One of the most exciting management tools has come of age, that of successfully marketing businesses through the $300 billion seminar industry. The seminar platform is a natural medium capable of reaching many prospects instead of one. The dynamics of group presentations is contagious and, if done properly, can influence the immediate purchase of products and/or services.
Marketing is an exact science but results vary widely depending on a number of factors. Here are some very basic steps to assist in putting a winning program together”
1. Know Your Business. Gather information pertinent to your endeavor; this should include books, newspaper/periodical articles, research information, and “did your know that” trivia. As a seminar leader, you have an obligation to your audience to be an information entrepreneur.
2. Scout Locations. It is vital to select the right location. You must narrow down a choice of cities where your product/services will be of interest. Hotels offer meeting rooms but they may prove costly and, by no means, are they the only choice. Adult learning centers, churches, chambers of commerce may be able to accommodate your group. Get creative! I conducted outstanding real estate seminars in an automobile dealership showroom; the facility was free of charge and the dealer welcomed the opportunity to participate.
3. Seek out other Seminar leaders to share costs. Join forces with two or three related businesses, which will broaden the appeal while sharing in the costs of promotion. For example, if you own a shoe store that specializes in running shoes, do a seminar on how to rung a marathon. Partners might be local fitness centers, running associations, private trainers, and companies selling nutritional supplements, even bottled water. This offers them an opportunity for exposure and minimized costs for all participants.
4. Design Promotional Data For Specific Audiences. After you selected the meeting date, a location and allied partners, combine brochures and mailers. By partnering, exposure to the community is dramatically increased, costs are reduced, and the seminar will appeal to more diverse groups.
5. Determine Time Frame for Each Module. It is important to allocate the amount of time and order of presentation for each discipline. Be sure to tie all modules together in a humorous manner. A little humor interspersed with facts can do wonders in marketing any product or services.
6. Practice…Practice…Practice. In the seminar industry, you can never be “too well prepared”. Good speakers are always in demand, especially speakers who are knowledgeable about matters of community interest. Approach local civic clubs about making a presentation to their group; not only will this allow you to practice, but will also bring you in contact with potential attendees to your seminar.
7. Target your market. Do your homework! Are there running courses or walking clubs in your area? Post fliers/brochures there, in local podiatrist offices and at the senior citizen centers. Marathons are a favorite of charitable groups raising money; go after the market. Call local newspapers and ask to include your upcoming event in the calendar section, a community service provided at no cost. Propose a feature story about a senior citizen who is sold on the multiple benefits of running. Be innovative in your efforts to create enthusiasm in the community.