Twenty years ago, when Mr. and Mrs. Smith wanted some help with retirement planning, they might have opted to attend a seminar given by a local financial professional. Now, they go online.

Spectrem Group, which tracks the behavior of the affluent, found that nearly one-third of ultra-high-net-worth investors say they either read or would read blogs by trusted financial advisors. Nearly 50% of these investors are also using Facebook.

So if you are still sending out direct mail pieces and trying to fill the banquet room at a local restaurant, you may find that your expenses are up and your attendance is down. Mr. and Mrs. Smith are less inclined to leave home to get information on retirement planning.

In addition, the rise of mobile devices has created one of the largest shifts in consumer behavior in the last 40 years. The 2012 Mendelsohn Affluent Survey reports that more than half of all "American affluents" currently own a smartphone. And 25% now own a tablet, double the amount in 2011. People expect to have information right at their fingertips.

However, with all the changes in our consumer culture, two facts still remain the same: First, Mr. and Mrs. Smith still need help with retirement planning. And second, an organized, visually appealing and graphically clear seminar is still one of the best ways to communicate information and lead toward a course of action.

So how do you give seminars in this brave new world? The answer is to stop thinking "seminar" and think "presentation." By presentation I mean short, concise, graphically rich treatments of the critical subjects in your field: retirement planning, investment strategies, estate management, etc. If the presentation includes some video, all the better. And it must be mobile. So here are three ways to get your seminars out of mothballs and into the new digital age.

1. Go completely mobile.

Load your presentations on your smartphone and on your tablet. Use whatever apps you need to make videos readily accessible and for your graphics to play smoothly.

2. Learn to be a "tablet talker."

In your office, in a restaurant, in casual one-on-one settings, take out your phone or tablet and use your downloaded presentation tools to illustrate concepts. Make it your new "yellow pad." This will build credibility and trust with prospects and clients.

3. Preview coming attractions.

Use your phone or tablet to preview your presentation to the head of the local rotary or business club. Show your presentations to CPA's, estate attorneys and other professionals to create co-sponsored opportunities. Great presentations translate easily to a larger venue, and having them at hand will help you create opportunities to present in group settings.

Seminar marketing has changed, and savvy professionals are changing with it. As you make the effort to take your presentations mobile and use them in your day-to-day interactions, you'll see results in increased business.


Craig Faulkner is CEO of FMG Suite, a company dedicated to creating digital marketing tools for today's financial professional. You can also follow him @fmgsuite on Twitter.


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