Archive for the ‘Client Service & Practice Management’ Category

Which Greeting Cards Should You Be Sending?

October 18, 2017

greeting

The answer is more complicated than you might think. Timing, as they say, is everything.

Sometimes the answer is obvious. For example: is there anything more ubiquitous in polite, professional society than the birthday card? Thank You cards should be on your list, too, and welcoming a new client calls for a specific sort of thank you card. (You should be sending a card to those who made the introduction, as well.)

But which Winter Holiday cards should you send? Well, that depends largely on who your clients are and what they value. However, if I were to select one card above all others, it would be the Thanksgiving card. Thanksgiving is a widely celebrated* holiday, commonly seen as the beginning of the “Holiday Season” in the United States. While Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza are also associated with the winter holiday season, they also create a crush of mail.

A Thanksgiving card has the potential of making a big impact. Your clients probably expect a Christmas card, but that card will typically arrive amid a flood of other cards from family, friends, and other professionals like you. A Thanksgiving card is a thoughtful gesture that may stand out more, and allows you to express your gratitude for their business, while wishing them well through the coming holiday season. Of course, sending a card at Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that you should skip the other holidays – it’s merely a strategy to foster a greater connection between you and your clients and contacts.

Sending a card at Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that you should skip the other holidays – it’s merely a strategy to foster a greater connection between you and your clients and contacts.

A card to celebrate the New Year is also in order. A “Happy New Year” card is another great opportunity – not only to observe the Holiday, but to let clients know that you’re honored to be working with them for another year. (Many also choose to use this card as a reminder to schedule an annual review.)

Consider grouping your contacts into three Winter Holiday campaigns. Your “A” clients should receive three Winter Holiday cards… a Thanksgiving card, a Happy New Year card, and a December card (Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, etc.) Your “B” clients and prospective clients should receive a minimum of two Winter Holiday cards (Thanksgiving and Happy New Year, more if you’re able.) All other contacts should receive at least one card (but two is better). Select the occasion you feel is most appropriate.

Marketing.Pro offers beautiful full-color Winter Holiday cards for all these occasions (and more). Your Holiday cards can even be automated to send to the contacts you choose, on the dates you choose. Upload your contacts, select the design(s) you like best, and the system does the rest (sorting, stamping, sending.) You can even upload your own handwriting and signatures for a more personal touch.

What about eCards? Don’t. At least, not for the clients and contacts you value. eCards are largely deleted, while a physical greeting card is a tangible reminder that the relationship is one that you value. After all, if your relationship with a client isn’t worth the cost of some paper and a stamp, you have the wrong clients.

If your relationship with a client isn’t worth the cost of some paper and a stamp, you have the wrong clients.

Don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit with your holiday and greeting card practices! I recommend mixing it up each year with at least one unexpected card to ALL of your contacts. (An occasion like “Talk Like a Pirate Day” is a great example!) The cards you send should reflect the relationship that you want to have with your clients – an enduring and connected presence!

*Many Native American families do not celebrate Thanksgiving due to their cultural preferences. Some religions forego the celebration of certain holidays, including Thanksgiving. Know your clients and adjust your strategies to avoid making an error – be someone who serves the entire community.

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Education as a Marketing Tool

July 17, 2017

The outreach that you provide to your clients and prospects has two roles. It should educate them, as well as provide value – meaning that your efforts do something to enhance their lives. For this reason, any sort of educational outreach is a marketing tool. These outreaches should be carefully considered, so that they are both of value to potential clientele, as well as economical for you.

