Have you ever organized a public seminar or event?
It’s not easy. Let’s assume you have a great full-day seminar that’s ready to go.
You’ll still need equipment, a venue and some savvy marketing strategies to fill your room and make you a bit of money.
Equipment is easy to rent if you don’t have it. And finding a hotel with a conference room – that will keep the coffee flowing and provide some snacks – shouldn’t be too much trouble.
It’s the marketing that will make or break you.
Over the years I’ve been involved with organizing a few marketing campaigns for one and two day seminars.
Here is a quick cheat sheet for professional speakers who want to try this out, but don’t know where to start.
The first question to ask yourself is how big is your list? Do you have 500 people? 1000? 10,000?
If you’re like most speakers your list is probably made up of connections from all over the world. And even if it’s 100% local, you shouldn’t count on a lot of those people attending. Cost, scheduling and a host of other factors will keep most folks from signing up right away.
So what you should do is think about moving beyond your list, by using some social media and interactive marketing to reach out to a wider audience.
Set Up a Few Free Webinars
Start with a series of free one hour webinars. Send out emails to your list encouraging folks to participate in discussions that are timely, and not coincidentally, happen to relate to what you will be be addressing in your live seminar.
The great thing is you don’t even have to be there in person! You can pre-record these webinars so you don’t have to turn down real speaking engagements. Click here to learn more about automating your webinars.
At the end of each webinar, talk up the upcoming seminar, while pitching the next webinar.
Also, encourage folks to tell friends and colleagues. If your webinars are any good, you should see attendance increase.
After each webinar, send out a follow-up email where folks can get the slides by signing up for your email list. This is important because you are now growing your list.
And don’t forget to offer group pricing and early bird discounts.
This is something professional speakers don’t do enough. Create a series of short videos to go out to your list once a month. Relate the topics of your videos back to your upcoming seminar. They don’t have to be long. In fact they should be really short – no longer than 3-5 minutes.
Again at the end of each video, have the date and venue of the upcoming seminar.
Dedicated Seminar Website
Creating a simple WordPress site for your event is a great way to market it – without destroying the brand of your main site. If you’re a professional speaker who works large conferences with audiences made up of middle to senior level management, the last thing you want to do is dilute your main website’s message with single event taking place at the local Holiday Inn.
The website should have all the videos and information about the event, along with ways to register. It should also be fully integrated into Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter for folks to “share” it.
A blog that’s updated weekly about the topic and the event is also a great idea. Remember, this is a marketing site – not your main showcase – so there is no shame in promoting at every turn.
Social Media for Seminars
Create a Facebook Fan Page and make sure your blog is set to automatically update Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Yes, it’s that simple.
Email Marketing for Speakers
This used to be the most important way to reach contacts. But with so much crap showing up in all our inboxes everyday, marketing emails are just as likely to be deleted as read.
But some of them will be read.
Start your campaign months in advance with clear pricing and an early bird discount. Encourage folks to spread the word and join you on Twitter and the Facebook Fan Page. Send it out monthly, then bi-monthly, weekly, and then a few days before the event for last minute attendees.
These are just a few tips. If you are interested in doing your own seminar and want to set some of this up, just let us know.