsAll.
Healy: Certainly. We are ForUsAll. You can find us online at forusall.com, so F-O-R-U-S-A-L-L.com. That’s by far the easiest way to find us. If your business is looking to improve its 401(k) plan, we would love to talk with you.
Scott: What’s your Twitter handle? It’s like HealyHoops, right?
Healy: HealyHoops. Yes.
Scott: One of the best Twitter handles. I love it. Awesome, man. Well, thank you for coming by.
Healy: Thanks Scott.
Scott: This is really a really valuable service. As I said, Kruze Consulting recommends ForUsAll. Thanks for coming by and thanks for educating the market.
Healy: It was really fun. Thanks.

Kruze Cares More - We take our clients’ success - and happiness - seriously. Kruze has worked with hundreds of early-stage companies, many of which have gone on to raise tens to hundreds of millions in venture financing - and a number of which have been successfully acquired by major public companies.

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