Your class may teach an invaluable skill —but does your marketing effectively prove its value? If your attendance is slacking, a lackluster promotional strategy is likely to blame.
After all, educational events are facing tough competition. There are seemingly endless options for where people can take in-person classes, not to mention the entire online database of virtual classes.
To draw people to your class above all others, you need to modernize your marketing to take advantage of all the ways people learn about events online these days. Here are six advanced strategies to promote your classes.
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1. Define your brand
Whether you’re a yoga teacher competing in a crowded urban market, or an art teacher seeking creative toddlers, you can carve out a niche. How you position your classes to potential students is called your brand promise. It’s the single defining benefit that sets you apart from the others in your field.
Are your yoga classes set to classical chamber music, or do they end with a complimentary glass of wine? Do your art classes teach kids how to be comfortable with themselves in a scary world? Be explicit about this in your marketing messages.
2. Know your audience
Next, match your brand up to the right audience. You don’t have to enlist a fancy expert to run a focus group. Instead, conduct some simple market research on your own online.
Say you’re teaching self-defense classes. It’s reasonable to assume that single young women are an important target audience for you. Research on where young women spend their time online will help you build your promotional strategy.(Hint: 77% of women, and 87% of those 18-29, are on Facebook.)
3. Hone your social media presence
Using your audience research, you can hone your efforts to the social media channels most frequented by your students. For instance, if you’re hosting a professional development class, you might want to double down on LinkedIn. If you host a photography workshop or a cooking class for foodies, Instagram should be your priority.
Regardless of who your target demographic is, they’re probably on Facebook. It’s a best practice to make a Facebook Event for each of your classes to maximize your chance of showing up in followers’ (and their friends’) news feeds. This can have a drastic impact on your sales, especially if you let people register for your classes right on your Facebook Event Page.
Here are a few more tips to best promote your classes on social media:
- Customize the content you share on each platform. For instance, people tend to view Instagram on mobile phones, where excessive reading and scrolling is tedious. On that platform, keep your content to eye-catching photos, brief videos, and short, witty captions. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a great forum for sharing long posts or articles.
- Keep your posts short and sweet. Facebook may let you post a 63,206-character status update, but according to the marketing gurus at HubSpot, 40 characters is actually the ideal length.
- Don’t miss the valuable marketing space of your profile page. Your Instagram bio should contain a link to a special offer or registration page — not just your homepage. Facebook and LinkedIn banner images are another valuable piece of real estate for your promotions.
4. Optimize your website for search and email collection
With all the free and inexpensive website creation tools on the market, it’s fairly easy to create your own site. As you do so, keep organic search — when someone finds you online by Googling a topic — in mind. If you offer archery classes in Indianapolis, your website should use the words “archery” and “Indianapolis” prominently and often.
Such keyword usage is pretty intuitive, but there is a whole science to search engine optimization (SEO). Taking the time to do some keyword research (on what search terms people use to find classes) will give you an advantage.
Requiring website visitors to fill out a form with their contact information in order to access content is a great way to use your website to build an email marketing list. You give away content for free — perhaps a preview of your class content — and you get an email address in return. Once you’ve built a list of email addresses, you can go to the next step….
5. Up the ante of your email marketing
91% of people check their email every day, but only 26% of people who get event-related emails open them. If you want to be in that elite quarter, you have to step up your email marketing game.
Perhaps you already send newsletters to your entire audience. To add to that, consider creating campaigns targeted to specific subsets of that audience. For instance, you could offer returning students a discount or first dibs on a spot in a class. You could offer brand new students a promo deal. Or you could create lists for people who have expressed interest in certain types of classes. Email marketing services like MailChimp allow you to create multiple contact lists for just this purpose.
Most professionals recommend conducting A/B tests to deduce what’s most effective. Try sending two different versions of your email to two different sets of students, and see which one performs better. This way you can learn which subject lines or calls to action your audience responds to best.
6. Take advantage of influencers
Reach out to bloggers or local organizations that share a common thread with your classes. For instance, you could offer to teach a free ballroom dance class at a local charity’s fundraiser to get your name out there.
Or step it up and seek out an influencer to work with — someone who has a huge social media following of people who’d be interested in the topics your class covers. For example, if you host cooking classes, offer a famous Instagram food blogger the chance to take your class for free — if they share their experience online.
Like a meme that goes viral, a mention by an influencer can reach a lot of people, fast. That’s the zenith of your marketing efforts, but everything else you do in preparation will bring you to that point.
Hungry for even more strategies to improve your promotional strategy for classes? Check out this free guide on How to Market Your Classes.