One of the most effective methods to obtain new customers is, without a doubt, through delivering information and training to potential new customers. Alternatively, deliver the training to those organizations and associations who service, or gather together, your potential customers.
Think about it – the audience, who may or may not know you, has just spent 1-2 hours listening to you: the authority. They had their attention fixed in your direction while you imparted new knowledge and revelations.
What is your relationship to your potential customers now, for this period of time that you are delivering the talk?
It is of a mentor and student.
Who do students listen to?
They listen to their instructors.
Who is their instructor?
This is now one of the easiest sales processes to follow up on because you are already filed in their minds as an expert. A thought leader. In fact, even if the person who attended the talk does not sign up with you, they will frequently refer their friends and colleagues to you or your business and highly recommend it – despite having no personal experience of working with you merely because you are now positioned as a thought leader.
Making Event Marketing Easy…
There are definite steps to take to make event marketing of this nature truly successful and these steps are what I want to discuss with you.
1. Decide what training workshops, seminars or classes you could deliver. This should be something that customers ask about constantly, or something in your industry that is frequently talked about or a common problem that people want to solve.
In the case of a one weight loss clinic, the owner delivers cooking classes designed to assist with weight loss. Similarly, Whole Foods locations frequently promote cooking classes. At RESPONSE! we deliver free and paid training on email marketing and social media to small businesses and marketing and PR professionals.
If you plan to charge for your training, it may be worthwhile to create free or inexpensive talks to introduce potential customers first to drive up the initial attendees.
2. Partner with groups that have access to the type of customers you are looking for. This strategy gives you access to promotion opportunities and attendees with much less time and effort for your business.
Chiropractors frequently organize talks with HR Departments. General Contractors might work with insurance agencies to provide valuable information to the agents who in turn will send homeowners to them for claim work. At RESPONSE! we partner with Constant Contact, SCORE (Senior Council of Retired Executives), Small Business Monthly and a number of Chambers of Commerce. In this way we get access to our target audience of small business owners through these partners’ email lists and, as an added incentive, the intended audience already knows and trusts the organization that is contacting them through email or newsletters to invite them to our seminars!
3. Collect contact information for all attendees, anyone who is interested in attending as well as your existing customers with specific attention on email addresses. Past attendees will frequently return for another talk – event he same talk. This provides you with another opportunity to sell them on your business. In one instance, a local business owner attended our free seminars three times and the third time he scheduled a consultation. When we go to trade shows or networking meetings we could attempt to sell many things. What we usually do is invite potential customers to our next free seminar. We also promote talks to our own existing clients.
4. Use an online Event Marketing System such as Constant Contact’s EventSpot. This allows you to create a quick and easy event promotion page online, capture registrants information, allows you to charge for tickets if it is a paid talk and, optionally, collects the money for you when the person registers to attend. It also provides you with an easy method to store emails lists and create email invitations. This is a real no-brainer – just a few dollars a month and saves my staff and I hours of work plus I know instantly how many attendees are registered for an event with my Constant Contact iPhone app 24 hours a day. Frankly, I would never attempt to hold the number of seminars and classes that I do without these tools.
5. Have easy, portable banners and displays for quick, professional set-up. When I have to be ready to speak in front of an audience at 8:30 am, in someone else’s venue, I need my Event Organizer to be able to set-up in less than 30 minutes. We have roll-up banner stands and wall clings that we can set-up in minutes. They transform any space instantly into a well branded extension of our business and advertise key introductory offers that we wish to sell to the audience. Many times the banner advertisements s have caused the audience to approach my staff or I to sign up on the spot. How much easier can it get than that.
6. Collect feedback, using printed forms, to improve or plan your future talks. Feedback forms give you the true data on how your talks are being received by the audience and can be used to pinpoint exact topics that the audience would return to future talks.
7. Design professional PowerPoint or Keynote slideshows. A professional slideshow laid out with simple slides (not too much content crammed into one slide) with powerful illustrative images can really help a presentation along. In fact, my slide shows are laid out so I simply talk about the point on the screen then move to the next slide. I need very little notes and can talk naturally about that one point, giving real world experiences and examples to really get the communication across. This also simplifies switching slides around to change the flow of the talk or to add slides for parts where the audience had questions or needed more information, or to subtract slides the audience obviously did not respond to. Speaking to a very specific audience? Take the same slide show and copy it. Then edit as to language choices and images to target the audience you will be presenting to. For instance, I took my social media seminar and edited for a group of teachers by changing “customers” to “students” or “parents” and changed the examples to be applicable to schools or education facilities. I, as you can tell, use the same slideshow and presentations repeatedly making the initial investment in time to set-up and design the slides well worth it.
8. At the end of the talk direct the audience to take an action. Usually this is to take advantage of an introductory offer. In our feedback forms we offer several discounted consultation services and I discuss these at the end of the presentation. My staff then collect feedback and direct anyone who appears interested to schedule their discounted consultation. This process makes it very easy to get new sign-ups as we have a definite, specific offer we make which directly relates to the subject of the talk.
These tips took quite a bit of experimentation to work out. I highly recommend implementing them into your business to see your new customers increase significantly!