You've booked a hotel meeting room and picked a seminar topic. Then it hits you: You have a lot of money on the line ... and no idea how to fill the seminar seats. Use these five tips to get started on the path of successful seminar promotion.

1. Target your best prospects. The world is a big place, and you probably can't afford to reach everyone who could benefit from your seminar even once, much less multiple times.

To maximize your investment of time, money and creativity, identify the prospects who are most likely to benefit from -- and pay to attend -- your seminar. If you want to promote your event to several audiences, that’s fine. Just be sure to invest the most attention marketing to your ideal prospects.

You may find that your event offers dozens of benefits to a wide variety of people. In this case, identifying your ideal prospects can make it easier to craft your message. Rather than trying to be everything to everyone, create promotional materials that speak to your ideal prospects. For example, your personal growth seminar could, technically, benefit every person you meet. But you might find that women over age 50 are your best candidates; address their needs, desires and concerns in your marketing materials.

2. Identify what your prospects are seeking … then make sure that your marketing message matches what they want. The better you're able to match your seminar content and description to what prospects want, the better your chances of filling seats.

You may find that your seminar is something that prospects should want; as the expert, you know that it delivers the ideal solution. Unfortunately, your prospects aren’t aware that your training is what they want or need. They simply don’t know what they don’t know. Telling prospects about the core benefits of your event won’t resonate, because they are actively looking for a different, perhaps secondary, benefit.

In this case, you need to meet prospects where they are and then show them why your seminar is the solution with the greatest potential. Figure out what frustrations your audience is having, what worries keep them up at night, and what goals they are pursuing. Use these concepts to create a powerful headline and introduction that captures their attention. Then use the rest of your sales letter or promotional message to show prospects how your seminar will help them -- and why they should register.

For example, let’s say that your seminar will help participants heal emotional wounds from childhood. That promise would appeal to people who recognize that they have old emotional wounds and are actively seeking a way to heal. But people who don’t have the awareness or desire to heal the past will be oblivious to your message.

One of the primary benefits of your training might be that by healing your old emotional wounds, you’re able to become a better parent. If parents are one of your ideal groups of prospects, you could develop a marketing campaign around one of their top problems or their goal of becoming a better parent. By incorporating into your promotions the promise that they’ll be able to better parent their children after participating in your seminar, you’ll be able to more easily capture this group’s attention and convince them that your event is relevant.

3. Contact prospects multiple times ... and in multiple ways. Your prospects are bombarded with thousands of promotional messages each day. To stand out enough to attract attention and generate registrations, you can’t make the mistake of sending out a promotion or two. Many promoters have done so in the past ... and then been puzzled and terribly disappointed when registrations numbers were low.

Instead, contact your prospects multiple times, including right up until your event. Also, use a variety of marketing tools. Although it’s easy to rely on one type of promotion, such as email marketing, incorporating multiple media improves your chances of connecting with any particular individual.

For example, some prospects rarely read promotional emails. If you’re using email blasts to fill your seminars, they will be ignored by this segment of your audience -- no matter how well they are written. Sending a direct mail letter or postcard allows you to reach out and touch email-avoiding prospects. As an added bonus, fewer promoters use direct mail, because it is more costly and complex to incorporate into your marketing mix. By using it, you’ll stand out -- there is less competition in the mailbox than in the inbox.

4. Use enough marketing copy to make the sale. One of the most common mistakes speakers, trainers and coaches make is to use marketing copy that is too brief and generalized. They think that the copy gives an accurate and clear description of what the event will deliver; however, they’re too close to the material to see that the description isn’t adequate. As a result, the message doesn’t connect with the audience, and registration numbers stay low.

The most critical and often overlooked sections of copy include what you’ll learn, who should attend, and how you’ll benefit. The more detailed these sections are, the more compelling your copy will be. Prospects will be able to rapidly recognize their need for your program. And they’ll quickly recognize that your seminar will be a smart investment of their time and money.

If you’re writing your own marketing copy, be sure to have at least a few other people review your work. Ideally, you’ll get input from members of your target audience. At the very least, request feedback from people who aren’t familiar with your event. Ask for their honest input about where they get confused or disinterested, as well as what remaining questions or objections would prevent them from signing up.

5. Ask for help promoting your seminar. The best source of prospective attendees for your seminars is your own database. But if your mailing list is small, your seminar marketing results will be limited. At some point, marketing becomes a numbers game; you have to reach more people to see the registration numbers you want.

One of the best ways to reach more people is to enlist the help of other companies or individuals. Seek out colleagues who already have relationships with your target audience, and ask them to be your affiliate. Offer them a commission for every person from their database who registers for your event. Or, if they are unable or unwilling to accept a commission, offer their subscribers a discount or an added bonus as incentive to help promote your event.

For the greatest impact with affiliate marketing, be prepared to give your affiliates the marketing materials they need to promote your event. Examples include email copy, banner ads, an online sales letter and an article to be included in their newsletter or posted to their blog. Also suggest a promotional schedule for your affiliates to follow, and follow up regularly to ensure that they are promoting your event as promised.

Promoting your own seminars and workshops can be a risky and nerve-wracking adventure, but also one that is profoundly rewarding. Use these five keys to create a solid foundation for your marketing program ... then keep going. The ways you can promote your events are limited only by your imagination.

Author's Bio: 

Jenny Hamby is a Certified Guerrilla Marketer and direct-response copywriter who helps speakers, coaches and consultants fill seminar seats and make more money from their own seminars and workshops. Her on- and offline direct marketing campaigns have netted response rates as high as 84 percent -- on budgets as small as $125. For more free seminar marketing secrets, visit