Posted June 14, 2018 by Gabriel Lewit, Chief Executive Officer
If I said there was a very low-cost and highly effective way of obtaining new clients, referrals and appointments, and that it only took two hours of your time, would you be interested?
I would certainly hope so!
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, let me tell you. It’s hosting a “Mid-Year Market Update Event.” At my firm, SGL Financial, we host two market and economic update events a year (minimum) and they are always a really big success.
The first of these events is always after the new year. People are back from holiday vacations, they’re feeling good (and many, like myself, are still stuffed with too much food from Christmas) and they are ready to refocus on their New Years resolutions – many of them financial.
The other market update event we host is always mid-year. If you’re planning on hosting market update events as a regular part of your practice and your marketing, beginning of year and mid-year are the easiest starting points.
In fact, we just hosted our first (of two) mid-year market update events last night.
We had 37 attendees and have 25 scheduled for next week. Many of these are existing clients, but we had a number of potential new clients in the room as well.
The results? We scheduled 4 new appointments on the spot, have 3 people to call, generated names of 5 potential referrals, solidified a number of sales for people we’re currently meeting with and did a whole lot of relationship building and goodwill generation!
Best of all, this event, over two nights, will cost us under $1500. That’s incredibly cost-effective for the kind of results we will obtain.
So, how do you run one of these events, what do they cost and what can you expect?
Let’s dive in and take a look at some of the nitty-gritty details!
Planning Your Market Update Event
Your first step to hosting a market-update event is to work through some of the key planning and setup details. This is often the hardest part for most advisors I work with as it feels like the most amount of “work.”
The key, however, is remembering that ‘short-term-pain’ is usually worth it for ‘long-term-gain.’
What I mean by that is, getting these events going and off the ground will take you a little bit of short term work, but the results you’ll garner from these types of events will pay for themselves over and over both this year and down the road!
The easiest way to prepare for hosting your market update event is following a short checklist.
Here’s a quick Checklist of the major components:
- Venue that will hold up to 35 people (preferably NOT a restaurant)
- A list of clients and prospects you have email addresses for
- A list of clients and prospects you have physical mailing addresses for
- Market Update Email invitation template
- Market Update Direct mail invitation template
- Market Update presentation PowerPoint
- Market Update Handout materials and registration form
- A local low-cost food catering company
- Presentation equipment (microphone, screen)
- An online registration landing-page
That’s really it for the core items! Not too bad, huh?
As a side-note, if you’re interested in using the materials we created for our Market Update event, just click here to email us. We can provide you with everything we used for $495 – including PowerPoint, handouts, materials, etc… all customized to you!
The hardest part, if you’ve never found a good local option, will be finding a room or venue that will hold your attendees. Good options are local community centers, a room at a local college, a public library (if they allow it). Google, check around. You may be surprised how many options exist near you.
Other options aren’t as ideal. Restaurants are going to be too expensive, as the primary goal is to keep these events low cost. Hotel training rooms are ok, but only if they allow you to bring your own food – most don’t.
In general, aim to spend no more than $300-$500 on a room rental that allows you to hold enough people and bring in your own food. Found one? Great, let’s move on to the next step, advertising and marketing your event.
Advertising Your Market Update Event
This is where the rubber meets the road! Let’s talk about my favorite part – getting people to attend your events.
You can have the best presentation in the world, but if you’ve got no one in your audience, it’s not going to do you much good.
To maximize your marketing results and keep your costs low, I recommend a three-pronged advertising approach for all of your client events, including your mid-year market update event.
