George Leith, VendAsta’s VP of sales, came back from Canton, Ohio raving about a seminar he had just attended. He gave his talk about online reputation management to a packed room, and had a ton of fun while doing it. So we asked: what does it take to put on an amazing seminar? We decided to go right to the source.
Based in Massachusetts, one of Propel’s biggest challenges in organizing seminars is that often they’re using a venue they’ve never even been to. Kaijsa Kurstin, director of marketing at Propel Marketing, shared with us some insights on how she organized and facilitated an awesome seminar with laudable conversion.
“The goal of these seminars is to create awareness of Propel Marketing within the market and to drive new leads and nurture existing customers,” explains Kurstin. “We typically like to have 100 attendees.”
Over 100 guests attended from 80 different businesses, out of which 42 appointments were made — a 51% conversion rate from attendance to appointments. Participants who filled out cards for appointments were entered into a draw to win an iPad mini that night, which created even greater incentive to speak with an account executive. Propel has approximately $152,000 of annual revenue in open opportunities, and over $38,000 has already been closed.
When guests arrive at the seminar, they check in and are given pre-printed name tags. As soon as they register, they are invited to grab a drink and a plate for the buffet dinner. “They sit down in the presentation room with their food and drink and we give them about 30 minutes to get settled in and eat. Each seat has a Propel pad of paper and a pen,” says Kurstin. “We also try to have semi-circle seating at round tables so everyone has a clear view of the speaker.” Propel also had banners hanging and company swag to hand out.
Propel Marketing promoted the event through local newspaper sites, press releases, in-market Facebook ads, email campaigns and lead lists. “We also have reps do phone blitzes the week leading up to the event. We monitor all the registration lists in real time and make adjustments daily to campaigns and email schedules,” says Kurstin. Propel targets potential participants through varying mediums to ensure the information reaches various demographics.
Planning a seminar yourself? No stranger to putting on amazing sessions, Kurstin has some valuable advice to offer: “make sure you use all the channels available to you.” Planning an out-of-market seminar, this is especially important. “Constantly stay on top of registration numbers and consistently message out the importance of the event to reps,” explains Kurstin. “Always iterate campaigns that aren't working — we changed our Facebook ad campaigns once or twice a week!” Find concise, direct messaging that works for your target audience. Test and evaluate frequently.
The other piece of the puzzle? Have relevant, interesting content. For Kaijsa and the team at Propel, that content piece often includes our very own George Leith. George has presented to thousands of local businesses on reputation management and digital media all over North America. His main strength lies in interpreting complex digital technology and helping local businesses see its value to their specific needs. “George was the best speaker I have seen in a long time. He brings real life examples and is able to drive home hard hitting points about why people need our services,” says Kurstin. “His examples and stats are up-to-date, and his presentations skills raise the bar. He is funny, witty, engaging, and can cross-sell our other products, which is a huge win for us.”