Most financial advisors are probably already aware that seminars are like any other marketing tactic. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. If your efforts have been more “bust” than “boom” lately, it might be time to consider a different approach.
A low-to-no-cost financial Q&A session can be a more practical and casual alternative to costly seminars and workshops. The concept is simple and, in many ways, works like any other seminar would. The difference here is in the content and attendee experience. Rather than deliver the traditional presentation on one specific topic, personalize the event by covering subjects that are relevant to those in the room.
Structure for Success
A Q&A doesn’t mean attendees are welcome to bombard you with a series of random questions. That would be impossible to prepare for and could easily get out of hand. You want to keep things on topic and running smoothly. To do so, set up an online registration page that requires your guests to submit 1-3 questions when signing up for the event. This will make sure your final presentation covers a variety of topics but doesn’t go in too many directions at once. Use these questions to build a presentation customized specifically for your audience.
Obviously, you will want to leave certain details out of your final presentation and only include questions that are both relevant and appropriate for a public seminar. Use your own judgment here, but as a general rule, avoid the following:
- Personal information
- Stock / Investment Advice
- Specific scenarios (someone’s complicated situation that would require a 1-on-1 appointment to properly address)
To address the third point listed above, you should expect the majority of questions submitted to pertain to the prospect’s specific situation. That said, because the goal here is to bring people from the seminar to your office, those questions will open the door for a follow-up conversation. A good approach would be to reframe the question in a way that still addresses the prospect’s concern but is also broad enough to apply to the audience as a whole. This creates an opportunity for you to approach them afterward about setting up an appointment. And by collecting everyone’s contact information, you have a new batch of prospects to place into a drip campaign.
Preperation is the Key
As anyone who has given a seminar already knows, preparation is just one of the ingredients for success. But for a custom-tailored presentation such as this, the time and effort you spend preparing your material is probably the most important factor. Ideally, the inquiries you receive will be wide-ranging enough to deliver an hour’s worth of information on a variety of topics. However, it never hurts to have some additional content and/or topics of discussion ready to roll out just in case. And be prepared to tackle at least a handful of follow-up questions from the audience as you’re wrapping things up.
Beyond that, you can set up a Q&A session much like you would any other seminar. Take advantage of spaces that invite conversation (library room, upscale bar with a meeting room, gallery space). Just remember to keep things casual, low-pressure, and informative. Well, maybe not too informative. After all, any good performer knows that you have to leave the audience wanting more. Good luck!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Over the last few weeks, most of you have probably come across the latest “Insure Your Love” life insurance awareness ads. This year’s LifeHappens.org Valentine’s Day campaign features a heartstring-pulling video of a young girl and her father reading a bedtime story titled “Life is for Living” (one of the central themes of the campaign). We won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen it yet. But those who have already seen this example of emotional marketing know this one is a real tear-jerker.
Watch the video here:
There are two ways of looking at an ad like this. One is to question why anyone would want to put their audience through the emotional wringer with a video this sad? The other answers that question – because it works.
Marketing efforts that tap into real human emotions can be one of the most effective ways to capture consumer attention and leave a lasting impression. Do you remember the movie “Old Yeller?” Of course, you do. And you also know why you’ll never forget watching the film. A boy and his dog. Love and loss. Life and death. These are all very real themes that every one of us can relate to in some way. And when we, as viewers, see these experiences unfold in front of us, we can’t help but internalize them.
What Makes Emotional Marketing So Powerful?
Content aimed at eliciting an emotional reaction – be it sadness, happiness, fear, anger, nostalgia, etc. – can inspire people to take action. Often times, the more impactful the content, the more significant the action. We see this play out all the time on social media every time someone shares a meme, story, or video. Whether the content is funny, political, sad, or motivational in nature, it impacted that person enough that they wanted to share it with friends and family. If they hear a song or watch a show that hits close to home, they buy the album or binge watch the series. The point is, they take action.
Consumers favor content that connects with them on an emotional level. It gives them a reason to remember your brand. follow your social media channels, and take the time to look into your services. All of these are forms of engagement that can ultimately lead to you shaking hands with a new client.
Going back to the “Insure Your Love” ad, it’s easy to see why and how this type of content can be such an effective vehicle to promote the importance of life insurance. It puts us in front of a very real, and likely familiar, scenario. The endearing parent/child moment draws us in before the heartbreaking surprise at the end. The emotional reaction is genuine, the impression left is long-lasting, and the message is powerful enough to inspire action.
While the “Insure Your Love” campaign is exclusive to February, the concept is evergreen. So, next time you’re brainstorming for your next marketing effort, think about those things that would inspire action on your behalf. Chances are, your prospects feel the same way.
“I wish email would die.”