  • Newsletters
    How frequently are you sending out an informative newsletter? Is that frequency right for your targeted group? How much outreach is engaging to the reader, and how much becomes white noise? Separate your contacts into groups and determine how frequently they would like or need a newsletter, as well as what type of information will be valuable to each group.
  • Blogs
    If not adequately promoted, blogs may sit in a dank corner of the Internet, unloved and unread. Carefully select search terms, and if you cite an author, be sure to include them. Publicize your efforts on social media, email signatures, and even business cards.
  • Gatherings
    These may take many forms. Whether it’s a seminar, “Lunch & Learn,” or an educational dinner series, don’t attempt to ‘pack the house.’ Smaller events, aside from being more economical to cater, allow you to give focused attention to each attendee, and begin forming a professional relationship with each individual.
  • White Papers / eGuides
    These are also an important part of the outreach process. Unlike newsletters and blogs, this is a ‘one-and-done’ exchange of information. These types of educational pieces can be very useful when it comes to lead generation – allowing you to offer something of value in return for contact information.

Whichever elements you choose to utilize, the best guideline is to Keep It Simple. Remember to balance cost and benefit. You can make your marketing much simpler and more cost effective by subscribing to a service like MarketingPro, which offers compliance-reviewed content as well as automation tools. Visit www.Marketing.Pro to learn more.

Client Categories and Segmentation

October 26, 2016

segment

You’ve probably heard a great deal about “segmenting” your clients, meaning to divide them into different groups. Doing this can help make your contact with these individuals count, and improve relationship nurturing.

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Contact Strategies – Building an Effective Client Contact Campaign

October 19, 2016

How to develop and execute a powerful client communication strategy to maintain and grow your financial services practice.

How often are you in communication with your clients? Three or four times a year? What about prospects … do you contact them once or twice and that’s it? If so, you are not keeping up the kind of contact campaign you probably should be. Further, you could be missing out on client generation and income potential.

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Holiday Cards

October 12, 2016

Holiday Card

Holiday cards are likely on your to-do list for the coming months. You probably make several connections with your clients through the year, but next to sending them a birthday card, this is the big one. As such, remember that sending a holiday card is always a personal gesture, one done out of kindness and in good spirits. So get involved and make it a reflection of you and the relationship that you have with your clients and business connections.

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What Do Millennials Want?

September 28, 2016

MarketingPro - What do Millenials Want

The mystery of how to direct your business to the so-called “millennials,” the first adults of the 21st century, continues. While every new generation means a new rulebook, finding the path is complicated by new technology and changing social attitudes. Here are three easy tips for attracting and maintaining a presence in their lives.

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Boundaries with Clients

August 3, 2016

Bride And Groom Celebrating With Guests At Reception

If you’re holding client appreciation events, it goes without saying that you’ll be inviting your clients. But how often should you invite clients to your own personal events? And how often should you accept invitations to their events? Are weddings, birthdays, and holiday gatherings an appropriate place to celebrate alongside your clients? You want to distinguish your time from client time. Chances are that many of your clients may feel awkward or out of place at an event you are sharing with your family and loved ones. The same goes for you attending their event.

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Book Talk

March 14, 2016

Talking about what you’ve been reading is a great way to start a conversation via social media. Here are some pointers for bringing up the books that you’re reading via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

  • What kinds of books?
    It shouldn’t surprise people that you might talk about books that relate to your industry. There are many books about retirement, finances, investing, and lifestyles which are related to your services. Your job is to find the books that are interesting, entertaining, and most relevant to your followers.
  • Talk back to the reviewers.
    Find reviews of the books you’re reading and share them, with a brief summary of where you agree or disagree with the reviewer. Avoid user reviews, i.e. the product reviews you find on Amazon. Favor reviews posted by traditional media. YouTube videos of conversations with the author are also a great resource.
  • But what if I’m reading?
    An award-winning novel? A mystery? The latest biography? History? Not everything you talk about has to be relevant. In fact, mixing it up is a good thing; it shows people that you’re well-rounded, and it keeps them paying attention when you’re doing something related to your business.
  • Know your community.
    There are certain books that you might not want to discuss. I’m not just talking “adult situations” here; there are a number of books, even those related to financial matters, which take political and religious points of view. A good rule of thumb when sharing about a book is to ask yourself: Who am I excluding when I’m talking about this book? You know your community best, so put that knowledge into practice.
  • Keep it lively, but respectful.
    If you’re a reader, this is a great way to connect with well-informed, educated people within your community. It might lead to meet-ups, book clubs… whatever you have the bandwidth to take part in. Just remember that people do get excited about topics they are passionate about. By keeping a friendly tone, you can show leadership by maintaining the cool even when folks get passionate or argumentative. This leadership will earn respect and, in the long run, win you business.

