When we hear from advisors that their response rates have fallen, they usually say it’s because their market is overly saturated with competing advisors holding seminars. Usually we can tell them with confidence that financial seminar saturation may not be the issue at all.
1. Seminar Invitations: Differentiate yourself from your competitors.
The biggest reason advisors feel like the market is saturated is because the seminar invites all look the same. This happens because there’s only a few large seminar marketing companies, and most of these companies operate on a template-based business model. Because they have floor to ceiling shells of pre-printed designs, thousands of advisors all over the country end up mailing the same invitations as their competitors!
When your mailing list receives the same invite design from different advisors all marketing different events, it can get confusing to tell them apart from one another. Mailing these templates diminishes your credibility and the recipients’ sense of urgency to RSVP to your specific event. They’ve received it a bunch of times, so they’ll toss it and wait for the next one to come along, thinking it’s all coming from one person – potentially not you!
One way to increase the probability of higher response rates is to avoid the mass mailing template invites mailed out by these large direct mail houses. Increasing your marketing results can be accomplished by separating yourself from your competition. Customize your own individual piece unique to you and your firm if you want to grow your financial practice. Keep your message fresh and current, not the same message being sent out by all of your competitors.
2. Use Quality Targeted Lists.
The three most important factors to the success of any direct mail campaign are: LISTS LISTS LISTS!
The attendees to your seminars will only be as good as the lists you use for mailing. Even if you have the perfect copy, the best design, and a high-value topic for your event, it’s worthless if the wrong people are getting the invitation. Outdated lists that aren’t continuously updated against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database can result in pieces being mailed to individuals that are no longer at the address, or being bounced as undeliverable altogether. And it’s not just an issue of address deliverability, if the prospects aren’t truly who you’re wanting to target, you’re out on not just the cost of postage and the list, but the meal and the wasted time on a poor lead. This is where it’s important to consult a marketing expert, like our team of consultants, to make sure the selections you make are right.
Many list filters such as age, income, sales, employees, home ownership, are inaccurate “models” that vary tremendously from source to source. Some sources only offer gathered data (factual and verifiable) while others model, and still others over-model most data elements. Which will lead to a huge variety in records when using the same filter selections.
These are potentially your new clients, so it’s worth it to invest in a quality and up to date list.
Resource Solutions offers the highest quality data available from the top list sources in the country. We are committed to our clients’ goals, inspired by your client’s expectations, and driven by a passion to collaborate with you to help you achieve the absolute best results possible! You will find less modeled data and much more actual information. Better data means better results: This allows us to provide our clients with the most updated and verifiable data from which to compile the most refined and qualified lists possible.
Another benefit we offer our clients looking to reach more affluent prospects, an Income Producing Assets (IPA) list is available. That will provide information for individuals that have reported liquid assets for investing, anywhere from $100,000 to $10 million+. Most mail houses change anywhere from .03 to .06 per name for these more refined lists, we provide them at NO ADDITIONAL COST! Just imagine..no more plate-lickers, at no additional cost to you.
3. Confirmation Process and Proper Follow-up.
Okay, let’s go back to the whole point of inviting the prospects to your seminar presentation: If your intent is like most financial advisors hosting these events, it is to initiate introductions and hopefully establish multiple mutually profitable long-term relations. Don’t just invite guests, get to know them. This all begins from the first contact you make with the prospect to the moment you receive word they are interested in attending your event. During the period of that first contact, there are multiple “personal touch” opportunities available for you and your office to help initiate the beginning of a good relationship. Failure to follow up with a proper confirmation process can cost an advisor up to 20% to 40% in closing ratios.
We believe that there should be three personal touches made to each person who calls in to register for the seminar.
- Personal Touch 1 – This is the initial call to thank them for registering. You’ll confirm names of all attendees, date, time and location of the seminar, and you’ll make sure they’re familiar with the directions to the venue. At the end of the call, they should be told to expect another call the Friday prior to the event. Setting the tone for the second call, let them know that these workshops are usually very full with a waiting list, so by confirming a second time you’re just making sure everyone who wants to attend can get the chance to.
- Personal Touch 2 – The second call should be made on the Friday prior to the seminar the attendee signed up for. This is your second opportunity to personally connect with these potential new clients.
- Personal Touch 3 – This last touch takes place either the morning or afternoon before the seminar. This is to once again confirm attendance as well as get their meal preference. This step usually increases the probability that the RSVP shows up, reasoning being that they’re gently being told that the restaurant needs counts for meals that you’ve committed to pay for. They’re now aware you’re on the hook for the food, even if they don’t show up, therefore lessening the chance for no shows.
4. Choosing the Right Time and Location.
Timing is Everything
It may sound like a very simple thing, but the timing of your event can be critical to the success of your seminars. Seminars should be held when it’s convenient for the attendees. What can further complicate this issue is that the best time can vary with your targeted demographics.There can be a huge discrepancy between what time might work best for a business owner, a Baby Boomer (ages 50-65) and those over 65. Demands created by work, ability to drive at night, age, and family conditions make the timing of events for these groups particularly unique. By identifying the concerns of your target audience, you can strategically hold your seminar at the very best time for that particular audience, dramatically increasing your response rates.
Importance of Venue
Never downplay the importance of a restaurant. The venue you choose should match the demographics or class of prospects you are attempting to attract to your event. Many advisors lose sight of the fact that they are in the food business. If you are looking to attract higher net worth individuals, you should fish with the right bait. Using a higher end restaurant is many times just what is needed to drastically increase the number of higher quality prospects that will attend your seminars. The same rule holds true for those advisors not looking to attract the big fish. Always be sure that your venue is a place where these potential new clients would be comfortable. This factor alone can make or break a seminar!
5. Your Presentation is Stale.
As is the case with different types of investments that come in and out of favor, so can the topics of your seminars. Last year’s seminars are many times based on last year’s news.
By simply changing the focus of your seminar topic you’re increasing your response and appointment rates. One important factor to keep in mind with the topic is to be sure you are not presenting the same material as your competitors, in the same way. As is the case with any business, to be successful you must differentiate yourself from your competition. Your topic should always be timely, covering current areas of concern that potential clients are interested in learning more about. Too many advisors make the mistake of getting comfortable with their default topic and lose out on a great deal of potential new prospects in the process.
If you would like to brainstorm some ways to boost your response and appointment setting rates, call one of our experienced marketing consultants today and get started revamping your seminar marketing: (866)855-3000.
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