As a web developer, I’m all about giving you the tools and platforms to make your business thrive in the ever-expanding online marketplace.
It’s crucial that you integrate web based marketing–such as social media, a business website and email campaigns–into your strategy now if you haven’t already. For more introverted entrepreneurs this can be a wonderful direction to take their marketing efforts.
However, sometimes you have to show your expertise, get out in front of the crowd and run a live workshop as a way to build your on-line and off-line credibility.
At this point you may be asking “Why, in the digital age, should I be doing anything as archaic as running a workshop?”
There are actually a few good—great—reasons:
- Chances are high that you have knowledge or skills specific to your profession and others are seeking to learn them.
- There are many potential business contacts who are still out there hitting the pavement and networking in person, not yet willing to go online.
- Even for contacts who are “plugged in,” an interactive and hands-on learning format may be their preferred environment (as opposed to webinars or e-learning).
When you are able to connect face-to-face with these individuals and transmit valuable information to them in an engaging and memorable workshop, you have instantly created a rapport and established your professionalism and expertise.
Begin at the beginning, or so they say. Taking workshop development in a step-by-step fashion is the key to a successful outcome. It also keeps the creation phase manageable.
Your ideal topic is the one that connects a subject you know well with a timely and pressing need in the market. Keep your ears open and a list of brainstormed ideas. Ask around and bounce potential topics off of people you can trust. Look for material you have already written that can be repurposed and expanded.
Determine Appropriate Length and Venue
Not all topics are created equally when it comes to workshop length and format. You should be able to comfortably fill at least an hour, especially if you are planning to charge for attendance. However, it’s just as frustrating to your attendees when you cram a full two hours of material into that same hour. Hone your topic to fit the timeframe you’ve determined.
Also consider what you will need in a location. How many people should fit into the space? Do you need access to internet? Does the space have a projector already installed and available for your use?
Sit down and plan out your course. As you work up an outline, consider where the best places are to stop and allow the class to interact: in small groups, Q&A sessions, note-taking and reflection. Depending on the complexity of the material, more time to practice and apply new concepts may be needed.
If you need help coming up with group activities, there are lots of good websites with ideas that you can borrow and use. Even if they don’t have something that fits your needs, just reading through might help you develop something that does work.
Integrate a Sales Funnel
At the very end of the workshop you will have a short window of time where the attendees’ momentum and excitement will be at their peak! This is where you are free to introduce them to some of the other services and products you offer. Just remember, take a tiered approach so that there is something for everyone:
- Free—this is important, because not everyone has the resources to move forward right away. Offer something of additional value that is “free,” whether it is access to a digital download from your website or an email course that covers the materials a little more in depth.
- Paid—choose your most valuable and pertinent service/product package to gently promote at the end of the workshop.
- Discounted—offer a considerable discount to anyone who signs up and pays at the event. Urgency is a marvelous motivator.
Evaluate and Refine
Once you’ve taken a little time to integrate their suggestions (and your own refinements) into the course materials, consider other places you might be able to market the workshop.
With practice it will only get better, and each time you give the workshop you are expanding your sphere of influence!
Have you created and delivered a workshop or seminar? What works well for you in either the development process or the delivery? Any funny stories? Would love to capture your comments below!