Client Events: Any Financial Advisor's Secret Weapon

Think about the last great party or event you attended. What made it memorable? How did you feel about the host? Did you meet new friends or business acquaintances? Or maybe learned something new? Advisors can harness the same concept to better connect with clients and prospects and make a positive impression on the community. Yet there is more to it than throwing a great party – to see a return on your event-investment, you need a strategy. In this blog post, we share the five key components of an effective client event.

Before we discuss how to host an effective event, we will briefly touch on why. The “why” is simple: it comes down to connections. Client events create an opportunity to connect with current prospects and clients in a new way, while also opening the door to meeting potential new prospects who wouldn’t otherwise be in your pipeline. Client events also create the opportunity for advisors to meet new centers of influence, discuss services with a target audience, earn referrals, stand out from the competition, make clients feel appreciated, and entertain key staff. However, to achieve these benefits, your client events must be executed properly.

Poorly planned client events can sometimes be worse than no event at all – which is why advisors are often hesitant to even try. No one may show up (including speakers!), technology may malfunction, drinks may run out, and so much more – all of which can hurt your client and prospect relationships. So, how can you ward off Fyre Festival 2.0 and instead host the perfect client event? It comes down to planning and, we’ve outlined some of the most essential steps for successful client events below.

How to Plan an Effective Client Event

Step 1: Determine Your Goal

Before any other steps are taken, we recommend determining the specific goals that your firm hopes to achieve through the client event. Do you want to express gratitude to top clients and referral sources? Gain introductions to prospects? Stay in touch with clients from across the country? Make a positive impact on your community? Introduce a new brand or successor? The options for goals are endless. However, without specified goals, your event may go off in the wrong direction or lack direction all together.

Step 2: Select the Type of Event

Once you determine the goal of your event, you can focus on the type of event you want to host. Event types can range from large symposiums to small intimate gatherings, however we recommend selecting a type of event that directly represents who you are as a firm as well as what you wish to accomplish. For example, a private dinner at a museum may be a great way to show appreciation to top clients and referrals or get introduced to new prospects, but it may fail at introducing a new firm name or giving back to your community.

It is also important to note that most clients and prospects will not attend an event that doesn’t seem fun, educational, or worth their time. Because of this, it is crucial to plan an event that doesn’t just appeal to your goals, but appeals to your target audience as well.

Step 3: Create a Strategy

Once you have a sense for what type of event you want to hold and what you aim to accomplish, the next step is creating a thoughtful strategy and putting ideas into action. Below are some best practices that should be part of any event strategy.

  • Take your firm’s passions into consideration. When you build events around something you and/or your firm is passionate about, you will exude enthusiasm that will help make real connections with clients and prospects. For example, if you love to paint, maybe host a painting class or hold an event at an art museum.

  • Find common ground. After you create a draft invite list, take the time to group invitees according to commonalities. By doing this, you can design events based on specific interests, challenges, or personalities.

  • Pick the ideal date. The wrong date can result in low or no attendance. Make sure no big events that your invitees might be interested in are occurring on the same day. We also recommend choosing Wednesday or Thursday as those days typically have the highest attendance rate. Lastly, make sure the event is occurring when your clients or prospects will likely be in town.

  • Hire a speaker. Hiring a speaker for an event is usually an effective way to attract attendees. The more high-profile the speaker, the bigger the draw. Just remember that the speaker should relate to your firm and the services you offer but also not compete.

  • Select an exciting venue. Just like the speaker, a great venue can be an effective draw for clients and prospects. Try to select a venue that can not only accommodate your event’s size, technological needs, food and beverage, etc. but also one that your invitees would be excited to go to. We have found that events that provide unique access create an incentive to attend, whether it be an exclusive private club, a private tour of a ballpark or a dinner featuring a well-known chef. Clients and prospects are more likely to go if they can’t otherwise access that experience.

Step 4: Book! Book! Book!

With a firm client event strategy in place, it is now time to book! book! book! You do not want to procrastinate and be left hanging without a crucial part of your event. Book your speaker(s), venue, caterer, valet, entertainment, and everyone and everything necessary for your event as soon as possible.

