Where can I promote my classes and workshops?

Q & A by C.J. HaydenWhether you’re offering free seminars or teleclasses to bring in more clients, or for-profit workshops as a line of business, filling your scheduled programs can be a challenge. I am often asked the question “where should I list my classes?” as if there were some secret places that one could advertise a class in order to guarantee good enrollment. But it’s not quite that simple.

There’s an important distinction to be made between “listing” a class and “promoting” a class. Posting a listing for your program with various websites and publications that run class listings can sometimes be a useful component of a broader promotion strategy, but it’s rarely enough by itself to fill your class with prospective or paying clients, no matter how many of those sites or publications you can find.

To create an effective class promotion strategy, you need to identify a wide variety of ways to reach your own particular market niche. So rather than thinking of your product as a teleclass or workshop, and looking for places where classes can be listed, instead think of what you are offering as a solution for overworked professionals, salespeople, midlife women, or whatever your target audience might be. Then look for websites, publications, and organizations that serve that specific audience and see what possibilities exist for visibility there. If you think beyond just “class listings,” many more opportunities will present themselves.

When I have a class to fill, my list of marketing activities might include:

1. Making a free offer on my website to build a mailing list of interested people in my target market.
2. Sending email announcements to people who have opted in to receive them.
3. Announcing the class in my regularly scheduled opt-in ezine.
4. Announcing the class on my own website(s).
5. Announcing the class on my profile page in the social networks I participate in (e.g. LinkedIn, Facebook).
6. Bringing flyers to networking events I attend.
7. Sending flyers or postcards by postal mail to people who have made purchases from me before.
8. Calling people on the phone to extend personal invitations.
9. Sending personal invitations by email to people I know.
10. Asking friends and colleagues to let their network know about my class.
11. Asking current and former clients and students to tell their friends about the class.
12. Including a mention of the class in my email signature when I participate in message boards.
13. Writing and publishing articles (in print and on the web) relevant to the class topic, mentioning the class in my bio slug at the end of the article.
14. Issuing press releases about the class to appropriate media outlets.
15. Announcing the class to the professional associations and social networks where I am active, via their newsletter or message board when this is permitted.
16. Making a discount or bonus offer to the people already registered if they get someone else to sign up.

I actually spend very little time, and no money, on getting the class listed in websites and newsletters dedicated purely to class announcements, because I find that strategy doesn’t pay off as well as the others I have included above. Notice that most of my attention is directed to making contact with people who already know me or to whom I have an existing connection. Finding the best places to promote your classes and workshops should always start with your own network.

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