Teach 'em They Can't Live Without You

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It has been said; it isn't what you know, but who you know.

Personally, I don't think it is as much about who you know, as it is, who knows YOU. This is especially true when you own a small business. How can you maximize your personal outreach with out maxing out your calendar or your budget?  Educational events.

Email newsletters, blogs and well-optimized websites are all critical parts of a successful marketing plan, but don't overlook the importance sharing information and knowledge via face-to-face contact when planning your outreach opportunities. Bring clients or potential clients together in a relaxed educational atmosphere and share knowledge of a product, process or service that can improve their professional or personal life.

All day conferences with keynote speakers and breakout sessions have their place, but don't overlook the simple get together as a way to connect with current and potential clients. Just remember to make the presentation educational and not overly sales oriented.

The success of any event hinges on how well you do your homework. When planning events be sure you have answers to the key questions:

Why are you hosting an event?
Who are your target attendees?
What kind of knowledge are your attendees interested in acquiring?
What location is most convenient for your attendees?
What time of year/week/day is best for your audience?
How can you best promote your event to reach your target audience?

Despise public speaking? Not an expert on a specific topic, not to worry. Bring in a speaker to make the presentation or support you while you present (this has the added benefit of lessoning the perception of your event being nothing but a sales pitch).

Should you charge a registration fee to attend your event?  The answer to that question goes back to your knowledge of your target audience.  Even a small fee, reinforces the idea that this isn't a sales presentation. However, there is good will to be gained from giving away something for nothing. Regardless of whether you charge a fee, make registration easy and secure.

Remind registered attendees of the details (where, when and why) one week before the event and again one day before the event.  Understand that life happens.  Attendees who promised they'd be there will have a mission critical emergency at work or home.  Others who said no because of a conflict will suddenly be available.  Plan for the unexpected.

The way to anyone's brain is through his or her stomach. Make sure to have food and beverages available, but don't be afraid to mix things up a little and remember to offer a few healthy alternatives.

Be prepared.  Practice the presentation, triple check any audiovisual equipment (and have back ups of key elements such as projector bulbs, laptops and PowerPoint Presentations).

Make sure attendees leave with something, a detailed outline of the presentation, a flash drive with copies of your slides even a coffee mug.  Give them something that will remind them of how knowledgeable you are.

Most of all relax and enjoy yourself.   You're good at what you do (or you wouldn't be in business right?) Seize the day and make sure your clients or prospective clients understand that they simply cannot live without you.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lee Laughlin published on November 24, 2008 11:02 AM.

Fear Not was the previous entry in this blog.

Do The Right Thing, Someome is Watching is the next entry in this blog.

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