Like every aspect of a successful business, marketing plans need to be re-evaluated and re-invigorated on a regular basis. If your promotional efforts haven’t been delivering the results they once did, perhaps it’s time to give the plan a shot in the arm. Examine your current sales strategies and see if you need to make some adjustments.
Timing is everything
When is the best time to ramp up your marketing plan? “There are certainly a number of schools of thought regarding the best time to enhance marketing efforts,” says Todd Rockey, vice president of strategic development for Marketing Informatics in Indianapolis. “Do you wait until business is slumping or do you build marketing efforts upon your success while business is great? My experience has proven that the best time to enhance your marketing efforts is when it seems you need it the least. I am a firm believer in building upon the success you are having, by intelligently allocating your resources (money, time and people) while they are available, and parlaying your business strengths into a bigger and better organization. It’s much easier to promote your business and sell your products and services from a position of strength than from a position of declining financials, lost clients or negative results.”
Planning for success
When you find a strategy that’s working and repeatable, by all means add it to your annual planning calendar. Alan Hartman of Legacy Partners in Macon, Ga., has developed an annual strategy that helps him keep specific projects on track. “I focus my direct mail efforts during five key months,” he explains. “I send out flyers on term insurance, annuities and LTC during September, October, November, February and March. January is a tough month right after the holidays, and in the summertime many people are gone. But the promotions from those five months usually generate a reasonable number of prospects to work on throughout the year. You have to spend your money where you get the best results.”
Experts recommend following a regular schedule – such as at the beginning of every month – to review your marketing plans and make needed adjustments or corrections.
“Advisors should tune up as much as ramp up,” says Ryan Urban, president of Insure Colorado in Colorado Springs, Colo. “I strongly recommend a regular review and re-organization of an advisor’s marketing plan to insure that it’s still appropriate and up-to-date. Delete the strategies that are not working, beef up those that are and create new strategies. And just as important, be sure you have a specific plan to follow. Creating a marketing plan is the easy part; follow-through is a different story. Know exactly who you’re going to contact; know exactly how you will handle that contact; know exactly how you will follow up.”
Reevaluate seminars and workshops
Are your workshops still generating strong response, or is it time to rethink your approach?
“The seminar results are no longer as fruitful as they once were,” an advisor laments. “I still get about the same number of attendees, but the conversion to appointments and the conversion from appointment to sale has declined significantly.”
“Workshops and seminars are deteriorating, because more advisors are doing them and there has been some negative press about ‘free dinners’ and so forth. We’re all combating that image,” says Leonard Martin of Leonard Martin & Associates Inc. in Warwick, R.I. “I always invite my current clients to attend our seminars and bring their guests. I usually have five or six of my existing customers among 25 to 30 new attendees, and it’s a great way of establishing credibility because my clients can address concerns and speak to the issue of ‘Is he for real?’ from their own experience.”