Step 5: Get the Word Out

Since there is no event if there is no one to attend it, the final step to planning your client event is getting the word out. Carefully curate your invite list and make sure to give all your invitees ample notice for the event so they can put you on their schedule. We recommend sending out a save the date a couple months prior to the event and a formal invitation a few weeks prior to the event, followed by a personal phone call. Your clients and prospects will be thankful that you put in the effort and be more likely to accept your invitation and attend.

Ready to Start Planning?

Successful client events can be a lot of work, but with the right planning, they create excellent potential to grow your firm and enhance your clients’ experience. While we only discussed the steps you need to take toward your next event, in order to reap all of the benefits, actions must also be taken during and after client events as well. Wealth Matters Consulting is here to assist you every step of the way. Our elite team of marketing, communications and PR experts have the skills and experience necessary to execute your perfect event from start to finish. Contact us to get started today!

Wealth Management DAM Systems: Your Ultimate Guide

Brand consistency is a crucial factor to the awareness, reputation and success of wealth management firms. Unfortunately, maintaining a consistent identity across all materials and channels presents many challenges. For example, outdated materials and logos may get used, requests might be sent for assets that have already been produced, and what should be a quick turn-around oftentimes becomes a drawn out and frustrating process. While this may seem like just a mere inefficiency, it can actually result in a significant loss of productivity for your firm. In fact, searching for up-to-date files takes up an average of 30 percent of an employee’s day and could cost your firm millions in lost productivity. 

The good news is, your firm is not the only firm with these challenges. Hence the invention of the digital asset management (DAM) system! A DAM system offers a way to create a central location for all digital assets so your firm can save time and focus on high-priority tasks. At its broadest definition, a DAM system is a central hub for firms to securely store, organize, retrieve and review digital content such as white pages, pitch decks, head shots, graphics, PDFs, logos, videos and more.

These centralized digital libraries come in many different shapes and sizes and choosing the wrong option for your firm can be cumbersome and costly. We have worked with our clients to roll out DAM solutions and wanted to share what we have learned along the way.

When Do I Need to Invest in a DAM System?

While DAM systems certainly are beneficial, you may be wondering if it is the right time for your wealth management firm to take the plunge. To answer this question, we recommend thinking about how your firm currently manages its digital assets.

  • Is it resource-intensive to use your digital assets?

  • Is it cumbersome to access your assets where and when you need them?

  • Does creative collaboration often result in bottlenecks?

  • Are you unsure if your digital assets are secure?

If you answered yes to any and all of the above questions, then it may be time for your firm to invest in a DAM system.

Which Wealth Management DAM System Is Best for You?

Once your firm decides to invest in a DAM system, there are numerous options to choose from. There is no one size fits all. Despite all of these programs serving the same purpose, each specific software is unique – as is every wealth management firm.

We recommend first identifying the current challenges your firm faces in regard to your digital assets. Then, identify key users and discuss all the required features and functionality you hope your future DAM system will possess. Some common features that we have seen our clients search for include:

  • Support all file formats

  • Ability to assign roles and permissions to users

  • Directly edit and/or convert files in the system

  • Easy search tools

  • Notifications

  • Brand templates

  • Version control and history

  • Attractive user interface

  • Metadata integrity

  • Tracking and reporting

  • Customer support

Once you figure out what exactly your firm needs, it is time to evaluate specific DAM systems. Read reviews, speak to DAM providers, enlist in live demonstrations and trials, and take all of the necessary steps to ensure that the DAM system you select is the right one for you, your team and your firm.

The importance of participating in a free trial cannot be overemphasized. Nearly every DAM option offers a trial option, which is the only way to effectively grasp how the system works and whether it is a good fit.

The cost of a DAM system can creep into six figures very quickly; however, we don’t feel that our clients need to make that kind of investment to obtain the solution they need. Depending on what your firm’s individual needs are, FileCamp offers a great low-cost option starting at $350/year. Brandfolder, Bynder and Canto are also great options that range between $7,000 - $25,000 annually and offer additional custom benefits.

What to Consider When Shopping for a DAM System

Think about the following questions when evaluating your DAM system options:

How much storage do I need? We recommend 1 terabyte (tb). This will be plenty of storage but will not leave your firm stuck or needing to purchase additional storage at a premium. To put this in perspective 1 tb accommodates 2 million photos.

