Make Workshops a part of your Marketing Strategy

Co-working spaces generally attract similar types of customers: business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants  and freelancers. They are your kind of people. They are part of your tribe. These are exactly the type of people to who need to know about your business, product or service so you need to look at your marketing plan and include workshops as part of the your strategy.

Hosting a workshop, talk or seminar at your co-working space gives you an opportunity to present yourself as an expert and thought-leader in your chosen field. It gives you the chance to showcase yourself and what you can offer.

Start working with your co-working space - your event needs to be mutually beneficial. You both need you to attract the right crowd and potentially new customers. Think about your potential audience and what topics would be of interest. An easy way to kick start this process is to carry out a bit of anecdotal research and ask a couple of your co-working colleagues what they think of your proposed event. These peer to peer conversations will give you great feedback and help you evaluate your offering. Decide on a precise topic and exactly what information and materials you will be sharing. You want your potential audience to be interested and excited to attend but they mustn’t leave disappointed so you need to deliver on what you promise. There is nothing worse than attendees thinking your event was a waste of time!

Consider when best to host your event - day of the week and time.  For professionals, my experience is that Thursday early evenings work well as people are looking forward to the end of the week, have some time available and are in the right frame of mind to socialise and learn about something new. 

Think about the format of and length of your presentation. Best to keep things focussed and to the point as you don’t want to go over schedule and potentially waste your audience’s time. But you also don’t want things to be too formal or rushed. I’ve found that some networking time before and after the event is valuable - this gives you the opportunity to connect with your audience, answer any questions and evaluate potential business leads. This also allows for a bit of social mingling which adds to the enjoyment factor.

Promotion of your event is crucial. Collaborate with the co-working space since it's a joint effort - pool resources and exploit ideas and contacts to the max. Using social media platforms is a great starting point. Work with your hosts to create a FaceBook event and support this via other channels like local media and word of mouth. Consider creating added incentive for potential attendees such as a give-away, a goodie bag or a lucky draw. Something enticing to generate interest and ticket bookings.

Make managing your event a priority - your co-working space can guide you on what tools to use to stay on top of RSVP’s . You need to track how many people are interested and attending. I’ve found Quicket an excellent resource and easy to use.

Visit the venue and familiarise yourself with the space. Check out what facilities are on offer and make sure your audience will be able to see and hear you. Do a tech check - does your equipment synch up with the venue’s?  Do a test run to make sure everything is working -  this will build your confidence.

Being relaxed and confident is important. Your composed attitude will add gravitas and put your guests at ease. Be yourself! The audience needs to feel your confidence and trust your expertise. Public speaking can be challenging. Be prepared. Make sure you have practiced and have some back up notes on hand - just in case!  Remember to own your event. Never let an audience member try to take over. A great tip is to acknowledge their enthusiasm and then suggest you chat to them later in person.

Following up on an event is just as important as creating and hosting one. If you've promised to email information out to guests - do that immediately the next day. Send out “thank you’s" to attendees and maybe tie this in with a quick on-line survey to harness feedback and comments, it's great for market research. Remember to leverage your social media platforms - talk about your event, post pics and solicit comments.

Mia da Camara