How to Sell Your Workshop: Strategies That Fill Seats

Want to know how to sell a workshop or class? Use these 13 time-tested promotion techniques for increasing your audience reach and putting more bums on seats fast.

Resources 15 min read Nov 16, 2022
How to Sell Your Workshop: Strategies That Fill Seats

Empty seats in classes and workshops are never a good look. But during hectic periods when many other events are taking place at the same time, learning how to sell a workshop better than other providers can be challenging. So how do you convince people why they absolutely must attend yours? Promoting your courses is the key to attracting a crowd and getting them to buy tickets.

The good news is that Australians are attending more in-person classes than ever before! And with modern technology right at your fingertips, you no longer have to spend a fortune on marketing. Regardless of the type of activity you’re hosting, there are plenty of ways to draw people in and maximise attendance until the last ticket is sold!

13 Powerful Strategies for Selling Out Your Classes and Workshops

When it comes to marketing your in-person workshop or class, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Here are some practical tips and strategies for you to test and see what works best for you.

#1 Have a clear and specific target audience in mind.

If you’re hosting a class or workshop, it’s important to have a clear and specific target audience in mind. If you have developed your own customer persona for your business, you should already have a clear picture in mind on who your ideal client is.

Your existing database can also help you identify your best prospects. For example, if you’re thinking about how to create a course to sell, and you have an email list with 1,000 subscribers who attend yoga classes on a regular basis, then they would be your target market for an upcoming yoga class.

If you don’t have an email list, then look at your social media following. Is there a commonality among the people who follow you? If not, try reaching out to some of your existing connections and ask them who they think would be interested in attending a class or workshop like yours.

#2 Choose a workshop topic that has high demand.

Picking the right workshop is the most important step of the planning process, and yet, it is often overlooked by business owners when figuring out how to sell training courses. If your workshop topic isn’t something that people are asking for, then you probably won’t have much luck selling tickets to it.

To find out if there is demand for what you want to teach, do some research. Use keyword tools like Google Trends or Keyword Planner to see how many searches per month there are for related subjects. The volume of searches will indicate whether or not people are looking for information on your course topic.

Don’t be disheartened, if there aren’t many searches happening for your topic. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t teach it; it just means that you might need to do some extra work in order to build demand for the in-person workshop you want to teach.

#3 Define your class offering.

Your class should be a one-of-a-kind experience. The more specific and unique your offering the better.

Highlight the elements that make your workshop special: What do students get out of your class? Is there a tangible skill they will learn? Will they get a deeper understanding of something they already know?

Let potential students know what they can get out of signing up for your workshop that they can’t get anywhere else. Is your cooking class co-hosted by a special guest? Does your art class come with a complimentary glass of wine? Mention any such benefits in an explicit way in your marketing messages.

#4 Create a website for your workshop.

It’s important to have your own website so people can easily find information about your classes. The good news is, creating a website has never been easier, faster, and cheaper – more importantly, it can be a fun and rewarding project!

If you’re web-savvy, you can use services like Wix, Squarespace, WordPress, and the like, to set up your own website from scratch. Make sure your website provides some basic information about you, your workshop, and what people can expect when they sign up for it.

If you don’t have the time, skills, or interest to put up your own site, you can always use sites like WeTeachMe to direct people to your classes and workshops. Your profile can be your website and booking service in one! You can even integrate our software with your own website and make it super-easy for students to register for your event.

#5 Create an email list.

Even in the age of TikTok, email marketing is still believed to be the most effective way to reach an audience with a compelling, targeted message.

If you already have a mailing list, kick off your promotions by letting your existing students know first. They already know your brand and are likely to pay attention to your communications. Just send a simple email to inform them that your class is coming up, maybe give them an incentive to sign up right away (such as a discount).

Want to know how to promote a course better but you don’t have a mailing list yet? Now is the time to create one! Start by building it around your existing social media accounts, like Facebook and Instagram. And make it easy for people to sign up by having an opt-in form on your website or blog.

#6 Use high-quality content and visuals in your class page.

You can spend tons of money on online ads, ask everyone to tell everyone about your upcoming workshop, but if your class page or listing doesn’t show that you walk the talk, you may struggle with selling your seats out.

When someone visits your website or class page, they’re mainly sold by two things: the text describing your workshop and the visuals that come with it. So if you promise to provide an A+ learning experience for your attendees, your listing needs to reflect it.

