One of my favorite Guerrilla Marketing weapons is free seminars. I’ve steadily used them to gain notoriety, additional speaking engagements, leads and clients.
As with any marketing execution free seminars don’t work 100% of the time, but when done right they can be really powerful. Why are free seminars better than other forms of marketing to generate business? The leading reason might be that, if you present well, it’s the best commercial for how good you are.
If you’re providing an intangible service, people need to get a taste of your expertise and capability before they’ll hire you. A free seminar positions you as an expert and can accelerate the forming of the opinion that you can solve their problems. You’ll know you’ve done a good job when people are eager to speak with you afterwards to talk about how you can help them specifically.
There are certain tactics I’ve found can go a long way towards making a free seminar more successful. If you’re using this weapon to grow your business, this set of tips may help you to get even more from your next seminar.
Tip number one: Look at the seminar as a paid presentation. Consider that every attendee has actually paid money to be there, which means your content had better be good. Regardless of an absence of a registration fee, there is such a thing as opportunity cost. Your attendee could be doing something else valuable with their time. Instead, they came to see you. Don’t ever think that you don’t have to work as hard to inform and captivate your audience because it’s a free seminar.
When you adopt the perspective that a free seminar is the same as a paid one, you’ll spend more time thinking about how to give something of value to your audience versus what you can sell them. Of course, we’re trying to sell them, but that’s secondary. Unless you wow them first you’ll never get to second base.
Tip number two: Start promoting the event at least 30 days out and ideally, 45 days out. In our current information overload society it takes a lot of repetition to break through someone’s consciousness. Given enough time, you can reach your intended audience. For a free seminar you might get as much as 70% drop off (I experienced this recently). So, you need to drum up a lot of registration to ensure you have a good size audience at show time. Make sure you actually get people to register. You’ll want their contact information to send reminders and updates along the way towards the event.
Tip number three: Tell people they’ll be getting a valuable free gift for attending. Plan to give attendees something that can really help them whether they do business with you or not. This works for you in two ways. Firstly, you’ll get a great number of people showing up. Secondly, they’ll think positively of you after the event, which may lead to business down the road from them or their referral.
Tip number four: Make a very special offer to attendees to do business with you soon after the event. Yes, perhaps this is obvious, but I don’t see everyone doing it. The fact is some presenters are loathe to give a very special offer when they’ve already given a killer free seminar. Change your mind about that. The best way to move an audience to action is to make them an offer too good to refuse. Otherwise, almost all of them will refuse it. Let’s face it, they came to a free seminar to learn. They’re going to have to see a really juicy offer to actually open their wallet.
Tip number five: Create a one to two-minute video as part of your promotional campaign. This is the taste before the taste. Yes, words do work, but we’re now firmly in the age of video marketing. Use it to your advantage to get a few more people to your event. If they like what they see on video they’re more likely to sign up and show up.
If you’d like more tips on making your next public seminar a success, drop in to my Facebook Page and ask me. Good luck!
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