You teach a great fitness class, but the attendance is disappointing. What’s up with that?
According to Eventbrite, your promotional strategy could be to blame.
Whether you teach a personal finance class or an extreme weight loss workshop, your marketing must effectively convey its value. If it doesn’t, people may be swayed to take a similar class offered by your competition—and your potential attendees have got an almost endless supply of both in-person and online options to choose from.
In order to draw people to your class over all the others out there, you’ll need to update your marketing strategies so you can take advantage of all the ways people learn about classes and events online these days.
Ready to improve your class attendance? Check out the six promotional strategies below:
1. Set Your Brand Apart From the Rest
When it comes to making your class a “must attend” event, branding is one of the best ways to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
“A strong, consistent event brand has the power to transform an ordinary event into an unforgettable experience that attendees will always remember.”
How you present your classes to potential students is called your brand promise—that one distinct benefit that sets you apart from the others in your field.
For example, if your evening fitness class is set to classical chamber music and concludes with a complimentary glass of wine, you’d want to make sure you specify that in your marketing. The more specific you are about your class offering, the easier it is to position it as a branded experience that’s unique to your company.
2. Make Sure You Know Your Audience
The research and marketing activities you choose to engage in leading up to your class are pivotal in determining how successful it will be in terms of positioning your company’s brand to draw the right audience.
What are they like? What do they need? What do they want? What problems are they interested in solving?
There’s no need to enlist an expert to run a focus group and gather this information for you. Instead, conduct some simple market research on your own via email, social media, etc.
If you’re teaching self-defense classes, for instance, single young women are a good fit for the invaluable lessons you’re offering. So, in this case, you want to research where young women spend their time online so you have a better idea of how to build your promotional strategy.
3. Fine-tune Your Social Media Presence
After you’ve done your audience research, you can use that information to fine-tune your social media efforts and narrow down the channels most frequented by your potential students.
For example, if you’re offering a professional development class, you might want to focus on LinkedIn, whereas potential students for a cooking class would most likely be found on Instagram.
No matter which demographic you’re trying to target, odds are they’ll probably be on Facebook. To boost your chances of showing up in followers’ news feeds, you’ll want to create a Facebook Event for each of your classes. This can really maximize your sales, especially when accompanied with the ability to register for your classes right on your Facebook Event Page.
Remember to customize the content you share on each platform. Since people tend to view Instagram on mobile phones, you’d want to post compelling photos, brief videos, and short, clever captions. On LinkedIn, however, you could share long posts and/or articles.
Depending on the social media platforms you’re using, it’s a good idea to keep your posts short and to the point. Just because Facebook allows you to post a 63,206-character status update doesn’t mean you should. According to HubSpot, the ideal length is actually 40 characters.
Also, the profile pages of social media platforms can be valuable marketing space. A bio on Instagram, for instance, is a good place for a link to a special offer or registration page. You could also use the banner images on Facebook and LinkedIn for your class promotions.
4. Set Up Your website for Search and Email Collection
Your website should be set up for organic search (when people find you online by Googling a topic). If you offer skiing lessons in Deer Valley, Utah, your website should prominently feature the words “skiing” and “Deer Valley” in several key areas.
As you know, there is a science to search engine optimization (SEO). Doing some keyword research—on the search terms used to find classes—will give you a competitive advantage in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
In addition to keyword research and SEO, requiring website visitors to fill out a form with their contact information in exchange for access to some free content is a great way to build an email marketing list. Once you’ve built a list of email addresses, it’s time to put your email marketing strategies to work.
5. Optimize Your Email Marketing
According to Eventbrite, 91% of people check their email every day, but only 26% of people who receive event-related emails actually open them. In order to make it into that elite group of potential students who are actually looking at your emails, you’ll have to amp up your email marketing efforts.
If you already send newsletters to your audience, consider creating campaigns targeted to specific segments of that group. For example, you could offer return students a discounted price or allow them to claim a spot in your class before everyone else. Alternatively, you could offer new students a special promo deal.
Another option is to create separate lists for people who have expressed interest in certain types of classes. Services like MailChimp enable you to make multiple lists for this very purpose.
It’s also a good idea to test your emails to see which ones are more effective. Send two versions of your email to two different sets of students, then evaluate the results. This will help you determine which subject lines, promo offers, or calls to action your audience responds to the most.
6. Collaborate With Influencers
You don’t have to do all the promotional work for your classes on your own. Consider reaching out to bloggers or local organizations that share a common interest in your classes. For example, you might teach a Latin dance class at a local company’s fundraiser as a way to get your name out there.
You could also find someone who has a huge social media following of people who’d be interested in your classes. If, for instance, you’re the host of a cooking class, invite a popular Instagram food blogger to take your class for free in exchange for sharing the experience online. That way, you’ll be able to reach a lot of people, fast.
Building anticipation for your classes is key to their success. And what you do leading up to the day of your class plays an important role in making sure you have a room full of attentive students.
Not only do you need to build excitement around your classes, but you need to make sure you’re pitching your promotional messages to the right audience. To make it happen, use the 6 marketing strategies discussed above.
Here’s to attracting more students than your room can hold!
Also published on Medium.