In our industry, immediate sales are few and far between. More than ever, prospects must get to know you first. How you build and cultivate your list significantly impacts your ability to attract more people for consultations (and ultimately convert more to clients). You must keep your prospects engaged so they do not drift. Contrary to what most advisers do, prospects want to hear from you regularly!
Relationship-building marketing starts with your List. Within your marketing system you need a way to capture personal information so you can continue the conversation with the prospect who introduces himself to you. What list-building mechanism do you have on your website? A free report, financial quiz, e-book, video series or recorded educational call? What is your compelling offer targeted to your ideal client that excites someone enough to submit his or her name and email address? Do you ask permission to email prospects who call or from those you’ve met at events? With these essential basics in place you can start to send two types of marketing communications as the foundation of your relationship marketing program: individual communications and cultivation communications.
The first contact with your potential new client—these one-on-one email—fulfill the promise of the offer. What did you tell that person he would receive in exchange for his contact information? Deliver that content.
With their permission granted for contact, you open the door for a series of emails (and/or phone calls where they fit) you can use to send around this valuable content to educate, motivate and ultimately invite the prospect to meet with you. This predetermined flow starts with a prospect’s enrollment and continues based on his action or inaction. He will receive a different message immediately than the message he will receive 14 days or even six weeks later. In the meantime, another prospect is receiving the same email stream based on his enrollment date and subsequent (in)action. If set up efficiently, these system-driven emails can happen without your assistance until the eager prospect receives the “call me for a consultation” email. Ring, ring, come on in!
When you think of email marketing, you may imagine what I call “cultivation communications.” Based on the calendar, these emails go to everyone and educate on a relevant topic, promote an event or share a story. They are not individualized based on length of relationship, rather they usually come in a form such as a newsletter or as articles. Not everyone is ready to meet with you even after warming up through a personalized email series, so you need a place for them to cultivate. You will nurture them with communications and wait for them to be ready. You gave conversion a directed effort upfront, and now you will keep your investment in any single person in check through your cultivate campaigns.
If you have none of these structures in place, start with adding a capture form on your home page. If you do not know how to add a form or that concept overwhelms you, simply bold a sentence that says “Email me at email@example.com to receive your free e-book” (e.g., 10 Steps to Retire in the Next 5 Years with Confidence and Cash). Then write the first email that delivers the offer. You’ll quickly be on your way!
Kristin Harad, CFP®
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