The DIY arts and crafts industry was worth well over $40 billion in 2016. That number is still rising.
People can perfect DIY skills at arts and crafts workshops. Leveraging on #nomorePinterestfails fun and pure learning, workshops are becoming a goldmine.
If you are crafting your own workshop, how do you promote it to make sure it’s sold out?
1. Involve the local arts and crafts community
At least 84% of the world’s 4.3 billion Internet users have been in contact with an online community or forum. Online arts and crafts communities are vibrant social universes with huge followings. These groups connect shared passions, lifestyle, and hobbies. In them, people interact, encourage, and learn from each other.
If you’re a workshop organiser, you’ll likely find your target audience there. Some of the best art and craft-oriented communities include:
How to promote your workshop to online communities
As many as 35% of Internet users search for upcoming community events online. Forums, message boards, and online communities are therefore fertile grounds for potential workshop participants.
Keep in mind that many of these communities predate social media networking sites. They have cultivated a unique culture of their own. They’ll often have opinionated users who are highly knowledgeable on the community’s core subject matter.
Therefore, you should observe certain etiquette if you want to promote your workshop within these communities. We suggest the following steps:
- Register as a user and introduce yourself.
- Do not advertise your workshop right away. Not only is this disrespectful to the community, you also risk getting banned and losing potential participants.
- Post engaging and relevant content on topics not directly related to your workshop.
- Contribute to groups discussions and become a known entity.
- Contact the site’s admin and discuss your upcoming workshop with them: Is it something their users might find relevant? (Note: Some forums may even give you the option to advertise your workshop by paying for sponsored posts, banner ads, or sticky threads, and so on.)
Tip: Learn more about promoting your event using forums and communities.
2. Find an influencer
The amount of promotional material produced daily is staggering. It’s no wonder people are becoming blind to it.
So how do you stand out and get more people to connect with your workshop? Find an influencer to talk about or be part of your workshop!
The right influencer will have the attention of your target audience. Why? Because they have built a relationship with them over time. Influencers are trustworthy because they are experts in their niche. They leverage on the online equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. As many as 92% of consumers rely on referrals to make their purchase decisions.
But how do you find an influencer for your workshop?
Searching for influencers manually can be a time-consuming task. But it is an affordable option for small workshops looking for niche influencers.
On Google, try the following keywords:
- [your workshop niche] influencers uk (e.g. “pottery influencers uk”)
- [your workshop niche] blogs uk
- [your workshop niche] sites uk
- [your workshop niche] personalities uk
On social media, you can try similar searches or use some of the top crafts hashtags to discover influential people using these:
- …and so on.
Tip: Here’s a look at the top 10 crafting blogs in the UK to help you get started.
Influencer discovery platforms
If you don’t want to research influencers from scratch, there’s always another option: One of the specialised portals that match brands to the right influencers. These platforms let you search within a database of pre-qualified influencers by industry type, geography, and other criteria. Here are a few great examples:
How to engage influencers
Once you’ve found an influencer, you’ll need to have a strategy for getting them to help market your workshop. Apart from the typical “We pay or sponsor you to promote us” approach, you can always try:
- Sending them a free invite to your workshop. Let them experience the workshop in person (and hopefully say good things about it).
- Collaborating to offer a free class during one of their events.
- Offering discount rates to their followers.
- …and so on.
Tip: Take a look at this detailed guide on using influencers to market events.
3. Use the right social media platforms
When it comes to arts and crafts, your best bets are Instagram and Pinterest.
Instagram is a favourite of millennials and women in the ages of 18–35. Instagrammers want only the best of high-quality storytelling. Go for amazing, custom imagery. Stock photos are a no go.
Pinterest is especially popular with women in the ages of 18–45. Its pin boards are all the rave, from house remodelling to wedding ideas. For an arts and crafts workshop, there’s plenty of opportunity to post images of the “final product” your participants might end up with.
So how do you promote your workshop on these platforms? Read on…
4. Employ content marketing
This is all about producing and sharing content that’s valuable to your target audience. Content marketing tends to have 6 times higher conversion rates than other marketing methods.
Here are a few tips on using content marketing to promote a workshop.
Create instructional content
This could, for instance, be content that tells and shows people how to craft their own projects. This establishes you as an authority on the subject matter. It’s usually evergreen in nature, so it’ll stay relevant well after being published. What’s more, it’s share-worthy.
Share relevant content from others
This content could come from influencers or other arts and crafts personalities you respect. It’s relevant to your audience, and it may also put on the radar of those influencers. You can retweet their posts or announcements, share famous quotes, or dig into their Q&As for valuable insights to pass on to your audience.
Make content centred around your workshops
This could be a behind-the-scenes video filmed at one of your workshops or a photo gallery of the awesome creations your past participants have crafted. This content can be both educational and captivating. Most importantly, it gives people a clear glance at exactly what your workshop has to offer.
Whatever path you choose, always follow the 80/20 rule:
- 80% content that’s informative, exciting, and engaging.
- 20% promotional content.
This rule ensures your online content is of true value to your readers and therefore shareable.
Here are two examples of excellent content marketing in the arts and crafts niche:
- Amy Ng of Pikaland is an illustrator and writer. She successfully creates business guidance, tutorials, and course content to market her products.
- Oh Creative Day is run by a teacher mom. It’s full of creative ideas and how to’s on all things arts and crafts related.
Tip: Here’s a great look at developing a content strategy for events.
5. Use discounts, giveaways, and incentives
Discounts and other incentives are especially useful if you’re just starting out and trying to get new students for your workshops. They work well in practice because they usually have an element of urgency attached. People who love to save money might buy a discounted ticket now than wait to buy it later at a standard rate.
Some discounts and incentives can include:
- Discounted “early bird” rates for those who buy early.
- Reduced group prices for booking a certain number of spots at the same time.
- Discounts for pre-purchasing spots for multiple upcoming workshops.
- Freebies for the first 10 people to book a spot. These can take the form of e.g. gift cards to art supplies stores or specific art equipment like brushes.
When it comes to freebies, you can partner with vendors who’d like to attract new customers through your event. They might want to donate coupons or items for prizes during the workshop.
Here’s a bit of inspiration:
- Mum and Me Tea Blending Workshop on tea blending gives a 25% discount on tickets purchased online.
- Design your own Perfume, will have participants leaving with a gift-boxed perfume of their own making.
Over to you…
You should now have a number of ideas to help you promote your workshop. So go ahead, set up a workshop ticketing page and get your marketing hat on.