This is the third and penultimate in a series of blogs by one of our tutors, Melanie Blaikie. Come back next Thursday for the final installment!
So far in this blog series, we’ve looked at the qualities needed to teach creative skills and how and when you might run your classes. Now it’s time to think about how to attract customers.
If you’re reading this blog you already have one enormous advantage over most of my ‘Teach What You Do’ students. It’s called the WI. Whether you are a member or not, you probably know a friendly, local crowd of ladies who enjoy crafting and love the opportunity to get together and learn something new. So, your local WI is a great place to start but it doesn’t stop there. Those ladies will have family, friends and work colleagues who may well share the same interests. Tell them what you do and ask them to tell others.
Love it or loathe it, social media is a great way to reach potential customers. Think of it as a worldwide, 24/7 advertising platform which – incredibly – is completely free. You may not be ready for world domination just yet but there are easy ways to target the right people. If you don’t feel comfortable with Facebook or Pinterest, find a local course or a handy teenager to show you the ropes.
You might prefer to look at more traditional ways of advertising your classes. Leaflets, posters and listings in local publications can all be effective. A local printer should be able to design and produce several hundred leaflets for less than £50.00.
I tend not to recommend magazine advertising, at least whilst your starting up. It can be very costly and the returns are difficult to evaluate. However, journalists are always looking for a good story and if your idea is interesting you might be a suitable subject for an editorial piece which costs nothing and can be great advertising. Get some help to prepare a short press release and send it out to relevant publications – you never know!
Will you need a website? At first you can probably advertise your business and find customers without a website. I know some businesses who operate very successfully with just a Facebook page. But eventually, if you want people to find you, having a website is almost a necessity. However, it doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive. Some interesting information about you with great photos of your work or your classes and an email address for enquiries should suffice.
Just remember, as PT Barnum said ‘Without promotion, something terrible happens – nothing’. So, be proud of what you do and get the word out there. You’ll be glad you did.
I’m Melanie Blaikie, my own passion is sharing creative skills. If you’d like to know more, why not join my next ‘Teach Your Craft’ class at Denman. Or look out for my next blog when I’ll be talking about writing a lesson plan.
Written by Melanie Blaikie, March 2019.