Attracting and retaining clients often comes down to the small details, like the personal connection you establish. Financial advisors can use events to build stronger relationships while simultaneously increasing their reach and engaging new prospects. A successful event helps humanize your business and create buzz surrounding your services.
This blog will look at seven types of client events and best practices for using these special occasions to grow your firm.
Client events are gatherings that offer financial advisors the opportunity to show their appreciation to boost retention, increase trust, generate referrals, and build their brand. Client events shouldn’t be limited to a planned occasion—they should offer an experience. These gatherings for your clients can be fun, informative, and exciting. Above all, client events should be memorable and align with your brand to help strengthen your client base.
The pandemic changed the way financial advisors engage clients. As quarantines lifted and things started to return to normal, financial advisors began including in-person events back into their marketing plan. While 51% of advisors reported that they are still conducting client meetings via the phone or video conferencing tools (e.g., Zoom), a recent survey shows that more than 25% of respondents plan on conducting more in-person events than in previous years.
Challenging financial environments might force business owners to reduce their marketing budget, which often means cutting out special events. However, it’s important to note that companies that have bounced back most strongly from previous recessions usually did not cut their marketing spending—and, in many cases, successful firms increased marketing spend when economic hardship hit.
Use this opportunity to build a stronger connection with your audience. Include intentional and thought-out, in-person engagement events on your robust marketing calendar. Be sure to leverage best practices for creating a marketing plan and learn more about financial advisor marketing mistakes to avoid.
Bringing people together is a great way to connect with a large group, introduce your clients to each other, and meet prospects. Client events should offer your clients an opportunity to engage with you outside of your role as financial advisor.
To maximize your event’s impact, it is important to tailor each event to your audience. Here are seven examples of client appreciation event ideas that financial advisors could use to support their marketing strategy.
Keep track of important events in your clients’ lives and host a party to acknowledge them.
Retirements, graduations, milestone birthdays, births, new home purchases, business milestones, and other monumental moments are important to your clients. While some celebrations could be in-person, others could include a personalized email, card, or phone call to acknowledge their exciting moment. This personal touch will impress both clients and prospects.
Host events to celebrate your firm’s accomplishments as well, including partner retirement, major anniversaries for your firm, groundbreaking ceremonies, and more.
Rent out a local pub and invite clients to trivia night.
Trivia is a popular group pastime and offers everyone a fun night—as well as a bit of competition to make it interesting. Choose a theme, like Groovy 60s or Hollywood Stars, to help inform your decorations, quiz questions, and even guest attire (if you think your clients would be up for it!). Provide appetizers and a round of drinks on your firm. Encourage your clients to invite guests to join their team, and offer a special appreciation gift (like a gift card) for the trivia winners!
Rent out a movie theater for a private showing of a popular movie.
Invite your clients and their families to a movie night hosted by your firm! Choose a feel-good film that is appropriate for everyone in attendance. Encourage your guests to bring some friends to help increase your reach with this event. Offer popcorn, movie candy, and soda during the movie. Give out goodie bags afterward that include a coupon for a free consultation for prospects.
Plan a memorable and enjoyable morning at the golf course.
Select a few clients who’d appreciate a day of golf. This offers a great opportunity for in-depth conversations as well as a chance to show off your putting skills. For this kind of intimate event, you may want to consider selecting your identified centers of influence (COI) and encourage them to invite a peer or two. If you want to make this a bigger event and invite more clients, consider turning it into a charity golf outing and choose a worthy cause that your firm can support. For this event, you could include swag to hand out, like sunglasses, visors, or shirts with your logo on them.
Host a webinar or presentation designed to educate and entertain your clients.
Select a topic that is important, helpful, and interesting (the topic can be finance-related but doesn’t have to be). For example, you could hire an expert to share their knowledge on art history, dancing, mixology, automobiles, or any other subject your clients are interested in. You could also host a session to teach your clients about saving for retirement, how to invest in the real estate business, how to set their kids up for college, or important things to know about filing their taxes. Consider bringing in your guest speaker for a happy hour event.
Bring out the neighbors and have a good time.
A block party is a great brand builder and prospect magnet that can support your community-based marketing efforts. Send personal invitations to your local clients and ask them to bring their neighbors. Be sure to obtain any needed permits. Consider including the businesses around you, especially if they aren’t competitors and might cater to a similar client group. Offer catered food, ice cream, a fun playlist, and some outdoor activities. Don’t forget to plan for seating so your guests aren’t stuck milling around the entire event!
Host a reception, BBQ, wine tasting, or fine dining experience at your office.
