Starting a Business

Putting On A Seminar

Done correctly, seminars can increase your company's visibility--and even ring up sales.
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Anyone who's attended an interesting and informative seminar knows it can be one of the best ways to train staff, keep yourself up-to-date on industry changes and learn new skills. On the flip side, seminars are also a powerful way to build awareness of your company, market your product or services, and possibly create a new revenue stream for your business. Whatever type of business you're in, you probably have knowledge and expertise that others would find helpful--and that might encourage them to use your services. Follow this checklist to make your seminars great:

  • When determining what to charge for your seminar, consider two rules of thumb: 1) Most people will attend events for which they've already paid in advance, and 2) the more you charge, the less overt selling you should do.
  • Consider defraying your costs by teaming up with another business that's related to yours.
  • Do some homework before you schedule your seminar to avoid competing with other events that could reduce your attendance.
  • Create a concise marketing plan for your seminar. Include publicity, direct mail, advertising and other appropriate promotional vehicles.
  • Before you determine the length of your seminar, consider your audience, your topic and other related factors. If you're planning to speak to a room full of accountants, don't schedule a half-day seminar during tax season.
  • Most hotels and conference centers routinely host seminars and have the process down to a science. If your budget won't allow for such accommodations, check out renting space at a local college or training facility.
  • Advance registration gives you a good idea of how many people to expect and how many handouts you'll need. Always ask how registrants heard about the seminar so you can track your marketing results.
  • Handouts are one of the most overlooked tools in seminar marketing. Give your attendees professional-looking materials that support key points in your presentation.
  • Have enough staff at the event to handle registration, last-minute errands, product sales, distribution of handouts and other event essentials.
  • Be sure you obtain names, postal and e-mail addresses, and other important contact information from your attendees for follow-up purposes. You may also wish to develop an evaluation form to distribute and collect to help you make your seminar even better next time around.

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