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.

How not to do direct mail – part 2

Chantal

About 18 months ago, we got in touch with a company that sells mailing lists, to see if they could provide us with useful contacts for one of our clients. At the time, we had a lady called Lisa working with us.

Recently we received a letter from the mailing list company, with words and phrases like ‘Targeted’, ‘Focused’ and ‘Up to Date’ printed all over the envelope. It was addressed to Lisa; she moved to a different job over a year ago!

If a huge mailing house, that specialises in selling business data, can’t get it right, who can?! How difficult is it to keep in touch with your clients and prospects, to check that their details are up to date? How much money could you save by updating information before putting large envelopes in the post?

Before the digital age, I was a big fan of direct mail. I used it a great deal during the first couple of years of my business, to find new clients. I looked up marketing and PR companies online and then called them, to ask for the name of the best person to send information to. I posted them a letter and a leaflet, none of which ever came back with ‘not known at this address’ on them. Then I made more phone calls to arrange appointments. On the limited budget of a start up business, it worked really well. I had the time to do the research and saved a lot of money by getting the correct details. Some people I spoke to didn’t need my help, which saved me from sending them anything in the first place.

Direct mail still works if you do it properly. Spend time doing some research before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard!) and you won’t fill up your letterbox (or inbox) with returns. Instead, you’ll get to speak to people who are interested and want to work with you.