How to Run a Profitable Online or In-Person Workshop
Running a profitable workshop, whether online or in-person, requires thoughtful planning and preparation. With the right strategy, you can create an event that provides immense value to attendees while also generating significant revenue for your business.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover how to:
Choose a compelling workshop topic
Selecting the right topic is crucial for attracting your ideal audience and ensuring the content delivers maximum impact. We’ll explore strategies for picking a topic that’s relevant, in-demand, and differentiated.
Structure the workshop format
You need to determine the workshop length, pricing, delivery format, and other key logistics. We’ll look at the pros and cons of various formats and pricing models so you can create an event tailored to your goals.
Driving registrations is essential to having a full and profitable workshop. We’ll dive into tactics for crafting a persuasive offer, leveraging email and social media, and getting people excited to attend.
Deliver exceptional value
The content and experience you provide during the event directly impacts satisfaction and word-of-mouth. We’ll discuss how to craft a compelling curriculum, facilitate engaging activities, and wow attendees.
Increase revenue opportunities
Workshops don’t have to be a one-time event. We’ll explore ways to generate additional revenue through recordings, coaching programs, masterminds, and other offerings.
Let’s begin exploring how you can plan and execute a workshop that delivers outstanding value to attendees while also improving your bottom line.
Choose a Compelling Workshop Topic
Your workshop topic is the foundation for the entire event. Choosing a subject that resonates with your target audience and aligns with your expertise is critical. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting your workshop topic:
Identify Hot Topics and Trends
Research current trends and topics that your ideal clients and customers are interested in. Look at forums, social media discussions, industry publications, and survey your own audience to identify “hot” topics worthy of a workshop.
For example, topics related to pivoting a business during COVID-19, mental health, or diversity and inclusion are very relevant given current events. Workshops catered to what people want to learn will generate greater interest.
Consider Search Volume and Competition
Use keyword research tools to assess search volume and competition for topics you’re considering. High search volume indicates strong interest, while low competition gives you an opportunity to rank high in organic search results and become a known authority on the topic.
Leverage Your Expertise
Design your workshop around topics and skills you have deep expertise in. Draw on your credentials, education, direct experience, and unique perspectives to offer a workshop distinct from competitors.
For example, a relationship therapist can offer a couples counseling workshop, while a certified financial planner can provide a retirement planning workshop. Demonstrating your expertise builds authority and trust.
Offer a Unique Angle
Rather than covering a topic broadly, consider a specific angle or approach that gives your workshop a unique edge. For example, instead of a general social media marketing workshop, take a niche angle like Instagram for photographers or TikTok for educators.
Specializing makes your workshop stand out while also targeting those most interested in the specialty topic.
Solve a Common Pain Point
Determine a specific pain point or problem your target audience struggles with that your workshop can help solve. The more relevant the workshop is to addressing attendees’ challenges, the greater the demand and impact.
For example, a “Get Organized Workshop” for busy moms could provide strategies tailored to reducing chaos and stress when managing a household and family. Solving a specific pain point makes your workshop enticing.
Mix It Up
Consider blending hot topics people want to learn with your unique expertise to create the most compelling workshop possible. For example, you could offer a workshop on “Mindfulness Practices for Anxiety Relief” or “Virtual Team Building Strategies.”
Finding the intersection between audience interests and your strengths is ideal for maximizing relevance, excitement, and authority.
Structure the Workshop Format
Once you’ve selected a compelling topic, the next step is determining the workshop format and logistics. Carefully consider the length, pricing, delivery format, size, and other components to create an event optimized for success.
Define the Length
Workshops can range from one hour to several days. Consider:
- Topic complexity – How much content and engagement is needed to cover the subject matter effectively?
- Attendee availability – Is the target audience likely to commit to a full day or would a few hours be more accessible?
- Pricing impact – Longer workshops allow for higher pricing while shorter events may need lower price points.
- Delivery format – In-person workshops often run 6-8 hours for a one day format, while online workshops may be 2 hours or less.
Test different lengths to see what works best for maximizing attendance and revenue potential for your topic and audience.
Pricing should factor in the value you’re providing, expenses, desired profit, and audience willingness/ability to pay. Some pricing models to consider:
- Flat rate – Charge one price for the entire workshop regardless of length or bonuses. Easy for attendees to understand.
- Tiered pricing – Offer different price points based on when someone registers (ex. early bird vs. regular). Can incentivize early registrations.
- Bundles/VIP experiences – Charge more for additional items like workshop recordings, bonuses, or special access. Higher-end offerings attract bigger spenders.
