HOW TO
SUCCESSFULLY
MARKET
SEMINARS
AND
WORKSHOPS
A practical guide
for creating
effective
seminar-marketing
plans and
pow...
How to Successfully Market Seminars
and Workshops:
A Practical Guide for Creating
Effective Seminar Marketing Plans and
Po...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops: A Practical
Guide for Creating Effective Seminar Mark...
CHAPTER 3: Building Your Budget ...........................................3-1
The Types of Costs You’ll Incur...............
CHAPTER 5: Telling Attendees What They’ll Learn .................5-1
Setting the Stage with Background Information ..........
SECTION III: CREATING YOUR MARKETING PIECE
CHAPTER 8: Copywriting Myths and Rules for Success ...........8-1
The Differenc...
CHAPTER 11: Marketing Doesn’t Stop with Registration..........11-1
Heading Off Buyers Remorse While Pumping Up Enthusiasm ...
You’ve picked up the right book. As a seminar marketer
for the last 20 years or so, I should know. I’ve written the
other ...
In the very next chapter, Jenny gives you a long list of
things to do to increase the perceived value at your events.
Make...
How to Successfully Market Seminars
and Workshops:
A practical guide for creating effective seminar
marketing plans and po...
You’ll learn how to research your audience … how to
build a realistic budget … how to choose your marketing
media … and ho...
HOW TO
SUCCESSFULLY
MARKET
SEMINARS
AND
WORKSHOPS
Section I:
Planning
CHAPTER 1:
Research … the Most Important Step
You’ve reserved a room at a local hotel. You’ve
picked your topic. You know,...
where to spend your limited resources becomes much
easier when you know who you’re looking for.
Research your prospects’ d...
During this second phase, consider the questions
your prospects will have at each stage of their
conversation with you. Th...
to know what your prospects are reading and the
associations they belong to.) Skim through these
publications to get a sen...
I What about the marketing materials appealed
to you? What specifically was said that
convinced you to register?
I What we...
particular registration came from, you printed the
registration form with a unique tracking code.
To choose mailing lists ...
List B produced no registrations and, therefore,
no product sales or consulting work.
Registration: $0
Product sales: $0
C...
Now imagine what would have happened if you
didn’t code your registration forms at all. You would
have been operating comp...
CHAPTER 2:
Designing an Optimal Marketing Strategy …
for Minimal Cost
Once you know who you’re targeting and what
you’re o...
Cover letters. Seminars are one of the few things
that sell well with a self-mailer brochure. However,
you may want to tes...
Seminar marketers have been reducing their use
of direct mail in recent years for a few reasons. The
most dramatic reason ...
Depending on the diversity of your audiences and
their challenges, needs and wants, you may want to
create separate sales ...
Telemarketing. Working the phones may not be a
job that you relish. It will cost you time, and
depending on your phone ser...
fusion marketing. The distinction between these
different terms is blurring, but there are subtle
differences.
Joint ventu...
mine” setup. You give something of value to your
fusion marketing partner to offer to his or her list.
This helps position...
on the Internet – for example, web site designers –
it’s logical to assume that they will use the Internet
to locate your ...
again the prospect you’re after. Are they readers? Do
they handle mail on a regular basis? Do they have
“gatekeepers” who ...
affordable; that’s not to say it is completely cost-free,
however. Depending on your skills, you may need to
hire a copywr...
Making the Process Feasible and Affordable
Obviously, the more times you contact your
target audience, the more time and m...
I By interest. Send your seminar promotions to
people who have expressed an interest in the
topic by calling you for infor...
I By job title. Your event might be geared to
people of different levels of experience and/or
responsibility. For example,...
advertisement, commercial or some other offer.
(“Aha!” you might be thinking. “That’s why
manufacturers ask all those sill...
$100 to $120 base price
$10 to $60 per select; a “select” is anything
you use to segment the database,
such as zip code, j...
Here is how the costs might break down:
Basic list price:.......................$100/K or $500
Zip code select:..............
II Age
II Where they live
II Income
II Gender
II Level of education
II Job title or level
II The industry they work in/SIC...
If you are just getting started in the seminar-
marketing business, strongly consider renting
multiple lists and testing a...
TIP: As Don Schrello explains in How to Market
Training & Information, you will need to take care
to ensure that your test...
each day. It could take several touches before a
prospect even notices your promotion, much less
feels compelled to act.
U...
could dramatically increase the likelihood of your
generating a profit on the event.
But let’s get realistic. Even though ...
mixups, delays and snafus. Here are the timelines I
like to work with:
National or international events: mail your
brochur...
shorter time frame.
Finally, don’t forget about hotel-related deadlines.
If you need to make a go/no go decision by a cert...
CHAPTER 3:
Building Your Budget
Your ability to turn your seminars into a
profitable venture vs. a money-sucking loser dep...
Your time is valuable. There is only one you, so
you need to ensure that you’re spending your time
where it will generate ...
Advertising. Advertising can be expensive, at least
when you’re calculating the direct expense. (To make
yourself feel bet...
Keep in mind that these are just the direct
expenses you’ll incur when marketing your event. To
determine your break-even ...
Many of these factors are outside of your control.
Obviously, you’ll do what you can to accommodate
them, such as offering...
I’ll be the first to admit that your copy can flat
out suck and still produce results – IF you have a
valuable offer and y...
As your experience with seminars grows, you
will be better able to predict attendance and when
you’ll reach the break-even...
to proceed with the event. Once you send out your
marketing materials, the money is gone.
Instead, use your promotional ex...
when marketing seminars – and one of the few
instances where a self-mailer consistently pulls better
results than a mailin...
For example, it’s very common to say, “My ideal
prospect is anyone who ….” Anyone who owns a
business. Anyone who writes f...
Another clever, and currently popular, way to
save on marketing costs is to get other people to
spread the word for you. F...
HOW TO
SUCCESSFULLY
MARKET
SEMINARS
AND
WORKSHOPS
Section II:
Key
Elements
of
Successful
Seminar
Promotions
CHAPTER 4:
The basic information that your promotion
must provide … but that many
marketers forget!
Your seminar’s title i...
Going hand in hand with the title in terms of
importance in grabbing eyeballs and building appeal
is the headline for your...
Here are a few examples of how all of these
elements can fit together:
Version 1:
Version 2:
How to Successfully Market Se...
Customizing Your Message for Different Audiences
If you have two or more distinct audiences that
you want to target in you...
Identifying the Most Important Benefits
Your Seminar Offers
To get prospects to sign up for your event, your
marketing mat...
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SEMINAR MKT

  1. 1. HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MARKET SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS A practical guide for creating effective seminar-marketing plans and powerful promotional materials Jenny L. Hamby
  2. 2. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops: A Practical Guide for Creating Effective Seminar Marketing Plans and Powerful Promotional Materials I I I Copyright © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book shall be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without written permission from the publisher. No patent liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. Although every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and authors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. International Standard Book Numbers: 0-9747169-0-1 Printed in the United States of America. First printing: October 2003 Design by Bohringer Creative, Inc., www.AdRepairman.com Proofreading by Jane Stiedemann © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc.
