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While Most People Agree It’s Difficult to Fill “Pitch-Fest” Seminars Anymore, One Strategy Still Works for Marketing Your Services Via Preview Workshops and Seminars… 

Join Mozart and J.S. Bach and Start “Marketing on the Fringe.”

While I usually don’t talk about my downtime activities outside of work, today I’m happy to do so to help and make a point about a strategy that can work well for marketing your small business or consulting firm. This week, I was in Boston for an industry event, but during my “off hours” I took advantage of one of my favorite pastimes…listening to classical music. As luck would have it, the world-renowned Boston Early Music Festival was taking place, too. For music lovers like me, the Festival offered seven days of recitals, operas and concerts featuring music of the 15th through 18th centuries by composers like Mozart, Bach and Telemann, played on authentic period instruments like the harpsicord, traverso and contrabass.


But what’s so interesting about the Festival — and here’s my marketing point — is that, in addition to the regular “official” schedule of events, an entire series of smaller concerts and recitals was taking place, too. In fact, knowing that music lovers would be flying into town anyway for the real thing, nearly a hundred performing arts groups staged their own concerts and recitals in churches, theaters and other venues — charging $10 or $15…or in some cases nothing at all. They just wanted to preview their work. So in addition to seeing world-class orchestras and vocalists on the regular schedule, one could attend an afternoon concert by the outstanding New England Conservatory or Viola de Gamba Society of America. Apparently, these performances have become so popular that the Early Music Festival itself now facilitates these Fringe Concerts by suggesting venues and even publishing a full schedule of Fringe Concert events. Early music performers have discovered it’s easy to market your own event when people are coming to town anyway. This powerful marketing principle is one that I’ve used over the years (as have many of my colleagues) to “attach” our own events to a trade show, conference or other large-scale event that draws people from all over the country to attend.

* In one case, I booked a small conference room in the same hotel as an alternative healthcare conference and posted signs around the lobby offering attending practitioners a preview of a business opportunity.

* A colleague who was “locked out” of another industry event for years, used this strategy to hold a preview workshop about a service she provides to professionals likely to be at the trade show.

* And a well-known Internet marketing expert frequently held a one-day workshop ahead of the National Speakers Association conference to teach speakers and authors about marketing their work on the Internet.

What large-scale event does your industry hold to which you could attach a workshop or preview?

Making Instant Income By Marketing on the Fringe

Since the ultimate goal of these preview workshops is to recruit new clients and sell a product or service package, your primary goal should be to develop the workshop presentation to close as many attendees into the buying opportunity as possible. Like all good direct-response advertising messages, live presentations should include a problem to be solved, a compelling offer for your package, and a call-to-action—together with a complete description of what new customers and clients will get when they purchase at the preview workshop (versus afterward), and lots of supporting facts, figures, details, industry trends and other information to support the idea that the prospect needs what you have to offer. Far from the multi-speaker “pitch-fest” weekend seminars that have virtually stopped working over the past few years, a preview workshop by a single local expert or consultant can still close lots of new clients into a product or service purchase. If your product or service is complicated to explain, needs further education to see the value or could benefit from the group sales dynamic of lots of interested, intelligent prospects all in the same room hearing useful information about a professional service, new industry regulation or business technique, preview marketing could work well for you.

Janet Switzer




Creative Commons License photo credit: wuestenigel