One of the best ways for financial advisors to connect with existing clients and engage prospects is through event marketing. An often underused tool, successful event marketing can propel a company’s new business into the stratosphere.
Sure, the global pandemic forced advisors and their marketing teams to identify new platforms to generate revenue (like webinars), but they still struggled to replicate the success of in-person events. Whether an event is in person or virtual, it’s always a great opportunity to engage prospects; advisors who don’t do event marketing are missing out on a huge opportunity. Why? Because advisors and marketers too often think of events as singular happenings, rather than an interconnected marketing ecosystem spanning weeks before and after the actual event.
Digital marketing, especially with marketing automation technology, is one of the best ways for financial advisors to connect with their clients and prospects and build deep relationships throughout the lifecycle of the business. ‘event.
PLAN YOUR HOLISTIC MARKETING STRATEGY
Before advisors start promoting an event, it is essential to plan the key details well. The first step is to determine the type of event and the subject. When choosing a topic, it’s important to research and analyze engagement insights to see where the target audience is already showing interest. This way, advisors can make an informed decision about what would resonate best with participants. It is also recommended to examine and compare several sources, including the most visited web pages, the most opened and consulted e-mails, as well as the most successful radio or television advertisements.
Next, advisors must determine the audience that best fits the specific topic by analyzing the identifying factors of their top clients. What do the advisor’s clients do for a living? Where are they located? This will help establish an ideal customer profile or customer avatar. Advisors can also identify their ideal client profile with the “80/20 rule,” which identifies which patterns among their clients generate the most revenue, and determines where 80% of that revenue comes from. Typically, about 20% of the “best” clients are a similar profile of an advisor’s ideal participants.
Once the topic, type and audience of the event are planned, advisors should start thinking about early promotion. What is the budget and how will the event be promoted? Often the best promotion processes will leverage digital marketing, especially database email marketing and digital ad buying, as it is both affordable and effective. Additionally, digital ad buying generates first-party data, which can be used in conjunction with technology (such as marketing automation) to send highly specific and personalized communications to an Advisor’s prospects and clients.
START MARKETING THE MONTH BEFORE YOUR EVENT
Ideally, marketing and promotion should begin several weeks before the event so that potential attendees have a more available schedule and the marketing team has time to effectively execute the campaign. Additionally, it will also allow time to properly qualify and confirm attendance prior to the event.
To start, it is recommended that advisors publish a website or landing page where attendees can register for the event. The registration page is important because marketing efforts will drive prospects to this page; it will also collect relevant attendee data that can be used before and after the event.
Then, advisors should promote the event on their social media channels and on their company’s website to kick off the marketing campaign. Email and SMS (text message) marketing is one of the best ways advisors can connect with their prospects. When used in conjunction with marketing automation platforms, email and SMS can help not only communicate with prospects, but also track and categorize prospects based on how they interact with the messages they receive. Marketing automation technology allows advisors to collect real-time behavioral data and use it to create curated messages that are personalized specifically for their prospects. SMS is a powerful tool for keeping event registrants in the loop and building excitement for the event itself.
On the day of the event, advisors should make sure to send email and text reminders, and of course, host a memorable and valuable event for attendees. Ideally, Advisors will earn a fair amount of new business from an event, but it doesn’t stop there.
NURTURE LEADS MORE THAN 90 DAYS AFTER THE EVENT
The day after the event, marketing automation platforms should begin automated post-event email and SMS sequences. This can mean a thank you email for your participation or a call-to-action (CTA) text encouraging attendees to use the advisor’s services. Advisors should work closely with their sales team to identify who was most engaged in the event; the best time to sell is immediately after the event when it is still a priority for prospects. This is also a great time to get feedback from event attendees so improvements can be made for next year.
Over the following weeks, advisors should continue to send ongoing nurture campaigns based on audience behavior. Email marketing automation is an effective way to engage customers continuously after the event. Financial advisors can use the behavioral data collected from these campaigns to assess where customers are in the buying journey and score them based on their behavior. This score can then be used to respond to the perfect outreach strategy to better resonate with prospects.
An event should never be a one-time lead generation opportunity. Instead, a well-planned event, coupled with careful planning and a successful marketing campaign, will dramatically enhance new business opportunities for weeks and months after the event. More so, it will help advisors further cultivate a positive brand image and create stronger, more authentic relationships with existing clients and prospects.
This post was co-written by Mike Schaffman. Mike Schaffman pioneered Lone Beacon’s core marketing platform, creating content and connecting media and broadcast components with a turnkey digital solution. After strategically extracting, analyzing and applying first-party data on the core marketing platform, Mike helped transform Lone Beacon’s offerings and solutions into one of the leading marketing tools for independent financial advisors who exist in the country today. His passion for helping clients across the country grow their business extends across the industry as Mike has been published and referenced in major financial publications.