Business seminars are all the rage these days.
It’s hard to look through an events directory or listen to the radio for a while without noticing how frequently they’re being held. There’s at least one major reason for this proliferation: they work.
They could work for you too, and in a number of ways.
First, there’s the brand exposure you get when you’re putting together an event that people are interested in. Your business is seen as having some kind of expertise in the sphere with which the seminar is concerned. You might get new clients and useful connections, especially if your attendees think they’ve gotten good value from your event. All of these are ingredients for growth.
But hosting the perfect enterprise boosting seminar is hard work. The bigger the event, the more challenging it is to pull off. You’ll have to get a lot of things in place in the run up to such events, and make sure it all works as you’ve planned. When it does come together the right way, it’ll be worth all the hassle.
Here are ten steps to organizing a seminar that puts your business in the public spotlight and gives value to participants as well.
Know why you’re doing it
You don’t just sell the sort of things you like; you sell things that are demanded by people other than yourself. This should be your approach to seminars. See it as you rendering a service to those who want it. That’s a good way to begin organizing a successful event.
In the end, you do want your business to reap some benefits from this. Decide what those benefits are. Then work to tilt everything in that direction.
Be sure your aims match your target audience’s in ways that allow both parties to gain from the seminar.
Choose a topic or theme
Your seminar has to be about something your business is connected with. It should also be concerned with an issue (or issues) in which there’s a considerable degree of interest from sections of the public, especially those you’ll normally be selling your products to. It could also be about your industry; you could have a seminar for new or aspiring entrepreneurs who are looking to do the same sort of thing your business currently does.
Note that the theme you decide upon will determine most aspects of the event’s organization. Go for topics that won’t make the seminar organization process an unbearable nightmare or a huge resource waster.
Study your intended audience
You’ll want to do this for a number of reasons.
There’s a need to know how big the target audience is, and how interested they are in events like the one you’re planning to have. The information you find about them should give you a good idea what sort of publicity you should have for the seminar, help you estimate the number of attendees you should expect, and what kind of speakers you should have at the event.
Pick a venue
The type of venue you choose for your event depends on the number of participants you’re expecting, the nature of the seminar, the accessibility of the location, and your ability to pay for it.
Don’t choose a venue until you have a fairly good estimate for the number of attendees you will be having. And do what you can to get a location that’s easily reachable, regardless of what part of your city participants will be coming from.
Deal with equipment and logistics
Plan logistics and have whatever equipment ready before the day of the program. This usually requires a lot of planning. Caution has to be taken in this respect because it’s crucial to your seminar’s success.
You might purchase equipment or rent them for the purpose of the event. Prepare a list of these things and make sure to note when they are being moved to and from their store. For example, you could have boxes on the list right next to the names of each equipment. Those boxes could be ticked when the equipment they represent is moved or returned to the store.
Send out personalized invitations
You can do this by creating and sending out emails to people you believe could be willing to attend the seminar. These messages may be made to look simple and without elaborate colour combinations, or sleek and aesthetically impressive. The quality of the copy in your invitation mails is vital as well. It all depends on who your target audience is and what catches their attention and persuades them. Find out more about creating and using an email list here.
Have content about the seminar published on popular blogs. Promote the event on social media, with creative posts. Paid adverts on these social media platforms also give you the opportunity to reach several more ideal seminar participants with your adverts than you normally would. You could have some publicity on newspaper or radio, if you can afford their rates.
Get expert speakers on board
The speakers at your seminar should be people who have a deep knowledge of the subject matter they’ll be discussing there. Reach out to people who your audience will want to hear. Getting them to speak at your event will be a bit more straightforward if you already have some kind of relationship with them, or if you have contacts with links to them.
People may become more interested in the seminar if they believe you have a lineup of high quality speakers for it.
Some companies may be eager to sponsor your event in order to get their brand greater exposure. Large gatherings are a fine opportunity to present their business and convert a fair number of people into paying clients. Businesses may have a better shot at this in seminars because they can choose the ones that are attended by people from their target demographic.
The actual publicity for sponsors may come as mentions in the course of the event; logos displayed in strategic positions at the venue; speaking slots; mentions in promotional and post event publicity material (traditional and digital media), etc.
Make the most of it
When you have the event on, you should do what you can to make it a success on the day.This means meeting participant’s expectations and presenting your business as a customer oriented problem solving venture. This of course fits in with the image that a well organized seminar creates for its organizers in the eyes of participants and the wider public.
Make sure to take contact details in the registration process preceding the event, in order to build a list of people you’ll inform about future events and your business’s services. Email addresses are especially important here.
Build a relationship with your speakers, sponsors and attendees. Follow up on participants with thank you emails. Give priority to leads obtained at the event. These are the multiple fronts on which you could open doors for your business’s growth right after your seminar.