Event leads are a critical part of any financial advisor or institution’s external marketing initiatives, and among the most popular ways to get eyeball-to-eyeball with prospects to show them your expertise and convince them to do business with you.

We’ve discussed why event leads are some of the hottest leads for advisors and the live event marketing ecosystem in previous blogs, and now we’d like to share with you the 10 most important steps you can take before your next retirement event to ensure success.

  1. Pick The Right Venue

The venue and its location are critical to a successful event. Be sure to choose a place with a great reputation that people will want to attend at a location that is easy for people in your target market to get to. No one wants to drive an hour or more for a retirement presentation, even if they are interested in the topic and free meal. Be sure to also consider how the layout of the venue will work for your presentation: Will people be close enough to you to see and hear what you are telling them?

  1. Decide the Theme and Focus of the Event

Know what you want to present during your event. Having a clear focus will drive the marketing activities before, during, and after the event. Try to stay topical and discuss current events that are undoubtedly on the mind of your attendees. Show them you understand what’s going on in the world and that you have the expertise to help them deal with the most important issues they hear about every day. If you need help deciding, Lone Beacon offers a wide variety of content that can help, such as PowerPoint presentations on current events like market volatility, and content for specific niche audiences, such as women and investing.

  1. Plan and Launch Marketing Activities

It’s important to have a concerted marketing campaign that includes digital, email, and texting that all works in concert with one another. To ensure all of your messaging is saying the same thing, at the same time, be sure to create a marketing timeline outlining all of your marketing efforts with schedules and budgets for each. Thinking about direct mail as well? With direct mail response rates declining in almost every market, click here to read our study on event lead aggregation and how a digital event strategy compares to mail houses and direct mail.

  1. Invite Past Prospects to the Event

If someone has signed-up for an event before or has communicated with you in the past but dropped off, they may be ready to do business now when they weren’t the last time you connected with them. Pull a list of these people you’ve reached out to before and invite them to your upcoming event with a simple phone call or email. If they have previously opted-in to agree to be texted, send them a text as well. Make use of that database!

  1. Practice Your Presentation

For your presentation to be effective, you MUST practice it. Your marketing efforts go to waste if you don’t know where to put your emphasis and don’t have your choice of words figured out beforehand. Like everything else in life, practice makes perfect.

  1. Qualify Sign-Ups Beforehand

The sooner you connect with a lead, the better your chance of getting them on the phone and getting the chance to speak with them before the event. Use this opportunity to pre-qualify them and see if the event is right for them and that you are actually able to help them to save both you and them valuable time. If the fit is right, this personal touchpoint increases their chances of attending the event.

  1. Send Text Reminders

Send text reminders to those who have opted-in to texting 3 days, 24-hours and shortly before the event. Reminders are important to make sure the people who have confirmed will attend and will help you to anticipate who might not be able to attend due to a scheduling conflict. Keep those people on a short list to invite to your next event!

  1. Call All Pre-Qualified Attendees the Day Before the Event

In addition to texting reminders, calling those you have already pre-qualified for the event as a personal touchpoint will help keep no-show rates low.

  1. Get to the Venue Early to Set-Up

Getting to the venue early to set-up and ensuring everything is organized and working will take the stress out of the evening and help it run smoothly. If you follow the same routine with every event, you can work out a system that works for you to help make set-up a breeze.

  1. Introduce Yourself to All Attendees as They Arrive

First impressions are crucial. The sooner you connect with the attendees the better the chance of converting them to appointments. Don’t stand in front or in the corner as attendees show up. Shaking their hand, introducing yourself, and thanking them for coming as they arrive will go a long way. If you’ve done your homework and learned something about those attending, perhaps when you pre-qualified them or reviewed their event submission shortly before, that personal information and knowledge can show that you understand who they are and what their concerns may be.

After the event, don’t forget to continue to follow-up with those that attended but might not have signed-up for a complimentary review. Call, text, email, and continue to market to these new prospects. Based on Lone Beacon’s empirical evidence, over 10% who did not originally book an appointment following your event, signed-up or did not attend, or did not respond to your call confirmation will either book an appointment or attend another event in the next 12 months if you continue to nurture them through continued marketing.

Don’t underestimate the power of digital for event marketing! In 2022, Lone Beacon metrics for our client’s event campaigns are seeing a $35.56 cost per registration, $128.78 cost per attendee and a $298.80 cost per appointment. See why…