I frequently receive invitations to educational seminars in my mailbox at home. I think seminars can still be valuable if they are positioned the right way. For example, hosting an “experience” for a group of clients and asking them to bring a guest can still be effective. But the traditional gathering of strangers in a room and serving a meal seminar? Typically all you will get is people interested in a free meal! It's a waste of time and money, in my opinion. Also, don't wait for your phone to ring or email inquiries to follow because they won't.
I've spoken about these “Old School” marketing techniques on the Wired Advisor e-Marketing Blog, and I think this one is worth repeating here. I had received a seminar invite in the mail, and clearly it was more of a mass mailing than a personal invitation. Spending 15 years as a financial advisor with a couple of the more traditional wire house firms, I've done my fair share of cold calling and seminar marketing, so it did not surprise me that the invite was from none other than a financial advisor. He was also working for one of the traditional wire house firms.
The Worst Seminar Invitation in History
I opened the invitation from the financial advisor. Rather than this being the typical invitation to come to a group dinner with strangers and hear about where the economy is headed, it was quite different.
This invitation was inviting me to a free, no obligation one-on-one private dinner meeting to talk about my retirement goals!!!
Ok so what is wrong with this picture????
I don't know, let's see, perhaps a blind date with a financial advisor to discuss my personal financial life with someone I've never met? Seriously? This is the epitome of narcissism, to believe that a complete stranger would: A) want to meet you for dinner and B) want to also discuss private financial matters with a stranger. WOW! Is this what seminar marketing has evolved to I wondered?
The invitation went on to discuss how this particular advisor could help me plan and manage my retirement and how this was an opportunity for me to get to know him. Narcissism at it's finest! Oh, but there was one catch…I had to pre-qualify! I would be ineligible for this opportunity if I did not have $500,000 or more to invest! Also, the advisor explained that he was very busy and could only see a certain number of people each month.
I think I can safely say that this campaign brought zero results to this advisor, and resulted in wasted time and money. These are the things that keep me confident that many professionals could use some help in navigating from BAD old school marketing to new school, inbound marketing strategies for a wired world!
Blogging is the New Educational Marketing
If you want to build authentic relationships in your niche markets in today's world, you must have an inbound marketing strategy which can draw prospective clients and referral sources to you. Blogging can help you build your digital identity. Simply put, blogging is educational marketing. You can build authority by becoming a subject matter expert, and you can build influence through community and reach. Your potential clients can get to know, like, and trust you before you ever meet them face to face.
Interesting in hosting an educational seminar dinner? First, build a local following through your blog and then host an event! You'll have much better results.
I hope that even if you don't build a professional blog to showcase your thought leadership that you will, at the very least, learn from this article what NOT to do with regard to your marketing. Let this be a lesson that you don't forget, outbound marketing is OUT!