Those five words are perhaps the most surprising (and ridiculous) I’ve ever heard come from a marketing expert. And yet they did. I was even more surprised a few minutes later when the same person went on to sing the praises of drip email campaigns. So, despite his personal disdain for the medium, as a professional, he couldn’t deny the marketing value of email. With more than 269 billion emails sent on a daily basis, his conflicted stance is understandable.
As inboxes become more inundated, email marketing efforts need to become more focused and more relevant in order to stand out. Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for a successful email campaign, but using the following tips could very well save your messages from getting lost in the wash.
Most, if not all, email services allow you to break your contact lists into different segments. This is a great way to make sure you’re getting the right message out to the right people. Compared to emails that go out to non-segmented lists, segmented emails result in nearly 15% more opens and 100% more clicks (Mailchimp).
Demographic segmentation – age, gender, geographic location, income, etc. – is one of the most commonly seen uses of this practice. However, advisors and agents should consider digging a little deeper and segment their lists according to the needs and interests of their prospects. For example, create a “Life Insurance” segment that includes only those who have expressed interest in that specific topic. This will keep non-relevant content out of their inbox and decrease the number of people who click “unsubscribe.”
The subject line you use can make or break the email within the first few seconds of delivery. A strong and concise subject is the best way to pique the reader’s interest and get them to open the message. A good subject line will tease the content of your email, but avoid coming across as spam-y or sales-y. Subject lines that ask an open-ended question, focus on something of value, or speak to a specific need or curiosity will typically generate more opens than others. For example:
- When You Can Actually Retire Vs. When You Want To Retire
- Saving Versus Spending: Why You Might Be Doing Both Wrong
- What You Need To Know About Retirement
- Why Planning Your Legacy Now Is Important
- How You Can Save Even With Debt
- How Your Retirement May Change Next Year
- One Big Thing Missing From Your Retirement Plan
Avoid using spam filter language (loan, free, mortgage, etc.), deceptive subject lines, exclamation points, and NEVER USE ALL CAPS!!!
More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, and the majority of those who do open their messages on a smart device will delete emails that aren’t mobile friendly. So, if your email is not optimized for mobile, it might not be worth sending in the first place.
Most email platforms offer a variety of mobile-ready and responsive templates that will make sure yours is designed with smart devices in mind. Use them. You also want to make sure you preview and test your email on as many different devices as possible (computer, smart phone, tablet) to make sure it displays properly on all of them,
If there’s one point that cannot be overstressed, it’s this – content is king. The copy you write from the body of your email should be clear-cut, well-crafted, and plainly outline your value proposition. Obviously, grammar is of the upmost importance, so make sure your proofread at least a few times. Ideally, you’ll want a fresh set of eyes to go over your content at least once or twice as well.
Aim for a good balance of text and images. Too much of the former can come across as bland and unappealing, while an image-heavy email can take longer to load, increasing the chances they’ll delete or ignore your message. You also want to direct their attention to your call-to-action and provide multiple, clickable links to the site you want your readers to land on.
Personalized emails can increase both your click-through-rates and conversions. And like the aforementioned tips, your email platform likely has a feature that will automatically include the reader’s first name in both the subject line and greeting. This sort of personal touch will not only catch the reader’s eye, but it could also increase the sense of relevancy and emotional appeal.
Measure Your Results and Act Accordingly
Spend some time looking over the results of your previous email campaigns. Try to determine what it was about your “hits” that made them more successful than your “misses.” Was it the subject line? The time and day you sent the email? Even the design and placement of your links can affect how well your email campaign performs. By carefully going over the different variables at play, you can easily incorporate those things that worked into future campaigns.
Whether or not you’re familiar with his name, as a financial professional, you owe a debt of gratitude to Jack Bogle. Born May 8, 1929, Bogle’s family was hit hard by the Great Depression. This experience would prove formative as he later went on to change the financial industry by creating the first index mutual fund available to consumers.
A Pioneer of the Financial Industry
Not long after founding the Vanguard Group in 1974, a company that now handles nearly $5 trillion in assets, Bogle established the First Index Investment Trust. This was the first to be built around the S & P500. Bogle’s creation introduced a low-cost, passive approach to investing. This leveled the playing field for the “small-time” investors of the world. Bogle frowned upon unreasonably high broker fees, non-transparency, and unethical practices. His common-sense philosophy and disdain for corporate excess sparked a revolution that allowed millions to save for retirement.
Bogle’s fierce advocacy for indexing was a dramatic break from industry tradition. While Bogle he faced criticism from Wall Street, he went on to become one of the most respected names in finance. Warren Buffet once called Jack Bogle a “hero.”
