Should You Use Advertising to Market Your Seminar?

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It used to be, costly advertising was the only option to market your seminar, together with creating expensive brochures and direct mail pieces.

The advent of the internet and social media has made marketing much more economical.  But should you still a save a place for advertising in your seminar marketing plan? As usual, the answer is: It depends.

Here are some of your advertising options:

Newspaper Advertising

Shotgun Marketing ApproachWhen you advertise in the newspaper, even a small, local one, you are using the shotgun marketing approach.  Since there are so many people reading the newspaper, it is hard to reach that perfect attendee.

Newspapers target men and women of every age group, profession and interest, and that makes it very difficult to cut through the clutter.

The percentage of your target market is low, while the cost is high. For most seminars, advertising in the newspaper is not a cost effective option.

Magazine Advertising

Magazines usually have a precisely defined target market, so it is easier to reach that perfect attendee.  If you need to reach a special industry, industry magazines can be very effective.

The drawback is that many magazines have their deadlines months in advance and can be very costly. However, for the right seminar this can be a great option.

Pay Per Click Advertising

Pay per click (PPC) advertising on places like Google and Bing, can drive a lot of traffic to your registration page in a short time.  The advantage is that you are only paying for people who like your ad enough to actually click on it.

A PPC campaign doesn’t take long to implement and you can see the results quickly.  Great for reaching a local market if you have a low cost seminar with a proven upsell.

Social Advertising

Social Ads On FacebookPlaces like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter also offer advertising.  The great thing about social media advertising as opposed PPC advertising on places like Google and other websites, is that the social media networks know a whole lot about us.

We share without hesitation with them what we like, what we do, what are interests are, where we live and where we travel to. That is what makes advertising on Facebook and LinkedIn very attractive, since you can target your advertising very precisely.

Especially Facebook offers ads that incorporate social proof by adding the avatars of friends that have a relationship with you or your event.  Like Google ads, social ads are mostly PPC although they also offer a pay per impression option.  PPC social ads are a better option for driving traffic to your registration page than pay per impression. Social ads are a good option if you are know your ideal attendee intimately.

Is Your Registration Page Flushing Money Down The Toilet?

Is Your Registration Page Flushing Money Down The Toilet?

While advertising and especially PPC advertising on Google and social media can be very effective for driving traffic to your registration page, it can also be a very costly proposition.  You have to know that your registration page can make the sale, otherwise every click that you pay for is flushing money down the toilet.

The better way is to go for the lead rather than the sale.  That way you can always follow up with them.

Unfortunately, many seminar leaders come to me only after they have spent thousands on advertising and have no registrations to show for it.  Usually, I spot the mistakes they have made very quickly. There are easy fixes, but not 2 weeks before your event.

I share the 5 keys to filling your workshops and seminars during a free webinar.  Don’t spend another dime on event advertising until you access this webinar.

Register at  It won’t cost you anything, but it can easily save you thousands of dollars.

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Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Daphne Bousquet, CMP

For more strategies to make your workshops and seminars more profitable, you’ll want to pick up a copy of the free report "Three Simple Secrets To Making 10K In A Day With Small Workshops." Daphne Bousquet uses her 20+ years of event industry experience to create profitable event strategies and marketing for coaches, entrepreneurs, speakers and self employed professionals that want to grow their businesses with workshops and seminars. She is the creator of the Butts In Seats Virtual Boot Camp, a unique digital course that teaches you how to fill your events with your ideal audience.
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP


  1. Hi Daphne

    I can’t wait to attend your webinar at the end of this month — sounds REALLY worthwhile!

    Thank you for putting together a presentation about the mistakes to avoid when marketing a seminar. I can only imagine the huge letdown people experience after spending a lot of money on advertising their event with little or nothing to show for it. 🙁

    I’ve never been a fan of PPC advertising — that’s for sure! And I never recommend it, either. What some marketers don’t understand is that ANYONE can “click” on an ad — even if they have NO serious interest in making a purchase or registering for an event. I think it’s foolish to spend money on curious looky-loos and tire kickers.

    Newspaper advertising, for the most part, is futile.

    I work part time in an ophthalmology practice that does a large amount of advertising in local newspapers — and it’s very costly! Not once, in all the time I’ve worked there, has a new patient that’s calling in EVER said, “I saw your ad in the newspaper”. Never. I always ask first-time callers, “How did you hear about us?” as one way of tracking where new business is coming from.

    Thanks for a great post — off to share it with my fans and followers! 🙂
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Overcoming The Challenge Of Getting An Audience In Your Virtual Seats

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Great and thorough comment, Melanie. Looking forward to having you on the webinar!

      Advertising certainly has its place and PPC is a great way to test to see if something is working. However, it just kills me when talented people with wonderful things to teach end up wasting money on advertising because their registration page stinks.

      Newspaper advertising can be effective for big community events. For seminars and workshops it is better to spend your marketing budget elsewhere.