- Group discounts – Offer discounted registration for groups/companies to incentivize larger signups. May improve volume.
Test pricing with your audience and comparable workshops to find the sweet spot. Maintain pricing integrity by delivering massive value.
Determine Format and Size
Key format considerations include:
- In-person – Hosting local workshops allows for hands-on engagement but has capacity constraints and geographic limitations.
- Online – Webinars and virtual workshops expand reach dramatically while sacrificing in-person interactions.
- Hybrid – Combine online and in-person elements to reach broader audiences while retaining live events.
- Group size – In-person workshops should have intimate sizes of around 25 people or less for greater interactions. Online workshops can accommodate hundreds easily.
Choose formats and group sizes that align with the experience you want to create, your resources/capabilities, and audience preferences.
Select Options for Recording and Repurposing
Record and repurpose your workshop content to increase revenue:
- Record live workshops – Record in-person or online workshops to sell access to recordings later.
- Chop recordings into smaller segments – Break workshop recordings into smaller lessons or episodes to sell a la carte. More options to monetize.
- Create online courses – Use workshop content to create a more comprehensive online course. Significantly expands revenue potential.
- Offer workshop playbacks – Record the workshop and re-run it like a movie playback for new audiences. Easy to replicate.
Recording and repurposing workshop content into new products will diversify your revenue streams.
Market the Workshop Effectively
Robust marketing and sales strategies are imperative for driving strong workshop registrations and revenue. Consider these key tactics when planning your marketing campaign:
Create a Persuasive Offer
You need a compelling workshop offer and sales page to convert prospective attendees. Elements to include:
- Relevance – Explain how the workshop solves problems and meets needs of your target audience.
- Value – Convey the incredible value, content, and takeaways attendees will get from participating.
- Testimonials – Feature rave reviews, ratings, and testimonials from past participants to build credibility.
- Logistics – Provide date, time, pricing, format, speaker bios, and other key details.
- Call to action – Use urgency and scarcity to motivate instant registration with a time-sensitive discount or bonus.
An appealing offer aligned to audience needs will drive sign ups.
Leverage Email Marketing
Email is one of the most effective methods for selling workshop seats. Strategies include:
- Sales page teaser – Send an email driving to the workshop sales page to showcase the offer.
- Overcome objections – Craft emails addressing common concerns like price or time commitment to reassure subscribers.
- Send reminder emails – Follow-up closer to the event to nudge undecided prospects and collect last-minute registrations.
- Automated drips – Set up emails that go out at intervals after the initial promotional email for more touches.
- Segment and personalize – Tailor email content and messaging to different subscriber groups based on interests, history, and traits.
Email generates substantial workshop sales through targeted, relevant outreach over time.
Harness Social Media
Promote the workshop heavily on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Tactics include:
- Paid ads – Run paid promotions to ensure your content gets seen by those most likely to register.
- ** Evergreen updates** – Post frequently about workshop themes, speaker bios, testimonials, and value points.
- Urgent reminders – In the final week before the event, run urgent posts touting limited remaining spots.
- Leverage influencers – Partner with relevant influencers to have them help promote the workshop to their audience.
- Retargeting – Continue showing ads to those who have visited your sales page to keep the workshop top of mind.
Persistent organic and paid social promotion will significantly boost registrations.
Provide an Affiliate Program
Affiliate marketing is a powerful way to expand workshop promotion. Offer commissions to relevant partners who drive registrations from their own audiences. Great potential for word-of-mouth growth.
The more strategic marketing channels you leverage with optimized messaging, the greater the potential to maximize workshop signups, revenue, and impact.
Deliver Exceptional Value
The actual event experience is what creates satisfied customers who recommend you to others. Following some key best practices will help ensure high-quality delivery:
Create a Compelling Curriculum
Design the curriculum to:
- Match descriptions – Content must align with and deliver on the promised workshop value points. Don’t overpromise.
- Be interactive – Mix teaching with group discussions, Q&A, small group work, games, and other participatory elements to keep the energy high.
- Provide tools – Equip attendees with practical templates, playbooks, tip sheets, and other tools to support implementation.
- Offer resources – Provide access to online courses, private communities, expert coaching, and other additional resources for continued learning.
An engaging curriculum with robust supporting materials enhances results and satisfaction.
Structure Content Effectively
- Balance breadth and depth – Don’t overload attendees with too much content or intensity. But also have enough substance to truly educate them.
- Blend delivery formats – Combine lectures, panels, demos, media, and experiential elements to optimize learning and engagement.
