There is no question that client acquisition costs are at an all-time high. A lack of marketing innovation in our world has caused many of the time-tested advertising mediums to become the clichéd "saturated." It seems we have come to a point that one almost can't afford to do seminars -- but you certainly can't afford not to, either.
When looking at your 2009 marketing calendar, make sure you have both primary and secondary sources of marketing. Let's take a quick minute to go back to the basics of marketing. My goal is to move suspects to prospects, prospects to customers, customers to clients, and clients to advocates. Seminars are a great example of primary marketing. I send out a 5,000-piece mailer (suspects) and get 2 percent to attend (prospects). Then, I set a 60-percent appointment ratio with those prospects and convert half of those into customers.
Let's stop and think about what just happened. A 5,000-piece mailer at a 2-percent response rate equals 100 seminar attendees. We set appointments with 60 percent, or 60 people. So what about the other 40? It doesn't mean you left an unfavorable impression with them; it simply means you didn't provide enough value to convince them to sit down with you. This is where you need secondary marketing approaches such as concept events, newsletters and monthly mailing campaigns to continue to add value and outperform their current advisor.
I know what you're thinking. "I have done newsletters and concept events, but they have produced zero dollars of production." Don't be so quick to throw them out. What oftentimes happens is prospects come to your seminar and get put on your list, and then they continue to get invitations and letters from you. They get another seminar mailing a few months down the road and decide to go back to your seminar. If they set an appointment, you attribute that to your seminar invitation, not to your other approaches. The same goes for friends of prospects and clients. A client says, "Look at this letter my advisor sent me on financial scams." The friend notices your name and then gets a seminar invitation from you. They go to the seminar; you again attribute that business to the seminar. But most often, it is a combination of your primary and secondary marketing programs.
I also challenge you to step outside the box and position yourself as a "value add" in your community. Not every topic spoken in front of people needs to have a direct business message. There are several sources in your community which will help you build strong referral relationships with not only business owners, but also with clients and prospects alike. The benefit for many of these types of client events is that they are less threatening, and it allows your clients to see your firm as part of the community. It's mutually beneficial for all parties involved.
Furthermore, many businesses are eager to partner with other businesses to educate their clients and prospects at no cost. Take a moment to identify pressing issues for retirees today. Wellness, entertainment and education are some very common topics that are easy for you to implement immediately.
Wellness idea: Most of you have a local fitness facility or YMCA. The YMCA is a great example of a company that is going out of their way right now to market themselves. Simply make a phone call letting them know your intentions. Ask them either to come to a location, or possibly hold it at their facility. Together, you will invite your clients and prospects on the topics of senior wellness, and you would encourage the YMCA to invite anyone they think will benefit.
Entertainment idea: One of the most popular events for clients is the classic wine and cheese party. Find a local liquor store specializing in wine and invite the owner (or an employee) to speak for an hour on wines from South America or another region. In return, you will buy the wine from his store as well as advertise their store on the mailer you send out. This is a great partnership, and most small businesses are more than happy to participate.
Education idea: Tax season is upon us and, for many of our clients and prospects, this can be a confusing time. Host a CPA in for an hour presentation on "surviving tax season." This is a great way to add value for your clients. Also remember that their tax return for the current year is simply a record of history. An appointment with you might help them make history instead of just recording it. The real benefit of this is it's a great way to build a relationship with a CPA. I would also encourage him/her to offer discounted tax returns for showing up.
Marketing techniques are all around you, but you have to be resourceful, creative and willing to put in the extra work. Always remember: Successful people do what the unsuccessful won't.
*For further information, or to contact this author, please leave a comment and your e-mail address in the forum below.