  3. 3. TABLE OF CONTENTS How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops: A Practical Guide for Creating Effective Seminar Marketing Plans and Powerful Promotional Materials PREFACE by Fred Gleeck...............................................................8 INTRODUCTION............................................................................10 SECTION l: PLANNING CHAPTER 1: Research … the Most Important Step ..................1-1 Three Critical Things to Research.............................................................1-1 Obtaining Information About Your Audience ...........................................1-3 Questions to Ask Your Present Customers and New Prospects..............1-4 The Challenge of Marketing a Brand-New Seminarz ...............................1-5 CHAPTER 2: Designing an Optimal Marketing Strategy … for Minimal Cost........................................................................2-1 A Menu of Promotional Options ..............................................................2-1 Getting Other People to Market Your Seminar – for Free.......................2-5 Choosing the Right Mix of Media ..........................................................2-7 Variety, the Spice of Life … and a Key to Successful Seminar Marketing ...............................................................2-10 Making the Process Feasible and Affordable .........................................2-11 Your House List … The Best Source of Prospects..................................2-11 Renting Outside Mailing Lists................................................................2-13 How Often Should You Contact Prospects? ...........................................2-19 Timing Your Marketing Efforts for Maximum Response.........................2-21 When You Should Send Your Direct-Mail Pieces...................................2-23 How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3
  4. 4. CHAPTER 3: Building Your Budget ...........................................3-1 The Types of Costs You’ll Incur................................................................3-1 Important Numbers to Know and Watch.................................................3-4 Typical Response Rates ...........................................................................3-6 Calculating Break Even ............................................................................3-7 Marketing on a Tight Budget...................................................................3-8 SECTION II: KEY ELEMENTS OF SUCCESSFUL SEMINAR PROMOTIONS CHAPTER 4: The Basic Information That Your Promotion Must Provide … But that Many Marketers Forget! ..............................................4-1 Customizing Your Message for Different Audiences ...............................4-4 Identifying the Most Important Benefits Your Seminar Offers................4-5 Presenting Benefits for Best Effect..........................................................4-7 Identifying Who Should Attend ...............................................................4-8 Naming Your Price Without Causing Sticker Shock.................................4-9 What to Include in Your Registration Fee ..............................................4-11 Adding Value to Your Event ...................................................................4-12 Using Discounts to Increase Attendance ...............................................4-14 Types of Payment to Accept ..................................................................4-16 How Many Registration Options Do You Need?.....................................4-19 Whether Your Should Guarantee Satisfaction........................................4-21 Getting Prospects Off Their Duffs So They Finally Register..................4-25 The Nitty-Gritty Details ..........................................................................4-27 Making Travel Arrangements..................................................................4-29 “Official” Language to Include ..............................................................4-30 Getting In Touch With You.....................................................................4-30 How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 4
  5. 5. CHAPTER 5: Telling Attendees What They’ll Learn .................5-1 Setting the Stage with Background Information .....................................5-1 Presenting the Content for Best Effect....................................................5-2 Heading Off Refund Requests and Building Value..................................5-4 How Much Content to Include.................................................................5-7 Writing Compelling Descriptions of Your Seminar Content.....................5-8 Other Ways to Tell Prospects What They’ll Learn..................................5-10 Addressing Attendees’ Unique Challenges.............................................5-13 You Won’t Be Bored … I Promise!..........................................................5-15 CHAPTER 6: How to Deal with Fence Sitters ............................6-1 Understanding Your Prospect’s Mindset ..................................................6-1 Overcoming Prospects’ Indecision About Attending................................6-4 Remove the Risk ....................................................................................6-7 Using “Carrots” and “Sticks” to Spur Prospects Into Action..................6-9 Backing Up Your Claims with Rock-Solid Proof .....................................6-11 Getting Leverage From Past Attendees ................................................6-13 How to Get Good Testimonials ..............................................................6-14 Presenting Testimonials for Best Effect .................................................6-15 Writing Interesting Instructor Bios.........................................................6-18 When to Create an Advisory Board .......................................................6-19 Chapter 7: Getting the Sale ......................................................7-1 Presenting the Registration Fee as an Investment .................................7-2 Increasing the Perceived Value of Your Seminar.....................................7-4 Helping Attendees Get Their Money’s Worth...........................................7-8 Selling The Boss and Other Decision Makers........................................7-11 Making the Investment Risk-Free...........................................................7-13 Choosing the Right Type of Satisfaction Guarantee..............................7-15 Spelling Out the Details of Your Satisfaction Guarantee ......................7-17 Developing a Cancellation Policy...........................................................7-19 Setting Up The Registration Form .........................................................7-20 Increasing the Size of the Sale … and Boosting Future Marketing Results................................................7-26 Promoting More Than One Seminar......................................................7-27 How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 5
  6. 6. SECTION III: CREATING YOUR MARKETING PIECE CHAPTER 8: Copywriting Myths and Rules for Success ...........8-1 The Difference Between Good Copy and Bad Copy................................8-2 Putting the Words Together ...................................................................8-7 The Right Way to Use Jargon and Other Technical Language.................8-9 Writing from the Corporate Perspective vs. Writing Like a Person ......8-11 Stop Talking About Yourself … and Start Talking to “You” ...................8-12 Passive vs. Active Voice ........................................................................8-13 Forget What You Learned in High School English Class ......................8-14 Words to Avoid If You Want Compelling Copy ......................................8-15 Do You Have Time to Write Your Materials? ..........................................8-15 The Writing Process ...............................................................................8-18 Improving Your Copywriting Skills .........................................................8-21 CHAPTER 9: Putting Your Copy Together..................................9-1 Components of Lead-Generating Ads, Postcards, Emails and Cover Letters .........................................................................9-1 Components of Sale-Generating Brochures, Direct-Response Letters and Web Sites, Fliers, Display Ads and Catalogs........................................................................9-8 CHAPTER 10: Things to Keep in Mind with Your Design........10-1 How Design Can Affect Printing and Postage........................................10-4 Colors to Use in Your Marketing............................................................10-6 Choosing the Right Font ........................................................................10-7 Using Formatting to Direct the Reader’s Attention................................10-8 Using Graphics and Photos for Best Effect............................................10-9 Creating an Effective Layout ...............................................................10-10 Must-Have Cover Elements...................................................................10-12 Creating Easy-to-Use Registration Forms..............................................10-14 Effective Places for Calls to Action.......................................................10-15 Who Should Design My Materials?.......................................................10-16 Choosing the Right Graphic Designer ..................................................10-18 How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 6
  7. 7. CHAPTER 11: Marketing Doesn’t Stop with Registration..........11-1 Heading Off Buyers Remorse While Pumping Up Enthusiasm ...............11-1 Keeping Excitement High at the Event...................................................11-4 Things to Do After the Event..................................................................11-6 Capturing the Rave Reviews .................................................................11-12 CONCLUSION............................................................................12-1 ADDENDUM A: SUGGESTED READING FOR SEMINAR MARKETERS ...................A-1 ADDENDUM B: PLANNING WORKSHEETS FOR YOUR SEMINAR MARKETING SUCCESS ...............................................B-1 How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 7
  8. 8. You’ve picked up the right book. As a seminar marketer for the last 20 years or so, I should know. I’ve written the other great book on more or less the same topic. Mine is called Marketing and Promoting Your Own Seminars and Workshops. Why on earth would I want to endorse, much less write the preface for, a book with such a similar message to my own? Two reasons. First, it’s a great book written by a good friend and client. Second, I have a prosperity mentality. There is plenty enough “pie” for all of us. The days of traditional competition in business are over. People who were once your competitors are now your joint venture partners. If you read and like this book, chances are you’ll want more. More from Jenny and then more from other authors like me. That being said, you should buy any and everything you can get your hands on about a given topic if you’re a serious student. Some of the material you find will be CRAP. Most of it, in fact. This is not one of those. No matter how great your seminar material is that you give people when they come to your events, the key to your long-term success will lie in your marketing efforts. This book will give you help in that precise area. As a copywriter, Jenny has a unique insight on how to get “butts in seats.” She is a true expert on writing copy for events, among many other things. I would suggest you get out your highlighter because this book is packed with useable content. In chapter six, for example, Jenny talks about how to get those who aren’t quite certain to commit. There is some very valuable content in that chapter that makes this book worth 10 times the price you paid for it in that one section! I took copious notes myself. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 8
