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Pro Tips for Using Client Education to Boost Financial Planning

Erin Voisin January 31, 2023

Retiree attending an online webinar

A few years ago, I had a eureka moment that changed the way our firm approached client education.

When we first started offering client webinars, we traveled to our regional offices to conduct events that were focused on market outlook. When the pandemic hit, we continued to offer these events, but they became quarterly webinars.

The subject matter at the time was focused on investment and economic updates. But my thinking changed when I realized that as a planning-led firm, we should be providing more to our clients than market updates—we were missing a big opportunity.

That’s when we made the switch to begin talking to clients about the topics that matter to them.

Launching a Client Education Series

Now that we’ve been doing this for a few years, our process has become a well-oiled machine. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t still learning and implementing new ideas to raise the bar.

Overall Process

Conducting a dedicated program is a commitment and it requires the resources to keep it fresh and relevant. Developing topics, engaging speakers, and creating presentation content are all time-consuming and require careful advanced planning. We pre-determine the entire year of topics, dates, and speakers and announce the schedule to clients, so they know what’s coming—that’s six sessions per year, held every other month.

To get the word out, approximately two to three weeks ahead of each webinar, we create a landing page for capturing responses and email an invitation. We also send a follow-up reminder prior to each event.

Determining the Topics

Our move to a dedicated client education program began with a focus on very general topics to try to satisfy our entire client base. After that first year, we went a little more niche and focused on different types of clients. We just completed our third year of the program, and it was a mix of both general and niche subjects.

Be strategic with topics and their timing to drive client participation and feedback. For example, when we did a webinar about planning for college, it was right before the FAFSA® deadline. Our session on Medicare took place just ahead of open enrollment.

We also follow a cadence that helps us plan our schedule. We start the year with a session focused on budgeting and typically end the year with a webinar related to tax and charitable planning.

Topic determination can be driven in a number of ways—current events, client demographics, advisor suggestions, client requests, client surveys—the sky’s the limit when it comes to subject inspiration.

We change things up each year to keep it fresh, but as we’re always adding new clients and acquiring new firms, some haven’t heard the content we shared previously. If we recycle a topic, we look for new angles to include.

Don’t be afraid to engage third-party speakers. We have a lot of financial experts in our firm, but that doesn’t mean that we know it all! When we have a subject that warrants a higher level of expertise, we don’t hesitate to bring in an expert to ensure our clients are getting the best possible education.

Technology and Logistics

When it comes to the technology of webinars, we’ve all become savvier over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean clients don’t need help navigating the webinar platform. My recommendation is to conduct internal tech run-throughs with the presenters and support staff to ensure everything is set up properly from the start and that everyone understands their role. Be prepared for instances where clients might need additional support at the time of the event.

Our webinars are conducted live and are scheduled for an hour—45 minutes for the presentation and 15 minutes to answer questions at the end. The sessions are generally conducted by two to three speakers from our team with others on hand to help field questions as they come into the platform throughout the event.

Embrace Flexibility

Our client education program not only differentiates our firm but also serves as a tool for client retention and prospecting. Clients are invited to the event via email, and we encourage them to share the invitation with friends and family who may benefit from attendance. This has been one of the best outcomes of holding these events virtually—not only are they less expensive and more convenient to conduct, but there are no limits on attendance.

Flexibility also extends to our openness to feedback. We want to hear from clients that they found value in attending, but we also want to know where we may have missed the mark so we can improve in the future. This avenue for ongoing dialogue with clients offers a further means of strengthening client relationships.

Measures of Success

The way we determine the success of a webinar is simple—did clients attend and did they provide positive feedback? The volume of registrations and attendance levels have been the best measures of determining if a topic was on point or if it fell flat.

We view our webinars as a value add for clients that allow us to create a differentiated experience, setting our firm apart in an industry that is becoming more and more competitive.

Taking It to the Next Level

I’m pleased to see how our client education efforts have evolved over the years and I’m excited to continue elevating the experience. As our company has grown, so has our support team. We now have a marketing director who is responsible for creating new content that will deepen the webinar experience by offering additional assets like blog articles and white papers to supplement our presentations.

We engage with our clients every day on what matters to them. Our webinar series provides an additional means to remind our non-planning clients that planning is a core part of the service we provide. Nothing is more satisfying than having one of these clients reach out to see how they can help secure their future by taking their financial planning journey to the next level.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

The views and opinions expressed by this blog post guest are solely those of the guest and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of eMoney Advisor, LLC. eMoney Advisor is not responsible for the content, views or opinions presented by our guest, nor may eMoney Advisor be held liable for any actions taken by you based on the content, views or opinions of the guest.

About the Author

Erin Durkin Voisin has worked in the financial services industry since 2005. Prior to joining EP Wealth Advisors, Erin worked for Westmount Asset Management as their Director of Financial Planning. She concentrated on developing comprehensive financial planning solutions for their affluent client base. Prior to Westmount, Erin worked for MetLife in San Diego as well as MetLife of Southern California. She served as the Lead Financial Planning Specialist for the firm’s Case Design Unit where she was responsible for working with over 120 financial advisors in creating in customized comprehensive financial plans for their clients. Erin earned her BS from the University of San Diego, majoring in Business Administration and Psychology. She also holds a Masters degree in Accounting. She is currently a CFP® certificant and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. Erin recently completed the Enrolled Agent Designation. Erin participates annually in FPA’s Pro Bono Financial Planning Days, is FPA Pro Bono for Cancer volunteer, co-chairs EP Wealth’s Financial Literacy committee and outreach, and has been a founding member and the current Chairwoman of EP Wealth Advisor’s Investing in Women initiative. Erin also co-chairs the firms Internship and Externship program. In her spare time, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, paddleboarding, cooking, and enjoying life at the beach!

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Welcome to
Heart of Advice

a new source of expert insights for
financial professionals.

Get Started

Tips specific to the eMoney platform can be found in
the eMoney
application, under Help, eMoney Advisor Blog.