Public Speaking & Networking
At Premier RIA Network, we encourage breakaway independent advisors to create and implement a cost-effective digital marketing communications strategy. This may include a series of audience-centric educational and fun events throughout the year. Outgoing advisors who are gifted host/presenters and who enjoy in-person events should leverage these valuable skills to significantly enhance relationships with clients, prospects, centers of influence (e.g. CPAs and attorneys), and the media We have discovered that it is a rare advisor who truly excels in delivering consistently powerful event experiences to various audiences. There are a number of reasons for this…
Planning and executing highly-successful events is typically very time consuming and stressful. This is especially true if you don’t have or are unable to execute an effective strategy to publicize the event, obtain sufficient RSVPs, and ensure the majority of your invitees actually attend. Many advisors lack experience and/or skills in handling the details required to make an event a memorable success (e.g. managing a project plan/timeline, choosing a venue, invitations, multiple emails, publicity, RSVPs, web content, refreshments, speaker preparation, presentation content, handouts, gift items, thank you notes, inbound and outbound calls, name tags, evaluation surveys, etc.). If a previous event was unsuccessful, an advisor may be reluctant to try again.
Well-planned events offering great content (e.g. visuals and takeaways), inspiring presenter(s), appetizing refreshments, a fun venue, and solid attendance can be a huge catalyst for business growth. We have successfully executed memorable events as part of our growth strategy at PPS Advisors. We believe it is critically important to know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, begin planning each event a couple months in advance, and have at least two people dedicated to developing and implementing the plan. If the process is managed carefully, you should feel very confident that the event will be successful and worth the expenditure of time and money. Let’s review five simple steps to help ensure that your events are successful.
5 Steps to Event Success
1. Consider Your Target Audiences
You may have a one or multiple key target audiences. Your objectives for each event may vary depending upon what you know about the likely mindset of your audience and whether you seek to start a new relationship, add AUM, cross-sell, enhance an existing relationship, etc. As you plan your Annual Event Calendar, you might consider offering separate content “tracks” for different subcategories of clients, prospects and centers of influence (COIs). Ideally, you should establish a quantifiable goal for each event and retain the data related to the event in your customer relationship management system (CRM).
2. Create Once, Publish Everywhere (COPE)
A robust Event Calendar can enhance your brand positioning and audience awareness of your authentic value proposition. Ideally, you should publish your Event Calendar 6-12 months in advance. You’ll want to include it on your website, blog and your “announcements”, on social media sites, in newsletters and U.S. mail pieces, send via email push/pull campaigns, publicize using public relations and pay per click advertising, and mention upcoming events during phone conversations. During the weeks leading up to and following events, you’ll want to leverage the content related to that topic in as many ways as possible to reinforce the content and help enhance your search engine optimization.
3. Change it Up
The audience will appreciate a variety of events served up throughout year, especially if the offer a mix of value-added education content, fun activities, and promotion of your products and services. For example, event #1 could be an educational seminar on Education Funding at your office; event #2 a wine and chocolate tasting evening at a wonderful destination; event #3 a webinar on your Investment Management Outlook; and event #4 a Summer Picnic for clients and employees
4. Follow-Up Plan
While events themselves are very useful, the greatest value may be in your follow up. Conversations and meetings that follow an event may be a powerful opportunity to connect with client, prospects, and COIs on their needs, preferences, concerns and any events currently affecting them. You can also use participant survey/evaluation feedback, event photos and event recap articles to help attendees feel a part of your community.