Reaching Out To Millennials

February 15, 2016

The current generation of young adults, the Millennials (people born between 1981-1996), are often seen as something of a riddle to their elders. When you consider that these young people have grown up in a wildly different world than even the generation before them, with so many notable technological and social differences, it’s easy to see why anyone might shrug their shoulders and ask “How do I get their attention?”

Fitness Clubs: Roughly one in five Millennials use a gym or exercise regularly. Maybe you should consider partnering with a local gym to offer discount group memberships. Or perhaps look into hiking and biking excursions. You likely have a natural area just right for this sort of outing somewhere nearby.1

LAN Parties: Millennials consume media like crazy. Some polls have them playing video games more than watching movies and sports combined. A LAN Party is where you gather a number of people with game consoles, laptops, and other platforms to take part in playing multiplayer video games. Normally attendees bring their own gaming console, but you may want to rent or borrow a device or two, just in case. Have lots of snack food available… these parties can go all weekend. Be sure to offer more than just the LAN Party as a diversion; even the most dedicated gamer needs a break! If you have an office, host it in your conference room, maybe on a weekend that coincides with a prominent game release. Do a short, 15-20 minute presentation before gaming begins. Now you have a number of young people with disposable income who know where your office is and what services you provide. You probably have one or two gamers on your staff or maybe in your family who can help advise and supervise the event.2,3

Student Debt Counselling: There is $1.2 Trillion dollars of student loan debt in the United States. You better believe that’s on the mind of a number of new college graduates. Bring in a guest speaker who talks about how to lower payments, and/or strategizes on how to resolve these burdens quickly and efficiently. You’ll probably get a number of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers in the mix, as well, as student debt is not merely a problem for the young.4

Social Media: Of course, most Millennials use some form of social media. If you aren’t already using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, get on that immediately, if your compliance allows. Also, keep in mind that Marketing.Pro offers compliance-approved social media content every week (text posts as well as image posts.) It also offers the option to automated social media campaigns. Regular posting shows that you are in touch and easily accessible, part of their neighborhood.

1-marketingcharts.com/television/what-do-millennials-like-to-do-with-their-free-time-29750/
2-entrepreneur.com/article/238294
3-wikihow.com/Host-a-LAN-Party
4-cnbc.com/2015/06/15/the-high-economic-and-social-costs-of-student-loan-debt.html

Keeping Your Client Appreciation Events Interesting for Everyone

October 19, 2015

There is an unwritten social rule that we should be inclusive whenever possible. It’s important, then, to select events that will be interesting and compelling to the majority of your clients. Here are some tips for planning events with the widest audience in mind:

Ask Questions – This isn’t Perry Mason; nobody’s going to yell at you for asking leading questions. You should be taking the time to get to know your clients, anyway, with questions like “Do you (and your spouse) golf?”

Tip Your Hand – The easiest way to gauge interest is to just let the clients know what you are planning. “I’m thinking of having a skybox event at an NBA game this year and I want to know who’s interested. Does your family like basketball?” If they are in love with the idea, you’ll find out.

Vary Your Events – While you might do an annual Holiday party, avoid having the same event calendar every single year. For example: shredding parties are popular, but if you had one last year, you might not have as much enthusiasm another other this year.

We All Have Different Tastes – Of course many women love sporting events and many men enjoy the theater, but too much of one type of event might leave one spouse cold. Remember that you are cultivating a professional relationship with both partners.