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Rock the Event Invite for up to 300% More Attendees

Advisors face an uphill battle to get attendance to their events.

The proliferation of virtual meetings and webinars due to the pandemic, the return of in-person seminars, and the growing popularity of hybrid events mean more events are competing for the attention of prospects, clients, and influencers.

Advisors compete for mindshare with clients and prospects. The average American sees more than 3,000 ads a day.

A targeted event marketing plan will increase registrations, but many advisors think any old event invitation will do the job.

Not true.

Did you know that one invitation headline can out-pull another by 38% or more? Or that a simple change in three sentences buried in the middle of your invitation will lift response by 15%?

Changing an event invitation boosted registrations by 300% for an independent financial advisor – a client of mine – who tested one invitation against another to the same audience.

Those advisors and firms that tap into the power of the simple event invitation are more likely to sell out their events, engage clients, activate referrals, and drive new prospect meetings and fees.

Here is a simple formula to “rock the event invite” and get 300% more attendees at your next webinar, seminar, workshop, or hybrid event!

A simple formula to get attention, draw interest, build desire and gain attendance

The steps proposed by the attention, interest, desire and attendance (AIDA) model are as follows:

Attention – The prospective attendee pauses what they are doing when they learn of your event.

Interest – The prospect becomes intrigued and explores the features of your event and how that event might improve their finances and life.

Desire – The prospect is excited about your event and wants to attend.

Action – The prospective attendee receives an intention and registers, and then, through your reminder sequence, shows up at your event.

Let’s start with the desire section.

These are benefits, not features, of attending. To a feature, the prospect can ask, “So what?”

Typical financial advisor event feature: An overview of the recent volatile markets in context.

Let’s turn that into a benefit, engage the emotions, and present an advantage of attending.

  1. What pre-retirees need to know about the recent volatile markets to increase the odds of not running out of money in retirement.

Let’s outline three more benefits for pre-retirees.

  1. How a formal retirement plan can help create an income stream from your assets to afford your desired lifestyle in retirement.
  1. Why retirees might consider working with an independent financial advisor who sits on the same side of the table as their clients and helps weather the unexpected.
  1. Get your top questions about retirement answered in an interactive workshop limited to 15 attendees.

What do we do with those four benefits? We order them from most appealing to least attractive to our prospective attendee.

Let’s just say we order them as follows:

Benefit #1
Benefit #2
Benefit #3
Benefit #4

We’ll use benefit #1 as our headline to attract our audience’s attention.

Get attention

Think of a headline as an “ad for an ad.” In an email, it is a subject line.

Our headline could be something like:

What Every Pre-Retiree Needs to Know about Today’s Volatile Markets so They Don’t Run out of Money in Retirement

Or a shorter version for an email subject line could be:

Pre-Retirees, Avoid Running Out of Money by Mastering Volatile Markets

You get the idea.

Draw interest

Hold those benefits for a second as we build interest with something relevant and timely.

It could be as simple as:

"The recent volatile markets have put many retirement portfolios at risk, what about yours?

Many pre-retirees have watched home equity rise to as much as 50% of their net worth, what are strategies to mitigate housing risk?

For financial events, you want to continue to build interest by introducing your event as the solution to the problem and the issues you have highlighted.

Mrs. Joan Smith, Independent Financial Advisor will present an interactive, educational workshop at 2 p.m. April 25 at the Brookview Community College. The workshop is entitled: ‘How Pre-Retirees Can Avoid Running Out of Money by Mastering Volatile Markets.’ This is the only workshop scheduled this year."

Build desire

We take benefits #2-4 from above and build desire for attending with something like:

In this interactive workshop, you will discover:

Benefit #2
Benefit #3
Benefit #4

Now that we have tapped into their emotions and built-up desire for the content or event experience and how their lives will be better after attending…

Here’s where we call them to action, urgently!

Gain Action and Attendance

Don’t assume just because your event is free and you are excited about sharing your wealth of knowledge that prospective attendees will be motivated to rearrange their schedules and show up 30 minutes early to sit in the front row.

Certainly not.

Prospects will do everything to push off deciding, so our call to action must be easy, obvious, and introduce some scarcity.

Why food should not be the main incentive to drive attendance

While many financial advisors have traditionally offered bribes in the form of food and drink, to make your event programs successful both online and offline it will need to work without the food bribe.

Better to invest in hiring a copywriter, testing different invitations, and redeploying the food budget to advertising/inviting more prospects to increase response.

Here are five ways to create urgency and value:

  • A one-time event to increase scarcity
  • An outside speaker who can address a timely issue
  • A premium for attending like a book
  • Limit the event to a specific number of attendees
  • Ask for an immediate response.

Chances are your event invitations miss many or all these levers to drive a response.

Our call to action could read something like this…

"Register for this one-time event at 7 p.m. September 15 at the Brookfield Community College Common Room by clicking on this link now.

The first 10 registrants will receive a copy of the new book, How Baby Boomers Can Manage Real Estate in a Housing Bubble, and author James Smith will be joining us on September 15 to answer your questions about the recent housing boom and what it means for retirees with home equity.

Don’t wait. The Common Room only holds 25 attendees and RSVPs are required 48 hours before the event. Register now."

Do you get the idea?

When you put together your next event or invitation, remember to use the AIDA formula and watch your attendance soar.

Here’s a simple example from an advisor’s webinar.

A financial advisor mailed a weak webinar invitation to his house email list and got only 20 registrants and no investment prospects.

With a targeted marketing plan hitting both the house and external lists and a sizzling invitation using the AIDA formula, this same advisor received 187 registrants and many investment prospects.

While some of this increase in response was from a better marketing plan, you may see a 300% increase from an invitation alone based on our and other direct marketers’ work with clients.

Remember the attention, interest, desire, and action formula to rock the event invite!

Bob Hanson is author of Marketing Power for Financial Advisors. Get his new, Free Report, 7 Secrets to Winning Advisor Marketing Funnels, here.