Journal of Financial Planning: March 2015
Attracting new clients is an essential part of running a planning practice, at nearly any stage. If you’re brand new to the profession, just launched your own firm, or have been limping along, you need clients.
As an established adviser with a solid client base, you may feel the pull of greater potential, knowing deep down that you can create a bigger impact. You want to break from your plateau and reach that new echelon. You want more clients.
Whether through want or need, you can pump extra energy into your marketing to inspire action from your target clientele. And you can do it quickly.
One of the best ways to leverage your time and educate your potential clients is to host your own virtual event—a webinar or a teleseminar. Before you resist, consider the benefits.
Benefits of a Virtual Event
Expert positioning. By the nature of the event itself, you’re exhibiting your mastery of the subject matter. “I have something important to teach, and I’m going to share it with you.”
Inexpensive. A fraction of the cost invested for an in-person event, virtual events require little out-of-pocket expense.
Short lead time. Your event can be up and running in 30 days or sooner if you have established promotional channels.
Easy setup. With a plethora of service providers available, you only have to be able to speak into your phone or present a slideshow and hit the record button.
Repeatable. Document your process for hosting an event and you can leverage your system. Template emails and marketing channel checklists will allow you to hand off the set-up and promotion; you show up to present.
Build an asset. Every time you hold an event and record it, you create content you can use again and again.
When you create and host a virtual event in a short period of time, it takes time, energy, and focused work, especially the first time around. To develop a webinar or teleseminar that can support your goal to attract new clients quickly, be sure to follow these nine essential steps:
The fastest way to make an event happen is put it on your calendar. Commit upfront that you will hold this event and elevate your commitment by sharing the specific date with your business coach or accountability partner. You now have a timeline to fill. If it’s your first event, consider allotting two to three weeks to make sure you can complete the steps. At most, set the date 30 days out; any longer and you will lose momentum.
Begin any marketing effort with crafting objectives. For this type of virtual event, you will have two:
Build your list. With a seminar promotion, you attract interested leads in your ideal target audience and collect their contact information.
Drive a revenue-generating action. Structured to bring in more clients, this type of event calls the person to an action that turns into revenue. Some examples of measurable, revenue-generating calls-to-action include: “Schedule a 30-minute free advice phone call by March 30 and receive a complimentary Social Security review,” or “Sign up for our three-week budgeting workshop series that starts April 2.”
Promotion of an event only requires a title and three learning points. You do not have to have your full presentation ready to start enrolling. In fact, less work at this stage is better so you can gauge interest before you devote resources into content development.
Simply title your event and outline three bullet points describing what attendees will take away from your session. You want to set expectations and build anticipation. Make sure your attendees see that you understand their needs; demonstrate how attending is worth their while.
Here’s an example of an event title and description (see sidebar for more examples of event titles):
What Every Professional Woman Ought to Know about Her Credit Score
In this information-packed webinar, you’ll learn:
- The three most important factors in your score
- How to increase your score in 60 days
- When it’s okay to check your credit and when you want to avoid it
Plus, you’ll learn how much you can save on your mortgage as your score increases and what to do with that money to help you reach your life goals.
You have two choices to make: what kind of event you will hold, and which provider you will use?
If you’re going to do a webinar, consider GoToWebinar, AnyMeeting, or Click Webinar. You’ll have to develop content for the screen, whether you record video or do a PowerPoint or a Prezi.
If you want to start simpler, choose a teleseminar where you record yourself talking and there’s no visual presentation. You can use Instant Teleseminar, Talkshoe, or GoToMeeting. All of the platforms collect registrations for you if you want. Most offer a free trial, with a small investment required to expand the number of attendees.
Get the word out and invite people to register in advance. Campaign across multiple platforms simultaneously. Campaigning comes in many forms:
- Send invitation emails (at least three) to your prospect list
- Call and invite prospects
- Record and share a YouTube video
- Comment on message boards
- Share on social media through your accounts and ask target audience members to share through their accounts
- Invite clients as a way to provide extra educational value, and ask them to share with friends (easy referral device)
- Identify partners with the same audience and ask them to help you spread the word
As part of the campaign, your service provider will send attendance reminder emails as long as you set it up to do so. Support these emails with social media reminders one day, one hour, and one minute before the start of the event.
