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Using events to promote your business

Yesterday, I described an email where past events were advertised – and suggested it was not a great idea!

Yet running or being involved in events such as seminars can be a very effective marketing tool. Assuming the event is well run and provides useful information, the event shows you as an expert, professional, helpful and possibly generous with your knowledge.

Obviously, in the lead up to an event you need to promote it to attract people to the event itself – not much of an event if no one turns up because they didn’t know about it!

However, you can also promote an event to market your business as well as the event – and this marketing can follow the event as well as lead up to it. Worst case, people know you run seminars and may be able to attend your next one; best case, people give you more respect and trust in you, and are more aware of your business.

Some ways you can use an event afterwards to promote your business and credibility are:

  • talk about how much you enjoyed the event afterwards – and how much you learned. That may even include mention of things that didn’t work that you have learnt from. Talk about it in your blog and newsletter, as well as on forums, at networking sessions and with colleagues
  • gather testimonials from people who were at the event. You can put these on your website (especially near the details for the next event), in a portfolio/resume, quoted in marketing materials, in your blog and newsletter, and in media releases for future events
  • ask attendees at the event to review the event – written reviews can be added to your site/blog/newsletter, or even better, to theirs! If they do review or mention your event in their blog, make sure you leave a comment thanking them for their perspective and perhaps adding something useful as a thank you
  • give attendees something that is branded for your event – this probably only applies to bigger events like a conference or full day event. If they wear a tee-shirt, carry a bag, mark a place in a book , drink from a water bottle, add a button to their website, use  USB key or write with a pen branded for your event, people may ask them about it and they will remember it for longer themselves.
  • mention the event, as appropriate, in future media contacts, articles, blog posts, newsletters and so on, although don’t do it all the time as that would just be boring and counter-productive!
  • set up surveys asking for feedback to help you improve the next event – invite people from the last event and others to complete it. This gives you market insight whilst also drawing attention to the fact you have an event coming up!

What other ways have you used or seen used for promoting events after they have happened?

Advertising the past is pointless

I just received an email newsletter – one I’ve been considering unsubscribing from anyway – which amazed me. It had a very long introduction, then some ads and then a list of seminars they are running.

However, the first two seminars listed were in December 2008! And the third was for today!

Ok, today’s one would have some hope of attracting some extra people to the seminar, but what is the point of advertising something I can’t go to no matter how much I would like to? It wasted their time and mine for absolutely no gain – in fact, it has annoyed me so I’m less likely to believe in what they say.

Once an event is finished, there is really no point advertising it – as far as I know, no one has invented a time machine yet! Discuss how good it was, lessons learned or give testimonials afterwards by all means, by advertising it may hurt your business more than help it!