  9. 9. In the very next chapter, Jenny gives you a long list of things to do to increase the perceived value at your events. Make sure you do EVERY ONE of the things she recommends at your next event. You’ll thank her for having brought these items to your attention. If you end up writing your own copy (or attempting to) you’ll be delighted by chapter 8, which gives you the most comprehensive explanation of how to do this right. And the list of accolades I could provide for this book goes on and on. Make sure and buy a few more copies to give to your other friends and colleagues. It will be one of the best gifts you will ever give them. To summarize, you’ve made a great investment with a highly competent expert. My only hope for you is that you quickly start to put into practice everything she has given you. Jenny Hamby has created a marvelous book worthy of praise from me, Fred Gleeck, the guy who wrote the “other” book on the same topic. If you have both, you’ll be unstoppable. All the Best, Fred Gleeck 1-800-FGLEECK (345-3325) www.seminarexpert.com How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 9
  10. 10. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops: A practical guide for creating effective seminar marketing plans and powerful promotional materials By Jenny Hamby INTRODUCTION If you have scoured your local bookstore, library or Amazon.com for information about properly marketing seminars and workshops, you know – the pickings are slim. There are just a handful of relevant titles available for the profit-seeking seminar promoter. How to Develop and Promote Successful Seminars & Workshops by the late Howard Shenson is an easy, informative read. Fred Gleeck’s Marketing and Promoting Your Own Seminars and Workshops is a must-read if you want to maximize the revenue you generate with your events. And Don Schrello’s How to Market Training & Information is a top-notch compilation of seminar-related statistics and analysis. There’s just one thing missing from these top seminar- marketing publications: a clear, detailed, step-by-step explanation of how to create your marketing plan and craft your seminar-marketing materials. That’s where this guide fits in. A Do-It-Yourself Resource For Seminar Marketers How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops delivers a step-by-step process for creating a sound plan for promoting your training events. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 10
  11. 11. You’ll learn how to research your audience … how to build a realistic budget … how to choose your marketing media … and how to craft compelling marketing materials. You’ll discover time-tested techniques for increasing seminar registrations … dealing with prospects who are on the fence about attending … and marketing to bosses and other budget-controlling decision-makers. And you’ll master ways to reduce cancellation rates … increase the perceived value of your event … and practically eliminate requests for refunds. Learn the Secrets of the Seminar Marketing Pro Since 1994, I have marketed seminars and other information products for small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and higher education institutions. Today, I work primarily with consultants, speakers and trainers who want to use seminars to increase their revenue and business leads, creating on- and off- line direct-response campaigns that are designed to increase seminar registrations while marketing costs. This guide was written for self-starters – the entrepreneurs and marketing professionals who want to unlock the secrets to successfully marketing seminars on their own. And now … if you’re ready to flip the page … I’ll show exactly how to do it. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 11
  12. 12. HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MARKET SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS Section I: Planning
  13. 13. CHAPTER 1: Research … the Most Important Step You’ve reserved a room at a local hotel. You’ve picked your topic. You know, perhaps just vaguely, who you’ll be marketing to. Now it’s time to sit down and get started on the marketing. So you pull a chair up to your computer, plop down and start typing, right? Not if you want to create the most powerful marketing materials you can. Because the marketing process – at least when performed correctly – starts a couple of steps before the actual writing process begins. It starts with research. Spending just a few hours on research can make a dramatic difference in your marketing results. It will help you develop a seminar offering that appeals to your audience and then present your event in the most compelling way. It will help minimize your risk and expenses, as well as the time needed to develop effective materials. And it will help maximize your results and profits. Three Critical Research Areas There are three main areas you need to research. First, identify your ideal prospects. You don’t want “anyone” who could attend your seminar; you want the ideal prospects. Aim to develop a profile and an in-depth understanding of the individuals who are most likely to respond to your marketing efforts. At some point, unless you have an unlimited budget, you are going to have to make hard decisions about where to focus your marketing dollars. Determining How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-1 Notes:
  14. 14. where to spend your limited resources becomes much easier when you know who you’re looking for. Research your prospects’ demographics, which are objective data such as gender, geographic location, level of education, and even ethnic background. Also, explore your prospects’ psychographics, which is more “touchy/feely” information about your prospects’ beliefs and values, activities, buying behavior, and so on. For example, you’ll want to learn what type of marketing your audience responds to. For example, do they buy online or through direct mail? Do they listen to the radio, or do they prefer reading the paper? What do they read and what associations do they belong to? What are their hot buttons – do they want to avoid pain of some sort, or are they more turned on by the prospect of gaining something they desire? You’ll also want to find out how your customers buy. Do you need to start by pursuing a shyer “yes” – such as signing up for a free preview seminar – rather than going for the paid event? Do they need to get a supervisor’s approval before they register? Each marketing campaign and seminar you conduct will produce information that you can use to better understand your audience. The second critical research area is what your prospects are looking for when it comes to your area of expertise. Probe into the challenges they’re facing – what issues are keeping them up at night? By knowing what prospects want, not only can you ensure that your marketing materials stress the right benefits, you also can ensure that your event delivers the goods. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-2 Notes:
  15. 15. During this second phase, consider the questions your prospects will have at each stage of their conversation with you. Then be sure to answer the questions before asking them to take the next step. Repeat the process with likely objections that will be raised in your prospects’ minds when they receive your marketing materials. The third critical research area is your competition. The existence of competition is a good sign – it tells you there’s a market for your seminar. And your competitors can help you make your marketing more effective. By studying their materials – and even attending their events – you can pick up clues for how to price your seminar, what benefits to offer, what subjects to include and what to disregard, what types of problems your audience is looking for, and what you can bring to the table that other seminar marketers are missing. You can also determine how qualified your competitors are and use their more-limited or different experience with the subject matter to your advantage. Obtaining Information About Your Audience Now, if the thought of “Research” brings to mind time-intensive, pages-long surveys … hours spent in libraries or tabulating data … hiring high- prices professionals to develop precisely worded questions to ask prospective clients, relax. The research you need to do for your seminar marketing can be fairly easy, inexpensive and conducted by “average Joes.” Start by getting your hands on the magazines, newsletters, and newspapers your prospects are reading, many of which are often available from industry associations. (This is one reason you want How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-3 Notes:
  16. 16. to know what your prospects are reading and the associations they belong to.) Skim through these publications to get a sense for the challenges your group is facing. Study the ads to see what other events and products are being publicized. The ads you see will tip you off as to who your competitors within the industry or niche are. Check out their web sites, call to get added to their mailing lists, buy their products and sign up for their events. Discover what they’re offering, how they’re pricing their events, what benefits they’re stressing … and then position yourself as the different, and infinitely better, solution. Ask your customers and prospects if they’ve heard of your competitors or attended their events. If they have, find out what they like and dislike about those individuals or organizations. Then start talking to your prospects. Participate in chat rooms and listservs to get a feel for the problems your audience faces. Set up some one-on- one interviews with prospects and/or with past attendees or current clients. Questions to Ask Your Present Customers and New Prospects During your interview, you want to try getting inside prospects’ heads. Your goals are to become intimately familiar with what they want and how your seminar can help them. Here are some of the questions I like to ask past attendees: I What are the three biggest challenges you’re facing right now related to <seminar topic>? I Please describe your ideal solution – what would you want from a seminar on this topic? How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-4 Notes:
  17. 17. I What about the marketing materials appealed to you? What specifically was said that convinced you to register? I What were the three most important things you learned during the seminar? I How have you used the information or skills you learned? What results have you seen? Try to take detailed notes or, better yet, record and transcribe your interview. This will help you capture the words and phrases you should be using in your promotional materials. The Challenge of Marketing a Brand-New Seminar If you’re marketing a brand-new seminar or if this is your first venture into seminar promotion, you’ll have to rely more heavily on educated guessing than if you had been marketing seminars – and tracking the results – for years. To make the most of your learning curve, keep detailed records about how you’re marketing your event and the type of results your efforts produce. Note the mailing lists you rent, the types of promotions you use, when you start your marketing, and so on. Also closely track the number of people who show up, how much they pay for a seat, how much product they buy at the event, and which list and promotional vehicle produced their registration. When it comes time for another round of marketing, you’ll have loads of useful data to help fine-tune your efforts. For example, let’s say that the first time you marketed your seminar, you rented four different mailing lists. To enable you to track which list a How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-5 Notes:
  18. 18. particular registration came from, you printed the registration form with a unique tracking code. To choose mailing lists for your next marketing effort, you went back to review the results achieved from the first promotional effort. You had 22 registrations from List A, none from List B, 17 from List C, and 4 from List D. Which mailing lists would you use again? Your gut reaction is probably to drop List B, keep Lists A and C, and perhaps replace List D with a new, untested list. It seems sound, right? Maybe, maybe not. Because, remember, the registration fee is just part of the picture. If you want to maximize your revenue, you’ll also be offering products at the back of the room. And of course, you’ll be willing to coach or consult with attendees who want your personalized attention when implementing the skills you teach during your event. Let’s take a look at the real numbers: List A produced 22 registrations at $199 each, $1,000 in product sales, and no consulting clients. Total revenue produced: $5,378 or $244.45 per person. Registration: $4378 (22 people x $199) Product sales: $1,000 Consulting: $0 $5378 ($244.45 per attendee) How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-6 Notes:
  19. 19. List B produced no registrations and, therefore, no product sales or consulting work. Registration: $0 Product sales: $0 Consulting: $0 $0 List C produced 17 registrations at $199 each, $1,500 in product sales, and $5,000 in consulting work. Total revenue produced: $9,883 or $581.35 per person. Registration: $3,383 (17 people x $199) Product sales: $1,500 Consulting: $5,000 $9,883 ($581.35 per attendee) List D produced 4 registrations at $199 each, $300 in product sales, and $10,000 in consulting work. Total revenue produced: $11,096 or $2,774 per person. Registration: $796 (4 people x $199) Product sales: $300 Consulting: $10,000 $11,096 ($2,774 per person) It turns out that List D, though it produced a relatively low number of responses, also produced the highest quality of attendees. List A, on the other hand, which looked to be the winner with a whopping 22 registrations, actually pulled in the lowest amount of revenue. If you had made your future marketing decision based solely on the number of registrations you had received, just imagine how much additional revenue you would have been passing up. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-7 Notes:
  20. 20. Now imagine what would have happened if you didn’t code your registration forms at all. You would have been operating completely in the dark. You either would have rented all of the lists again, essentially throwing your money away on mailing to List B, which didn’t produce any revenue, or you would have operated on gut instinct, which could have resulted in dropping highly profitable lists. To ensure you learn the most from your marketing successes and failures, carefully nail down the source of every registration. And then be sure to track and calculate the lifetime value of each attendee. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 1 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 1-8 Notes:
  21. 21. CHAPTER 2: Designing an Optimal Marketing Strategy … for Minimal Cost Once you know who you’re targeting and what you’re offering, it’s time to plan how to contact your prospects and customers. A Menu of Promotional Options The explosion of Internet marketing has opened up a whole new world for seminar marketers who want fast, cost-effective methods to get their prospects’ butts in seats. But traditional, paper-based marketing methods also have their place. They will likely regain some of their lost turf as the Internet world becomes overloaded with competing web sites and e-mailer users lose patience with spammers. Let’s take a look at the different marketing media you can use to promote your seminars, workshops and bootcamps. Postcards can be mailed to both your house and rented mailing lists. Because the space on a postcard is relatively limited, this tool is better used to promote free events, to drive traffic to a web site, to encourage prospects to contact you for more information, or to build a list of qualified prospects by offering a free giveaway. Brochures range in size from a “slim jim” tri-fold brochure that would fit in a #10 envelope to a more spacious, copy-rich 8-page (or longer) brochure. Skip the #10-size brochure unless you’re promoting a free event, you’re mailing to a list that is already familiar with your offering, or you’re also creating a web site that provides even greater detail about your event. Rarely does this format allow you enough space to fully explain the benefits of attending your seminar. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-1 Notes:
  22. 22. Cover letters. Seminars are one of the few things that sell well with a self-mailer brochure. However, you may want to test whether you can increase profits by sending a cover letter with your brochure. If you do, write a cover letter that will grab attention and sell readers on taking the time to read the accompanying brochure. Using a separate cover letter necessitates the use of an envelope. And that means you’ll have to get prospects to open the envelope before they ever read your marketing materials. Try including teaser copy (e.g., promising what they’ll discover inside) in the lower left hand corner of the mailing panel or on the envelope flap. Alternatively, you can get past recipients’ junk mail radar by hand-addressing the envelope and using live stamps to make your envelope appear more like personal mail. Sales letters. Instead of using a brochure, you may want to use only a sales letter to promote your event. If you do, here’s a rule that you must repeat … even copy down and post near your computer. Your sales letter does NOT have to be 1-page long. It should be as long as it takes to tell your entire story and answer all of the questions your ideal prospect will have. Many entrepreneurs, executives and business owners blindly believe the “rule” that no one reads a letter that’s more than a page long. Baloney! The people who are truly interested in your seminar will read everything you give them. As for people who are not and never will be interested in your seminar, the length of your letter doesn’t matter. If they are not good prospects, they will never read the whole letter (if they even read the headline), whether it’s three paragraphs long or 30 pages long. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-2 Notes:
  23. 23. Seminar marketers have been reducing their use of direct mail in recent years for a few reasons. The most dramatic reason is cost. You have to pay for design, printing, mailhouse services, and postage. Your direct costs can soar quickly. You also need to have fairly long lead times. For nationally promoted seminars, you want to drop your mailing 10 to 12 weeks before your event. In addition, you need to acknowledge that there’s a chance, albeit slim, that your mailing might never reach its intended target because of “postal mishaps.” Every direct marketer has heard the horror stories of bags of direct mail being dumped directly in the trash or being set aside during busy postal seasons. It happened to one of my clients. After spending considerable time, effort and money rewriting and redesigning their brochure, they were horrified when the response was practically nil. Thankfully, these people are the proactive types. Rather than complaining about their fate and assuming the lack of response was because of the changes we had made, they hit the phones and started calling their prospects and clients. It turns out that about two-thirds of the brochures just vanished, never reaching their intended audiences. Web sites. As with sales letters, web site copy should be as long as needed to tell your whole story. And the copy should be presented on one page; don’t break it up among several pages. For example, rather than creating a new page and button for “Who should attend?” instead place an anchor tag (a hyperlink that jumps to a point further down the page) at the top of the sales letter. Clicking on the anchor tag enables the reader to jump to the pertinent section. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-3 Notes:
  24. 24. Depending on the diversity of your audiences and their challenges, needs and wants, you may want to create separate sales letters and web pages geared to each group. E-mail. Direct-response e-mails can be used to drive traffic to your site. Your message should tease the reader, ask a compelling question or promise a huge benefit that readers will discover by clicking on a link in your message. The link should take them directly to the page on your web site where you’ve posted your sales letter. Publicity. If you can generate publicity for your event, do it. Getting mentions in the press is the closest thing you will get to a free ride, and it can generate a tremendous return on your investment. Identify the publications that your audience reads and aim for a listing in their calendars of events. Better yet, try getting a feature article written about your program or even land radio and television interviews. Advertisements can be published in any publication your audience reads, from the local community newspaper to national magazines, from trade publications to e-zines (electronically delivered magazines). For the greatest return on your investment, resist the temptation to model Madison Avenue-style advertising, filling your ad with flashy pictures and just a sprinkle of copy. Instead, use the space to make your pitch and ask the reader to take action, whether that action is calling to register or going to your web site for more information. Flyers can be posted on community billboards or telephone poles, stuffed under car windshield wipers, distributed with the daily or weekly newspaper, mailed out with each product fulfillment, left at the counters of local retail establishments to be picked up by their customers, or handed out door-to-door. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-4 Notes:
  25. 25. Telemarketing. Working the phones may not be a job that you relish. It will cost you time, and depending on your phone service, it can cost you a sizeable chunk of change. But telemarketing can produce impressive results. Phone calls to prospective attendees work best in two scenarios: (1) when you really know the prospects well and have the influence to get them to register for an event with a personal contact and (2) when you’re following up to a previous promotion. Sometimes people just need the extra kick in the pants to get off their behinds and register. As you’re probably well aware from personal experience, people on the receiving end of telemarketing calls can be very resentful of the intrusion, and you want to be sure not to call someone who has registered with the Federal Trade Commission’s do-not-call list. That’s why I use telemarketing only with people with whom I have a previous relationship, namely past and current customers and prospects that have contacted me in the past for information or advice. Getting Other People to Market Your Seminar – for Free An extremely successful and increasingly popular method for getting butts in seats is to enlist the help of other professionals who already have relationships with your prospects. Gaining their help will involve giving them something of value, typically a share of the revenue. However, the price you pay is well worth the payoff of securing additional registrations with virtually no work on your part. These mutually beneficial relationships are known as joint ventures, affiliate programs, and How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-5 Notes:
  26. 26. fusion marketing. The distinction between these different terms is blurring, but there are subtle differences. Joint ventures. In a joint venture setup, you approach other professionals who have lists of clients and qualified prospects who meet your profile. Your JV partners pitch your event to their lists and typically receive a 50/50 split of the profit. If your JV partners have significantly larger lists than you do, be prepared to do much of the gruntwork, such as writing the marketing materials that will be used to promote the event, handling registrations, processing credit cards and so on. If you’re approaching a big name within your industry, recognize that he or she is probably bombarded with JV opportunities and may expect a larger share of the profit. Don’t be surprised by this, but don’t be turned off either. If you can get a significantly larger crowd by partnering with the individual, giving up the larger share of profits could well pay off in the long run. Affiliate programs. Affiliate programs are similar to joint ventures in that they involve other people promoting your event for a share of the revenue. The differences are that affiliates can be anyone who has an interest in promoting your event, such as past attendees, and that their share of the revenue tends to be less than 50 percent. Affiliate programs are often automated. Affiliates sign up on a web site, and a computer generates their affiliate code, tracks sales and pays commissions. Affiliates typically promote all of your products and services, whereas joint ventures tend to be one-time, invitation-only deals. Fusion Marketing. This type of arrangement is very much a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-6 Notes:
  27. 27. mine” setup. You give something of value to your fusion marketing partner to offer to his or her list. This helps position your partners as heroes to their clients. For example, give them a discounted registration fee, entrance to a special closed-door luncheon, or free follow-up coaching above and beyond what is being offered to regular attendees. Choosing the Right Mix of Media The media you should use with your initial marketing effort depends on your audience and budget. The only way to know for sure which marketing methods will work best for your event is to test different media, tracking the registrations and revenue generated by each. The biggest decision to make at this point is whether you’re going to use online promotions, off-line promotions, or a combination. Start by answering a few simple questions about your audience: 1. Where do they go to look for information? 2. What type of media do they respond to? If your audience, in general, is not made up of computer users, putting all of your marketing eggs in the online basket is a risk. If they’re not online – specifically, searching online for the type of information that you offer – pigs might have a better chance of landing at O’Hare International Airport than you do of getting those folks to read your online seminar promotion. On the other hand, if you’re marketing a seminar that’s geared to individuals who spend a lot of time How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-7 Notes:
  28. 28. on the Internet – for example, web site designers – it’s logical to assume that they will use the Internet to locate your seminar and be more open to receiving promotions through that media. You can get a feel for how many people are searching online for the information and training you offer by using a tool that tracks keyword popularity, such as Wordtracker.com (www.wordtracker.com) or Overture’s search term suggestion tool (http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/sugg estion/). To use these tools, just enter the keywords you suspect your prospects are typing into a search engine when they’re looking for information about your subject. You will get a listing that shows how many people searched on those particular keywords within the past month using that particular search engine. In addition to providing insight into potential demand for your seminar, the results will also alert you to other search terms your audience is using. They may also spark ideas for new seminars or niches you could be serving. For example, if I type in “sales training” into Overture’s keyword suggestion tool, I see that 8,614 people entered that keyword phrase into Overture’s search engine during June 2003. I also see that almost 1,700 people searched for “sales management training” and close to 769 people searched for “phone sales training.” So I might consider developing a training course specifically for sales managers, as well as one for people who sell over the phone. Now, if you’re going to be using “real world” direct mail to promote your event, stop and consider How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-8 Notes:
  29. 29. again the prospect you’re after. Are they readers? Do they handle mail on a regular basis? Do they have “gatekeepers” who sort and prioritize their mail? The answers to these questions should be taken into account when choosing your media and designing your direct mail piece. If gatekeepers are involved, you will need to persuade them that your mail must be put in the “A” pile of must-read materials. Design your mailer so it appears personalized. If the gatekeepers think your prospect is expecting your mail – meaning they could get into hot water if they toss your mailer – it will likely be delivered safely into your prospect’s hands. Try using a live stamp and hand addressing the envelope to make it look like a piece of personal mail. Handwrite “The information you requested is enclosed” on the outside. Attach a Post-It note to the sales letter. Or you include a note stating “A special invitation for XYZ Association members.” If your prospects don’t handle mail on a regular basis, such as factory workers, don’t fuss with the envelope. Use a self-mailer or a postcard instead. If they aren’t readers (and remember, the profile of your perfect prospect will never apply to every single individual), consider using an audiocassette or videotape to sell your event. Sell prospects on the idea of calling to order a free audio or videotape that would deliver some basic content about the subject matter and then sell seats for your seminar. This strategy could also work well with people who travel a lot. Pitch them on the idea of listening to your tape while they’re stuck in traffic or cooling their heels at the airport. Budget will be another top consideration when choosing your marketing media. Direct mail costs can add up quickly. Online marketing can be more How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-9 Notes:
  30. 30. affordable; that’s not to say it is completely cost-free, however. Depending on your skills, you may need to hire a copywriter and/or a web site designer. You may also have to pay for web hosting, autoresponders, and a shopping cart. Variety, the Spice of Life … and a Key to Successful Seminar Marketing To improve your chances of securing the maximum number of registrations, use a variety of marketing media. This strategy is important for a couple of different reasons. One, some people will respond to one type of “touch,” while others are more likely to respond to different methods. One group of prospects might ignore online promotions because they don’t trust online marketing. Another group might ignore direct mail because they believe it’s all “junk.” The more ways you have of touching a prospect, the greater your chance of capturing his or her attention. Second, there may be external factors beyond your control. If there is a national disaster the day your mailing piece hits, chances are good that prospects will ignore it. If you have additional contacts planned, such as a follow-up postcard or an e-mail campaign, you won’t be putting all of your eggs in one basket. With luck, you’ll recoup your losses on a different promotion. Take another look at how your prospects buy. What is their average day like? Do they tend to jump on opportunities like your seminar, or do they toss marketing materials aside to be looked at later because more pressing issues are cropping up on an hourly basis? If the latter, you might need to use some reminders to spur your prospects into action. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-10 Notes:
  31. 31. Making the Process Feasible and Affordable Obviously, the more times you contact your target audience, the more time and money you’ll spend. If you have budget or scheduling constraints, apply the 80/20 rule to your marketing efforts. Focus your resources on the 20 percent of your mailing list that will produce 80 percent of the registrations and/or profits. For example, you could send follow-up e-mails to the prospects who have expressed interest by calling to ask questions about the event. You could send a second mailing only to people within driving distance of your event, rather than people scattered throughout the country who would have to pay for airfare and a hotel room. Or you could focus your attention on the top tier of customers who have purchased related products. Finally, recognize that the number you want to be most concerned with is not your marketing cost nor your marketing response rate. Your primary concern should be the maximization of profit. Some marketing methods may cost you more. But if they produce more income and a greater net profit, it’s a smart investment to make. Your House List … the Best Source of Prospects The people in your company’s database are, by far, the best prospects for your event. People buy from experts they know, like and trust … and the people in your database fit that description. Most databases can benefit from segmentation because rarely will you want to market an event to your entire list. Here are five different ways you can slice and dice your names: How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-11 Notes:
  32. 32. I By interest. Send your seminar promotions to people who have expressed an interest in the topic by calling you for information about the event itself, purchasing a related product, or attending a similar event. Also included on this list would be referrals from past attendees. I By type of customer. At the very least, separate prospects from customers and see how responsive each group is to your offer. You might further segment your customers based on what they purchased – a book, a tape, consulting time, another event, etc. Or you might separate prospects based on how they contacted you – people who opted-in to your e- mail list versus people who responded to a postcard versus the individuals who called after seeing one of your ads. I By geography. If you’re holding two different events, one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast, you might want to promote each event only to those prospects closest to the event. You could market the East Coast event to people living east of the Mississippi River and the West Coast event to those living west of the river. Or you could send your promotional materials only to people within driving distance of your event. I By profitability. People who have already purchased from you, regardless of how small a purchase, will always be better prospects for your seminar than people who have never heard of you before. Likewise, the customers who have purchased a lot of product or services from you are more likely to register for a live training event than people who have made small purchases. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-12 Notes:
  33. 33. I By job title. Your event might be geared to people of different levels of experience and/or responsibility. For example, one seminar might be for business owners while a second workshop might be geared to managers. Or you might want to promote the same event differently, depending on the audience. For example, if your ideal prospects typically must get approval from a supervisor to attend training events, you might send your prospective students one promotional package that explains how they personally will benefit by attending. You could send their supervisors a separate mailing that explains how the organization will benefit by sending employees to your seminar. Renting Outside Mailing Lists If your house list is small, or if you are looking for ways to continue adding new names to your database, you’ll want to consider renting a mailing list. There are two basic types of lists: compiled lists and response lists. Compiled lists are, well, compiled using public sources, such as phone books, legal records, and newspapers. These lists usually can be segmented by basic demographic information such as zip code, gender, age or income. Response lists are house lists people who have responded to some type of offer. Organizations will rent these lists as a way to generate revenue. For example, most publications will rent their list of subscribers. Some companies rent lists of customers who have purchased a product or service. Still other organizations rent the names of prospects who have qualified themselves by responding to an How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-13 Notes:
  34. 34. advertisement, commercial or some other offer. (“Aha!” you might be thinking. “That’s why manufacturers ask all those silly questions on warranty-registration cards.”) As a general rule, response lists are much more responsive and should produce a better response than compiled lists. The individuals have already “raised their hand” to express an interest in your subject matter. If you rent the right list, you’ll be marketing to people who have demonstrated their willingness to buy your type of product or service. To research and choose lists that may be appropriate for your seminar, you can contact large list management or brokerage companies, such as Edith Roman Associates or Dun & Bradstreet. In some cases, these companies are hired by list-owning organizations to manage the rental of their mailing lists. In other cases, as with Dun & Bradstreet, the company owns and manages its own compiled lists. If list rentals will be a significant part of your strategy, I suggest heading to a large local library and asking the reference librarian to direct you to the Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS) Direct Marketing List Source®. This publication is a massive directory of tens of thousands of mailing lists that are available for rent. The directory provides vital statistics about each list – a description of the group as a whole, the number of names on the list, selects, costs and other details. Perusing the SRDS can give you some great ideas for the types of lists available. For most lists, you can expect to pay between $100 and $150 per thousand names. (Fees are always presented as a cost per thousand.) Here is how those fees break down; understand that some list owners with highly responsive, exclusive lists may charge more than these fees: How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-14 Notes:
  35. 35. $100 to $120 base price $10 to $60 per select; a “select” is anything you use to segment the database, such as zip code, job title and type of industry. If you select e-mail addresses, plan on paying a premium – such as $100 to $400 per thousand names $0 to $75 for delivery; Cheshire labels are usually no charge. You can also choose to have names delivered on pressure-sensitive labels, on magnetic tape or electronically $0 to $10 for keycoding. Each name will be coded so that you can tell which list or portion of a list the name came from. You can use the same keycode for an entire list (good if you’re testing one list against another), or you can use different keycodes within the same lists (for example, if you wanted to test managers against non-managers). For example, let’s say I want to rent a list of 5,000 florists in the Chicago area for a marketing seminar I am going to teach. I want to address my mailing piece using the owners’ names, not just “Owner.” How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-15 Notes:
  36. 36. Here is how the costs might break down: Basic list price:.......................$100/K or $500 Zip code select:......................$10/K or $50 Owner name select: ...............$10/K or $50 Keycode:.................................$5/K or $25 Delivery via electronic file:.....$25 My total bill is $650 – for a one-time use of the list. If I want to do a follow-up mailing, I need to rent the list again. If you know that you will be doing multiple mailings, be sure to place an order for multiple usage. Often the list owner will extend a discount for additional uses if the order for all rentals is placed at the same time. For example, let’s say the list owner offers a 25% discount on multiple uses. So I would pay $650 for the first use and $487.50 for the second use if I order both lists at the same time. A word of warning: Most list owners require a minimum purchase of 5,000 names. If your selects whittle a list down to fewer than 5,000 names, expect to pay for a minimum order anyway. More flexible list managers will let you rent a smaller list multiple times to meet the minimum. For instance, if the list you want to rent is just 2,500 names, you technically would have to pay for 5,000 names anyway. Some list owners would give you two copies of the list for the 5,000-name price. As you think about the type of prospects you want to address, consider which of these selects might help you identify your prospects from the rest of America: How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-16 Notes:
  37. 37. II Age II Where they live II Income II Gender II Level of education II Job title or level II The industry they work in/SIC code II Company size II Sales volume II What they’ve purchased II Whether they’ve made multiple purchases II The topic of the last seminar they attended II When they last made a purchase II Whether they’ve responded to fundraising appeals II Whether you want to mail to the home or office. If your seminar is of personal interest, mail to the home. If your seminar is for professionals, you probably will want to mail your promotions to their business addresses. However, if prospects receive a job-related promotion at home, it might be enough out of context to grab their attention. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-17 Notes:
  38. 38. If you are just getting started in the seminar- marketing business, strongly consider renting multiple lists and testing a portion of each list rather than renting just one list and mailing the whole thing. That’s because if you guess wrong, you could end up losing your shirt. Let’s say you’re offering an advanced sales training workshop. You decide to rent the names of local members from the National Sales Association. You rent the minimum of 5,000 names, print and mail the brochures … and get just three registrations. Now what? Do you hold the event anyway, do you cancel it or do you scramble around trying to get more brochures out in the mail? Instead of mailing just that one 5,000-name list, rent two (maybe more) keycoded lists. Mailing to half of each list will still let you send 5,000 brochures, but this way will let you spread your risk. The downside is, of course, that you end up spending more money on renting the lists, and that means more revenue you must generate to break even. As with any marketing decision, you have to weigh the risks and determine if the gathering of information for use in future marketing is worth the price that you will pay now. When splitting your list, do NOT split the list evenly in half starting from the top – for example, mailing to the first 2,500 names and saving the rest. This can bias the outcome. Instead, split the list on every other name (for mailings to households). If you’re mailing to businesses, split the list by ZIP code – for example, all ZIP codes ending in an odd numbers would receive the mailing, while all ZIP codes ending in even numbers would be set aside. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-18 Notes:
  39. 39. TIP: As Don Schrello explains in How to Market Training & Information, you will need to take care to ensure that your test results are statistically valid. You will need 20-30 responses per list to evaluate the list’s true value. By working backward from the number of expected responses, you can determine how many pieces of mail you should send. For example, if you expect a 1 percent response rate, you can expect to receive 10 responses per thousand pieces of mail sent. So you should test 2,000 to 3,000 names from each list to decide whether the list is “good” or not. Be aware that it is not unusual to have a low response rate to rented lists. Getting one or two registrations out of every 1,000 pieces you mail is perfectly acceptable with some seminars. That’s well below a 1 percent response rate, but the key point to keep in mind is that your response rate in and of itself is not important. What you should be concerned about is the revenue and profit. Two registrations per thousand from a promotion that is mailed to 5,000 people is 10 attendees. If they pay $500 each, that’s $5,000 in revenue. Would that enable you to break even or even generate a profit? How Often Should You Contact Prospects? Now that you know what types of media you will be using and to whom you’ll be sending your materials, it is time to determine your mailing schedule. Generally speaking, the more times you contact a prospect, the more likely it is that that individual will respond to your offer. The common rule of thumb is that prospects must hear from you seven to nine times before they respond. This is because we are bombarded by thousands of marketing messages How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-19 Notes:
  40. 40. each day. It could take several touches before a prospect even notices your promotion, much less feels compelled to act. Using multiple contacts does not mean that you must, or even should, use the same media with each contact. A surefire method with one segment of your audience will cause another group to tune out entirely. Press releases and newspaper ads may be an effective way to reach the newspaper-reading portion of your audience. Direct mail might work well with another segment. If you rely on one media or marketing piece, you risk losing the attention of entire segments of your audience. Using multiple means of contacting prospects also enables synergy. In essence, this means that each of your marketing mediums and contacts will build on previous contacts. The sum effect of all of your marketing efforts will be greater than you’d expect if each method were employed alone. For example, you might mail out a postcard to your house list telling customers and prospects to watch their mail for a brochure describing the seminar. A few days later, you follow up with a self- mailer brochure. A week or two later, you send your database an e-mail, which in turns links to your online sales letter promoting your seminar. Two weeks before the event, you call every person on your list to see if they want to reserve a seat, and you also fax a press release to local newspapers and radio stations. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? The chances of your prospects not being aware of your event would shrink with each additional contact. The chances of getting a lot of bodies to your event would be greatly improved, as well. The multiple contacts would be a good investment because the additional marketing How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-20 Notes:
  41. 41. could dramatically increase the likelihood of your generating a profit on the event. But let’s get realistic. Even though you agree that a multi-channel approach to marketing your seminar makes sense, it also means that you must have the cash up front to invest in your marketing. If you don’t, don’t worry; you can still develop an effective marketing program or a limited budget. Here are the components I recommend, at a bare minimum: I Killer press releases. Spending a few hours writing and sending out a powerful press release is a no-brainer. The publicity you could generate would be invaluable, easily worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. I A foundation piece for your marketing program, such as a brochure and/or online sales letter. I Follow-up with your best prospects. Here is where you should take a cue from corporate America and its focus on customer relationship management. Spend your limited resources where they are most likely to pay off – with your customers and qualified prospects, the people who have somehow indicated that they are interested in your program. How you contact them is a matter of time and budget; if you can’t invest in phone calls, try a postcard or short letter. Timing Your Marketing Efforts for Maximum Response One of the biggest – and potentially most deadly – mistakes seminar promoters make is not allowing enough time to promote their events. Be sure to build time into your schedule to allow for the inevitable How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-21 Notes:
  42. 42. mixups, delays and snafus. Here are the timelines I like to work with: National or international events: mail your brochures 10 to 12 weeks before the event, eight weeks at a minimum. If you are mailing first class versus bulk, you may be able to shave a week or two off this deadline. Just be aware that most of your prospects will need adequate time to secure necessary approvals from their supervisors, make travel plans and otherwise clear their calendars. Local events: mail your materials six to eight weeks in advance. Because your prospects won’t need to make hotel and airline travel arrangements, you can often get away with a shorter lead time. Free local events: free events, such as a preview seminar to drive prospects into a future paid event, can usually be promoted via direct mail or advertising one to three weeks in advance. Teleseminars: teleseminars, which essentially are seminars conducted via a conference call, can be promoted as little as 24 to 48 hours in advance. Teleseminars are an effective way to give interested prospects a taste of what they will learn during your live, paid event. In addition to geography, also take into account your prospects’ buying behavior. If your prospects need to secure a supervisor’s approval to register, allow plenty of time for the approval process. If your prospects plan their lives weeks or months in advance, give them plenty of warning to get on their calendar. On the other hand, if they typically wait until the last minute to commit to events, and last- minute travel plans and changes are common and acceptable, you can probably get away with a How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-22 Notes:
  43. 43. shorter time frame. Finally, don’t forget about hotel-related deadlines. If you need to make a go/no go decision by a certain date to avoid cancellation penalties, allow plenty of time to achieve your minimum registration goals. Years ago, I worked with a client who had planned to drop the seminar brochure in the mail a scant five weeks before the event. The brochure reached prospects a little over four weeks out, leaving little time to generate adequate registrations before the meeting space had to be secured three weeks before the event. Not surprisingly, my client decided to reschedule the event. When You Should Send Your Direct-Mail Pieces A final, minor point to consider when building your mailing schedule is responsiveness, which can vary depending on the day of the week. If at all possible, avoid having your direct mail pieces arrive on a Monday or Friday. Mail volume tends to be higher on Mondays and after holidays, so your piece will have more competition. Fridays are good delivery days to avoid, as well, because many prospects will be eagerly anticipating the weekend rather than paying attention to the important business- and/or personal-improvement message you’re offering. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 2 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 2-23 Notes:
  44. 44. CHAPTER 3: Building Your Budget Your ability to turn your seminars into a profitable venture vs. a money-sucking loser depends largely on how well you know your numbers and manage your costs. Expenses are important for two reasons. One, every dollar you spend is a dollar that must be recouped before you can turn a profit. Two, you probably have a limited number of dollars to invest. That said, the most important rule to keep in mind is that your measure of success is your ability to generate a profit. Revenue alone is less important than profit. Cost alone is less important than profit. Response rate alone is less important than profit. The combination of all three and how they work together to determine your profit is what’s important. It is possible to spend a lot of money to earn a mind-blowing amount of profit. Likewise, it’s possible to make fistfuls of revenue, yet not turn much of a profit. So your goal is to minimize costs while maximizing response rate and revenue. The Types of Costs You’ll Incur First, you’ll have costs to create your marketing materials: Design. Rarely do I suggest doing your own graphic design. Some of my marketing colleagues would disagree, arguing that the availability of design software and preprinted papers make the do- it-yourself approach more cost effective. If you’re looking solely at direct expenses, I can’t argue with that. But always stop to consider the value of time and the potential results. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-1 Notes:
  45. 45. Your time is valuable. There is only one you, so you need to ensure that you’re spending your time where it will generate the greatest return. Unless you have a graphic design background, designing your own marketing materials can end up hogging huge amounts of your time. Second, you will get far better materials if you choose a talented designer who understands marketing. The increased response rate should more than cover the designer’s fee. Copywriting. Whether you can write copy, much less highly effective copy, is a question only you can answer. Some people have a natural ear for the tone, rhythm and pacing of effective copy; others can study, practice and bomb, campaign after campaign, year after year. If your budget allows it, hiring a copywriter who is familiar with the intricacies of how to market training events can produce better results and save you precious hours. Postage. If your mailing meets the requirements for bulk-class mail, you can save considerably compared to first-class postage prices. However, first-class postage may out pull third-class, and bulk mail often gets “lost” in the mailing process, whereas first-class mail is pretty much a sure bet in terms of deliverability. Test the two options yourself to see which method produces the most profit. Mailhouse. Rarely will it be in your best interest time-wise to stuff, address and stamp envelopes. If your mailing or budget is too small to hire a full- service mailhouse, round up some neighborhood kids, stay-at-home parents, retirees, or family and friends to do the work for you. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-2 Notes:
  46. 46. Advertising. Advertising can be expensive, at least when you’re calculating the direct expense. (To make yourself feel better, look at it from a cost-per-reader perspective.) Even small ads can cost hundreds of dollars. If you’re going to spend your money on advertising, make sure it is crammed with benefit- laden copy. Don’t waste your money on fluffy, graphic-filled image or brand advertising. Web site hosting and domain name registration. If you’re going to use online marketing as a component of your plan, you’ll incur some relatively minor costs in putting up a web site. Domain names, also known as URLs, can be reserved from some registrars for less than $10 a year. Hosting can cost you $10 to $50 a month, depending on the provider. Printing. Printing costs depend on four basic criteria: the number of ink colors you use, the type of paper you use, the quantity, and the complexity of your graphic design. (We’ll discuss this in more detail in Chapter 10.) Shopping cart. If you’re going to enable online registration, you’ll need shopping cart software to handle the transactions. The one I’ve heard recommended most is 1ShoppingCart.com. You can purchase the service by the month or, for a discount, by the year. Registration processing and confirmation. If you don’t have the time or resources to handle registrations yourself, look for a professional answering service that has experience working with seminar registrations. (If you need suggestions, send me an e-mail at jhamby@seminarmarketingpro.com.) Your registration process should include processing credit card orders and mailing confirmation materials to all attendees within 48 hours of receiving the registrations. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-3 Notes:
  47. 47. Keep in mind that these are just the direct expenses you’ll incur when marketing your event. To determine your break-even number and end profit, you’ll need to subtract costs such as meeting room rental, food and/or beverage service, audiovisual equipment rental fees, workbook duplication, commissions paid to your joint venture partners, your travel expenses, postage to ship your equipment and seminar materials to the meeting facility, and fees (if any) paid to any instructors other than you. How much you’ll be willing to spend on a seminar – and how you define “success” – depends in part on the event’s purpose. Some seminar promoters are willing to break even or perhaps take a loss on a seminar. They know from experience what percentage of seminar attendees will buy from them again, and the lifetime value (how much revenue they will generate, on average, from each individual over his or her lifetime) of their customers is high enough to justify running the seminar at a loss. Seminars of this ilk are known as “loss leaders.” You take a loss on the lead product (the seminar) because you know you’ll more than recoup your money on later sales. Other individuals offer seminars as a revenue generator in and of themselves. In this scenario, you’re more concerned about hitting the break-even point and making money on your event. Important Numbers to Know and Watch The type of response rate you can expect from your marketing efforts relies on so many factors: who you are mailing to, your offer, when and where the event is being held, the topic, how well your copy explains the event, how the marketing pieces are designed, world events, the economy, your competition, and so on. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-4 Notes:
  48. 48. Many of these factors are outside of your control. Obviously, you’ll do what you can to accommodate them, such as offering a better value for the dollar when the economy or training industry is in a slump. But at some point, you’ll just have to take a leap of faith. One of my clients sent a local mailing out on September 10, 2001. Can you guess what kind of response he got when his mail started hitting the next day? Yep, it went straight into the trash. There’s not much you can do about this, so focus on what you can control. The three most important variables you should focus on are: 1. Your list. Put your materials in front of the wrong people and it won’t matter one iota how great your offer is, how well the copy is written, or how eye-popping the design is. They aren’t going to respond. But get your materials in front of the right people, and some will sign up based only on the topic, date, time and location. 2. Your offer. How much are you going to charge, and what will you be providing in return? You must provide value if you want people to sign up for your seminar. By value, I mean unique, highly understandable content that teaches your audience something they are desperate to know. In some cases, it also means delivering extras, such as free reports or follow-up coaching, that give your customers more for their money. 3. Your copy. Unless you are going to call every single prospect to personally sell them a seat at your seminar, you will be using the written word to sell. As famed copywriter John E. Kennedy said, advertising is “salesmanship in print.” How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-5 Notes:
  49. 49. I’ll be the first to admit that your copy can flat out suck and still produce results – IF you have a valuable offer and you get your materials in front of the right audience. The same thing goes with salesmanship. If you’re selling water in a desert, it doesn’t matter how skilled you are at selling – people will buy because you have something they’re desperate to get their hot little hands on. But if you’re selling ice to Eskimos, you need to be a bit more persuasive to see the results you want. And that means ensuring that your copy is up to snuff. Typical Response Rates Remove from your mind the common, and false, rule of thumb that 2 percent is a good response rate. As any marketer worth his or her salt will tell you, the only good response rate is one that produces a profit (or produces enough registrations when your seminar is a loss leader). Response rates, at least when marketing a seminar to cold and untested lists, tend to be pretty low. One or two registrations out of every 1,000 pieces mailed is not unusual, nor is it bad, depending on your offer and other expenses. If you’re mailing to a house list, especially one of customers or prospects who have indicated an interest in the topic or seminar itself, your response rates can be much higher, often as much as eight times greater. On small, very targeted lists of past purchasers, I’ve achieved response rates of more than 80 percent. Be conservative in your expectations. It’s better to plan on receiving only a handful of registrations for every thousand of pieces mailed and being pleasantly surprised with a flood of sign-ups than it is to plan on a packed house and getting only a tableful of people. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-6 Notes:
  50. 50. As your experience with seminars grows, you will be better able to predict attendance and when you’ll reach the break-even point and/or your revenue goals. One important point in your timeline to know is when you’ll reach the halfway point in your registrations; some people call this “double- down day.” When you hit double-down day depends on your event. In general, you can expect the number of registrations received each day to increase the closer you get to your event. In other words, don’t panic if you aren’t bombarded with registrations immediately following your mailing or e-mail blast. Some people will sign up right away. But most of your attendees will need time to make a decision, clear their schedules, get approval from the higher- ups and so on. Calculating Break Even “Break even” has popped up quite a bit in this section. Let’s talk briefly about what it is and the right way to calculate it. Break even is, not surprisingly, the point at which you break even on running your seminar. You calculate the break even point by dividing your seminar expenses by the registration fee. This tells you how many registrations you need to secure to avoid losing money by running your event. When making the calculations, use only the direct expenses you’ll incur if you actually move forward with holding the seminar – the meeting room rental fee, food and beverages, equipment rental, handouts, etc. Don’t include marketing expenses in calculating the break-even point; they have no bearing on whether it makes financial sense How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-7 Notes:
  51. 51. to proceed with the event. Once you send out your marketing materials, the money is gone. Instead, use your promotional expenses to determine the point at which your event becomes profitable. Add your promotional costs and meeting costs together, then divide the sum by your registration fee. This number tells you how many paid registrations you need to start making a profit on the event. Marketing on a Tight Budget If you’re working with a limited budget, start building your marketing campaign with the following low-cost promotional methods: I Press releases that are written to generate articles or interviews about your topic and seminar I Press releases that are intended to get your seminar listed in the local events calendar in area newspapers and other publications I Postcards, which will drive traffic to your web site, get prospects to call and request a brochure or letter with more information, or which will get prospects to save the seminar date and watch their mail for more information I A web site that contains every possible detail about your event If your audience is easily defined and you can obtain a mailing list of good prospects, it may make sense to invest in direct mail. Self-mailer brochures are the most commonly used form of direct mail How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-8 Notes:
  52. 52. when marketing seminars – and one of the few instances where a self-mailer consistently pulls better results than a mailing in an envelope. If you can’t easily obtain a good mailing list of your prospects, or if the size of your audience makes purchasing such a list cost-prohibitive, consider placing a direct-response ad in a newspaper, magazine or trade publication. When creating ads, use the space to make the sale – don’t sacrifice copy in favor of pretty graphics and lots of white space. Ad space can be expensive, so make every inch count! Also consider designing your ad so that it looks like editorial content. This approach will help your ad slip under the radar of advertising-avoiding readers. In addition to choosing your media wisely, there are other strategies to help keep marketing costs under control. First, know your numbers and let them guide your plan. Invest your time, money and energy where you’re most likely to see results. One way to do that is to segment your database. Focus your attention on customers who have purchased related products or services from you in the past, as well as customers who have attended a past seminar. When marketing to prospects, focus on those who best match your ideal-customer profile. Once you’ve adequately marketed to your primary audience, then worry about contacting your secondary audiences. Careful investment of your resources is especially important when you’re launching your seminar business. As your revenue grows, you’ll have the funds needed to expand your marketing for future events. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-9 Notes:
  53. 53. For example, it’s very common to say, “My ideal prospect is anyone who ….” Anyone who owns a business. Anyone who writes for a living. Anyone who owns a computer. “Anyone who” is a warning sign that your audience may be too large. Instead, break it down. One client of mine stated that his audience was anyone who owned a small business, wanted to start their own business, or thought that they someday might like to be an entrepreneur. His seminar taught the business basics that most entrepreneurs don’t know, but should. Pretty broad, right? After all, how do you identify a list of people who aren’t even aware that they need your event? Rather than trying to tackle all of these audiences at once, we started with the most likely prospects: people who owned a small business. And we focused on businesses that had been in operation for less than two years. We figured that by this point, there was a good chance that the business owners had figured out that, though they were good at providing their product or service, perhaps their lack of business training was hindering their success. We also figured that these people had the most to gain from the seminar (or to lose by not attending – namely, their businesses), so they would be the easiest to persuade. The client spend the most resources marketing to this audience, including renting a mailing list and sending a direct mail letter. One secondary audience – people who were planning to start their own businesses – were addressed in the newspaper ads, online marketing and press campaign. We decided to wait until the seminars were profitable before attempting to market to the third audience, people who thought that they might someday like to be entrepreneurs. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-10 Notes:
  54. 54. Another clever, and currently popular, way to save on marketing costs is to get other people to spread the word for you. Find other professionals who will be willing to market your event to their mailing lists in exchange for a share of revenue or a discounted registration fee for their clients. Also enlist the help of past students and clients. (For a more detailed discussion of these options, review the sections on joint ventures and affiliate programs in Chapter 2.) How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 3 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 3-11 Notes:
  55. 55. HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MARKET SEMINARS AND WORKSHOPS Section II: Key Elements of Successful Seminar Promotions
  56. 56. CHAPTER 4: The basic information that your promotion must provide … but that many marketers forget! Your seminar’s title is arguably one of the most important components of your marketing materials. In a matter of words – just two to seven words for most seminars and workshops – the event title needs to grab prospects’ attention and explain what the topic is. Don’t fall into the trap of relying on cute headlines or cryptic seminar titles. Cleverness and humor may pass muster around the boardroom tables in Madison Avenue advertising agencies. But you’re not out to gain the approval of marketing and advertising folks, your peers, or even your friends and family. Using humor and play-on-words headlines is a gamble in the real world. First, you have to hope that your readers will be able to decipher what you’re truly trying to communicate. With humor, you have to hope that your readers “get” the joke and, if they do understand it, that they agree it’s a laughing matter. A much better bet is using a title that tells prospects exactly what you’ll be teaching and/or the top benefits they’ll get by attending. The best seminar headlines help prospects recognize their need for the information or hint at the benefits they’ll receive by participating. For example, “Internet Marketing” would be better titled “Effective Internet Marketing.” “Electric Power System Design” could be better targeted if called “The Basics of Electric Power System Design” or “Advanced Electric Power System Design.” How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 4 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 4-1 Notes:
  57. 57. Going hand in hand with the title in terms of importance in grabbing eyeballs and building appeal is the headline for your marketing materials. Space permitting, the headline area of your marketing materials will contain three copy elements: the prehead, the headline, and the subtitle or posthead. 1. The prehead. Often printed in italics or in a slightly smaller font, the prehead is used to help target your message to a particular audience. Use the prehead to address the audience by name (A special message for retired educators), to identify the top problem your prospects are facing (Worried about shrinking profit margins?), or to highlight key benefits your event delivers (Eliminate confusion about how to comply with OSHA regulations…). 2. The headline. Usually printed in a color different than the body text (such as a bright red or blue) and a larger font size (three to four times that of the body copy), the headline grabs prospects’ attention to get them to read the entire message. You can use the name of your seminar as a headline – “How to” seminar titles work great in this regard. Or come up with a longer headline that is focused on the benefits your event delivers. On direct mail brochures, the seminar title usually doubles as the headline. 3. The subtitle or posthead. Commonly printed in the same color, but a slightly smaller font size, as the headline, the subtitle expands on the headline’s message. How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 4 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 4-2 Notes:
  58. 58. Here are a few examples of how all of these elements can fit together: Version 1: Version 2: How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 4 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 4-3 Notes:
  59. 59. Customizing Your Message for Different Audiences If you have two or more distinct audiences that you want to target in your marketing efforts, it may be beneficial to create different sets of marketing materials to target each group’s unique needs and wants. You can customize your materials by audience or by the solution you provide. Let’s say you offer a basic accounting course designed to teach small-business owners the basics of managing their finances, and you want to attract land surveyors, physical engineers, and architects to the event. Adding the simple phrase “for <TARGETED GROUP>” to each set of materials will help your materials grab more attention more easily as your prospects are flipping through the mail. One set of materials would be titled “The Basics of Accounting for Land Surveyors,” the next would be “The Basics of Accounting for Physical Engineers,” and the third would be “The Basics of Accounting for Architects.” In addition to title, you can further customize your materials through the use of audience-specific case studies, examples and testimonials. If your prospects can’t be neatly categorized by profession, education, age, gender or other demographics, customize your materials by stressing different benefits. For example, small-business owners who attend your accounting seminar report that the information you provide helps them save time on handling their finances and reduce the time it takes to get paid. So you might come up with two headlines: How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 4 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 4-4 Notes:
  60. 60. Identifying the Most Important Benefits Your Seminar Offers To get prospects to sign up for your event, your marketing materials must convince them that they’ll benefit by attending. It’s not enough to merely tell prospects what they’ll be learning at your event. You need to go one step further, connect the dots, and provide specifics about how they could, and probably will, benefit by learning the information you’re going to be sharing. There are three different ways you can pinpoint the benefits that are most important to your prospects. Use these methods alone or in combination. 1. Take a look at the challenges or problems your customers are dealing with, then flip the situation around. What’s the solution to that problem? What would the reverse scenario be? These are things you will want to stress. For example, if your audience is facing shrinking profit margins because of a flat How to Successfully Market Seminars and Workshops chapter 4 © 2003 Hamby Communications, Inc. 4-5 Notes:

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