Here is the three-pronged marketing approach we used for our most recent event:
- Direct Mail
Direct mail? Yes, direct mail! In the financial services industry, which is a relationship-heavy business, nothing gets a better response than direct mail. I know, I’ve tried it both ways. I’ve tracked our metrics and numbers. When we add direct mail to our client event marketing, we get more attendance, better results and more overall ROI.Primarily we send postcards to advertise our events. This helps to keep the costs low and to ensure you can reach more people on a smaller budget. You can also send two postcards to the same list, reminding folks to attend. This often works much better than just sending a single postcard.Here’s an example of the postcard invitation:
Email is certainly a staple in any modern-day marketing campaign. It’s ultra cost effective and gets right into your clients and prospects hands. Literally, as most people these days check their email on their phones!The other great thing about email is that you can have unlimited people on your lists and it costs next to nothing to advertise to them. The more, the merrier. It’s why I always talk about the importance of growing your lists. It’s absolutely essential.Here’s a sample of the email invitation we used:
Ok, so this one is a little vague, but that’s on purpose! The core of what we use to generate responses to our events are Direct Mail and Email. We’ve tried other things, and encourage you to as well. But don’t expect them to generate a lot of activity compared to email and direct mail.For example, you can post your events on your website. I suggest this if you have your website setup to post events! But don’t expect a flood of people to magically register just by having it posted there. It just doesn’t happen.You can also post about your upcoming event on your social media accounts, but again, unless you have tons of followers, don’t expect this to generate a huge amount of registrations.
Bottom-line, get creative when it comes to advertising for your events, but focus on the staples that will drive attendance – direct mail and email.
Hosting Your Market Update Event
Ok, time for the fun part! Hosting the event and generating new appointments and potential future business.
Be sure you’ve practiced your Powerpoint and done some background research on the markets year-to-date performance and key economic metrics. If this is something you’re new to it can feel a bit daunting the first time around. All you need to do is carve out about an hour to review the presentation and some key financial data. Give yourself another hour to practice the presentation at least once.
Rest assured, however, that you’ll likely know far more on these topics than your clients will, and they need someone like you to guide them through these complex yet important topics!
Here’s a look at some of the slide images from our PowerPoint:
The overall presentation should be short – no longer than an hour. Keep it light hearted and fun. Keep it engaging by asking for questions throughout – but only if you feel comfortable answering them. Otherwise, you can always see “please do your best to hold your questions until the end.”
Finally, as for setting appointments, don’t press too hard here during your presentation, but be sure to tell people at the end that you’d really like to meet with them and encourage them to schedule an appointment.
Use our handout cards and registration form which keeps things simple and streamlined. Trust in the process – it works. People will either check off the box stating they wish to meet with you, or they won’t. You can then go around and collect the handout cards after the event and ask people if they’d like to schedule an appointment.
Take a look at these materials here:
Now all that’s left to do is eat and mingle! We use a low cost caterer, Pastabilities, which comes in under $10 per person. So if you have 35 attendees, that’s only $350. Not too bad! We also buy a case of wine (self serve) at a table in the back. Our attendees get a great-tasting Italian meal and delicious wine all for under $10-$12 per person. Not too bad at all!
Building and growing your business isn’t easy, but it’s not rocket-science either.
Group events are the cornerstone of how our firm attracts new clients week over week. More specifically, low-cost client events or educational workshops, such as our mid-year market update, are one of our monthly go-to marketing items.
It doesn’t matter if you get 10 people or 75 people to your events, just keep doing them. If you think you’re going to get 10 people, for example, rent a smaller room to accommodate.
But think about it… if you DID get 10 people in a room, this event will likely cost you between $500-$750 total, plus two hours of your time. If you get 2 or 3 appointments out of that 10 people, you’ve won. Heck, if you get even 1 new appointment out of that event, you’ve won.
Do these events every month, and you’ve generated another 20-30 appointments over the course of the year, even if you’re only getting 10 people to attend your events. Start asking for referrals (to be covered in a separate post coming soon) and before you know it, you’ll be getting 15-20 people to attend and generating 35-45 appointments a year.
How much more production could you achieve with an extra 40-50 appointments a year? I would think a lot.
We’d love to help you make the Market-Update event a part of your practice. If you have questions, feel free to email me personally at email@example.com and I’ll be sure to answer.
If you’d like to order all the materials we used for our event for just $495, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. You get all the materials we’ve used at our firm (Presentation, Invites, Handouts, etc…) all customized to you. We can help with the fulfillment of your printing as well to ensure that everything looks professional.
You’ve got plenty of time as well. You can easily run a mid-year event through the end of July, and you only need about 2 weeks of planning and marketing time. So get out there and give it a whirl!
Until Next Time,