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Educational Marketing Works……..

What better way to tell your story than to have a captive market for an hour. Whether you call it a seminar or a class or an informational gathering, the goal is to get a group of people together to listen to you. This type of marketing has been used mostly for selling financial services, but I believe that any product or service can be sold in an educational setting. This is not a hard sale session, but an opportunity to tell your story and that of your product or service.

There are two facets to this process: first, getting people to attend and second, offering a “compelling” session. Let’s take a closer look at these two issues.

Getting an audience:

  • Data base: back to the basics, hopefully you are in the process of growing your data base every day of your business life. Remember your data base sources:  family, friends, neighbors, business acquaintances, clients, prospects, people you buy services from, civic groups, church friends, etc. etc. etc. Building this data base should be part of your daily work. A good goal is a minimum of 3 to 5 new contacts a week. These must be people that have met you, gave you permission to add them to you contact list and will recognize your name when they see it or hear it.
  • For the first several presentations, use your “volunteers” from your data base. Since your ideal group size is around twenty, start with your A list and work down until you have two sessions filled. These first two sessions are not just for practice; these first two groups can become your advocates and give you the testimonials you need to go forward.
  • Now you are ready to tell your target market about your business. Your marketing material for this phase should stress the benefits that are presented in an educational session.
  • Remember to ask your first two groups to invite their business circle to your next event. It would be better if they could attend along with their invitee.  Yes, it is possible to schedule a session every day of the week and even twice a day if you can get the audience.

The compelling presentation:

  • Always remember, this is an educational presentation. Regardless of the products or services that you are talking about, your audience wants to learn something new as well as how to help them achieve profitability and sustainability. The end result is to have a motivated audience that will want to know more.
  • The following will make a difference:
    • Your appearance: an audience will form an impression as soon as they see you.  Today it’s hard to second guess how your audience will dress. I recommend conservative attire.
    • Attitude:  enthusiasm and a positive disposition are important. Always wear a smile and greet everyone.
    • Confidence:  show the audience that you believe in both yourself and the product or service you are presenting.
    • Be Prepared: write your presentation and present it five to six times to whomever will listen. Speak slowly and make sure that it is long enough to cover the time allotted.
    • Visuals: this includes everything from brochures, to power point presentations. If you are using projectors, etc. make sure everything is working prior to the meeting.

Several other suggestions that I have found useful:

  •  Depending upon the time of day, offer coffee, tea, soft drinks, water, etc. before the meeting and then put out some “munchies” to encourage networking among the audience.
  • A follow up session signup sheet or a personal, no-charge meeting sign in sheet will work if properly explained.
  • In sessions that go longer than an hour I take a food break at the end of 4o minutes. This allows me to personally meet with a few members of the audience that I felt were most attentive.

This represents only a brief overview of Educational Selling. It is, however, enough of a base to enable you to start this type of marketing program. Your presentation will grow as you get experience. The important thing is to start.

All great speakers were bad speakers at first.                                Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nick J. Petra CFP      Consultant – Mentor-Coach


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