If you have a brilliant experience to offer potential students, make sure to present it to the world with compelling text and imagery, so you’re in a great position to attract bookings.

#7 Apply SEO tweaks to your website, profile, and class listings.

If you want to know how to promote a workshop online, here’s a tip: Make sure that your online listing is optimised for Google and other major search engines. Do your SEO right, and you can expect search to drive a good portion of your ticket sales.

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to determine the likely keywords online users would type in, to find a class like yours. Then, incorporate the most relevant and highly searched terms into your content – your class title, subtitle, and description – without sounding too repetitive, of course! This will boost your online visibility and increase the likelihood of the right people seeing your listing at the right time.

#8 Offer high-value deals to your attendees.

Boosting sales with discount promos is nothing new, but it’s best to create deals that can attract your attendees and at the same time, benefit your bottom line. Early bird prices and bring-a-friend promotions are only two of the most effective ways to drive ticket sales.

Want to know how to promote your art classes that are set weeks or even months in the future? Early bird deals can create a sense of urgency, thus, giving your workshop a boost right out of the gate.

Bring-a-friend deals, on the other hand, work particularly well when the class date is nearing and you still have a handful of tickets you need to sell. This promotion encourages attendees to spread the word about your workshop (in search of a friend to bring along), thus helping you sell last minute tickets.

#9 List your workshops on online marketing channels.

Don’t rely on just one or two avenues when promoting your workshop. In fact, here’s an easy and obvious way to promote your workshops to a large audience for less effort, time, and expense: List them on high-traffic websites where people actually go to look for classes and other things to do in their area!

We’re talking about platforms that specialise in listing classes and events, like WeTeachMe, as well as socially-driven sites like Facebook Events. It’s easy to cast a wide net for little or no cost in these places; all it takes is entering your class info and you can start promoting with a few simple clicks. Moreover, students are much more likely to book when they see your class mentioned in many different channels.

#10 Create a buzz on social media.

Create social media posts to promote your class. With only a few quick clicks, a global network of ‘always on’ users can like, comment, or even share your event with their own personal networks.

Here are some tips you can use when marketing your class on social media:

  • Start promoting your class as early as possible, like at least two to three months before the date. Then, gradually increase the frequency of your posts as you get closer to D-day.
  • Got exciting special guests? Put up their images on social and blog posts with an eye-catching caption.
  • Keep your posts short and sweet. The ideal number of characters depends on the site where you’re posting, and this can change from time to time, so keep yourself updated with the latest best practices.
  • Spotlight past students that finished with a great final project in class. Post pictures of past workshops, testimonials from past students, and any other fun content related to your workshop.
  • Share behind-the-scenes looks at your workshop. Instagram Stories is one popular avenue to do this.

#11 Connect with similar organizations for cross-promotion.

A great way to get people interested in your workshop is by partnering with another business, artist, or influencer who offers complementary services or products. Take the time to build relationships with them and pretty soon, you might just gain a foothold into new communities you would not have been able to reach otherwise.

For example, you can ask your potential partner if you can send out a promo code to their email list. This way, you’re not just asking people to come to your workshop; you’re also adding value by offering access to an exclusive deal.

#12 Run a contest.

Wishing more people would spread the word about your workshop? You can make that happen with a contest or a giveaway. Contests are a great way to break through the noise and motivate word-of-mouth promotion.

Got a viral concept in mind for your subscribers? WeTeachMe has a free add-on you can use to mount a contest of your own. Maybe you can give away free tickets, upgrades, or free products to incentivise contest joiners to refer friends to enter. It’s a cost-effective strategy to double signup rates in a hassle-free way.

#13 Ask for reviews, testimonials, or referrals.

If your customers are happy, don’t be afraid to ask them to put in a good word! Reviews build credibility, offer SEO value, and drum up business, too, because new students often look at customer ratings before booking a class.

After your event, get some feedback on what you’re doing right and where you can improve. It’s a great tactic to gauge the overall experience, especially if you’re offering in-person courses. (Here’s a tip: If you are a WeTeachMe user, you won’t even need to do it manually because our platform automatically triggers a request for a review right after class.)

These are just some of the ways you can use to help sell out your classes, workshops, and events. Sign up for a free WeTeachMe account and start selling out your seats now!