Murphy’s Law and Seminar Promotion

Murphy’s Law says that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. My corollary is that when you’re marketing a seminar, the chances of something going wrong increase exponentially with the size of your event and how much you have riding on the results of your promotions.

Consider one of my copywriting clients, whose seminar brochure disappeared sometime after being dropped off at the post office. My client had been promoting this particular event for years. He knew from experience that one brochure mailing was all he needed to do to fill the room.

So when the phone, which usually rings off the hook following a brochure drop, was deathly quiet, he knew something was seriously wrong.

Phone calls to several meaningful clients confirmed the worst – that the brochure, which we had spent weeks reworking, never arrived in his clients’ mailboxes. Now the seminar, his biggest moneymaker of the year, was in danger of being a bust.

instead of moan about his bad luck, the client closest switched to Plan B. He ordered more brochures, arranged another mailing, and hit the phones to drum up registrations.

Murphy’s Law doesn’t always present in such emotional ways. But it doesn’t hurt to formulate a Plan B for most scenarios. Here are just a few tips to help you prepare for the worst:

  • Use first class mail if you can swing the expense. Third-class mail is more likely to go missing (already if the post office won’t let in it).
  • Don’t rely on just one mailing to do all of your promotional work.
  • The more times and different ways you contact prospects, the more likely you are to get by… and the less effect a “lost” mailing will have on you.
  • Stay in touch with your vendors. If it looks like a vendor is going to miss a deadline, which will then mess up the rest of your promotional schedule, you want enough time to recruit someone else to finish the job.
  • Get to your meeting room early to ensure that it’s set up exactly the way you stated. You don’t want to be rearranging tables when attendees start showing up.
  • Make sure you have the names and phone numbers of meaningful contact people at your hotel (or in any case facility is hosting your event) so you know who to call if you need assistance.
  • Carry copies of your handouts with you so you can get additional packets made up for attendees if you run out… or if the packets you ship from your office get lost.
  • Know where the emergency exits are. And proportion this information during your opening “housekeeping” announcements instead of waiting until an emergency situation crops up to try issuing directions.

Remember, if something can go wrong, it will — especially when you’re marketing and producing a seminar. Prepare a Plan B (and already C) to ensure you’re ready for in any case mishaps roll your way.

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