Promoting Your Workshop To Increase Attendance
- Utilize Constant Contact and your client data base…promote two weeks ahead of date and in final week (7 days prior to the workshop, run at least two e-mail blasts and one the day before the event (NEVER CUT OFF REGISTRATION PRIOR TO THE WORKSHOP DATE AS MANY REGISTER LAST MINUTE, ALSO ALLOW FOR WALK-INS)*
*Some chapters cut off registration a week or a few days prior to the workshop date so they can figure out how many handouts they made need….this is self-defeating. Print a guestimate…and be on the high side.)
- Set a goal for your chapter’s volunteers to send their clients to a workshop. Some volunteers send e-mails to some of their clients who could benefit from a workshop coming up on the schedule.
- Give your chamber of commerce members a discount and ask the chamber to help promote your workshop through an e-mail to their members…provide the e-mail.
- Invite a guest speaker, like your local bank president, to speak on how to build a banking relationship and ask the bank to help promote the workshop to their clients
- Get on your local SBA event calendar on-line.
- In smaller markets, print up a flyer and make them available at local banks, libraries. business license bureaus
- Two week prior to the each workshop, schedule a speaking engagement at local organizations like the rotaries, Lion, Elks, etc. and bring flyers with you
- Download the e-mail addresses on your “Clients to be counseled” file and add them to your Constant Contact data base.
- Be sure your subject line for your e-mails is compelling and interesting
- Be sure the top part of your e-mail announcement will get attention
- Set a goal for each workshop….attendance will vary by the topic but shoot for a minimum of 12 to 15 per workshop. Marketing and social media topics usually bring in larger audiences…be sure your message tells your audience of the benefits and what they will learn at the workshop.
- If you have the time and expertise use social media to get the word out (Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterst, etc.)
- Promote your workshops on your website (front page)
- Mix free workshops with paid workshops….use the free ones to build your audience and “sell” the paid ones.
- Some themes that have worked in other markets:
- Do you have what it takes to be in your own business? Attracts large crowds of those looking to start a business and those who are already in business
- Do you have what it takes to market your small business successfully?
- Social Media. How to make it work effectively for you.
- How to write a “winning” business plan…to get the funding you need!
- Finally! Your own written marketing plan that works!
- Marketing your small business on a shoestring budget
- How to build a 90 day marketing action plan that builds sales!
- Taking advantage of the “Violent Peaks” in your business
- Reading financial statements made easy! A must for every small business owner
- How to manage and operate a small business successfully.
- QuickBooks made easy….part one for beginners
Generally there is so much to marketing a small business you could actually create two or even three workshops on the subject, each at least 3 hours long
Some chapters have all day workshops from 8:30 to 3pm with one hour for lunch; others are three hours and some even one and half hours. Your goal is use the time wisely and be sure attendees walk away with value and that they learned something.
Workshops work best (attendance) not so much by the day of the week, or a Saturday or evening, but by the topic of interest.
Workshops should also create opportunities to set-up new mentoring sessions…be sure you take advantage of it. Have volunteers at the workshop as well as your 641 forms. NEVER ASK YOUR AUDIENCE TO GO TO YOUR WEBSITE TO REGISTER FOR A MENTORING SESSION, MOST WON’T DO IT, BUT THEY WILL TAKE A MINUTE TO FILL OUT A 641 AT THE END OF THE WORKSHOP)
Always have an evaluation form distributed so you can get feedback.
Improving Your Conversion Rate
- The workshop Topic and presenter
- Exciting workshops relevant to attendees needs such as: how to start a new successful business, marketing, social media, business plan writing, and how to do business with the government, are just a few that not only attract larger audiences but present better opportunities for mentoring.
- The presenter counts; interesting, exciting, lots of class interaction and knowledgeable (credentials) go a long way.
- Attendees need and timing
- Sometimes the simple question to ask, “How many of you will need some face to face time with a mentor who can help with this topic and the next step for you to take? You will be surprised at how many will raise their hands…be sure to meet with them after the workshop and set the appointment right then.
- If the attendee is on the verge of starting a business or just started one or has been in business for a while and the workshop hits a nerve, they can become prime mentoring clients…you will need to seek them out in after class.
- Ease of making an appointment
- Too cumbersome, too complicated, you will lose them
- Telling them to go to your website and make an appointment will not increase conversion rates
- Making the appointment right then and there at the workshop is best
- It would not hurt having 641 forms on hand just in case.
- Mentoring time and location
- Sometimes a chapters schedule doesn’t; meet the needs of the potential client…be flexible with times and days and dates…the more flexible, the higher the conversion rate
- The “Experts” that are available
- Chapter mentors on hand at the workshop (relevant to the subject matter); their profiles should be made available
- When possible a brief introduction to these mentors helps
- Explaining and “selling” the SCORE mentoring process
- You have to ‘Sell” the process of mentoring not just mention it at the end of your workshop, but rather a few times during the workshop and on the breaks.
- Be sure attendees understand you want to mentor them not just mentor (and tell the difference) you are looking to provide longer term help when and how often its needed…the client decides. And of course it’s FREE!
- Explain what they will get out of mentoring and how it will benefit them and their business, ,even if they don’t have a clear vision of what they want