Most financial professionals understand the necessity of an on-going marketing effort to maintain their ideal client base. However, for many, this important business-building tool is implemented in a haphazard way. Kind of a “do-as-the-need-and-opportunities-arise” effort. If you’ve taken the time to write a book, make sure you take the time to get full benefit of your efforts. Here are some powerful marketing tips to help you reap the rewards of your efforts.
Strategy Comes Before Planning
To more effectively get your message across to existing and potential clients, you should develop a cohesive marketing campaign focusing on three things:
1) The message you want to convey to clients
2) Points that differentiate you from your competitors
3) The needs of your specific market
Once you know who your target market is, what the message is you are trying to convey and feel assured that your clients will understand why they should do business with you, it’s time to be creative. Following are some suggestions that will further differentiate you from your competitors. Each will provide an opportunity to distribute your book to clients and prospects.
1. DIRECT MAIL CAMPAIGN
Do you have a client (high-net-worth or institutional) with whom you’ve had a difficult time “getting your foot in the door.” Mail them a copy of your book. While a direct mail letter is easy to throw away, NO ONE THROWS AWAY A BOOK. Make sure you include a short note, letting them know you are featured in the book and why, and that you will call to see if there is a time you can meet in a day or two. You might want to include a personalized book mark in your chapter.
QUICK TIP: Include CEOs, CFOs and Human Resource Directors on your mailing list if you are targeting retirement plan business, or corporate exec accounts.
2. BOOK SIGNING
It’s time to approach owners of privately owned or local bookstores about a book signing. They are always looking for opportunities to draw customers to their store. Let them know you will only require a commission if a book sells (no up-front purchase required). If they aren’t going to actively advertise the event, you could offer to split the promotional cost with them.
QUICK TIP: Don’t just sign books. Let people know you will be available to answer questions about financial issues –– and sign books. Or you might offer to do a one-or two-night financial Q&A session in a special area, or private room, of the bookstore for their customers.
Get clients to help you with your marketing efforts by either offering them a copy of the book to give to a friend or associate, or by asking whom they think would benefit most from your services, and then personally deliver a copy to them.
QUICK TIP: Make sure you include an introductory letter with the book inviting the recipient to call you for a consultation.
A seminar is the perfect occasion to distribute your book to clients and prospects. Make sure you do not make the book the main focus. Instead, invite them to a seminar where you and/or another expert can “offer them a solution” to a problem. Don’t just stack the books by the door for people to pick up as they leave. Instead, have someone from your office (not featured in the book) or the event sponsor tell attendees about the book and that you will be available following the event to sign copies.
QUICK TIP: Treat the book as a “special” gift you are giving, not a mass production item.
5. SOCIAL EVENTS
At a social event, it’s not nice to “talk shop.” Instead, create a relaxed atmosphere where relationships can be built. Have people from your office promote the book by mentioning it to attendees as they mingle. Make sure they have read your chapter and know enough about the book before they promote it and you.
QUICK TIP: Make the book part of a gift pack, which encompasses your event theme. For example, when holding a luau, give each guest a small bottle of suntan lotion, dark glasses, bottled water, granola bar and the book. Wrap all of the items in a beach towel, or put them in customized beach bag.
While the importance of having a website for any business is a given, most professionals and companies do not reap the benefits this type of marketing offers. Why? Because they aren’t driving traffic to their site and, when someone does visit, there is nothing there that would encourage their return. Don’t limit your website to information about your team, company and services. A few ideas that would make clients and prospects keep coming back are:
• Calendar of community events – with those you are sponsoring highlighted.
• Articles about financial issues they might be facing.
• Book reviews for publications you think would benefit your clients.
• Case studies of clients who faced a financial crossroad and how you helped them achieve their goals
• Questions and answers—everyone loves these. Provide answers to questions you are most hearing from your clients
QUICK TIP: Remember to include a review of your book and your chapter (pdf file available upon request for this purpose).
If you have not compiled a list of your clients’ email addresses, you should. It’s an excellent tool for sending quick messages and keeping them updated on important industry news. To announce the book, send a “tickler” email that includes some of your quotes from the book, along with the Introduction. Then, tell them to let you know if they would like to receive a copy.
QUICK TIP: Don’t overdo emails or people will just delete them. Always include a consistent message in the Subject line that identifies you as the sender.
Invite your clients to a telephone seminar on a particular topic. Make sure you give them plenty of notice and that, because of limited space, an RSVP is required. A follow-up reminder the day of the seminar is helpful.
QUICK TIP: To encourage timely attendance, offer a copy of your book to the first five to join the session.
9. SEMINAR PRESENTATIONS
Contact associations your target audience are members of and offer your services as a speaker. Follow-up with a marketing packet that includes:
a. Your bio
b. List of topics you would like to speak on and a short description or outline of each
c. A copy of your book with your chapter book marked.
d. Other PR pieces and marketing materials you distribute to clients
e. A demo tape (audio or video) showing your presentation skills.
f. List of companies or organizations for which you have spoken in the past and a couple of references they can call.
QUICK TIP: If they invite you to participate, be prepared. If you do a good job, this could open additional opportunities. If you do poorly, you won’t be given a second chance.
10. PUBLIC RELATIONS (PR)
A powerful tool for getting the word out about you and your book is to have the media interview you to talk about the book, or to do a book review. Make sure you have a list of publications/radio/television media contacts to whom you send copies of your book to, along with suggested topics for interviews. You can also include an book review that you have written (yes, who knows your book better than you). The good thing about PR is that it’s FREE!
A Few More Tips and Tools
Don’t forget: Mark your chapter for easy access. Be creative with the bookmarks.
Invite media members to cover your events and treat them as well as you do your other guests.
Hold a brainstorming session with your team, friends or family to think of unique ways to get your message out there. BE CREATIVE.
Include information about the book when you create your new marketing brochure. Also include reprints of any media coverage you receive from the book in your marketing packet.