In-person classes, workshops, or courses have always been incredibly effective - heck that's what the majority of us experienced growing up in school for our own education. It's no wonder it's what many entrepreneurs like to use it to connect to new leads and gain more exposure. There's something about the energy in a room, the connections you can make and the live aspect that gets your blood pumping, the adrenaline running, and your best self shining.
Only problem: you can't scale in-person classes.
That is to say, it's not easy to grow your community and business if people can only connect you to you at a certain physical location, at a certain time. This is why so many business owners turn to online efforts...but where can that adrenaline rush come in, the community, the best parts of a live class?!
With traditional "Tupperware parties" becoming a thing of the past, you can find an audience for your classes online! In just 5 easy steps, learn how you can start sharing your product or service with people through the lends of your computer or phone!
Have a purpose for your class, a theme that will draw people in. Simply saying "learn about this product" is not enough anymore. People aren't looking for a reason to get out of the house anymore, they need a solution that you're offering...so what is it?
Why would someone want to attend your class versus what someone else has to offer? Why is what you're sharing more important than the lastest episode of This Is Us (what are the big three going to get p to this week, I have to know!)?
Bottom line is, it's not what the class is about, but why it matters to who is going to attend. A theme makes it easier for you to focus your intention and the classes purpose. Maybe it's “Growing your local business for free” or “How to get your kids on a sleep schedule you enjoy!”
Now comes time to set-up your class! Unlike an in-person class where set-up occurs directly before the actual time, online set-up happens before you even start sharing your class and build up your attendance list. You know why someone will attend, now put together where you will host the class, what your teaching presentation will look like, what you will offer, and if class attendees will walk away with anything.
How your class is set-up is where your creativity or specific style gets to shine! Three ways you can host your class online are:
"Hosting" a class on YouTube allows you to have on-demand classes that people can view at any time! No one is stuck to a certain schedule or time to "attend" - instead people can find your video on YouTube or you can consistently share it on your other social channels. You could have a YouTube video set up as a class, where you teach people how to do something and then offer them a free download or a sample at the end of the video. Offering something for free at the end helps to keep them engaged (for example, saying "Watch to the end of this video to find my free checklist for XX") and collect their email address for repeat connection and communication after the video has ended.
This is what we would call an "evergreen" class, one that is relevant and accessible throughout the week, month, or year and able to bring in new leads for you over and over again.
Google Hangouts/Zoom (Free)
A free resource like Google Hangouts or Zoom (under 30 minutes, then you'll need a paid version of Zoom) allows you to create a group dynamic, with more communication and interaction. There is a downside, though, Zoom requires attendees to download their software in order to join the call and both options can create some...less than savory atmospheres.
(I know someone who had a Zoom call where someone didn't realize their camera was on and they decided to take a bath. Fortunately, it was caught early and quickly and their camera was deactivated. But this is one of many horror stories I've heard.)
This option is great if you're just starting out and don't have the funds for a full-fledged webinar platform and push. If you're transitioning to online classes, this option will be most similar to what you've experienced there.
WebinarJam (Or Any Webinar Platform)
When it comes to online classes WebianrJam or EverWebinar are our go-to's here at Wavoto! You still have live interaction, but you have more control over comments and interactions than in Google Hangouts or Zoom. The great thing about WebinarJam (or alternative webinar platforms) is you can control emails sent before and after people register for the webinar, sending messages that appear to be individual and personal.
No matter which option you choose, don't just think of the class you're offering, but how you're going to continue the relationship after the class ends. How are people going to leave you class feeling like they got even more from you than they expected?
This might be offering something else in addition, for free, sending them samples before the class to use during the class, a follow-up letter with tips, or emails supporting them as they put your tips into action.
Quick Note: I didn’t mention hosting a Facebook Live or Instagram Live. While you can hold a class this way, it’s not going to get you the attention you need, especially as a growing business. While you can schedule lives and Facebook and Instagram notify people that you're going live, it's nothing like having a registration page and capturing their info.
Lives 100% should hold a place within your marketing, but you’re putting effort and organization into your class, don’t chance the community you can build through an online class.
Get the word out! Just like with an in-person class, you want to send out your invites out. Your invite could be through email, on a Facebook post, through ads, or private messages. Unlike in-person classes where it’s just a friend inviting a friend - you can reach a larger group of people on top of friends inviting friends!
Consider creating a post on Facebook or Instagram and ask for people to share it on their social profiles to help you gain exposure. Make sure you give yourself a few days, if not weeks, to build your attendee list so that you can have a full, energetic class ready to learn!
Now comes the time to host the class! Before you press "start" you may want to test the platform you're hosting the class on to become familiar with it so you don't stress when it's time for you to "go live." When you're ready to begin, start your class video and begin by introducing yourself and asking for those joining you to share what brought them here! This will help you customize and focus your class for their individual needs.
If you decide to “host” your class on YouTube, be sure to ask for participation in the form of comments and thumbs up. It’s not going to be as community-focused, but you can still foster that class interaction. If you need an example, watch the video above where I ask for thumbs up, comments, and for people to subscribe.
Your final step, and possibly the most important one, follow-up! A huge benefit to online classes versus in-person is that you can capture your attendee's information and keep connecting to them. An easy way to have them looking for your emails is to include additional benefits, like a download, in your post-webinar emails.
It’s not just one email saying "thanks" and moving on, it’s building on the relationship and the questions in the class. Emails covering:
Repeating answers to questions in the class
Giving additional information about related products or services
Sharing the benefit of connecting to you on social media or subscribing to your blog
Directing attendees to a funnel you have
Sharing more benefits about what you shared in the class and where to purchase!
You never want the class to be the last interaction, you always want to keep guiding your new contacts to another way to connect with you and continue building the relationship.
While there is a power in hosting in-person classes, online classes provide you another way to connect to your audience. Those people who never would attend an in-person class, love online classes. Those people who can't find a way out of their house can pull up a webinar on their phone for 30 minutes. Those people who don't live in your area don't have to be left out, your audience actually just expanded! In just 5 steps, you're hosting a class from the comfort of your own home and able to connect to even more people than the biggest home “party”!