      For your ophthalmology practice, I would suggest a bounce back coupon. Then you will know for sure if the advertising is a waste or if perhaps people do see it. (No pun intended).

      • Wonderful tip, Daphne!

        We’ve tried different methods of tracking newspaper ads at the office — coupons, special tracking phone numbers, etc.

        Every attempt has produced dismal results.

        I’m convinced the majority of people in the community are not “responsive” when it comes to newspaper advertising. Most of our new patients reach us through “word of mouth” referrals — the best form of advertising! 😉
        Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Overcoming The Challenge Of Getting An Audience In Your Virtual Seats

        • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

          It doesn’t help that fewer and fewer people are actually reading the newspaper anymore. There are so many other ways to get your news. Personally, and I am sure it doesn’t surprise you, I get mine online.

  2. Great tips Daphne,

    I have worked with clients through a variety of advertising styles before, as many businesses seem to be throwing their money into things that just aren’t working for them.

    In all cases – Test and measure!! If you haven’t accurately tracked your results, how will you ever know if it was worthwhile!
    Sam Nordberg recently posted..Doing more…

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Thanks for stopping by the blog, Sam.

      You are so right of course. If you don’t track your results you don’t know if it is working. And with PPC, your ad may be working if you get clicks, but your marketing may have other problems. If you don’t test, you will never know and you will be flushing money down the toilet.

  3. Hi Daphne,

    I followed my new friend Melanie over to your article and website 🙂 Melanie and I are in a blogging challenge together and I have enjoyed getting to know her and her blog.

    I teach Social Media Workshops In Myrtle Beach, SC and I did register for your webinar for next Tuesday. So far I have had great success with a small group of attendees and a lot of B2B networking. The only ‘advertising’ I have done is through my social media profile (LinkedIn and LI groups, Facebook and FB groups, Twitter, etc.)

    With a new year and new goals, I am looking to expand beyond 5-10 attendees and start actually making money from it 🙂 (So far it has been great for word of mouth advertising and credibility)

    I am looking forward to further connecting with you and learning more about your business and your programs.

    Tot volgende week.

    Dorien Morin-van Dam recently posted..Social Media Manager Blocked From Commenting On Facebook

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Dorien, leuk om je hier te zien! Melanie is one of my favorite bloggers and I am glad she brought you here.

      Credibility and visibility are great results for workshops, but of course making money from them is where the rubber meets the road. I look forward to having you on the webinar next week.

      What do you most hope to get out of it? Do you have a question you would like me to answer during the webinar?

  4. Not sure how I’ve missed you during the UBC but glad I found you. I’ve subscribed to your feed and look forward to your seminar on the 30th.
    Nicole Bandes recently posted..Children (and Spouses) – 9 Tips to Avoid the Interruptions

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Hi Nicole, I am so glad you found me too! You probably missed me on UBC because I am not blogging every day. My posts come out on Mondays and Thursdays.

      I am currently too busy with my “How to Market Your Seminar with Social Media” course to blog every day. Between that and my upcoming webinar I am all out of content. I am saving all the good stuff for that, so I am glad you will be joining us. Plan on participating in the UBC in April, though.

  5. These are excellent tips Daphne. It is amazing how things have changed from when I started in the business world where newspaper ads were the ‘thing’. But with today’s technology and especially social media, those hopping in to start an online business, professionals wanting to get more visibility and marketeres wanting to reach a targeted crowd – online advertising not only can produce a tremendous response, but it is much more affordable alternative.

    I must admit that I have gone back to Facebook with their PPC advertising and seeing a wonderful result of getting more visitors to my fan page. And my budget is very low producing a high result. It is because Facebook has some cool features when setting up your campaign to laser target the audience you want to reach.

    I will be sure to share this with my fans, followers and clients. Great read!
    Lynn Brown recently posted..A Facebook Mistake You May Not Realize You Are Making

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Thanks for sharing your Facebook results with us, Lynn. I am very interested in that. Are you driving them to your new free gift tab or your welcome tab?

      Thinking about running an ad for my upcoming webinar…

  6. Hi Daphne, Interesting article. I’d like to emphasize your point about pay per click advertising – it’s really important to closely monitor which keywords are converting into sales, attracting qualified traffic – and which aren’t. Sometimes seemingly minor changes to a search phrase can make a huge difference (there’s a rule in my recent book called “Rankings Don’t Matter” which discusses this in detail).

    If anyone would like a free sampler of my book, it’s available at

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Monitoring your keywords is so important, Philippa, I couldn’t agree more. However, if you see that you get a lot of clicks for a certain term and it isn’t converting, it is likely that your sales page is not connecting with that ad. Your ad is not preparing them for what they are seeing on your page, or your sales copy isn’t doing the trick…

      Thanks for the free sampler of the book. I will check it out. And thank you for stopping by the blog!

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