When your organization or business is putting on a workshop, it can be challenging to advertise and fill up the seats that you have to offer.
For that reason, it’s important that you approach this from a few angles: technology, marketing, and other forms of communication.
If you’re worried about filling up your next workshop, or simply want to exceed your last attendance numbers, we’ve compiled this helpful guide on how best to approach this. We will discuss:
- Online registration
- Integrated payments
- Targeted groups
Are you ready to dive into these expert strategies and jam-pack your next workshop hall? Let’s get started!
1. Allow online registration.
Everything seems easier with the internet, doesn’t it? Registering for a workshop is no exception. By offering online registration and getting rid of those paper forms, you’re likely to get more registrants simply due to the convenience of signing up and paying all in one place.
Allowing online registration also has other benefits, such as:
- Generating rosters within minutes
- Receiving applications and registrations on time (no more forms getting lost in the mail!)
- Automatically compiling applicant information
Beyond these benefits, look for registration software that allows users to do group registration. Group registration lets one user register multiple people quickly, and can get you a higher number of paying attendees!
Convenience is key when it comes to filling seats in your workshop. If you offer online registration, you’ll get more attendees, more on-time registrations, and happier users.
2. Use integrated payments.
When your workshop charges a registration fee, it’s important to make that process as secure as possible. How can you accomplish this? By investing in registration software that offers integrated payments!
For instance, Regpack offers software that integrates the payment process into the overall registration process. This means:
- Security is number one. You don’t have to worry about payment data being compromised due to the presence of a detailed security system.
- You’ll gain your registrants’ trust. Rather than directing users to a third-party payment site, your registration form will embed directly into your website and payments will occur during this process. Users won’t have to worry about mailing a check or being rerouted to PayPal, for example.
- Your registrants can choose their payment plan. If you’re offering a series of workshops, for instance, your registrants can choose the payment plan they want to follow, and then an autobilling system will make sure they comply.
- You’ll easily track payments. You can create and run payment reports any time you want, which will make your accounting process easier.
By using software that integrates with your payment process, you’ll instill trust in your registrants and make them more likely to sign up for and pay to attend your workshop. If you want to fill those seats, it’s essential that you make the payment process both convenient and secure.
If you want to fill up your workshop seats, it’s important that you communicate with your potential attendees. This means highlighting standouts of the course your business or organization is teaching and offering as much information as you can.
Consider these tips for communication:
- Focus on marketing. Create a newsletter to send out to users in your CRM if you use one. Through this avenue, you can send out your agenda to entice those who haven’t registered yet. Encourage them to bring along friends, family, and colleagues, as well.
- Take to social media. Create or update your social media pages on the platforms that your potential attendees are using. You can post your agenda here and use it to advertise your other workshops if you’re doing a series.
- Follow up. Follow up on payments and send reminders for any outstanding registration tasks. This can easily be done if you use the right software that automates this process.
Part of putting on a workshop means demonstrating the value you’ll bring to those who attend. Talk about the problem you’re going to solve and the other benefits associated with attending your workshop. If you openly communicate through several avenues and give people a good idea of what your program is about, you’ll be able to increase your overall attendance.
If you’re looking for a specific registration software solution, check out this list of the top event management software providers.
4. Choose a target group.
Going along with communication, it’s important that you reach out to the right people. This means you should directly target your marketing efforts to people who are in similar industries and would directly benefit from your workshop.
Follow these steps to ensure you target the right groups:
- Create a sign-up form on your organization’s website. Separate from your registration form, you can offer forms that allow people to sign up for your newsletter or other updates on your website. With this information, you can ensure you’re contacting the right people about your workshop.
- Collect information. Ask for information about your website visitors’ field of work so you can determine if your workshop (and future sessions) will be relevant to them. Ask for basic contact information, as well, but don’t ask for too much! Otherwise, they may abandon the sign-up form.
- Leverage your information. Once you’ve begun collecting information, begin segmenting your supporters into groups within your CRM according to certain demographics such as age, occupation, and location. Use this information to send out updates about your workshops when the instructors are in their city or when you think the program may be something relevant to their line of work, for example.
To represent your organization or business well, you should focus on acquiring new attendees, who could, in turn, become regular supporters or customers. Swoop offers a comprehensive article on customer acquisition, which can be applied to the process of moving your registrants through the conversion funnel. Start with sparking their awareness, educating them, and then moving them through the process to the point where they register for your workshop.
5. Offer incentives for early registration.
Everyone loves an incentive! Give your registrants a reason to sign up early. By offering incentives, you’ll be more likely to fill seats and maybe even end up with a waitlist if word spreads quickly!
Try out these strategies for incentives:
- General discounts. Offer a coupon code for a discount if attendees register early. Invest in registration software that allows you to create and trigger discounts automatically. A system that automates discounts for you is great because those discounts can trigger according to the registrant time (if they register by a certain date) or if they register more than a certain number of people. This will remove the headache of calculating discounts and also encourage people to sign up quicker, especially if they were on the fence.
- Bring someone free. Offer a free spot for a companion to the first 10 or so people who sign up. You may give up 10 free seats, but you’ll also forge more connections with people who may not have come otherwise. They might even register for a future workshop because of it!
Be sure to think about what incentivizes people to sign up for events and workshops. If your workshop is part of a larger fundraiser for a nonprofit organization, for example, simply offering to educate participants about your cause is a step you should take to encourage them to attend. This is one of several steps you can take in terms of fundraising, but it applies elsewhere, too.
Once you’ve figured out your incentives, you’ll be on your way to using creative and effective tactics to attract people to your program.
6. Set a goal and track it.
Ultimately, you want to fill your workshop seats. It’s a good idea, in that case, to come up with a few metrics to measure your success. By setting a goal and tracking it, you’ll know where your efforts are lacking and where you’re excelling.
Consider the following when setting your goals:
- Determine your attendance goal. One of the first steps in planning an event or program means determining your attendance goals. How many people do you hope will register and attend? From there, you’ll be able to start tracking this metric.
- Take advantage of reporting features. Use registration software that offers dynamic reporting tools. Get the information you need quickly by viewing your roster and exporting reports. This will keep you on track and allow you to see in real time how many people have registered and figure out if you need to increase your marketing efforts.
- Continue to follow up. If anyone has started their registration but left the form midway through or needs to pay their remaining balance, be sure to follow up with them, whether you do this proactively on your own or this is triggered automatically through your software. It’s important that the message is personalized to the recipient, as well.
By setting a goal and holding yourself accountable, you’ll be more motivated to reach the benchmark you’ve set up for yourself. Fill up your workshop seats by keeping up with your numbers and staying organized. The rest will speak for itself!
From using the right software to putting forth a lot of marketing efforts, there are several ways to expertly fill your workshop seats. Keep in mind that there are a lot of alternatives and competitors when it comes to the type of software you should use. Be sure you choose to invest in the one that’s right for your event and/or organization.
From there, you’ll be on your way to a packed and successful program!