How many users do I need? This depends on the size of your firm and who will be using the DAM. In addition to employees, consider contractors, clients and industry colleagues. We recommend getting a program with unlimited users or enough to accommodate for your firm’s growth. It is crucial to identify admin users and light users in advance of selecting a DAM.

How long has the company been around? Many start-ups can be here today and gone tomorrow. You want to make sure that the company you are choosing is here for the long haul. Ask questions to make sure they are properly funded for not only now but also the future. The software will require future modifications to avoid becoming obsolete, and this will require proper funding/planning by the company.

Which companies use this software? The wealth management space has very specific and complex needs. A DAM system that caters to design firms or tech firms may not be a good fit for a wealth management firm. Ask your rep if comparable companies are using the software, and if so, how they are using it.

When is the best time to negotiate a DAM contract? Like many sales-oriented companies, DAMs are very goal-oriented. They typically are more inclined to offer discounts and promotions toward the end of the month or quarter. This can be beneficial to keep in mind to obtain the most economical price for your firm.

How Do I Get Started?

Now that you understand everything that you need to know about wealth management DAM systems, it is time to officially get started. However, with so many options to choose from, finding and implementing the perfect system for your firm can oftentimes be complicated and time-consuming. That’s where we come in. Contact our experienced wealth management marketing and communications team to get started today.

Rosemary Denney in MarketCurrents: Why Wealthy Families Need a Social Media Policy

Ever since the development of social media, its usage has posed serious threats for high-net-worth families. For example, an Instagram post on a vacation with the GPS tag can put a wealthy family member at risk of being kidnapped for ransom. Or, a hacker can gain access to an heiress’s email account and send fraudulent invoices to her family office for nearly a million dollars merely because her password was her dog’s name – a dog she plastered on her social media accounts.

In order to uncover a possible solution to this pertinent issue, MarketCurrents spoke with Wealth Matters Consulting CEO Rosemary Denney. In the article, Denney recommends that both wealthy families and the firms that manage their wealth create a robust social media strategy in order to combat security threats.

Specifically, in regard to wealth management social media policies, Denney states, “These policies ensure that everyone at the firm possesses a clear understanding of how their social media activity must work in connection to the business.”

When developing wealth management social media policies for firms handling the data and affairs of wealthy families, Denney advices firms to truly consider the long-term implications of their policy, review every endpoint device, utilize premium tools that go beyond the built-in privacy protections of online platforms, and regularly test their digital infrastructure for any weaknesses.

Denney also describes how the best social media policies leave no room for ambiguity. Instead, they should enable wealthy families and their wealth management firms to experience all of the benefits this digital resource has to offer – from maintaining personal and professional relationships to building an effective brand – all without compromising their security.

Read the entire MarketCurrents article here.

Wealth Management Social Media Policies: 5 Essential Guidelines

Despite the concrete evidence that social media can serve as a powerful marketing tool to increase brand recognition and build relationships with prospects, many firms avoid social media because they fear their online activity could pose a compliance risk. While there are certainly regulatory restrictions to be aware of, it is absolutely possible to use social media within those regulatory boundaries. The key is establishing a social media policy.

Having a social media policy in place allows a firm to leverage the power of digital marketing and expand the reach of their brand among their target audiences while being compliant, accurate, and consistent across the firm’s footprint.

When it comes to creating a wealth management social media policy, there is absolutely no room for ambiguity. The policy must ensure that everyone at the firm understands how their social media activity connects to the business. To eliminate any confusion, the policy must include specifics about who can post, what to post, and when.

We recommend that advisors consider the following guidelines when creating a social media policy for their firm:

1. Research Potential Pitfalls

It is critical for your wealth management firm to be aware of the many social media-related compliance rules. While rules regarding the nature of the content are often the first to come to mind, make sure your policies also include guidelines for setting up social profiles and communicating within a social media platform. Two important components to familiarize yourself with are defining testimonials and avoiding specific investment advice.

2. Determine Your Spokespeople

Decide who among your firm is allowed to speak on behalf of the firm and post on the official company page. Make sure those who are allowed to represent the firm publicly – whether on digital platforms or traditional public platforms – represent your firm knowledgeably, accurately, and professionally.

