When a workshop is more than just a workshop

If you offer any kind of service to customers, running workshops are a great way of marketing yourself and your business.  They inform and advise and can act as a great way of speaking directly to your target customer audience.  Also, as will become apparent here, they are not a one-off event in terms of marketing, they actually offer a lot more.

At Appletree we recently held a ½ day marketing workshop for small, service-based companies.  As well as it being a great opportunity to give marketing advice and tips to the businesses, it was also a great way to use a number of different marketing activities, at little or no cost.

On the surface, it was an activity that happened during a few hours, with a captive audience who listened and participated in a lively workshop.  Dig deeper however, and it becomes clear how many marketing activities were involved in the workshop, before, during and after the event.

Let me take you back a few weeks.  Once the venue and timings of the workshop had been confirmed, an online booking system was created.  An email promoting the event was then sent out to a database of small businesses.  This database was known to be ‘clean’ and up to date, an absolute must when dealing with contact databases.  Details of the event were added to our website.  This is great for SEO, which looks for regular updates on sites in order to rank them.  We then sent details of the event to another mailing list, via our monthly newsletter, which is linked to our website.  Again, this encouragement to visit our website is a great way to share more of our services to those contacts, and to improve SEO.

A reminder email was sent to all contacts a week before the event, and some follow up telephone calls made to outline the benefits of attending the workshop.

The desired number of delegates was reached before the day, and an email was sent to each asking if they had any specific objectives they were hoping to meet as a result of the workshop.  This was the start of relationship building with our key audience.

During the day we met some really interesting people, all of whom were small business owners and all wanting to learn how to use marketing successfully to help grow their businesses.  Feedback from the day was asked from each delegate, along with a personal thank you to each for attending.  It’s this long-term relationship building that creates the most long-lasting business opportunities.

All in all, around 6 different channels of marketing were used, just for a workshop that lasted a few hours.  It led to lots of ticks on our marketing activity plan!

So if you’re considering running a workshop but don’t think you have the time, consider it as a huge opportunity to cost effectively market yourself and your business.


Why it’s worth dumping your mailing list


Every now and then it’s worth dumping your mailing list and starting again. Really?!

Recently someone I know lost her newsletter mailing list. On it were about 300 contacts to whom she sent a regular, monthly newsletter. At first the open rate was really good at 80-90% and over time that percentage dropped as low as 40%. Then, due to technical reasons, her whole list was lost.

Her initial reaction was panic and then dispair. How could she possibly recontruct her mailing list? Then she remembered that all her contacts were still in her Outlook file and that the data was probably more up-to-date than what she’d had on the mailing list. She hadn’t actually looked at her mailing list for some time, to make sure it was recent. She’d probably been sending her newsletters to people who weren’t her ideal clients, or to email addresses that had changed.

So my colleague spent some time going through her Outlook contacts; she decided who she still wanted to send her newsletter to and who didn’t need to be on the list any more, and she checked for current email addresses.

The result? A much more targeted mailing list to which her newsletter will be sent. It will be read by people who really want to read it, who will recommend it to other people, rather than just deleting it.

So, you could dump your entire mailing list and start up a clean one. Or, less drastically, you could go through your list and do some spring cleaning. Take out anyone you know won’t find your newsletter useful or relevant anymore. Check that you’ve got correct email addresses and delete any that you know have ‘gone away’. And then watch your open rate shoot back up!

When did you last clean up your mailing list?