Build out the rest of your presentation for the event. Your content needs to accomplish three things:
Connect. Open up. Why do you do what you do? Demonstrate you understand attendees’ concerns, fears, and aspirations. Connect on an emotional level early in your presentation.
Educate. Before you drive an action, you need to educate on the topic as promised in your promotional copy. Use the framework you shared as your learning points and teach your audience the content. Education will consume 80 percent of the event’s allotted time.
Give. Share generously when you present. Share more detail and how-to information than you think you should. Teach as if they had to go and do it themselves; when you do, you create a baseline of trust. Demonstrate with giving that you deliver what’s in their best interest.
When you host your event, you conduct yourself with the utmost professionalism. Whether there are two people on the line or 200, present in the same manner you would to a full auditorium. Ultimately, any one listener could be the ideal client. Show-up rates vary; you can rest assured knowing that you are recording the session to use in numerous ways throughout the year.
As you conduct the event, frame the offer across the session, mentioning it three times to maximize listeners’ “stay time.” Your first mention occurs right in the beginning after a brief introduction. Simply state, “I will share a special offer at the end of this call you won’t want to miss,” and then dive into content. Halfway through your content you will make another mention, drawing out more anticipation with, “I will share an offer that will help you decide what step is next for you.”
Your offer comes in the last 15 percent of the time for the event. You do not want to rush it. In the last five to eight minutes, you state the offer clearly with urgency. You must have a short deadline or a limitation, such as, “only available through this webinar for the next 72 hours.” Repeat the offer three times and wrap up the event. Do not end with questions and answers. End with the call to action.
8. Check In
This critical step will turn a mediocre event into an amazing event. The key to success with virtual events is follow-up. As soon as your event ends, reach out and contact attendees and non-attendees. You can do this separately or as one email if you do not have a way to tell. Reiterate the offer you made and reinforce the deadline. Follow up at least three times within the time frame of your offer. Push through the end date, as many people wait until the last opportunity to sign up.
Tip: Set up the emails in advance so you have them ready to go. These can be systematized and built through templates to make your next event easier.
The event is only the beginning. You’ve crafted content for your target audience and now you can use it again. Repurpose your training easily by uploading your recording to a transcription service such as Rev.com. Break down the content into blog posts and dissect it for a social media campaign (you can probably extract two months of tweets and posts). Capitalize on the power of content marketing: invest the effort in one educational event to create months of messaging.
Now that you’ve learned how to jump-start your practice to attract new leads, provide value for your clients (coupled with an easy referral tool), and build out a baseline of content you can use in your marketing throughout the year, your next action is simple: what date is your event? Invite me to listen in by emailing me.
Kristin Harad, CFP® is a marketing trainer, coach, and speaker who teaches by example, hosting the Implement Now! Practice Management Virtual Summit for independent financial advisers March 16–20.Learn more and register at www.implement-now.com.
What’s In a Title?
Not sure how to title your virtual event? Here are five of the most compelling title structures:
How to Ditch Your Budget without the Guilt. It’s a practical skill coupled with an emotional benefit.
Proven Ways to Cut $500 in Spending Each Month to Build Your Savings Faster. A straight-forward description for your audience, you give a specific framework for them to digest.
Who Else Wants a Fulfilling Retirement and Financial Confidence? This out-of-the box structure invites participants to be part of an appealing group and addresses end-benefits the audience seeks.
What Every Professional Woman Ought to Know about Her Credit Score. People worry that they lack knowledge on financial topics. Here you reinforce the importance of the information and call out your audience.
That Wasn’t The Plan: How to Clean Up Your Financial Mess and Prepare for Retirement with Confidence. Attract with a negative event and turn it into an opportunity with positive consequences.