3. Create a Review Process

Before any content is posted on behalf of the firm, it should be thoroughly reviewed and approved by management and compliance to ensure that the post is compliant with state and federal regulations, as well as the company’s brand and content guidelines. Clearly define your process of review so that everyone understands the workflow and nobody posts something that they come to regret.

4. Make Policies Personal

While regulators are typically concerned only with communications related to conducting business, that doesn’t mean that personal posts are without risk – in this case risk to your brand and reputation. Search engines, screenshots, archives, and cached files have created a digital world where every piece of content lives forever. It is crucial that everyone at your firm acts as if all of their updates and comments will be posted on the front page of a newspaper – even if their profiles are private. Consider including this simple rule among your policies: if it is not suitable for everyone to see, do not click the publish button.

5. Create Record-Keeping Practices

The record-keeping rules for business communications apply to social media as well. Decide how to handle record-keeping and spell it out in your social media policies to ensure each post is accounted for.

These guidelines can help you get started in creating an effective wealth management social media policy. Embracing a robust and specific social media policy can alleviate compliance-related concerns while allowing you to strengthen your brand and professional reputation across all digital channels. Contact our experienced social media team to learn more.

What's In A Gift?

Inevitably, around this time of year we are flooded with requests from advisors in a panic over what to give their clients for holiday gifts. Many times, we have to talk them out of “gifts” like logo wine glasses, logo coffee mugs or calendars. It is very important that the gift does not come across as self-serving.

We often go back to basics with them and ask the questions: What is a gift? What is this gift for? Is it a marketing piece? Or is it to say, “thank you, we love working with you and your family?” Logo items should not be seen as gifts. Many times, they end up in the charity donation pile or tossed in the garbage. If you want to make an impact with a real gift, it’s time to get creative and put some thought into it.

I always start by asking what YOU would want to receive as a gift. Would you want to receive a logo hat? I think not.

Here are some top creative ideas we’ve found over the years. These ideas may not be exactly right for your clients, but at least it will get you thinking…

1.     SOMETHING PERSONAL

For valued clients, nothing says, “I appreciate you” like something personal. Whether it is a jersey signed by a favorite sports team, an experience (ex. a trip, gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, sporting event, etc.), these gifts communicate that you listen, you care and you appreciate their business.

 

2.     SOMETHING THAT WILL BE USED OFTEN

Recently, I was in a conversation with an attorney who genuinely loves YETI products. He has YETI coolers, YETI travel cups…even YETI bottle openers. Why? The products work, and they’re considered “current.” He often gives YETI products as gifts for holidays and for referrals. Because these products are extremely high quality, they’ll be appreciated and used. Without a logo, they’re not self-serving. So if you’re going to give a gift, consider something you love yourself because chances are, your clients will love it, too (but remember that not everyone loves to collect 70s disco albums, so choose wisely).

 

3.     SOMETHING HANDMADE

For firms that serve a small number of families, we really have to think outside of the box. These families can afford anything they want, and are probably bombarded daily with retail giveaways. We have had great success with gifts that are handmade and thoughtful, like these from a local pottery studio. Elegant, classic design, yet functional and practical, these gifts are always well-received. Also you would be supporting a local, small business instead of a factory in China or India, which is an added bonus. 

 

4.     SUBSCRIPTION GIFTS

These gifts are great. They keep coming month after month for the year, reminding your client that you appreciate them! And there are so many to choose from, you are sure to find something your clients will love and appreciate all year long. You can choose from subscriptions for foodies, for techies, for beauty addicts, fitness gurus or outdoorsmen. Whichever subscription you land on, you can rest assured it will be the gift that keeps on giving. Here are a few we think are amazing.

 

5.     SOMETHING UNUSUAL

I once read an article about holiday gifts that mentioned someone who gave Cutco scissors to each of his clients, with the engraving: “You’re a cut above the rest and we love working with you.” Now say what you will about this, but it is certainly attention grabbing, high-end and thoughtful.  

 

 

6.     SOMETHING HANDWRITTEN

We understand that not everyone has a budget for high-end client gifts. That’s ok! Sometimes a hand-written card (with a hand-addressed envelope!) speaks volumes and can stand out in a pile of printed address labels.  

 

Good luck in your search, and happy shopping!