As someone who puts on regular open workshops (the kind that people sign up to), I can tell you that there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to market that workshop. After more than 2 years of doing my Workshop Essentials workshops I’ve got into the groove a bit and have worked though my own list of strategies that work and don’t work, and am constantly monitoring and evaluating how it’s all going.

But until recently I hadn’t really taken a reflective look back at where all my customers had been coming from. I mean I had a good idea, but I had never analysed it. Thanks to a marketing strategy session with Helen Farmer (from Voice By Volume) I have now done this and I thought I’d share the results with you. I went through this process so I could see my customer journey better, and to learn how to market my workshops with more efficiency.

I sat down and looked at where the person coming on my workshop first heard about me and my workshops. I discovered that often people have heard about my workshop from more than one source, but the figures here show where they first heard about my workshop. This has helped me know how to market my workshop in a more targeted way.

Marketing your workshop

NETWORKING – 34%

Unsurprisingly the biggest single group of people were those that I knew through networking. By this I mean the face to face kind. I am a regular at several networking events, for example Freelance Mum. I have built up relationships with a lot of people in the group. It is very much about building up those relationships and about people getting to know me as the “workshop person”, networking takes time, but clearly, it works if you are willing to have some good conversations and give back a bit too.

FACEBOOK GROUPS – 19%

Like many people I am in several different Facebook groups. Some I interact more with than others. I have not gone into the nitty gritty of who came from which group, but I know that these people heard about me and my workshops through one (or maybe more) groups. I would say that generally posting your event in a group you don’t really interact with doesn’t work. A bit like networking, you need to join in.

LINKEDIN – 12%

I probably interact less on LinkedIn with regards to my open workshops (compared to my other in house work) but I know that I have an audience there. I think LinkedIn is becoming more and more accessible to people (4 years ago when I started by business I was rather scared of it) and I know that is where people who come on my workshops also hang out. Although initially my workshops were aimed at sole traders with particular professions, over time my audience has changed and and is now more diverse, so it includes people who work in organisations and companies.

REFERRALS – 12%

This number is actually increasing as time goes on. This is not really surprising when you think about it. The more that people come and like it (hopefully!) they will tell other people about it. I have also gained confidence in my product and feel happy to ask for referrals which initially felt a bit uncomfortable.

UNKNOWN – 11%

Okay, I say I’ve analysed this data, but there are still a few people I don’t know about! I try to ask people when they come to my workshops where they heard about me from. Sometimes I forget to ask, sometimes I forget to record the answer. I know in amongst this number are people who simply don’t know how they heard about my workshops.

TWITTER – 6%

Although twitter can seem like a sea of messages sometimes, I can happily report that people have spotted me on twitter and signed up to the workshop. It does work, but as you can see this is quite a small percentage and for me this wouldn’t be a strategy I would rely on on it’s own.

PAST PARTICIPANTS – 5%

I have had people from several different companies send someone of different occasions as the person they sent initially has spread the word. This is good news as I know if they hadn’t got what they needed from the workshop, they wouldn’t be coming back for more!

SPEAKING AT AN EVENT – 1%

I don’t really speak as such, I tend to do mini workshop taster sessions. But I did a mini workshop at an event and it just so happened that there was some instant interest – right place right time as they say.

I can also tell you that I have just had my first sign up from someone who spotted me in Instagram – a platform that I use a bit sporadically, but should probably pay more attention to!

What these rather informal statistics do not reflect is the fact that many people may have first heard about my workshop through one source, but have subsequently seen/heard about it another place too. They won’t just have seen my comments in a Facebook group or on LinkedIn, they may also have met someone who knows me, or met me at a networking event. Not everyone sees something and knows it’s right for them straight away, it can take time. There is a journey that people go on, people sometimes spot a workshop and instantly sign up, but often they don’t and they want to learn more about you, your credibility and your event before they commit their hard earned cash.

I know that for me these avenues are a good combination to use if I want people to sign up to my workshops. That’s not to say that there aren’t lots of others (including a better investigation into Instagram) but to be efficient, I need to know where to be.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well because we all spend a lot of time thinking about where our ideal customers are, so we can target our marketing. There’s no point in sharing your workshop willy nilly and hoping people sign up, so of course we need to be a bit strategic about it. But I wonder how many of us look back and prove or disprove our assumptions about our efforts. I know that networking is good for me, so I want to invest time in that, and not focus too much on twitter (although have to confess to rather liking twitter!). It’s not an exact science for someone like me who is not a marketing genius and as I said people do come from more than one source. But I want to be as efficient as possible with the resources I have I want to know I am marketing my workshop well.

Why don’t you try it? Ask you workshop participants how they got to hear about you and your workshops and check how this relates to your current marketing. If a certain route seems to work but you need more people coming along, is there something else you can be doing to increase or deepen your reach, for example are there more networking events you can go to (are there some you should ditch?), which Facebook groups work best and is twitter a good use of your time? Once you have a better idea of where people are coming from, you will have a better idea of where you need to be.

Of course it would be remiss of me not to mention that I have another workshop coming up with Kimba Cooper from Kimba Digital Marketing. This will be the second of our Marketing Your Workshop Made Easy! workshops and it’s on 11th July in Bristol. Do come if you are having difficulty getting bums on seats for your workshops I will be sharing my workshop wisdom and combining it with Kimba’s marketing expertise. We will help you look at your own customer journey and help you work out the best way to help people arrive at your workshop.

If you’d like to read more about my workshop marketing learning, with a few hints and tips on what I think works well then check out my blog post.

Meanwhile, I’m off to investigate Instagram……

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