Your have two seconds with your seminar title to either gain or lose an attendee (and a potential new clients). If each client is worth $5,000 to you, your title could easily be worth $50,000. So would it be worth hiring a copywriter to do this correctly?
You can use words to move mountains, but few financial advisors do. They forget that there are people, professional copywriters, some paid millions of dollars a year, for the words they put in ads that lead people to take action resulting in billions of dollars in sales.
Here are a few tips to writing a great seminar title:
Make sure you know what concerns your audience.
If you don’t know, you’ll need to take a survey or ask them. Don’t assume. For example, most advisors tell me that seniors are most worried about running out of money. But if you actually get the data and don’t assume, you’ll find their greatest fear is making irreversible financial mistakes (which may cause them to run out of money in the future). This may seem like a small difference, but it’s not. Which of these two seminar titles will get a bigger crowd of retirees:
- Six Irreversible Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Retirementor
- How to Avoid Running out of Money
I am certain that the first seminar title will get twice as much response.
For years in the late 80s and well into the 90s I did a seminar called “Six Ways to Maximize Retirement Income.” Attendance was good and I raised on average, $1 million per seminar. The attendance started to drop and did not recover. Some hard looking resulting in these two realizations:
- Retirees (by 1997) had become more fascinated with returns in the stock market and were less income-focused
- Interest rates had been declining for 15 years, and that had become accustomed to low rates
So I changed the seminar title and bullet points to reflect the altered interest amongst my target market. My attendance increased and business returned to normal.
The seminar title is the most important thing because they’re going to read the seminar title and then they’re going to either decide to read the rest of the invitation or throw it away.
Now here’s some examples of bad seminar titles and good seminar titles. A bad seminar title will be non-emotional. A good seminar title will be emotional. So here’s a bad seminar title if you were advertising for long-term care. A bad seminar title would be:
‘43% of people over age 65 will need long-term care’.
It’s a really, really terrible seminar title. It’s the kind of seminar title that you see big insurance companies use and the reason it’s bad is because it’s totally logical. It appeals to the left brain. Any time you see a seminar title with a number in it:”43% of people over age 60,” it’s appealing to the logical side of the brain which is not the emotional side and it’s not engaging the person in the way that they’re going to act. A better seminar title;
‘Mrs. Smith can’t buy grandson Johnny a birthday present. Could it happen to you?’
First of all, it says she couldn’t buy her grandson, which means she must be a grandparent. The ad, the inference is that it’s speaking to grandparents first, so anybody who reads that who’s a grandparent is going to identify right away and then it’s going to say, ‘she can’t buy grandson, but could it happen to you?’ Right at that moment there’s one of two emotions that get triggered in somebody who’s a grandparent—fear or curiosity. You know “could what happen to me?” or “what happened to her?” And they want to read the rest of it, so we don’t really care what emotion it is that we trigger, it’s just that an emotion will get people engaged to read the rest of the ad so that’s really the important issue.
The seminar title needs to attract and capture the right readers.
Therefore, your seminar title should not only engage people emotionally, but it should target the audience so that people who are qualified will continue to read it and people who aren’t qualified won’t. Let me give you a quick example. If you wrote an ad that said:
“Mercedes Benz Owners Read This:”
You clearly want Mercedes Benz owners to read the ad, and if they own a Ford, you don’t want them to read the ad. So a good seminar title will also identify who the attendee should be. Of course, since you’ll be mailing to a very targeted list, the recipients will read the seminar title and immediately identify.
Other seminar title rules
You’re going to always speak directly to a targeted audience. The faster you can use the word ‘you’ in your seminar invitation, the better off you are.
Secondly, present tense. Whenever you structure anything in future tense you are going to lose reaction.
Seminar titles must leave the reader with a question that they must answer by reading the remainder of the invitation so you got to leave them hanging—that’s the job of the seminar title. People either have to have an emotional reaction that they need to satisfy or a question in their mind or a curiosity.
Make your seminar titles crystal clear. You can’t get clever in a seminar title or do a play on words or get cutesy. Always assume, that your reader never got past the sixth grade. So don’t use anything that refers to a Shakespeare play or anything that makes reference to a Van Gogh painting. Anything that happened on The Simpsons is safe.
There’s also Voyeur Appeal—another good strategy for a seminar title. Soap operas appeal or satisfy America’s Voyeur Appeal. Americans desire to spy on somebody else’s life. We love to do that, it’s just built into our culture. So a seminar title that appeals to that voyeur appeal works very well.
‘Mrs. Johnson can’t buy grandson Johnny a birthday present, could this happen to you?’
The reader wants to find out what happened to Mrs. Johnson. So any type of voyeur appeal works really well because Americans are just addicted to satisfying that need to butting into somebody else’s business. A seminar title that begins to tell a story about somebody works well.