Enhance Your Expert Identity By Teaching the Classes Everyone Wants to Take!
By Susan A. Friedmann, CSP
Seminars, workshops, boot camps, and other educational programming are very popular, with the public and with savvy entrepreneurs. We’re in an age where information is the ultimate commodity: Our value is largely determined by how much we know and what we can do with that knowledge.
Anything a consumer can do to add to their knowledge base has real value and appeal. At the same time, an opportunity to showcase your specialized knowledge can enhance your Expert Identity and make your services more attractive to the buying public.
Seminars are excellent ways to diversify your existing business. You can incorporate products and services to market through seminars. You don’t actually make a sales pitch, of course, as that would cheapen a seminar presentation. But you could offer products and services that have a natural appeal or fit with the seminar audience.
In addition, conducting seminars adds to your “brand identity” and builds up that identify. Potential customers purchase for a wide variety of reasons, price being only a small factor. Brand identity and credibility are critical in a purchase decision, particularly when a special service is needed. That credibility is enhanced when you conduct and promote relevant seminars.
Here’s a five-step process to develop seminars that will appeal to your target audience:
Step One: Define Your Target Audience
Nichepreneurs™ have a range of potential audiences for educational material. Classes could be directed toward colleagues and peers, with an eye toward enriching the industry as a whole and generating referral business. Or you may wish to focus on educating the general public, creating a more educated consumer, and enjoying higher sales.
Realize the two groups have different needs and require different information. You need a clear vision of who you’re talking to before you worry about what you’re talking about!
Step Two: Identify Critical Information
Now that you know who your target audience is, you want to determine what is important to them. What crucial areas are your customers the most eager to learn about? Bear in mind that there is always a hunger for basic, introductory information.
Never assume you know what is of interest to your clientele. Ask them — either anecdotally, during the course of business, or as part of an outreach campaign. The topics you might think they can’t miss might leave them snoring, while something that you considered insignificant could have great appeal. Do your research!
Step Three: Select a Topic
Use the results of the research you conducted in step number two to select a topic. What are the most important points to cover? Create a presentation focusing on those points. Remember, you want to appeal to the wants and needs of your target audience.
Step Four: Select a Format
Consider the type of material you’ll be teaching and your own personal style. This is one time when you’ll really need to be brutally honest with yourself: If you’re an outgoing, dynamic person who thrives in a crowded room yet hates technology with a purple passion, why try to host a web-based event? Select a seminar instead, and let your people skills sell you! The reverse is even more true: Nichepreneurs™ who might be brilliant but pedantic will lose far more customers than they gain by boring a room full of people to tears.
Consider your material. Some information is better presented visually —financial or scientific data, for example. Other information, such as massage techniques, cry out for live demonstrations.
Step Five: Market Your Classes
Once you’ve designed your educational offerings, you need to market them. There are a number of ways to do this. If you’re trying to reach a purely local audience, then saturating local media with press releases and announcements, as well as fliers and direct mailings, is the route to go. For larger events, or web-based classes, you’ll want to adopt a broader strategy, taking in e-mail, web site and blog postings, and more.
The key to success of any seminar, boot camp, or educational offering is through marketing and promotion. Yet this is the area where more Nichepreneurs™ drop the ball. Don’t short-change yourself. Devote as much time and energy to promoting your classes as you did developing them! HBM
Written by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP, TheNichePreneur™ Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally recognized niche marketing expert working with service professionals and small business owners to increase their target marketing potential. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market” and “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies.” Claim your free copy of the special report, “The NichePreneneur™ Mindset” at http://www.richesinniches.com