Successful seminar marketing selling

Camilla Pemberton Event Marketing

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Effective seminar marketing steps to fill your next live event

Are your seminar attendance figures not as high as you would like them to be? Don’t assume it’s because of a lack of interest. All too often, it’s the pre-seminar marketing that misses the mark. I recently attended a seminar about Inheritance Tax planning. One of the attendees sitting next to me afterwards said, ‘This is one of the best and most informative seminars I’ve ever attended,’ followed by, ‘Too bad only six people showed up.’

This is a common theme we quite often hear at Goldmine Media from many financial adviser firms that look to target specific audiences, whether that’s teachers, doctors, lawyers or a specific area of advice (retirement planning, equity release, and so on).

Holding seminars is one of the most effective ways to attract high-end clients to your business. However, what tends to happen is that all the planning and energy goes into the actual seminar at the expense of the marketing that should be filling up the venue and getting all those bums on seats, leading to a low seminar attendance and low ROI.

Should you start charging a seminar registration fee?

Okay, I’m not saying in all instances that you should charge a fee; this will depend on the theme of your seminar and the perceived value. If marketed and delivered correctly, I agree free events can work just as well as paid events. But why not test both paid and free seminars, and see if it does make a difference to attendance figures?

Reasons why charging a seminar registration fee can work

Over the years, I’ve spoken to many financial advisers, and pretty much all of them assume their seminars should be free.

Here are a few reasons to consider charging a registration fee:

  • Paid events will often generate more actual attendees than free events
  • Paid events tend to have significantly fewer no-shows than free events
  • The attendees you generate are usually more interested in the event than those attending for a free breakfast or lunch, or cups of coffee
  • People come expecting value instead of a sales pitch. If you then deliver value, you’ll establish the expectation and knowledge that time with you is worth the money

Where’s the value?

The seminar title you opt for should clearly state what value you will deliver at the event. You also want it to be as short as possible (but as long as needed) and appeal to the prospective attendees. Using the words ‘how to’ in an event title has proven time and time again to increase attendance. The title ‘Learn about new investment opportunities’ (a real title I saw recently) would be much more effective if it were called ‘How you can now take advantage of new tax-efficient investment opportunities’.

A very simple approach to come up with a seminar title is to make a list of a dozen or so different ways you could title the event. Ask for feedback from colleagues, clients and prospective clients. If you run the seminar multiple times, test different titles and see if one title generates more attendees than the other.

Social media

Use social media channels for your pre-seminar marketing, making sure it is posted on the relevant social media platforms. Your prospective attendees who respond to this pre-announcement might be the ones who are really interested or who are willing to share the event later on. Tweet about the event on a regular basis, and use a special hashtag for your seminar. Ask Twitter followers you are in regular contact with to share your event on Twitter (and on other social media networks). It helps if you have built up a relevant group of followers before you start promoting your event.

Invite all the relevant people you are connected with via LinkedIn. You should already have built up a relevant network on LinkedIn before you start promoting your seminar. Post the event in relevant LinkedIn groups – this can be done under ‘promotions’.

Seminar page

Create a separate seminar page on your website that showcases all the details about your event. This is quite simply a page on your website or a standalone web page that provides additional information about the seminar, what the attendee can expect and why they should attend — the all-important ‘value’. People searching on the Internet can end up on your seminar landing page by following links from various sources such as social media, blogs, email and paid adverts.

The primary goal of your seminar landing page is to persuade the visitor to provide their contact details and register for the seminar. The data you capture can also be used for future marketing activities. Use ‘share buttons’ at the end of the seminar page so people can easily share the event with others online. Ask each person that registers for the seminar to share the event in their network.

Website banners

Create banners that you locate on other pages of your website to direct people to the seminar page. Write blogs about topics related to your event, and include a link to the event page at the bottom of each blog. This should also include banners that appear on each blog post you write during the pre-promotional period in the run-up to the seminar.

Press releases

Get in touch with journalists or editors of local and regional newspapers or news websites, and find out if they would be interested to interview you about the theme of your seminar. Make sure you approach them with a relevant, interesting angle for a story. Journalists are not there to promote your event. However, they could be interested in an interview with you if your event is linked to a lifestyle trend in financial services or to a trend in society in general.

Marketing partners

Marketing partners are an often-overlooked source for boosting seminar attendance. You could co-market the event with a professional introducer or trade association. With accountants and solicitors no longer being able to offer financial advice through some of their professional bodies, many have made the decision to move away completely from giving any form of financial advice. This provides you with a great opportunity to invite their clients to your seminar, enabling you to present to a full audience.

Looking to drive traffic to your seminars?

Seminars can be an incredibly effective way to grow your client base and generate more new business opportunities. Hopefully, the suggestions I’ve provided have taken some of the mystery out of getting more bums on seats for your future seminars. For more information about how Goldmine Media can help your business, talk to a member of our Business Development Team on 0845 686 0055, or email:

Camilla Pemberton, Event Marketing, Goldmine Media