Your online workshops and classes may teach incredibly valuable skills. But does your marketing properly communicates the value you are delivering?
If you are struggling to secure high attendance rate for your online events, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your approaches. Below are several marketing strategies worth considering to attract a bigger crowd to your next online event.
1. Start Thinking About Your Marketing Strategy Well in Advance
You should start devising your promo strategy at least 2 months in advance and actively market the event at least a month before it’s date.
Here’s a quick checklist of what you should have covered:
- Level up your social media marketing game and decide which platforms you’ll focus on for promotion. It’s best to stick with 1-3 channels (e.g. Twitter+Facebook or LinkedIn+YouTube+Instagram) that have brought good results in the past.
- Create event landing page, graphics and other marketing materials that you’ll use for promotion.
- Consider influencer/affiliate partnerships. If you choose this option, be sure to prep the messaging and links for your partners well in advance.
2. Create an Ideal Attendant Profile
The most successful marketing campaigns rest upon audience segmentation. That is pursuing a very specific group of people (attendants) and tailoring all the pitches and marketing collateral to specifically resonate with them.
So how do you know who to market to? Do some simple market research and create several profiles of the ideal attendants.
A marketing persona is a generalized representation of your ideal customer. Such profiles help you visualize your audience and align your offerings to the person’s known preferences and behaviours. Below are several essential data points to capture for your marketing persona:
- Career type and stage
- Time spent online
- Biggest pain point
- General notes about their preferences when it comes to training/events.
Developing attendant personals will allow you to create event promotional materials that resonate with a specific audience you are after. And perhaps even adjust the content of your workshop to speak better to the audience.
3. Set up a Personalized Email Marketing Campaign
Email remains one of the most powerful, yet underused eLearning inbound marketing tools. Why? Well, because there’s a fine line between sending genuinely valuable and informative communication via email versus pitching unsolicited offers. Perhaps, this is the biggest reason to why just 26% of people who receive event-related emails actually proceed to open them.
So how do you get within that quarter? For a first, start sending out segmented marketing campaigns, targeting specific subsets of your audience. The easiest approach to segmentation would be dividing your list into new/returning students.
- First-time attendants can receive an email sequence from you introducing your workshop, introducing you as a coach and explaining the outcomes they can expect. To sweeten the deal, you can also pitch them a quick promo price.
- Returning students can be enticed with a quick discount too, or exclusive access to additional materials.
As well, you should run A/B tests for every email marketing campaign you are sending to establish what’s working and what’s not. Most email marketing software allows to setup those in a few clicks. Experiment with sending out different versions of your promo emails to the same subset of prospects to understand which one performs best in terms of clicks. A/B testing is an effective way to learn what subject lines, CTAs and email layouts reverbirate with your audience.
4. Develop a FAQ Page
A FAQ page can serve as a quick reference for new attendants about your program. It should help them decide whether the workshop is right for them and reduce the amount of customer support emails landing to your inbox. A well-crafted workshop FAQ page also sets proper expectations with the students and helps you reduce the risks of receiving negative feedback post-event. Or worse – issuing refunds.
Here’s the type of information you should include:
- Who will benefit most from this workshop? Is it geared towards newbies or pros?
- What kinds of industries will this work for?
- What’s the time commitment?
- How long will people have access to the content afterwards?
- What’s the format of the workshop and how it will be delivered?
- Does the student needs to bring or prepare anything in advance (e.g. download some software etc)?
- Do you offer any refunds or guarantees?
You can host a FAQ section either on your training event landing page or publish it separately. In case with the latter, however, be sure to link out to this page from all your other communication such as on social media, via email, in videos etc.
5. Pre-Game with Short Webinars or Hangouts
Hosting shorters webinars or online hangouts with your clients is another great way to build the buzz around your upcoming event (as well as position yourself as an industry thought leader).
You can choose to either pre-shoot and deliver a short webinar on a particular topic that’s related to your workshop. Or you can organize a “live” event where you answer audience questions in real-time and mention your upcoming offerings along the way. Both types of recordings can be later offered as an added bonus to your workshop, as well as used for other marketing initiatives.
Finally, be sure to also leverage all the positive word-of-mouth from your students (gained before and after the class) and curate their feedback on social media, your website and other marketing channels.
Independant inbound marketing consultant with 5+ years in the industry, including coaching and developing e-learning courses. Bylines at the Huffington Post, Tech Cocktail, Hackerspace by Lifehacker among others.