Fill Your Seminars with These 12 Tips
Holding seminars is one of the most effective ways to attract high end clients to your business. Letting your audience spend spend several hours with you in a face-to-face, in person, teaching capacity is the fastest way to build the know-like-trust factor.
The problem is, most business owners and firms just don’t know how to fill live seminars and so, end up missing out on the opportunity to get in front of your most engaged type of prospect.
When I started out as a business coach live seminars was the core method I used to fill my practice with high end clients. In this blog I share tips from myself along with 11 other seminar marketing experts to help you plan a successful live seminar event.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #1. Filling Your Workshop Room Starts With A Great Event Name
Daphne Bousquet says “Your title should contain the promise of a BIG BENEFIT. If your event name is “blah”, your audience will assume that your content is “blah” too. Nobody wants to go to a boring event. Make sure you spice up your event name with a big benefit.”
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #2. Promote A Seminar Series
When I started seminar marketing I found out a lot of people wanted to come to my event, but couldn’t make the date, so then I decided to promote a seminar series.
I didn’t offer the same seminar on 3 dates. Instead, I offered a different piece of the same theme. By doing that I was able to get traction from people who registered for all 3 events up front.
Many ended up bringing friends and colleagues to the second and third leg of the seminar series. Plus, having 3 different seminar titles made it much easier for me to have a good reason to keep inviting the same people to a different seminar title, but same core topic.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #3. Create a Great Agenda
Rob Hard from Business Travel advises that once hosts understand that people enjoy attending events, it is important to create a program that is worth attending. The agenda should be focused on a single theme as to not overwhelm attendees, but should have enough variety to maintain attendees’ interest.
For example, the following sample half day seminar schedule considers the meeting attendees’ needs from food to breaks to presentations:
8:00 a.m. Arrivals and Breakfast
8:45 a.m. Welcome Message
9:00 a.m. Keynote Speaker
10:00 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. Panel Discussion
11:30 a.m. Closing Remarks
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #4. Choose Your Target Group
Camilla Heidenreich Bommen advises to make sure you invite the right customers when it comes to geography, type, size etc.
Camilla says, “We are privileged as we have a good CRM solution in place, making it easy for ourselves to create dynamic selections that’s always up to date. In short; we define the criteria once, and can reuse or change at will.”
In our CRM solution we can target all the people on our list whose role is in Sales and Marketing and invite just those people to our sales and marketing seminars.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #5. Set a Registration Goal
Lindsay Kolowich said having a goal will inspire you to hit it, and help you measure success. In order for us to break the Guinness World Record for webinar attendees, for example, we knew we had to hit almost 50,000 registrants.
You should track performance on at least a weekly basis to see whether your marketing efforts are moving the needle. That way, if you need to dial up your promotion due to low initial registration numbers, you’ll know what to do to fix it.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #6. Offer Incentives for Early Registrations or Arrivals
Early-bird discounts are a must for priming early registrations for many business-related events says Jeff Kear.
But also consider giving away books, discount coupons or other value-adds to people who sign up early. And extend your early-bird registration at the last minute to give bargain-hunters a second chance.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #7. Call Prospects and Current Clients
Yes, pick up the phone and call prospects and current clients to let them know what you have coming up. Creating a real connection will improve the chances that they actually show up says The Wellness Business Hub.
Emails are great but being able to chat with someone and concisely explain the reason WHY they should attend is a sure fire way to get them to commit. Talking on the phone also opens up the lines of communication and quickly builds trust.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #8. Marketing Partners
Marketing partners are an often overlooked source for boosting event attendance says Mike Schultz and John Doerr. You can, for example, partner with two other firms and pool your resources and mailing lists to increase response and then deliver together. Besides having extra names to market to, your event will have a multi-faceted presenter list which can often increase attendance in and of itself.
You can also co-market the event with a trade association, get the event notice listed in your partner’s e-newsletters, work with a college or university to sponsor the event, or any number of other partner strategies. For example, a network security service firm we know partnered with the FBI to run their seminar on the new security issues facing firms. The event pulled better than anything they had ever done before.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #9. Presenter Bios
Don Cooper of The Sales Heretic says biographical information establishes the credibility of the speakers. Potential attendees don’t really care about a speaker’s bio, but ironically, if it’s not included, they’ll wonder who the heck this person is.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #10. Promise to Solve a Problem for Them.
According to Justin Roff-Marsh, Founder of Ballistix, when it comes to structuring your content, you can’t go too far wrong with the old maxim: tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em; tell ’em; then tell ’em what you’ve told ’em!
Unless you’re a natural comic, I suggest you skip the ubiquitous joke and begin with a promise. Fact is, the best way to get your audience’s attention is to promise to solve a problem for them. (i.e. tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em.)
Once you’ve made this commitment, it’s simply a matter of showing them how they can solve this problem — preferably using the model we discussed earlier. (i.e. tell ’em.) Once you’ve fulfilled your obligation (and exceeded your audience’s expectations) simply summarize your key points and conclude by reminding them that the problem they came with no longer exists! (i.e. tell ’em what you told ’em.)
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #11. Harness the Power of Visuals
Plum Direct Marketing says continuing with the effectiveness of videos to showcase speakers, videos can also be used to market other aspects of your seminar. Videos are easily shareable and rank highly in Internet searches. They are a cost-efficient way to grow anticipation and buzz leading up to an event.
A highlight reel from prior seminars is simple and easy to put together. Seminar registration will surely increase when a video that is pleasing to both the eyes and ears is released to your seminar Facebook and Twitter pages. It creates a rare opportunity to communicate the energy of a live seminar.
Fill Your Live Seminars Tip #12. Follow up, Follow up, Follow up
The money is in the follow up says Daphne Bousquet in her article Improve Your Seminar Attendance With These 6 Simple Tips. Seriously.
It’s important to follow up. According to McGraw Hill, 80% of the sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact, yet only 10% of the people make 3 contacts or more.
You have to keep getting your workshop out in front of your prospective attendee. Did you tell your potential audience about your event more than 5 times? More than 10? That doesn’t mean to barrage them with spammy emails. Mix it up.
In closing, I’d love to hear what you thought of these twelve tips on filling your live seminar. Do you have a great strategy to share that helped you fill your seminars? Share your questions and comments below.