Putting On A Seminar

Done correctly, seminars can increase your company's visibility--and even ring up sales.

Anyone who's attended an interesting and informative seminarknows it can be one of the best ways to train staff, keep yourselfup-to-date on industry changes and learn new skills. On the flipside, seminars are also a powerful way to build awareness of yourcompany, market your product or services, and possibly create a newrevenue stream for your business. Whatever type of businessyou're in, you probably have knowledge and expertise thatothers would find helpful--and that might encourage them to useyour services. Follow this checklist to make your seminarsgreat:

  • When determining what to charge for your seminar, consider tworules of thumb: 1) Most people will attend events for whichthey'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 anotherbusiness that's related to yours.
  • Do some homework before you schedule your seminar to avoidcompeting with other events that could reduce your attendance.
  • Create a concise marketing plan for your seminar. Includepublicity, direct mail, advertising and other appropriatepromotional vehicles.
  • Before you determine the length of your seminar, consider youraudience, your topic and other related factors. If you'replanning to speak to a room full of accountants, don't schedulea half-day seminar during tax season.
  • Most hotels and conference centers routinely host seminars andhave the process down to a science. If your budget won't allowfor such accommodations, check out renting space at a local collegeor training facility.
  • Advance registration gives you a good idea of how many peopleto expect and how many handouts you'll need. Always ask howregistrants heard about the seminar so you can track your marketingresults.
  • Handouts are one of the most overlooked tools in seminarmarketing. Give your attendees professional-looking materials thatsupport key points in your presentation.
  • Have enough staff at the event to handle registration,last-minute errands, product sales, distribution of handouts andother event essentials.
  • Be sure you obtain names, postal and e-mail addresses, andother important contact information from your attendees forfollow-up purposes. You may also wish to develop an evaluation formto distribute and collect to help you make your seminar even betternext time around.

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