There’s something to be said for familiarity. Cater food from a local restaurant for an on-site event where people can get comfortable with your office and meet your staff. Your event could even coincide with a holiday, such as throwing a holiday party or hosting something near the Fourth of July. Cater the party with your favorite food and maybe have a small band or DJ scheduled for entertainment.
Why are client events effective for helping retain and attract clients? These planned experiences offer financial advisors an opportunity to extend their value proposition and expand their footprint in ways typical day-to-day services can’t. Here are three ways client events will help you make an impression on your attendees.
Financial advisors expose a different side of themselves during client events—like revealing a hobby, a favorite sports team, special interests, or friends they have in common with clients. These interactions can solidify relationships and build rapport. Client events can give you a shared experience that you can talk about later with your guests.
You can attract new clients by encouraging your existing clients to invite friends and family. A well-executed event generates buzz among your clients and beyond. If guests share photos and posts from the event on social media, they could create interest within their circles and help you expand your brand reach. The more you get your name out there in a positive way, the more you build trust that encourages new prospects to consider working with you.
One way to get new clients as a financial advisor is to gain referrals from key leaders and centers of influence (COIs) within your community. Partnering with local professionals to host events can lead to client crossover and could encourage an ongoing referral relationship beyond the event itself.
You want to get the most out of any event you spend time and money hosting. Before you start planning the details, here are some best practices to help shape a successful client event.
Avoid a last-minute event that feels rushed. Give your clients as much advance notice as possible so they can save the date! This holds true for virtual events as well; people need their invite well in advance. Keep your CRM updated to ensure you have the proper contact information.
Also, when sending invitations, consider how each client accesses information. Use the right method for promoting the event by sending invitations in a way your guests are sure to see them (e.g., email, personal phone call, or a mailer). Younger clients? Be sure to send a mobile-friendly invite.
Sharing the costs and labor with another professional can help offset your expenses and increase the size of the attending audience. Choose a business leader (e.g., an attorney, realtor, CPA, or caterer) looking to grow their business, so the event is a win-win for everyone. Your partnered client event also gives clients an opportunity to meet new people, so you can bill it as a networking event.
From food selection to the main activity to your music choice, your client event is also a great opportunity to let your clients get to know more about you and your team.
While you want to plan an event your clients will enjoy, you also want to showcase the human side of your business through this experience. Think about what kind of vibe your event will give your business and plan something that helps build your brand.
Be sure the type of event you choose resonates with the audience you invite—and target different groups with different events throughout the year. For example, women business owners may not be particularly interested in an event centered around fly fishing, while younger clients might not be interested in attending a presentation on estate planning or joining you for a golf outing.
However, don’t make assumptions about what your clients enjoy and slot them by bias—take time to ask, and plan an event that targets the clients you hope to attract. You might find that a couple of your female entrepreneurs are experienced fly fishers or one of your younger clients spent a lot of time on the golf course with his dad.
Nothing turns a potentially fun event into a disaster like a “bait and switch.” An unsolicited pitch turns an appreciation event focused on clients into a brand-centric sales event.
Your loyal clients will feel uncomfortable, betrayed, and disappointed if they are blindsided by a hard sale—especially if they invited friends or family to come along for a good time. The positive mood of the event will turn negative very quickly if people are forced to listen to a sales pitch or asked to make a purchase decision on the spot.
Conventional wisdom posits that acquiring a new customer costs 5x – 7x more than retaining an existing one. With that in mind, investments you make to successfully retain desirable clients are a good move.
At AssetMark, we help financial advisors learn how to grow and scale their firms. We can help you understand your clients and access tools that help you deliver the services they want.
Are you ready to learn more about what we do and how we could help you develop a stronger advisor practice? Let’s chat. Reach out to our team today to see what AssetMark could do for you.
AssetMark is a leading provider of extensive wealth management and technology solutions that help financial advisors meet the ever-changing needs of their clients and businesses.
Subscribe to get a monthly recap of AssetMark blog articles.
AssetMark, Inc. ("AssetMark") is a leading provider of extensive wealth management and technology solutions that help financial advisors meet the ever-changing needs of their clients and businesses. The information on this website is for informational purposes only and is intended as an overview of the services offered to financial advisors, not a solicitation for investment. Information has been drawn from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed and is subject to change.
Advisors seeking more information about AssetMark’s services should contact us; individual investors should consult with their financial advisor.
AssetMark is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and a subsidiary of AssetMark Financial Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: AMK) of which Huatai Securities Co., Ltd. is a controlling shareholder. Visit our ownership page for more information.
© 2023 Copyright AssetMark, Inc. All rights reserved. (101424 | C20-16871)