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Stuart Banbery

Interactive Software


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Marketing an open day as a training provider


When it comes to Marketing an event as training provider there are a few simple rules to follow in order to generate a strong ROI, to leave your prospects with a good impression and to make sure you’re getting the most out of your training management software.

There are no dark arts or smoke and mirrors at play, you just need a few best practices, a sound understanding of your target market and some structured post-event conversion techniques.

So let’s jump right in…

Invite key industry figures

It might be as old as the hills themselves and under pressure from new-fangled Marketing techniques, but good old word of mouth should be your bread and butter when promoting your open day. After all, how will anyone come if they don’t know about it? So email, tweet, call and network until or fingers hurt.

One of the most effective ways to extend the reach of your event Marketing messages, beyond your own email lists and Twitter followers, is to collaborate with some of the big names and influencers in your industry.

These could be CEO’s of well-known brands, sponsors or high-profile bloggers etc. Invite them along to do a speaking slot at the event. It’s free PR for them and the chances are you will be able to negotiate a reciprocal arrangement where they also promote your event in the lead up to it. If you can get real high calibre personalities to attend who are respected and admired by your prospects, these people will help bring your target market right to your doorstep.

Exist where your prospects do

Whether you think social media is a passing fad or the holy grail of modern Marketing, the fact is there’s a good chance the majority of your target market exist in cyberspace in some shape or form – so why not use it to your advantage?

The trick is to carry out some market research with your current customers or potential prospects and identify which social media platforms they are using, how they are using them and why.

The chances are that your research will flag up a number of social platforms that you can use (for free), so here’s a quick guide to how you can use the most common;

Facebook – With over 1.25 Billion people using Facebook, it’s likely many of your prospects are on there too. You can create a group for your event/s and invite people to join to stay in touch with all the latest event information. Once they are members, keep yourself front of mind by promoting the successes of your previous events and with regular updates, news and photos.

If you want to take things to the next level you could invest in some paid Facebook advertising, where you can use the platforms targeting filters to focus right in on the demographic that match your prospects…again, this is where you will need to have some validated market research.

Twitter – Similar to Facebook, but much more quick and snappy, Twitter can be used to continually drip-feed small snippets of information, updates or photos you’ve just taken on your mobile. One helpful trick here is create a hashtag for the event to group all of your updates together.

Again, similarly to Facebook, you can use paid / targeted advertising here if you wish. The latest training management software also has Twitter integration, so you can capture all of your prospects interactions and build a detailed profile of them to inform your campaigns.

LinkedIn – Create a page for your company and ask your key staff to create profiles. Promote your event on your company page and get your staff to grow their network of connections and then promote your event to them.

Find out what groups your prospects are members of and promote your event here. Again, paid / targeted advertising opportunities are available here if you have budget to use.

WhatsApp – The new social platform on the block is certainly growing in popularity. You can create a group for everyone attending the event or working at the event. You can keep everyone up to date with the event, members can talk / network amongst themselves, and then once the event is over you can simply delete the group and create a new one for your next event.

Use information…both ways

Use the information relating to your event to create content that you can share. People attending your event will want to know everything about it – so give it to them, including;

·        When the event is happening

·        Start and finish times

·        Any associated costs

·        How to find it

·        Programme for the day

·        Key industry figures attending

·        Food and drink arrangements

·        Where to park

·        Disability arrangements

·        FAQ’s

·        Any prizes on offer

You also want to capture as much information as possible about attendees and store it in the CRM area of your training management software. You can use pre-event surveys and on the day registration forms, try and capture their name, email address, telephone number, course interests (which speaking slots did they attend?) and social media preferences as a minimum.

This information can then be used to convert them into customers after the event, or to target them with other offers and courses as part of new Marketing campaigns.

The more you practice the luckier you will be

Hold a couple of “dry runs” of your event before the big day, things are always very different in reality compared to when planning them. Practice checking people in, sound equipment, queuing and timings, and make sure your staff are well rehearsed in their roles for the day

And remember…always, always, always follow up!

Right, your event has just finished, it was a major success – now what? Well, this is where the hard work really begins. Firstly, keep the event (and your training company) fresh in your prospects mind with news, images and reviews of the event.

Pass all of the information you have gathered on the individual attendees to your Sales team, they can use this to follow up with a phone call and try to convert these prospects to customers based on what you now know about them.

If this is your first open day event you will have learnt a lot of lessons (some of them hard), so hold a full post-event debrief with your staff and put together an action plan for the next event – continuous improvement is what you’re looking for here.

Your attendees can also help, post-event digital surveys, again using your training management software can really help validate your own views on the success of the event.

Developed in collaboration with leading L&D professionals and fully-accredited by the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), ATMS (Achiever Training Management Software) is a robust, powerful and scalable solution for the training provision sector. ATMS utilises the latest technology to enable training providers to drive profits through communications and conversion, reduce costs through automation and visibility, and manage courses and customer experience across multiple touch-points.

Discover more ingenious ideas for training providers on Twitter and Linkedin.

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Stuart Banbery


Read more from Stuart Banbery

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