It’s getting harder and harder to get your customer’s attention. They are deluged with information, so they scan-click-delete.
Yet they cry out in the night for someone to explain things simply.
The rules of modern marketing have changed, and it’s only going to get worse. You’d better find the most effective, most efficient marketing techniques to nurture your leads and build trust and loyalty with your audience, or you’ll be left behind.
One technique stands out above all the rest – teaching.
Offering free classes helps you sell your services and products, and fill your mastermind groups and your paid classes and events. But there are tricks to doing is right or you’ll lose your lovely customers in a heartbeat!
Getting to Know You … as a Teacher
Teaching gives your audience the personal interaction with you that’s missing in most marketing techniques. When they get to experience you in a very personal way — whether it’s through a in-person presentation, a video conference or a webinar — it builds a connection that lives on long after the class ends.
Whether at a live event, or through a webinar or teleseminar, teaching helps you be seen as an expert in a very crowded marketplace. It helps you expand your reach — and your revenue. Your students remember you as the person who has the answers.
Best of all, you get to share what you know with your audience, which empowers and inspires them.
You’ve Got to be Well-Prepared
Want to run an excellent class to use as a marketing tool — one that students talk about and share with their friends and colleagues?
Start with a brilliant class plan.
Not only will you cover amazingly helpful content, but you’ll be more relaxed and teach it better if you have a plan.
Here are the six steps to designing a class to use as a marketing tool:
- Start with what the audience wants to learn. Students don’t care about what you want to teach. They only care about what they want to learn. So do your market research and ask your audience what challenges they have, then design a class around solving those problems.
- Write a sizzling lesson plan. Map out what you’re going to say, in a logical order that simplifies the information. Take the information that’s overloading your audience, and sift it into what’s most important, with usable action steps.
- Design a red-hot opening. You’ve been in those “salesinars” where the teacher spends the first 20 minutes talking about themselves. Your eyes roll back in your head and you mumble, “When will this teacher ever get to the important content?” Don’t do that to your students — they deserve better for committing their time to attending your class. Start with a big bang: huge, useful content in the first 5 minutes. Then they’ll be saying, “Oh, I can’t wait to hear what comes next!”
- Make it interactive. Create discussion questions, tell stories and create exercises so your students don’t fall asleep halfway through. Adult students need you to change the pace of the class every 10 minutes or so. “All lecture” classes are a thing of the past, and there are dozens of teaching strategies that put some jazz into your class design. Remember that there’s a high ratio of lurkers to participants, so learn how to reach both introverts and extroverts and learn how to engage them in the learning conversation.
- Set your marketing goals. Whether you’re offering a free class to build your mailing list or you’re introducing your audience to a new product or service, have specific marketing goals for your class so you can measure if it’s working.
- Have a plan for what you’ll do, after the class, to continue the conversation. Your class isn’t a one-off marketing technique, it’s part of a bigger marketing plan. Decide how you’ll follow-up with the participants. Consider a post-class email marketing campaign that provides them with recordings, handouts and resources to cement what they’ve learned and remind them of the products or services you offer.
Choose a Teaching Method
Once you’ve designed your class, it’s time to decide which delivery method to use.
Last year I asked thousands of small business owners, “How do you prefer to learn?” From the results of last year’s Learning Survey, I found that people have strong preferences about how they prefer to consume your educational material. (You can get the results of my Learning Survey here.)
There are several effective teaching methods, so let’s look at the pros and cons of each:
- Live event – There’s nothing better than meeting your audience face-to-face. Unless you’re strictly inviting a local crowd, timing, weather, and cost can play a role in attendance. If you’re inviting an out-of-town audience, consider making it a full-day event, even if you have to charge them a small fee to cover your costs.
- Webinar – The best part about webinars is that there’s both an audio and a video feed, so participants are engaged on two levels. The worst part is that when the technology fails, the whole thing falls apart. Most interaction happens via text chat unless your participants are either on an accompanying teleconference line or they have microphones in their computers (watch out for the dreaded echo!). Webinar platforms are getting more stable, but it’s good to have a webinar back-up plan just in case.
- Teleseminar – Teaching via teleconferences has been around for over a decade and it’s an established way to deliver a class. You can have lots of voice-based interaction, but it may be a little boring for those visual learners unless you have handouts to go with your class. If your participants are on the go, it’s easier to connect to a teleseminar than a webinar.
- Video Conference and Live Streaming Events – When your audience can see your bright, shining face on their computer screen, it’s the next best thing to a live event. As with webinars, sometimes the technology doesn’t work as planned (make sure you have enough memory in your computer, and enough internet speed on your service so your video is clear), but it’s definitely a strong contender for building rapport with your audience.
Afraid? Don’t Be! Just Teach
I know that teaching may feel intimidating. Start small and remember: you were put on this planet to help other people, and there’s no better way to help than to teach.
You’ll be surprised how much you love it!
- Capture your audience’s attention, and gain their trust and loyalty.
- Deliver usable content in a logical way they can use immediately.
- Teach them what you know in a free class, and create passionate customers.