You read the title of this and thought, “What? How can I use teaching as a marketing endeavor?” Well, I’ll tell you: You, as a professional in your industry, have skills and knowledge that others would like to have. By sharing those skills or that knowledge, you can connect with new people or deepen your connection to current clients. Here are some examples of how to do that:
- Marketing person – I am teaching a class on December 13th with Boston Logic on how to maximize your website. It is a free class offered by Boston Logic, as real estate website company. I will reach a new audience interested in marketing their businesses. Boston Logic will be enhancing the content of their Logic Classroom.
- Restauranteur – You know how to cook. Your recipes could be a lot of fun to share with your patrons. You could share them on the back of your fliers or in a class at your restaurant. This offers a service to your clients that deepens their connection to you and may encourage them to introduce your restaurant to others.
- Real estate agent – You know the process of buying and selling, or what renovations will offer the best return on a homeowner’s investment.
- Furniture store – You know how to maximize small spaces, or how to make rooms look new on a limited budget.
In each case, you can offer your skills and knowledge to others, position yourself as an expert and that will encourage people to buy your products or services. But, do not make it a hard sell. I would also recommend not making people pay to attend. In this day and age, there are so many free resources that charging can be a “put-off”. However, if you are offering a private class for a restricted audience or will not have access to the attendees’ contact info, you should charge for it, since you cannot grow your audience.
10 Steps to offering a successful class
- Choose a partner: Ways to cut down on your operating costs in offering these “free” classes/services would be to partner with adjacent businesses (either adjacent in location or in type of service). For example, if you are a real estate agent, perhaps you can partner with a mortgage agent for financial info. Whomever you choose should be able to share in the costs (if you have any) of offering this class, or they might be able to offer something else like the class venue or snacks and refreshments. They should also be reaching out to their client list to grow your potential audience. In some industries, I don’t recommend partnering with competing professionals so that you don’t cause conflict – don’t partner with a real estate agent from a competing company. But, if you are a restaurant, working with another chef specializing a complimentary cuisine could work.
- Select a title and agenda: It should be engaging or catchy. But, avoid “kitschy” if at all possible. Be sure it provides value.
- Select a venue, date and time: This could be your location, your partner’s location or perhaps a business that could benefit from getting people in the door – like a gallery, a furniture store or a coffee shop.
- Prepare a dynamic presentation: It should offer structure, compelling or beautiful visuals, and questions that engage throughout. Also offer a Q&A period at the end.
- Be sure you have what you need: Think about what you might need that night – chairs, notepads, takeaways, a projector, a projector screen, a computer, speakers, a mic, snacks…
- Create take-away materials: The handouts should offer a summary of the class, and resources where attendees can find more info. You need to also include your company contact info, website, facebook page, linked in address, twitter account, etc.
- Tell everyone! Market it to your audience (email, website, facebook, twitter), your partner organizations’ audiences and via local businesses with flyers. Include date, time, location, who your speakers are, how long it will be, what they will learn, any freebies and snacks, and where they can find out more (your website, facebook fanpage, etc).
- Sign ins: You need to make attendees sign in with their email address, mailing address and/or phone number. You can allow them to opt-out in your future communications to them.
- Follow-up: Your next communication should be a questionnaire on what they thought of the class, what they would like to learn in the future, what you could do better. This is a positive way to engage them, improve what you offer and make it a “conversation”. Then you should send them marketing materials – once or twice a month is enough. Be sure those materials offer more learning opportunities – tips, dos/don’ts, updates in regulations, etc.
- Schedule your next class: Once a month or once a quarter… it is up to you and your schedule. But, reaching out to your clients, in person and via marketing, should be done consistently.
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