Has anyone utilized a service like this to generate appointments?
Not exactly like this one, but yes I do use a lot of postcards. However, I don't think they're worth much unless followed up with a call and ask for the appt. I've sometimes not followed up, and can only remember once where someone called me about the card. Didn't end up a client either.
I'll be interested to hear some others experiences as well.
Has anyone ever tested with a mailer offering incentives to increase response rate? (i.e. set up an appointment and receive a free $10 dinner gift certificate, etc.) I've heard of it used in other industries and was curious if anyone had tested it for financial planning.
It may work, but you most likely will not attract the size of client you would want to have in your book for the long haul. If I got one in the mail I would question how credible the advisor was. Client/Prospect dinners have worked well for me. If you partner with a wholesaler, they typically will pick up the bill and the close rate is much higher with prospects that attend these events.
Sorry but I gotta believe only the worst of the worst would be interested in being bought for $10. JMO
In the beginning I sent out a massive number of cards and letters and without a follow up call, you'll get nothing.
Beagle makes a good point - incentivizing only increases free-loaders. You may be able to pull clients this way but probably not the clients you want in the long-run. What the hell would a HNW person want with a $10 gift card? Probably not much he/she could care about.
Postcards, like most media, require a repetitive process - multiple drops to the mailing list to build name recognition. Somewhere, some marketing professor shared a story or told us a story that it takes, on average, 21 encounters with marketing before you really start to click in a potential client's head without ever meeting the client in person.
Think about it this way:
$350 (price + shipping) / 5000 cards = $.07 per card
$.32 postage and handling (labels or ink for printing the labels)
$1950 per mail drop. This does not include your mailing list which, say you buy through infoUSA for ease of used which will cost another $550 or so for the initial purchase. (you can re-use the list over the course of 1 year. Yet each time you use the list, your bounce rate will increase as people move to new addresses. Remember, we're just at the first mail drop.
Postcardmania says, and I agree, that subsequent mailings should use a slightly varied pitch - whether it be content or design or color. So now you need to brace yourself for another ~$2000 punch in the nose on your second mail drop.
According to infoUSA, they sometimes see a bounce rate 4% in mailings due to the gaps between updating their records and consumer moves. You could break this up into chunks and do calls but the subtle reality is that it is expensive and requires a commitment. The not-so-subtle reality is that your chances of cold calling are probably about the same, just a hell of a lot less of a cash outlay.
Sumwatt, this would probably be the case if you were only relying on the direct mail, but not calling. I can't imagine (unless I was a huge RIA advertising for the entire firm) doing that many mail drops and seeing any type of return. Of course you would generate production, but it would be tough to make your money back.
But are there any restrictions on incentives offered that I'm unaware of? I'm not a FA at this point, just considering it amongst other options after getting laid off from another industry and trying to brainstorm ideas before diving in with both feet.
It seems as if you were trying to attract a HNW client, then you could tailor an incentive that might actually be attractive, because I agree a $10 dinner card would be a joke, but if you offered something that might actually have value, i.e. rounds of golf, etc. maybe that would drive traffic?
Just a thought, thanks for the guidance.
This is just off the top of my head, but in the book; The Millionaire Next Door, the authors said the way they got people to participate in the survey they sent to known millionaires was to enclose a shiny new $10 bill.
So, I wouldn't discount that approach entirely.......
HWN people get rich for a reason. They save money and go out of their way to get it. Not saying a $10 gift card is the answer ... but it's been my experince people who spend money could careless about this type of stuff and those who save it seek it out. Which is the better client?