If you want to learn how to make money by holding seminars, workshops, or bootcamps, you’ll enjoy reading Marketing and Promoting Your Own Seminars and Workshops by Fred Gleeck.
Drawing upon his vast experience in holding over 1,300 one-day seminars (and flying over two million miles to provide them) over the last fifteen years, Gleeck provides a readable introduction to getting started in the seminar business. Even if you have experience hosting seminars or in public speaking, you’ll probably find Marketing and Promoting Your Own Seminars and Workshops a good read.
The Seminar Business
Gleeck says the business of providing seminars has the potential to earn an individual several hundred thousand dollars a year or even upwards of a million dollars a year. He says that the seminar business also provides the opportunity to learn new things, meet interesting people, travel, and be an onstage ham, if you want.
Why ham-it-up a bit during a seminar? After surveying thousands of individuals about the characteristics great public speakers have, Gleeck found three dominant results: Great speakers are sincere, knowledgeable, and humorous.
How do you know if you’re humorous? Gleeck writes:
“It’s only funny if they laugh. The definition of funny must come from the people receiving the message. I don’t care if you think a joke is funny. I don’t care if your family thinks it is funny. It is not funny if people don’t laugh.”
In addition to liking humor because we know whether or not it’s working, Gleeck likes measurable business results. Gleeck discusses setting measurable goals for your events.
“I have three goals when I give a seminar. First, I want to get great evaluations. Second, I want to sell a lot of product. Third, I want to achieve both of these goals in such a way that people will enthusiastically want to do business with me again. …All three of these can be measured”
Profitability of Seminars
Gleeck goes on to suggest revenue per person (attending the seminar) per minute (of time invested in presenting the seminar) as a yardstick of a financially successful seminar. Gleeck also discusses price testing of your seminars to maximize profitability.
Gleeck is a strong proponent of the back-end profitability of seminars. Rather than just maximizing the seminar registration revenue, Gleeck suggests that the key to seminar success is maximizing the total revenue that the seminar generates for you.
Gleeck expresses this as: TR = SR + PS + CB, which says that the total revenue generated by a seminar is the sum of the seminar registration fees plus the product sales generated during the seminar plus the consulting business generated by the seminar. (In fact, Gleeck point out that seminars are a great way to generate business if you are a consultant)
To be able to maximize seminar profitability, Gleeck suggests calculating the lifetime value of your seminar customers. Then, you know how much you can spend on marketing to acquire new customers.
Gleeck also says that you should record your seminars. In addition to allowing you to critique your performance, Gleeck writes:
“… you may capture a ‘magic moment’ on tape. What is a magic moment? This is where you do or say something to your audience that brings the house down. They either laugh or cry or explode with applause and adulation. You want to have this on tape. Take all of the magic moments and cut them together and you will have a phenomenal demo video or audio that you can use to promote yourself as a speaker and seminar leader.”
Other Revenue Opportunities
Gleeck is also a strong supporter of recording your seminars to sell audio tapes to people who want to hear the seminar but were not be able to attend. At $197 a pop, it’s easy to see how selling seminar tapes can add to the bottom line. Gleeck says successful seminar promoters often generate 50% or more of their profits from the sales of tapes, videos, books, and other products.
What about people who don’t want to sell products at their seminars? Gleeck tells them to get over it. He says selling products is too profitable to pass up. Gleeck suggests creating products at many different price points and upselling to generate more revenue. Gleeck says leave your books at home–they just aren’t profitable enough.
Gleeck also says that your seminar products must not only be good, they must be great (and, of course, he has a way to measure this–rates of return and rates of customer repeat business). Gleeck also points out that withholding valuable information in an attempt to upsell customers to higher-priced products is a failing strategy. Rather, Gleeck argues that you want to make your information so useful that customers want more.
“Marketing And Promoting Your Own Seminars And Workshops” also provides some great advice about marketing seminars (in particular, writing direct mail promotions for your seminars), hotel coffee, psyching yourself up for a speech or seminar, keeping audience attention, hiring other presenters, 1-800 numbers, and many other topics.
Overall, I don’t know if any audio tape is worth $197, but at $14.95, if you are thinking of getting into the seminar business, Fred Gleeck’s book, Marketing and Promoting Your Own Seminars and Workshops represents a tremendous value.
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