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Building the right menu for seminar success

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Having decided on optimal geographic locations and facilities for a seminar event, you now face the issue of what to serve your guests. Offering several choices opens you up to problems, such as server issues. That is why I offer only one choice of meal (for example, Caesar salad and chicken fettuccini.) Once in a while, a guest will have special dietary needs, and of course, I try to meet those needs.

The next order of business is filling the room with folks who meet your demographic requirements. For a successful seminar, you have to get quite a few people to come to your event. Anytime you can have three nights of seminar with 25 to 30 people each night, you are doing a good job of marketing yourself. There are lots of ways to get people to your event. If you place an ad in the local newspaper, you will draw many people, but they will not be exclusively your target audience. My experience with flyers, cold calls and senior centers have produced disappointing results. Direct mail, however, can be very successful because you can target a specific geographical area of people who fit your demographic requirements. I mail to this segment within a five-mile radius of the restaurant.

Next, you need to choose your invitation. You can use a fancy wedding-style invitation, as I have done, but a simple postcard will get the same response at less than half the cost. The postcards are effective because they are sent as first class mail, which means they will get to the target market in about five days, and because they are cost effective. A wedding-style invitation will be sent as bulk mail. With first class mail, you will receive notices regarding non-deliverable addresses, so that you can remove them from your list; with bulk mail, you will not. So, it makes sense to try the postcard invitation and measure the results. Finally, you will need to decide which zip codes and specific demographic to target. The age group of 55 to 79 is a good group for the senior market. A seminar for this group can take place at 4:30 p.m. If you drop below age 55, however, you will need to produce the seminar after the workday, at 6 or 6:30 p.m.

Craig Randall is the President of Randall Wealth Management Group and CEO of Randall Marketing Group. Contact info at Responses and questions can be sent to [email protected].

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