After years of promoting my own workshops and seminars, and facilitating and crewing for some very large seminars I can tell you I have learned a lot behind the scenes. Crewing for some of these big name speaker who can have over 2000 fully filled seats at their events, I know just what formula the Superstar speakers use.
Today in this post I will identify 9 things that you absolutely must have in place to properly promote your events:
- A multi-channel marketing and promotion plan that spells out what you need to do each day and week in the lead up to the day of your seminar. If you don’t have this in place, you know what happens? You make it up as you go along. Then you get busy with life, developing your content, or a million other things … and all of sudden it’s been 3 weeks since you last sent out a promo. Or you rush to toss something together … and your mediocre effort produces mediocre results. Developing a plan increases the likelihood that you’ll contact prospects frequently enough about your event and develop a solid message that you can carry through from piece to piece. Having a written plan means you can delegate implementation of the plan to someone else! Your plan must include as many different option for promotion as you can use, integrate your approach for a smoother flow of information and designed to increase the anticipation right up until the close of ticket sales to gather those last minute signups.
- A piece of copywritten marketing content that can be used in full or piecemeal to promote your seminar — such as a salesletter, copy for your direct-response web site, or even a brochure. Developing one piece that contains EVERY detail needed to sell your event is a great idea for a few reasons. First, it’s like having a salesperson on your staff that you can refer prospects to 24/7. When prospects have everything they need to make a buying decision, they won’t put off registration until they’re able to get more information from you. Plus, developing this comprehensive piece makes it easier to create supplementary marketing materials. All you have to do is lift chunks of copy from your salesletter and then polish the transitions.
- One or more follow-up marketing tools to continue promoting your seminar. You’ll see the best results from your marketing if you notify prospects about your event more than once. The easiest way to follow-up is to simply re-mail the first promotional piece (e.g., a brochure). But modifying your copy and/or type of follow-up piece can produce big bumps in your response rates. For example, after sending a salesletter, send a postcard that warns of an impending registration deadline.
- A plan for building your database of qualified prospects. When marketing a seminar, the people in your database are your very best prospects, because they already know you. Building your list is almost as important as marketing your seminar … and this activity deserves its own plan.
- At least one marketing piece designed to build your opt-in list. Most people invite website visitors to join their mailing list. If you want to maximize the growth of your database, you should also actively market the opportunity.
- A system for capturing and keeping seminar registrations to prevent last-minute cancellations. After registering for a seminar, many people are hit with a case of buyer’s regret. If you’re not staying in touch with registrants after they sign up, they might see red flags warning them to stay away from your event. At the very least, be sure to confirm registration within 2 business days … immediately if possible.
- A plan to track and record responses , so that you can gather the data you need to make educated decisions about your marketing for future seminars. Most new promoters have questions like “How can I tell if I’ll get enough participants to run my seminar?” “Will all this work really be worth the effort?” “How often to I need to email and use social media to promote my event to make sure I fill all the seats?” Although there are general rules of event marketing that you can follow when getting started … you will need to discover what works for YOUR audience and YOUR seminar specifically. Tracking results is how you gather the data you need to answer these questions.
- A plan for capturing testimonials and valuable feedback from seminar attendees. Testimonials are one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal. But if you don’t have a plan in place before your seminar, chances are good that you won’t capture as many testimonials as you could if you were prepared … and the ones you do get will be bland. The best testimonials are gathered during the last few hours of the seminar either at the last lunch, afternoon tea or directly at the end of the event. Video testimonials are far more engaging and believable and capture the excitement of the attendees in ways written testimonials cannot.
- A plan for staying in touch with prospects and past attendees throughout the year. Getting someone on your list isn’t enough. You have to keep your name and expertise in front of your growing list if you want to remain relevant … and if you want to increase the likelihood that people on your list will want to attend your future events. Just like with your list building and seminar marketing activities, having a written plan makes you more accountable — and enables you to outsource this portion of your marketing.