There are several ways financial professionals can lift their workshop attendance whether prospects register through traditional direct mailing methods or digital marketing strategies. The same processes can help increase attendance for both prospecting tactics. Financial professionals should be confident enough with their processes to potentially spend a significant amount of time and money on finding and converting prospects into clients.
Direct Mail vs. Digital Marketing
Are you currently relying on direct mail to fill your workshops or a similar prospecting funnel? Perhaps it is time to look towards a digital marketing strategy. I have replaced most of my direct mail workshop invitations with digital invitations over the past year after seeing greater potential in the digital approach.
Costs of Direct Mail
I used to spend about $.42 per direct mailer for printing, postage, and getting it out the door. By industry standards, that cost is pretty reasonable. I'd need to register about 26 attendees in order to fill the room with 20 people. I would send about 3,600 pieces to my target audience to get the response I was looking for. It cost on average $1,500 for each mailing.
Costs of Digital Marketing
I am able to spend the same for digital marketing, and on average get 40 registrations. That’s over a 50% increase for the same out of pocket expense. There are some drawbacks to this method. The level of commitment needed to register digitally is relatively low. The prospect doesn't have to call the number and actually speak with someone to register, they can just click a few buttons on their computer or smart phone. If you ask around the industry, you’ll likely hear that there’s about a 50% attrition rate for digital registrations. They either end up as cancellations or no-shows which keeps the number of actual attendees the same as direct mail. However, there are steps I have taken to increase those numbers and capitalize on the additional registrants I received through digital marketing strategies, making it more beneficial for me than direct mail.
How to Get More Registrants to Attend
A consistent confirmation and reminder process can help lift attendance. I experience upwards of a 75% attendance rate on registrations when the process is executed correctly.
Here are 6 steps you can take to help lift your workshop attendance:
- Confirmation Email – You should require the registrants provide their email addresses and phone numbers when they register. Send a well written confirmation letter via email confirming the reservation, number of guests registered, and the time and location. In a few sentences describe what the event experience will feel like and what they will walk away with. This step should be done immediately after the registration is made, and it can probably be easily automated by the same technology you use to create the registration form.
- Confirmation Call – Call each registrant to confirm the registration. This can be done by you or a staff member if you have a team supporting you. If you get the registrant's physical address, you can let them know you will be sending a confirmation letter which will include more details about the information that will be covered during the event.
- Reminder Email – Automate a reminder email to be delivered 3 days before the event. It should build excitement for the event by detailing the content that will be shared at the event. Include the number of seats registered in that person’s name, as well as the date, time, and location. Including a Google map screen shot of the location and sounding area is a great way to familiarize the setting. This can help eliminate uncertainty that may lead to a cancellation or no-show.
- Video message – The day before the event send a short video message (no longer than 2 minutes). The video should introduce the host, the main topics to be discussed, and an invite your registrants to bring additional questions and be prepared to share them. Describe what to expect from attending and give them some guidance on how to prepare for the event. The message should help reduce the stress, worry, and anxiety of walking into a strange place with strange people. I use a service called BombBomb to record and deliver video messages from my desk. If you don't have any professional videos for your website, social media, or marketing emails, you should consider checking out the My First Take video production program.
- Text Message Reminder – Make sure you received permission to text before executing this step. Incorporate text message consent in to your registration process if possible. Text reminders should be short, detailing event start time and friendly “See you there.” Text reminders seem to lower the no show rate, and fewer people will cancel.
- "Day-Of" Reminder Call – Ask one of you team members to call all of the registrants on the day of the event. Remind them about the event and the number seats being held for them and their guests. Leave a detailed message if no one answers.
If this process seems like a lot, it honestly can be. The cost of prospecting is also a lot, and you probably don’t want to waste it. Executing this confirmation and reminder process led to 30% more people attending my workshops without spending additional money on prospecting. If you are going to spend money on prospecting, make sure you take control. Don’t leave anything to chance that you could potentially impact with a well thought out process.
One of the biggest untapped opportunities for you as financial professional is leveraging all the technological advances available to you such as social media, video production services and web-based leads. If you are ready to learn how you can use technology to drive interest in your financial services business, click the button below to get a copy of our eBook.