- Leverage great facilitators – Hire or train knowledgeable workshop leaders who can educate while also relating to participants.
- Plan timing wisely – Leave room for discussions, breaks, networking, meals, and transitions between segments. Rushed workshops diminish satisfaction.
Thoughtful content structure and facilitation boosts comprehension, participation, and energy levels.
Facilitate Memorable Experiences
Look for ways to facilitate powerful experiences, connections, and breakthroughs for attendees. Examples:
- Foster sharing – Deeper bonds form when people share journeys, challenges, goals. Facilitate this.
- Incorporate community – Group projects, partners, small teams, and cohorts cultivate community and support.
- Make it personal – Allow for small group or one-on-one interactions with workshop leaders for personalization.
- Build in reflection – Give participants time to reflect on lessons, insights, takeaways, and next steps. Critical for change.
- Deliver surprises – Look for unexpected moments of delight like guest appearances, gifts, or creative interactions that surprise and engage.
Special touches and intentional formats to create moments of meaning result in elevated satisfaction and word of mouth.
Provide Ongoing Support
Support shouldn’t end when the workshop does. Offer continued assistance through:
- Post-workshop content – Send recap emails with lessons, tools, slides, videos, and other reminders of key material.
- Q&A access – Make speakers available for follow-up questions via email or message boards.
- Online community – Provide a way for attendees to interact in an alumni community for continued discussion.
- Further learning – Direct people to related blogs, courses, events, and resources for those hungry for more.
Ongoing support and access to resources improves the attendee experience while also marketing future paid offerings.
Delivering immense value across every facet of the workshop experience will result in higher satisfaction, word-of-mouth, and repeat attendance.
Increase Revenue Opportunities
Your workshop doesn’t have to be a one-time event. With the right strategy, workshops can become part of a systematic process for generating ongoing revenue. Consider these approaches:
Record the Workshop
As mentioned previously, recording the live workshop allows you to sell access to recording playback. This additional revenue stream requires little extra work.
Package the Workshop Recording
Instead of selling workshop access as one complete recording, break it into smaller segments around key topics. This expands options for attendees to purchase only the a la carte segments they want.
Upsell Additional Products
Once you have an engaged audience gathered for the live workshop, upsell them on related offers like:
- One-on-one coaching or consulting calls
- A membership community for extended learning and support
- Live Q&A sessions with experts
- Additional online courses and workshops
Leverage the workshop to get client leads for higher-end offers.
Offer Payment Plans
For expensive, high-end workshops, offer payment plans to break costs into smaller installments. This can help improve affordability for attendees. Just ensure you have clear payment policies.
Provide Team/Group Rates
If companies see value in having multiple employees attend workshops, offer bulk registration discounts. Improving affordability for groups can help scale revenue.
Create an Inner Circle/VIP Experience
Develop exclusive experiences, content, and access for attendees willing to pay a premium. For example, run an intimate workshop day just for your VIP members with much greater access to experts.
High-end offers attract your biggest fans willing to spend more.
Facilitate a Mastermind Group
Your most engaged workshop attendees may be interested in joining an ongoing peer advisory mastermind group. Arrange recurring mastermind gatherings or communities that provide immense ongoing value through shared learning.
Workshops are just one piece of the overall customer journey. Strategically facilitate ways to move attendees into higher-value, longer-term relationships.
By following the recommendations in this guide, you can develop workshops that deliver immense value to attendees while also driving significant revenue for your business.
Success comes down to:
- Selecting compelling, in-demand topics that leverage your expertise
- Structuring logistics and pricing to balance impact and profit
- Marketing skillfully via social, email, affiliates to maximize registrations
- Overdelivering on value through exceptional content, experience, and support
- Leveraging the workshop to cultivate ongoing revenue opportunities
If you methodically apply these best practices, you can build workshop programs that attract eager audiences and generate substantial income through repeat events.
The complete learning journey attendees experience will also empower them with the mindsets, skills, and support systems needed to accomplish their goals and implement real change. And facilitating profound transformation for your attendees is the most rewarding return on investment.
So tap into your passion, knowledge and get ready to inspire change by launching your own expertise-elevating, revenue-driving workshops. The impact you can make is limitless.
- 1 How to Run a Profitable Online or In-Person Workshop
- 1.1 Introduction
- 1.2 Choose a Compelling Workshop Topic
- 1.3 Structure the Workshop Format
- 1.4 Market the Workshop Effectively
- 1.5 Deliver Exceptional Value
- 1.6 Increase Revenue Opportunities
- 1.7 Conclusion