Today’s consumer is all about the experience. To successfully reach consumers, you need to provide a worthwhile experience. And if you want consumers to know that you provide a worthwhile experience, you need to know how to market it.
“The [creative retail] stores that are succeeding now are focusing more on classes for customers and education on marketing for themselves. (Quartz)
So here’s a piece for your marketing education.
Here’s your game plan for creating and filling classes and events that bring in sales and loyal customers.
#1. Use The Value of Photos
Market your business as a place to experience by creating a picture of the fun they could have in your class. Do this with actual pictures.
Photos of people enjoying the experience your business creates will speak a thousand words. This is especially relevant for repeat classes and events but proves to be successful in general.
If people see a photo of kids smiling while creating, or adults proud of a project they just completed, they’ll associate your store with happiness. That’s something everyone wants.
Put these photos on your website, on social media, in emails, etc.
Artworks Studio has a carousel of photos on their homepage that give online visitors a great look at the fun they could have if they came in.
Among other things, Makit Takit shares videos of their splatter room with their Instagram followers.
#2. Make it Easy For Customers To Reserve a Seat
Do you have an event calendar on your website? Can customers see a schedule of events and learn more about them? Can they save a spot and pay online? If not, this is something you want to start getting in the works. (Learn more about our class management features).
Giving customers an easy way to sign up for classes, aka, from their phones, computers, or other devices will make a huge difference in your signup rates.
Based in Ontario, The Workshop keeps an updated calendar of classes and events on their website. When you click on an event, you are brought to a page with the info on that event, and better yet, an Add to Cart button.
This setup makes it easy and convenient for customers to sign up.
Additionally, it also allows the store owner to include these signup links in email or text messages, making marketing even easier and more successful. Learn more about our automated marketing.
#3. Create a Schedule for Promotion
If you want to succeed, you need to plan for it. In addition to hanging up and handing out fliers, be sure to take advantage of the exposure the internet gives you.
- Be Ready – Take a regular look at your upcoming events, or recurring events such as recurring crop days, paint nights, etc. so you always know what needs to be marketed next.
- Delegate – Assign an employee (or multiple) to send out marketing emails, post on Instagram, create Facebook events, and reach out in any other way that makes sense for your business. You may even try creating an E-vite with your email list.
- Look Locally – Maybe you want to post in local Facebook groups or local forums. Maybe your community has a community calendar that gets emailed out or posted on a town website. It’s worth a shot. Especially if you are hosting events that are free with the goal of getting folks in your shop.
- Photograph It – Have someone specifically assigned to take photos during events. These will be used to market future events and to develop that picture of fun mentioned above. Be sure to get permission from those in your photos. You can also take the photos from angles that don’t get faces if this is a concern.
#4. Give Hesitant Crafters Confidence
We are all creative in our own way, but there are some who hesitate to do a craft if they feel they won’t be able to succeed in making something that would be worthy of sharing or displaying. This fear is magnified in a world where social feeds are filled with perfect photos.
One company, Pinspiraton fills this need by “eliminating the craft fail.” “They analyze projects on Pinterest to vet potential ideas and confirm it can be completed in an hour.” “People can book sessions to make a Pinterest-worthy project, with materials supplied and instructions vetted by the owners.” (Quartz)
Find a way to use this idea in your own classes or events. Let customers know that you will be there to help them and that crafting can be fun for everyone.
As it says on Pinspiration’s website, “We believe that everyone is an artist, regardless of age, background, and skill level. Our crafters include kids, adults, men, women, individuals, groups, skilled artists, and beginners.”
So be sure to compliment those who are creating in your space and to offer ideas to someone who looks stuck.
#5. Make it Too Easy to Spend Money
One scrapbooking night I went to made it way too easy for me to spend money. I had my scrapbook page set up in their project room and then just walked through the store and grabbed whatever I wanted to use to work on it.
You can make it even easier by giving everyone a 10% discount on whatever they buy that night. Maybe even throw in an extended coupon that encourages them to come back within the next week. Or an online code that encourages them to shop on your website.
You may even try suggesting products to artists while they’re working. Maybe a product that will be perfect for their project.This is a fine line to walk but you can do it. Just be sure you are being helpful and not too pushy or salesy.
If all of their project materials are included with their fee, you may want to create a display with more of those materials for sale in case they want to do that type of project again at home.
#6. Keep Things Organized and Clean (and Well-Lit)
One of the best things about going to a class is being able to use tools that you don’t have at home. Set up a table that has these tools so everyone can go up and use them when they want to. You may also want to set up a display of those tools for sale nearby.
Crafting can get messy, which can be a part of the fun. That being said, it’s also easier to work in a clean space. While customers are creating, have a couple of employees go around and pick up scraps, clean tools, etc.
Give your customers the 5-star treatment and make it especially enjoyable for them to come to spend time in your shop.
#7. Keep Their Mouths Happy
I recently heard that if you give someone a treat, they are more likely to agree with you. No idea if this is an accurate study, but I always like people that feed me, so I say it’s a true principle.
Whether you order pizza for a crop night or have a snack bar on site, be sure to provide food so your customers have another reason to stay longer and spend more. Sometimes we need something sweet to get the juices flowing.
The Wild Nest partners with local bakers and vendors for those who want to bring in some yummy goods for their event.
Now, if you’re like me, the idea of putting food and crafts together is kind of stressful. What if pizza grease gets on the paper? What if something spills? Don’t worry. Just keep it to one area. The people coming are giving you their valuable time. They don’t want their stuff to get ruined either. Just plan ahead and provide an easy way for people to keep their hands and workspace clean.
Time To Get Started
Now that you know what to do. Get started! Choose one thing you’re going to improve and get it done. Then move to the next one. You can do it! It will take a little work, but you’ll find that your classes fill up, your products sell, and your customers start spreading the word that your events are awesome.
Marketing Made Easier
Market your classes and events easily with our automated marketing tools. Send out emails about upcoming classes automatically. You’ll save time AND make money.
Also published on Medium.