Once you’ve created your masterclass, it’s time to promote your masterclass and begin selling spots. Your promotional efforts should be focused on three key stages: before the masterclass launches, during the sales period, and after the class has sold out.
Promoting your masterclass before it exists
Even before you’ve written a word of your masterclass, it’s important to get feedback on what people want to learn. That means you can begin your promotional efforts during your initial research period. If you’ve already got an established platform as an edupreneur, it’s easy to throw out a message on social media or via your website or newsletter informing learners of an upcoming masterclass.
Don’t feel the need to have all the details ready before you begin to promote. Poll your past learners, colleagues, and social media contacts to see what they think the current educational marketplace is missing. You might find that excited learners are keen to tell you what they hope the masterclass covers, when it’s held, and more, and all of this information will be invaluable to you as you plan your class.
Start a mailing list for your masterclass
Create a mailing list to keep in touch with interested learners, and make sure it’s only a matter of a click or two for new subscribers to join. Don’t worry about collecting a lot of information from subscribers up front—too many boxes to fill in will put people off joining the list. Instead aim for a first name and an email address. That’s really all you need at this stage.
Try to make your mailing list signup form as widely accessible as possible. Host it on your website, and pin a post on your social media profiles with a direct link to the form. Consider using a tracking URL or branded short link to make your form easier to access, and also allow you to see where your conversions are coming from. Once your masterclass places are available for purchase, this will be where you’ll concentrate your promotional efforts.
Let learners direct your masterclass
At this stage of promotion your masterclass is still being built, so give interested learners a sense of ownership over it by soliciting their input into content, length, and outcomes. You may even want to run a pilot.
Not only will this ensure your masterclass appeal directly to learners, it also generates conversation and excitement about the upcoming masterclass. And because your focus isn’t on selling, learners will feel less like they’re being pitched to and more like their advice matters.
Go off list to promote your masterclass
Don’t forget to take your pre-promotion off list and – once times allow it – offline as well. Reach out to your professional network, past learners, and colleges and businesses that could benefit from your masterclass. You don’t have to put all your cards on the table. In fact, it could be more valuable at this stage to leave the details vague. That adds interest to your masterclass, and lets you consider multiple ideas before committing.
Approach the media if you’re planning a masterclass with public interest. Sites like Help A Reporter are a great resource for edupreneurs looking for free publicity. In exchange for a quote to help a journalist with a story, they’ll cite you as an authority and maybe include a link to your website or mention your masterclass.
The aim of pre-promotion is to gauge interest in your masterclass and start building a list of warm leads that you can convert quickly into sales once your masterclass becomes available.
Promoting your masterclass before the sales period begins
It’s never too early to start generating publicity for your masterclass. If you’ve reached out to learners and your online networks to brainstorm the details of your masterclass, you’ve already begun this part.
Create a sense of urgency
Once your masterclass is ready for sale, but before the tickets become available, you should ramp up your promotional efforts. Ideally your goal is for your masterclass to sell out as quickly as possible. Not only does it ease your worries about covering your costs, but it also sends a signal to learners who miss out that your masterclass was something they should have joined. Sales beget sales, and an in-demand masterclass will generate future sales if you decide to repeat it.
Let people know when your tickets will go on sale. Publicize the date and time of the sale period, and create a countdown. You can use free online resources such as Canva to design sharable social media and website graphics. Record video teasers, and inform your mailing list. Add urgency to all your posts and don’t forget a call to action, telling learners exactly what to do, be it click a sales link or join your mailing list. Time-sensitivity and urgency are great marketing tools that trigger learners to pay attention and buy now, before they miss out.
Offer advanced sales
Consider offering advanced access to select learners. You could open up a limited sales period to past learners or mailing list members to generate more interest in your other products, or in exchange for invaluable contact information. A responsive mailing list is your best marketing tool for future promotion, so encouraging signups from learners who are already interested and invested in your masterclass is a great way to build one.
Try approaching companies that will get value from your masterclass. Anything from business skills and team building to food handling and personal development can be pitched to as beneficial to a workforce. You can also sweeten the deal by offering group discounts or promotional opportunities for the business within your course materials. Selling a block of spots before the general sales period opens minimizes the financial risk of hosting a masterclass and provides a cushion against the uncertainty of public demand if you’ve never hosted a class before.
How to sell seats for your masterclass
During the sales period is when your promotional efforts need to be most intensive. Your goal is to sell out your masterclass, and as fast as possible. Fast sales mean you designed a class that appealed to your learners, and got the timing and pricing right. A fast sell out also creates a sense of urgency among learners, and a strong feeling of having missed out if they didn’t secure a seat. This is a powerful motivator for future sales, meaning you can repeat your masterclass at a later date and be sure of its chances for success.
Begin by preparing your warm leads for the upcoming sales period. If your masterclass is priced high, set the sales date in advance and give them notice in order to budget for places.
