Holding a marketing seminar is a great way to gather your business team and clients together in order to introduce new products and services. Seminars offer businesses the opportunity to directly engage with their clients, and to hopefully get their client base to grow. Too often, however, marketing seminars suffer from low attendance.
It doesn’t matter how good your presentation is, if there is no one there to appreciate it. Fortunately, with a little bit of planning and some judicious promotion, you can turn your next marketing seminar into a rousing success.
The First Hurtle – Scheduling
One of the most common mistakes businesses make when planning a marketing seminar is in the scheduling. Consider your guests and any events which may interfere with their attendance. Holidays are obviously a barrier to getting a good turn out for your event, but so are major sporting events, community functions and regional celebrations.
Often business owners will schedule their seminars on the weekends, forgetting to consider that their guests will have family activities planned that make take precedence over a marketing meeting. When scheduling your next seminar, consider the availability of your guests, and plan for their needs not your convenience.
Timing Your Invitations and Announcements
Whether you send a formal letter or an e-mail, the timing of your seminar announcement is critical. The natural inclination is to notify guests as early as possible about an upcoming seminar so they can mark their calendars and plan accordingly. Often, businesses will send out invitations up to three months ahead of the event, hoping to ensure the maximum attendance. But seminars aren’t like weekend long trade shows, and your guests do not need that much lead time to prepare.
A short seminar can get lost in the shuffle as clients become absorbed with other business. Cut the lead time, and send out your announcements three or four weeks in advance.
Choosing a Venue
The venue you choose for your marketing seminar can have a major impact on its overall success. Restaurants are often popular choices for business seminars. They seem convenient and it is a way of keeping in touch with the local business community. However, restaurants aren’t designed as productive meeting spaces, and the regular distractions can defeat the purpose of a well honed presentation.
When planning any type of marketing seminar, it is always best to find a business events venue that can accommodate the purpose of your function. By choosing a private event space, you can better control the environment and can ensure that all attendees remain focused on the tasks at hand.
When choosing your hired venue there are few points to keep in mind. Consider the location of the event space. You will want something centrally located, reducing travel time for your guests. You will also want to visit the venue ahead of time to make sure that it offers ample parking, and suitable facilities for all of your guests. Take some time to walk through the venue, checking for handicap access, cleanliness and the number of restrooms. Remember, the site of your seminar will reflect upon you, so do your homework.
Even if your seminar is only scheduled to last a few hours, you may wish to consider serving refreshments. Depending on the time of day, this might be a selection of breakfast items, a light lunch or a full dinner service. Offering a light meal helps to add value to your presentation, and helps to attract more guests. People are people, and a stellar presentation is one thing, but a stellar presentation accompanied by a meal is real value and will increase attendance.
Many event spaces can offer their own on-site catering services which makes it much more convenient for businesses to offer refreshments during their seminar. Moreover, the on-site catering service may be available to you at a discount as part of the total cost of renting the hall.
The Presentation Itself
Finally, with the venue booked and the invitations sent, it’s time to work on the presentation itself. It is important to be seen as professional and competent, and you will want to spend some time honing your presentation until you know it inside and out. Constantly referring to notes will give the impression that you are unsure of your subject, and your guests are likely to translate that into their own doubt about the product or service you are offering. Practice makes perfect, so spend some time honing your presentation skills.
Marketing seminars can be a powerful tool, but without guests they can do little to advance your business. These tips should help you ensure that you receive a strong turnout for your next corporate meeting or business seminar.