5. Solicit Feedback: Listen, Learn, Adapt
There is great power in immediate feedback. Therefore, your Event Calendar should be dynamic and updated real time, based on input from your target audiences. You may discover that a certain topic is view as so valuable, that after you have offered a “101” level program, your audience craves a “201” session. You may learn that certain event approaches are more effective than others in achieving your business goals. Further, you may discover that certain content and/or presenters are relatively less effective. All this input may assist you in modifying future event plans to address your audience preferences. Here are some examples of events held by successful financial advisors…
Client Appreciation and/or Prospect Events
- Summer Picnic in the Park: Invite clients, team members and their families to a memorable event! You could have a sack race, tricycle race, tug-of-war, water balloon toss, water balloon slingshot, chalk drawing contest, face painting, arts and crafts, baby animals to pet, hula hoop contest, scavenger hunt, drawings for cool prizes, “how-to” demos, live music or DJ, piggy banks for the kids, etc.
- Wine Tasting: Invite clients to bring a friend to an elegant evening featuring a wine expert who will take the attendees through multiple types of wines, educating them on the nuances of the flavors of each variety and geography. You might add chocolate tasting to the event, recommendations for pairing wines with certain dishes, and delectable appetizers.
- Fashion Show: Hold an event in a chic boutique or major clothier, feature women’s and men’s fashions for next season and refreshments.
- Home Projects for Do-it-Yourselfers: Coordinate an educational event with a major home and garden center to teach fun, useful skills. Follow up with participants and ask them to share the projects they completed following the event.
- Digital Photography: An event for everyone, whether you are a cell phone shooter or a digital SLR photographer… teach the audience cool tools and techniques to create, edit and store great images.
- Cooking Class: Hold at a major supermarket or restaurant that offers classes. Consider including the entire family for an event or just adults.
- Other Location Events: Hold events at a fun, unexpected venues. Examples include a museum, historical site, performing arts center/theater, aquarium, zoo, exotic auto dealership, sports venue (racetrack, steeple chase, tennis stadium, baseball stadium, country club, bike race, etc.), botanical gardens, national park, highly-rated restaurant, theme park, winery, brewery, ocean beach, lake, cruise ship, tall ship, major university location, etc.
- Women’s Wellness and Financial Health: Hold a series of weekly events. Have physicians, holistic medicine practitioners, personal trainers, and/or authors, etc. to speak about issues related to women’s health. Create the tie-in to the importance of physical and mental health in making financial decisions, especially during stressful events like divorce or a death. Invite clients and prospects to bring a friend.
Center of Influence (COI) Events
- Idea Exchanges: Host breakfast / luncheon / appetizers / desserts with attorneys, CPAs and other complementary financial advisors to exchange ideas on building satisfying client relationships, business development efforts, problem solving, etc.
- Jointly-Sponsored Events: Jointly host prospect &/or client seminars or webinars. Create and execute your cooperative follow-up plan.
Educational Events – Sample Topics
At Premier RIA Network you have access to a wealth of content and support in preparing authentically valuable events. Here are examples of Educational Event themes:
- Retirement Planning
- Investment Management
- Importance of Asset Location
- Planning for College
- Optimizing Social Security
- Caring for Aging Parents
- Creating and Managing a Budget
- Tax Planning
- Estate Planning
- Risk Management and Insurance
- Managing Your Lifestyle
- Healthcare Costs in Retirement
- Retiring Abroad
- Keys to Preserving Your Wealth,
- Charitable Giving
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Buy vs. Rent
- Business Succession Planning
- Ensuring Your Executor/Executrix is Prepared
- Optimizing Employee Benefit Elections
- Financial Literacy for Children
The Premier RIA Network Difference
As a member of Premier RIA Network, you have access to a powerful suite of social media and digital marketing support tools. You may choose to leverage our professional, on-site video production facility to produce videos for your website and/or YouTube.
We offer a wealth of educational videos (see Resources) on our website that may choose to include in your branded web experience and are offered through an outsourced consultancy.
Our organization has embraced social media and has an established social media policy. We are pleased to share our own experiences with social media and blogging, to help you in determining your next steps.
We have carefully-selected external website hosting, social media, blogging, and digital marketing/branding consultants. They are available to you for your evaluation, to assist you in developing and implementing cost-effective strategies to help grow your independent wealth management practice to a new level.