Use paid advertising
Keeping your advertising costs low will help improve your bottom line, but if you are going to spend money on marketing, this is the time to do so. You might have more success promoting social media posts than running a general ad through a search engine, so consider where your learners can be found and target your advertising toward them. This could mean advertising offline instead: you might get more responses from a poster in a coffee shop than from a hundred promoted tweets.
However, beware survivorship bias. If your mailing list signups all came from one place, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only place worth advertising. It could be that’s where most of your learners are located, but equally you could have already exhausted that resource, or just gotten lucky with one post there in the past. There could be countless interested learners on other platforms that you haven’t yet reached effectively. Don’t close the door on any possible marketing avenues until you’re sure they aren’t interested.
Continuing promotion after your masterclass has sold out
Just because your masterclass has sold out, that doesn’t mean you’re done with promotion. A sold-out masterclass is itself a great promotional tool that demonstrates that your teaching is in demand.
Harness social media
When learners complete the signup for your class, prompt them to share on social media. Give your masterclass a name or hashtag under which you can consolidate these promotional efforts, and encourage group discussion. Choosing a hashtag that’s unique to your masterclass makes it easy for you to track social engagement and follow online conversations.
Attracting one or two popular and influential learners can give your masterclass a huge boost in publicity, before and after it’s sold out. Just as you’ve cultivated a social network of interested and engaged followers, so many of your followers will have networks of their own. Harnessing those connections to spread the word about your masterclass is a great way of generating a lot of free publicity.
Stay connected with all your learners
Even if a learner didn’t secure tickets for your masterclass, you should try to keep in touch with them. Many learners who are interested in your masterclass will be unable to attend for various reasons: financial considerations, other commitments on the date in question, or they just missed out during the sales period.
Aim to collect contact details for these learners using a new mailing list for subscribers who want to know when your next masterclass will be available. They will become your warmest leads if you decide to host the masterclass again, and will also be receptive to other courses and classes you decide to offer. Don’t rely on these learners remembering your masterclass on their own and looking out for a repeat: you want to be able to contact them directly when the time comes to open another sales window.
Redirect learners to other products
Try to convert your warm leads as soon as possible by directing them to any other products that you offer. Maybe your masterclass was out of their price range, but you offer a similar online course that’s more affordable. Masterclasses are a great way of expanding your career as an edupreneur, but they aren’t right for every learner. Some learners will never convert to a masterclass because they don’t have the time, money, or ability at the same time you prefer to teach. Offering a range of educational products to suit as many learners as possible and redirecting between them is a great way to maximize income from all your promotional efforts.
Promoting your masterclass in real time
Sharing parts of the masterclass itself while it’s happening is a great way of showing learners the quality of education you offer, and what they’re missing. Depending on the subject of your masterclass, you may want to encourage attendees to share what they’re learning while the class is underway. This is especially likely if you’re running a creative masterclass where you’re producing a product such as a painting or sculpture.
Ensure you record the masterclass as it’s happening. Depending on how you present your masterclass, you might need more than one camera, or record your screen as well as yourself. You can resell the masterclass online either as a catchup class, or repackaged as an online course. Sharing photos or video snippets of the masterclass once it’s complete is also a good way of building publicity for a second.
If you created a hashtag for your masterclass during the sales period, remind learners in the class to continue to use it. While you don’t want your learners to spend the duration of the masterclass on their phones, encouraging a post or tweet before or after the class is a good compromise. You can also share content on your social platforms at the same time, and encourage your followers to sign up for your mailing list or other courses.
Uniting your online promotion under a single hashtag has the added advantage of helping your learners to network with each other. This creates a sense of collaboration and community, with you at the center as the interest that they have in common.
Continuing promotion after your masterclass ends
Just because your masterclass is done, doesn’t mean you should walk away from all the effort you put into it. Encourage participants to share their views and reactions online (again, keep it united under a hashtag if you can). Word-of-mouth advertising is invaluable to any edupreneur. Statistics show that people are 90 percent more likely to trust the opinion of a friend over a paid ad, so really push to have your learners share their opinions.
If you have a website with a page for your masterclass, add a review plugin or widget and encourage attendees to leave reviews for the masterclass. That way if you want to repeat the class, you already have social proof from your first round of learners. Hosting reviews can also help your site with SEO, and give you invaluable feedback as an edupreneur.
If you took photos or video during the masterclass, repurpose it as promotional social media posts and teasers. These posts give potential learners an insight into your lessons, and show you “in action” as an educator. Even if you don’t intend to run another masterclass in the future, you can use images and footage of yourself teaching to illustrate your social profiles, website, and online courses.
Self-promotion is the part of edupreneurship that most educators like least, but it’s the most vital aspect of building your business and branding yourself as an educator. By maintaining a steady level of promotion throughout the process of planning and hosting your masterclass, you can generate interest and attract learners to all your products and keep them loyal to you for years to come.