In his 1999 book, “Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor,” Jack Bogle laid out these eight basic rules for investors:
- Select low-cost funds
- Consider carefully the added costs of advice
- Do not overrate past fund performance
- Use past performance to determine consistency and risk
- Beware of stars (as in, star mutual fund managers)
- Beware of asset size
- Don’t own too many funds
- Buy your fund portfolio, and hold it
Bogle left Vanguard in 1999 and, a year later, founded the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. He passed away on January 16, 2019, leaving behind a legacy built on philanthropy and standing up for the “little guy.”
Thanks for another great year!
Over the course of 2018, the Legacy Financial Partners team has worked to deliver a treasure trove of marketing collateral. Our guides, sales kits, and blog posts are all crafted to put agents and advisors on the fast track to success.
To say thanks for another great year, we have compiled our Top 5 Marketing Corner posts from 2018. The list below is just a sample of the valuable insights, tips, and exclusive content we provide every week.
As an added bonus, we are offering a newly updated collection of sales tips and marketing ideas that will help jumpstart 2019. Scroll down to receive our New Year Revitalization Guide and start 2019 off one step ahead of the competition.
Stay connected and keep tuning into Marketing Corner for more kits and tips throughout 2019. Thank you and Happy New Year from Legacy Financial Partners.
Two emerging trends are becoming major factors for life insurance carriers. Blockchain technology and the decriminalization of marijuana. While worlds apart, both could impact your business.
Believe it or not, Millennials are the perfect storm of opportunity for agents and advisors. Get valuable insights on the largest generation in history to help tap into this wide-open market.
Guerrilla Marketing describes any “unconventional marketing tools used in cases when financial or other resources are limited or non-existent.” Learn how agents and advisors can apply this concept to their marketing efforts.
If a picture is worth a thousand word, then a video is worth far more. Using video as part of your marketing strategy is a necessity in today’s digital landscape.
The integration of new technology into our smart devices is ushering in big changes to the underwriting process. How biometrics are laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s life insurance industry?
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For many of us, the last few weeks of the year can, in some respects, be among the most challenging. Business is slowing down, and our attention begins to shift from work to the well-deserved break that comes between Christmas and the new year. The office parties, early holiday gatherings with friends, school programs, and rush to check items off your shopping list can easily throw us off our daily routine. However, there are still plenty of things left to do before we can celebrate the transition from 2018 into 2019.
The effort you put in at in the of 2018 can have a significant impact on how you start 2019. This is a good time for settling accounts, getting your books in order, and conducting holiday marketing activities. But what are you doing to prep for next year? While this can be a hectic and distracting time of year, it’s vital that you carve out time in your schedule to work on your 2019 plans now, so you aren’t scrambling when January comes. So, take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee and ask yourself, “What do I want 2019 to look like?”
Set Your Goals
Break down your various production goals into monthly or quarterly increments. This is an efficient way to track your progress and determine whether you need to make any adjustments to your plan. Set up a document that outlines your monthly/quarterly production goals and split those goals into specific categories. As the year progresses, compare those goals to your results. This will give you an organized and detailed overview of your growth. Aside from production and revenue, consider the other goals you’d like to achieve over the next year. Do you want to target new markets? Or bring on new employees? Outlining any operational, administrative, or non-specific goals is an important part of staying focused on the big picture.
Establish a Marketing Budget
Make a list of the different marketing activities you use or would like to explore in 2019; web development, seminar marketing, community events, lead gen, etc. Now, assign a dollar amount you feel comfortable spending on each. This won’t be a concrete budget, as changing trends and results will likely call for periodic adjustments. But it will give you a foundation on which to build your overall plan of attack. Plus, you can start the year off with a better idea of the returns you would like to see from each investment.
Personal & Professional Development
Your plan for a bigger and better 2019 should include more than quantifiable metrics such as goals-versus-results and revenues-versus-expenses. Think about steps you can take to grow as both a person and a professional (as the two really do go hand-in-hand). What can you do to better serve your clients? How can you build credibility? What are your strengths and weaknesses? You might be a financial guru who could fill a book with retirement advice, but need to brush up your writing skills. Or maybe you want to tap into video marketing but tend to freeze up in front of the camera. We all have those areas in which we could use some improvement, and they certainly don’t take away from our tangible job skills. However, pinpointing certain weaknesses and working to overcome them can be very beneficial to your business as a whole. Think of personal/professional development as a list of new year’s resolutions that you won’t forget about by the end of January.
- “I want to sharpen my writing skills, so I can start posting more blogs on my website.”
- “I want to read more on generational marketing, so I can more effectively target Millennials.”
The examples above may not be what you think of when drafting a marketing plan, but both can have a significant impact on how well you execute that plan.
Obviously, there is so much more you will need to consider for the year to come, but it’s important to start somewhere. And just as important to get started ASAP. Let us know if you would like a little help.