Your class may teach an invaluable skill, but does your marketing effectively prove its value? There are many ways to market a course, workshop, or class through clever event promotion. You may have tried and tested many strategies when figuring out how to promote an online course, but we’re here to reiterate the important steps you should take – we may even teach you something new or remind you of a tactic you’ve been meaning to explore come event-prep-time. Remember, it’s important to cover as many bases as possible to drive clicks, reach attendees, and generate exposure.

Educational events are facing tough competition. There are seemingly endless options for people when it comes to in-person classes, not to mention the growing online database of online classes that saw a major boost through 2020 due to COVID-19. To draw people to your class over others, you need to modernise your marketing to take advantage of the new ways people learn about events online. Here are some advanced strategies on how to promote courses to students.

Define your brand

Whether you’re a yoga teacher competing in a crowded urban market, or an art teacher seeking creative toddlers, you can carve out a niche. We call how you position your classes to potential students your brand promise. This is the single defining benefit that sets you apart from the others in your field – hinging this promise around a niche audience could be the difference you need to excel your brand.

For instance, are your yoga classes set to classical chamber music? Or maybe they end with a complimentary glass of wine? Be explicit about this in your marketing messages to make a statement that articulates what attendees can expect from you (and only you), especially if it sets you apart from competitors.

Know your audience

Audience is key – so matching your brand up to the right audience is an invaluable step to take in event promotion. You can easily conduct some simple market research online.

Say you’re teaching self-defence classes. It’s reasonable to assume that single young women are an important target audience for you. Researching where young women spend their time online will help you build your promotional strategy. If you find they’re drawn more to Facebook, research specifically how to promote a course on Facebook, as there are sure to be unique avenues you can spin to your advantage.

You can also study your own data to uncover where marketing opportunities lie. For example, if there are two different classes with a similar trend in attendees, seek opportunities to run cross-promotional campaigns introducing current students to other classes they’re likely to enjoy. If you’re an Eventbrite creator, viewers can navigate to “More Events From This Organiser” when they’re looking at one of your events on our site. 

Hone your social media presence

Using your audience research, you can hone your efforts to the social media channels most frequented by your target audience. For example, if you’re hosting a professional development class, you might want to double down on LinkedIn. If you host a photography workshop or a cooking class for foodies, Instagram should be your priority.

Regardless of who your target demographic is, they’re probably on Facebook. As of March 2021, over 66% of the Australian population are active users of the platform. It’s a best practice to make a Facebook event for each of your classes to maximise your chances of showing up in followers’ (and their friends’) news feeds. This can have a big impact on your sales, especially if you let people register for your classes through your Facebook event page.

Here are a few more tips to best promote your classes on social media:

  • Customise the content you share on each platform. For instance, people tend to view Instagram on mobile phones, where excessive reading and scrolling is tedious. On Instagram, keep your content to eye-catching photos, brief videos, and short, witty captions. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a great forum for sharing long posts or articles.
  • Keep your posts short and sweet. Facebook may let you post a 63,206-character status update, but 40-60 characters is actually the ideal length (think of how you’d react to marketing copy with a huge slab of text; many of us would just keep scrolling).
  • Don’t miss the valuable marketing space of your profile page. Your Instagram bio should contain a link to a special offer or registration page – not just your homepage. Facebook and LinkedIn banner images are another valuable piece of real estate for event promotion.

Check out our list of event promotion apps at the Eventbrite App Marketplace for more resources, including twenty apps you can use to go beyond Facebook and Instagram advertising.

Optimise your website for search and email collection

With all the free and inexpensive website creation tools on the market, it’s fairly easy to create your own site. As you do, keep organic search traffic (when someone finds you online by Googling a topic) in mind. If you offer archery classes in Adelaide, your website should use the words “archery” and “Adelaide” prominently and often.

Such keyword usage is pretty intuitive for event promotion, but there is a whole science to search engine optimisation (SEO). Taking the time to do some keyword research (on what search terms people use to find classes) will give you an advantage.

There is also a science behind event website design, governed by the golden rule: You only have 10 seconds to capture a visitor’s interest. The key event details should be prominent on your website. You can’t waste valuable seconds on pretty designs that don’t answer the event-goer’s vital questions.

Having some gated content (requiring website visitors to fill out a form with their contact information in order to access premium information) is a great way to use your website to build an email marketing list. You give away content for free – perhaps a preview of your class content – and you get an email address in return. That email address is invaluable when it comes to maximising your event promotion.

Up the ante of your email marketing

91% of people check their email every day, but to stand out in an event-goer’s noisy inbox, you’ll have to step up your email marketing game. Consider creating campaigns targeted to specific subset audiences from your mailing list. For example, you could offer returning students a discount or first dibs on a spot in a class. Email marketing services like MailChimp allow you to create multiple contact lists for just this, and they recommend segmentation for optimal results.

Wondering the best approach for how to promote courses to students? Most professionals recommend conducting A/B tests to deduce what’s most effective. Try sending two different versions of your email to two different sets of students, and see which one performs better. This way you can learn which subject lines or calls to action your audience responds to best.

Take advantage of influencers

Reach out to bloggers, bloggers, or local organisations that share a common thread with your classes. For instance, you could offer to teach a free ballroom dance class at a local charity’s fundraiser to get your name out there.

Or step it up and seek an established or up-and-coming influencer to work with – someone with a following of people who’d be interested in the topics your class covers. For example, if you host cooking classes, offer an Instagram food blogger the chance to take your class for free if they share their experience online. Like a meme that goes viral, a mention by an influencer can reach a lot of people, fast. That’s the zenith of your marketing efforts, but everything else you do in preparation will bring you to that point.

Want some more detailed how-to’s when it comes to event promotion? Check out how you can easily pair the above online event promotion ideas with Eventbrite‘s online ticketing platform and reach even more potential attendees.

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