More and more people are looking to courses and seminars as a revenue stream.
After all, if you’ve spent years building your skills and experience in a certain area, there’ll undoubtedly be people who could learn from you.
And they’ll also be willing to pay.
The problem is, you’ve spent all your time learning your specific skills, gaining your specific industry experience, but not necessarily learning how to market or build your audience – that’s been someone else’s job, right?!
Well, once you decide to branch out on your own, marketing and building an audience is most definitely your responsibility.
You might pay someone else to do it for you.
But usually, at the beginning, you don’t have the funds; which means it’s your job.
Recently I helped a couple of clients launch and promote their events.
One of the methods I used I want to share with you now:
Let’s say you were going to run a day’s, or weekend workshop.
Naturally, you’re going to charge for it, but unless you already have a strong audience (and, crucially, email list) to market it to, it might be challenging to get people to know about it, let alone to book it.
Moreover, although you know how great you are at what you do, most of the time other people don’t.
Your skills and experience won’t mean much to someone who’s never heard of you, especially if you are asking them to pay for something that is a complete unknown.
A tactic to mitigate these problems is with free 1-2 hour workshops.
For example, if you were planning your paid, full-day event in December, you might offer a free workshop each week in November:
- You can demonstrate your expertise and build trust and rapport with participants
- You can upsell participants – “As a workshop participant you can get a 30% discount off of tickets for the full day’s event next month”
- You can trial run different ideas that you’ll be using for your main event – the first week’s workshop might have one idea tested, the second week’s group gets a different subject covered, etc.
- It builds your list to advertise your main event to – both in-person with the free workshop participants, and with those who apply but don’t get a space
- You can gain valuable market feedback and find out common challenges people face, so you know what content to really focus on in the main paid event
Your goal is to get in front of as many potentially paying customers as possible, giving them a valuable demonstration of your skills, experience and ability to impart that knowledge in a way that directly benefits them.
Limiting the places to 8-10 in the free workshops also helps:
- There is urgency for people to take action – “book your place before it’s gone”
- If you get more than 10 applicants, you can screen people to find those most likely to fit the type of person who would then come to your paid event next time
- You are able to give valuable 1-1 time and advice to each participant, but not so much time to go too in-depth; it’ll be like opening the door and showing them an amazing new room, but not taking them inside – that’s what the paid event is for! – it gives them a glimpse of what there is and leaves them wanting more!
The aim is to build your email list of people who have shown an interest in what you want to teach, so that when you are ready to launch your paid-for events you already have an audience to market to.
And that can make all the difference between success and failure.
Bonus: if you have lots of applications for a limited-space free workshop you could use Google Forms to conduct an initial interview/survey, as a way to pre-screen them. Ideally, you’re looking for people who would be a good fit for your paid-events. So use questions that would best highlight these people, then invite only those people to your free workshops.
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