*5 Minute Read*
Attracting Students For Your Next Workshop
Ever organized a workshop and hoped that students would show up, only to have your expectations shattered? Well, good news! We’ve got some advice that will help you attract the right students who are ready to learn.
Lack of attendance and interest in your workshop is usually a result of poor strategic planning by the organizer. Attracting students to and hosting a workshop, especially an in-person workshop, requires the type of strategic planning that clearly outlines the steps that an organizer must take to attract those who are most likely interested in the subject matter. This type of planning does take time, but fortunately, the end result will be exactly what you are looking for.
Yay! You’re Hosting A Workshop
As we know, bigger brands like WordPress or even Hubspot can easily attract pretty much anyone to any event or workshop, right? Well, unfortunately, this may not be as easy for your business to do.
If your business is less well known, the “brand trust factor” that is a key component in getting people to want to learn from you may not already exist in the minds of your target audience just yet. You might be introducing them to a completely new brand or business relationship that they may not fully understand or trust. This is why it is extremely important to try to discover, during your strategic planning process, the following in order to create quality content that attracts your audience:
- What appeals to your target audience?
- Students are most interested in learning….what?
- How do THEY want to learn? In-person or an Online Webinar?
- Can you offer your audience in-depth information, not just “general knowledge” about your subject?
- What can you teach at an expert-level?
- Who will you hire to create a professional ad campaign for your workshop?
- What are the best advertising mediums to use to attract new and old students?
It’s Not The “Who”. It Is The “What”.
When advertising your workshop you will benefit greatly by focusing its imagery on the workshop’s content rather than your brand. This is a more effective approach when you’re less well known. It is the content that your audience is interested in more so than your brand. Yeah sure, of course, students will want to know who is hosting the workshop. However, students are most interested in knowing what they will get out of attending.
Clearly Defining Your Purpose
Determine what is the specific purpose of your workshop? What will they take away or learn at the end?
Creating a plethora of questions or brainstorming a list of students interests/challenges will help you define your workshop’s content and purpose. These lists and questions can be used for three main purposes:
- To help you identify what your students are interested in learning about most.
- Allows you to create opportunities for class participation through openly discussing challenges.
- Helps you to understand ahead of time, the challenges and questions that students may ask you about the subject.
The end game of hosting a workshop is to solve problems that your students face. People usually prefer to attend seminars where they can be educated about the most difficult issues that they face. So be sure to make the workshop one that covers topics in-depth to give students a better understanding of their problem and all possible solutions.
University undergraduates, for example, are always on the hunt for career development opportunities. They do this because these career development workshops are a great way for them to get ready for what’s to come after college. These workshops are relevant, address the most difficult issue they are facing and are effective because they provide several options for students to get ahead in their careers.
Catchy Title & Description
The title of your workshop should be catchy and promise a significant outcome for people attending. The title is often the first thing prospective students will notice so make it memorable. The title should help them to quickly understand your workshop’s purpose. It should grab and hold their attention long enough to make them want to move on to the description. Try to keep the title at 70 characters or less.
Your description should be short, 280 characters or less, clear and concise. Prospective students should, after reading your description, be anticipating the workshop, double-checking for dates, times and ready to sign up. Bullet points of major talking points or a list of the problems you will solve for them is the best use of your description section. Tell them what you will do for them and why they MUST attend.
Remember, you need to only make promises within your description that you can deliver, otherwise it will hamper your reputation which is detrimental for your brand.
Choose A Target Demographic
What are the job titles, job duties, interests, hobbies, gender, marital status, locations or even the ages of the types of people you want to attract? Don’t know? or maybe you don’t know why this demographic data is so very important? Well, the easiest way to explain the importance of knowing this information is that it will help you zero in on the types of folks who are most likely to find your workshop appealing. You can then become laser-focused on attracting them first, then everyone else second.
In marketing, we call those whom you are trying to attract first your primary buyer persona. To learn more about who is your primary buyer persona a little bit of customer research or snooping around must be done. You can use a few existing students and the information that is readily available through their social media pages, especially Linkedin and Facebook profiles. The information that is openly available to you about gender, age, interests and more can be found in the about sections of their profiles. Once you’ve found the data points that these few students have in common, you can use this information to start building a list of characteristics that exists most commonly among your students. Use this list to build your primary buyer persona profile.
Understanding your primary buyer persona or ideal student’s demographic information will help you to easily find and invite only those who are most interested in the topics you will discuss in your workshop. While it may feel amazing to have a workshop filled with people at all, it means very little if the people who attend are mostly disconnected to the topic at hand.
Attracting the right people the first time will improve your student retention rates, increase trust in your brand while growing your reputation and authority in your industry.
Sidenote: Aim To Impress
Students are very likely to talk about you, your workshop and your business to their friends and colleagues. Let’s make sure that they only have positive things to say. This will only happen though if they see the value. Reinforce the value over and over throughout the workshop. Stay on schedule and address questions openly by leaving room for questions and answers after each module. STUDENTS MUST LEAVE WITH THE ANSWERS THEY CAME TO GET.
Easy And Engaging Workshop Module
Spice up your workshop by creating series and breaking down each part of your series into sessions of interesting focus areas. Try not to divide the attention of attendees between obviously distinct themes.
Rather, use a single theme, but add variety in such a way that people attending all sessions don’t feel like you’re repeating your content. So that people attending only one or two sessions feel like they’ve learned a whole lot.
Registration & Payment
Make up your mind about the minimum and the maximum number of students you’d like to register for your workshop. Provide a link on your website that allows prospective students to easily register. For best conversion rates do not require students to call a number to register, stop by any office or any of the sort. Prospects should be able to register easily with a one – to two-page form on your website.
Avoid payment “at the door”. It may be tempting to allow for this type of leniency but oftentimes this method results in more of a headache for you and attendees. With all of the time, energy and money you will spend in preparing for this event the last thing you will want are for people to wait until the last minute to pay for an entry ticket.
Budget & Profitability
Know how many people you want to attend. Break down this figure so that you can understand fully what is your potential for profit ahead of time. This will inform your preparation stages and keep even your excitement at its peak.
Lastly, it’s always best to come with goodies! Offer gifts or some sort of incentives to early registrants. Show students that you appreciate their attendance.
Making Your Mark In The Industry
Hosting a workshop is a great way to create brand awareness, establish brand trust and even generate revenue for the business. These workshops can be held online for convenience or in-person. Whether to choose online or in-person should be a decision that is made after you consider which option your audience would prefer. Successful workshops are about the students, not the brand. This happens when the instructor considers what students want to learn and how they want to learn the subject matter.
The key to hosting a workshop that students find valuable is to first make sure that your content is engaging. By that, we mean to keep it interesting and be in-depth. The content should address the pain points and challenges of your audience and offer them real solutions. There are plenty of other factors to consider like where to host your workshop. More importantly, though is the content and your audience. What sense does it make to have a beautiful venue with no students in attendance or content that is not the best?