Marketing Seminars Through Community Colleges

10 Reasons to Follow Up with Prospects

By Jenny Hamby, the Seminar Marketing Pro™
Certified Guerrilla Marketer and Direct-Response Copywriter

Offering your seminars through a local community college seems like a great way to generate income and clients … without the hassles of renting a meeting room, handling logistics or doing the marketing. You turn in your course description, then show up to teach.

Unfortunately, the reality is not so pretty. The primary tool used to promote events is a course catalog, which means your seminar will be listed alongside hundreds of other courses … and your course description will only be a few lines long. (If you’re lucky, you might get a longer slightly longer description online … or maybe even be listed in a brochure that promotes 6 to 12 related courses, such as business management courses.)

For the most part, however, people who want more information will call the college for details, yet the person who answers could easily not be too interested in selling.

It’s not that they don’t care about making the sale – not-for-profit organizations definitely should be making a profit. (The difference is that profits are reinvested in the organization vs. distributed to shareholders or owners, as with for-profit organizations.)

The problem is that (1) they typically aren’t salespeople, (2) they have way too much to do in a day, (3) they don’t know anything about your seminar or they don’t understand the true benefits of what you’re offering, and (4) the person answering the phone may be a registration assistant who’s trained only to register students – not sell them on attending your event.

To help fill the seats you secure at local venues, consider the following:

  1. Ask if you can write your own course description. You know your material – and prospective attendees – better than anyone. Write something that hammers home the benefits of choosing YOUR program.
  2. Find out in advance what, if anything, your program coordinator will be doing to market your seminar. Ask how you can supplement their efforts. If you write a salesletter, will they send it out? If you split the cost of a separate mailing promoting your course only, will they do it? If you offer a free preview seminar, will they promote it? Asking these questions also lets the program coordinator know how to satisfy the different needs of those marketing seminars which, in turn, will benefit them as well with a higher number of student registrations.
  3. Provide your seminar coordinator with a “cheat sheet” that lists key details that can be used to sell your seminar, such as who should attend, the top benefits, answers to common questions, and questions the registrar can ask to help callers decide if your course is right for them.
  4. Do your own promotions. There’s nothing stopping you from sending out your own press release, postcards, newsletters, etc. Yes, you will then be investing your own money into promoting the “college’s” course, but if your students turn into clients, the investment may be worth it. You can also try negotiating a bonus commission for any students you bring in.

Finding new and inventive ways to market your seminar to a not-for-profit venue can only help your business in the long run, by putting your event in front of prospective customers in the form of students.

guerrilla-marketerJenny Hamby is a Certified Guerrilla Marketer and direct-response copywriter who helps speakers, coaches and consultants fill seminar seats and make more money from their own seminars and workshops. Her on- and offline direct marketing campaigns have netted response rates as high as 84 percent … on budgets as small as $125.

For 31 of her most powerful seminar marketing secrets, click here.