“I’ve contacted several teleseminar experts,” someone wrote me to ask, “and they all said it would be difficult to run teleseminars if you don’t already have a large list. I don’t have any list yet, not even a small one. Does that mean I have to give up on teleseminars?”


“Not at all” was my answer. Teleseminars can actually help you build a list, whether you are offering them at no charge or collecting an admission fee for attendance. Without a list of your own, you simply have to reach for marketing methods that get your teleseminar announcement in front of likely participants in a tempting and cost-effective way.

Here are 10 such methods for promoting teleseminars without a list.

1) Associations/organizations. Offer your teleseminar to a relevant professional organization, a business group or a hobby club, and you don’t have to worry about signups. They will do the necessary marketing to their members for you. If it’s a free teleseminar, they might do this as a service to their members. If it’s a paid teleseminar, they might expect a percentage of the proceeds.

2) Joint ventures. Likewise, you can interest individuals with a following in announcing your teleseminar to their list in exchange for a commission on resulting sales. Keep in mind that those with large lists and wide reputations are often besieged with these kinds of requests. Someone with a mid-sized list might therefore be more receptive to a mutually favorable deal.

3) Teleseminar listing sites. Look up “free teleseminar listings” in your favorite search engine, and you’ll find sites that welcome announcements of free or paid teleseminars. Although you can’t count on these kinds of listings to fill your event, in conjunction with the other methods here they will make a difference.

4) Postings on forums and discussion lists. One of my favorite methods, this involves finding online forums and email discussion lists where your ideal participants already hang out, and letting members know about your upcoming event. Sometimes as a member of such a forum or list you are entitled to announce your event without any problem. Other times you may do so only on a certain day of the week or the month. And in other venues you may include promotional material only through a link in your “signature” (a mini-ad following your discussion posts). Carefully investigate the ground rules of each group before going ahead with this method.

5) Press releases. This too has yielded results for me. Write a news-style announcement about your teleseminar and distribute it through inexpensive press release distribution services, such as PRWeb or Emailwire.

6) Twitter, Facebook, Linked In. Even if you don’t yet have a following, you can generate interest by creating a presence on various social networks and posting about your upcoming event using shrewdly chosen keywords.

7) Pay per click ads. Using keywords that people in your target market search for, you can easily promote your event through Google AdWords and similar ads, which appear alongside search results or on other people’s content sites. These networks allow you to control your spending, so you need not fear the risk of huge losses. You pay only for people seeing your ad who click through to the detailed description of your teleseminar on your site.

8) Postcards. If you know precise demographic or occupational details for your ideal teleseminar participants, you can buy a list of names and addresses for people fitting that description. Online postcard companies then enable you to design and send these strangers an eye-catching postcard without your ever needing to lick a stamp or visit the post office to drop off a mailing. If your eventual customer will be spending a considerable amount with you, postcard marketing can be quite cost-effective.

9) Giveaway events. In certain niches, people organize periodic giveaway fests, where a gaggle of experts each contribute free access to an event, a free report, a free video or something similar when interested people opt-in. I’m not aware of any good systematic way of finding these arrangements, since they tend to pop up and remain active for just a month or less and then disappear. However, if you do run across a giveaway event, be aware that it could offer a legitimate and powerful way to fill your teleseminar.

10) Telephone. Finally, you can call people and invite them to your teleseminar. This works best when you have either a local focus or a very narrow professional niche, so you can be fairly sure that those you are calling fall into the category of participant you are looking for. In a 2009 RainToday survey, 21 percent of business-to-business professionals said they heard about webinars (which are similar to teleseminars) by telephone.