Wearable technology · Workshops

How to market & scale workshops & classes business model

Saurabh Palan Everything HARDware at Nascent Objects

May 5th, 2014

We are working on providing classes & workshops for hardware (robotics, wearables, iot etc). Currently we do weekend workshops and it works great when we do one weekend per month. However, when we try to scale it, we have difficulty in getting enough audience (currently we limit it to 20 attendees).

So far we have reached out via social circle & meetup groups, which is great, but needs a lot of leg work. 
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Janet Kennedy Director of Marketing & Digital Strategy

May 5th, 2014

This sounds like a marketing question so let me take a stab at an answer.

1) Have you defined your target audience?
2) Have you collected email addresses at every opportunity and do you have a place to collect them everyday (website, landing page or Facebook app)?
3) Are you remaining in contact with past and potential students with a newsletter that has valuable content they want to read and maybe pass on?
4) Are you creating higher level classes so your past students have more classes to attend?
3) Have you created special offers - "Bring a friend for free to your third class" or "Get a free class for every 5 friends that join our elist."

Just a few suggestions. For any business "The money's in the list."

Saurabh Palan Everything HARDware at Nascent Objects

May 5th, 2014

Hi Janet, 

Thanks for quick reply. 

1) Have you defined your target audience?
A. Somewhat. We are still experimenting. We have a wide range of Audience, but one thing they have in common is that they work in or with tech field

2) Have you collected email addresses at every opportunity and do you have a place to collect them everyday (website, landing page or Facebook app)?
A. Yes

3) Are you remaining in contact with past and potential students with a newsletter that has valuable content they want to read and maybe pass on?
A. Yes. We have Groups & emails conversations very often. 

4) Are you creating higher level classes so your past students have more classes to attend?
A. Working on the next level. Need to create enough base to build on top of it. Currently we have about 50 attendees. Need more to build onto it. 

5) Have you created special offers - "Bring a friend for free to your third class" or "Get a free class for every 5 friends that join our elist."
A. This is a great idea. Will try to expand onto this. 


Thanks for great tips. 

Helen Adeosun

May 5th, 2014

Currently working on this myself right now so I would be interested in hearing responses with our nanny classes. As a teacher myself you teaching this classes and getting them to scale requires a few other finer points wth mentioning (these are just assumptions):
- how do you keep the quality of the classes at scale
- if touch is important (how do you maintain the quality and experience at scale)


Things that we've considered/are doing
Train the trainers model - get a student that you've taught and come up with a way of teaching together
I can walk you through doing something like this

Partnership for distribution-
MUCH MUCH easier than finding one off customers for your classes. We partner with orgs to teach our classes

Referral and creating a cycle-
Follow up with students and create a community that builds for you. Offer someone a discount or special rate on another class if  they bring another student to you.

Rob G

May 5th, 2014

Saurabh, how have you segmented your market?  are you going after consumers or SMB or enterprise or?  need to answer that questions first. 
the basic blocking and tackling are: 
1. identify who you think is your IDEAL prospect - not a broad swath, but focus your rifle on your absolute ideal prospect.  Either go narrow and very deep (i.e. 'we are the best in the world at teaching AAA to bbb') or go very broad. my preference is narrow and deep in the services world as you can charge a premium when you are the worlds greatest expert.  either way you need to come up with some proprietary value add.  If you go with a broad market your value add could even be scale such that every robotics and wearables manufacturer wants your company to do their training, for example. 
2. to talk to several of these prospects and test your value proposition - 'product / market fit'. 
3. if this ideal prospect represents a large enough addressable market then you now have a place to start your sales/marketing/biz dev efforts.  if not, then broaden your definition of who you think is a prospect and repeat 1-2. 
4. Now brainstorm with your team as to how to reach this ideal target prospect.  If, for example, you want to teach high school STEM teachers how to teach robotics and wearable tech to students then figure out how to reach HS STEM teachers.
5. As you execute on this fist narrow market others will emerge.  
6.  consider using tech to scale.  If we assume your current classes utilize a live, in-person teacher then even if you can scale your audience then you still have to scale your services either by training more teachers which has its limits and challenges, or leverage technology (remote learning) so you can maintain the quality and still scale. 

I started my career as a robotics engineer and it is interesting how little the market has progressed in the past 25 years, but there's a lot of chatter about robotics in the past 1-2 years - curious to see how it progresses.  

Alexander Ross Head of Business Development at Verifide

May 5th, 2014

As far as scaling, here are my 2 cents. These apply to workshops overall. I'll let you determine if they're applicable to hardware:

1) Create informational products.
These would be ebooks, DVDs, CDs, premium podcasts, etc. These products are easier to scale than the instructor and physical space constraints of in person workshops. For example, a yoga DVD can sell millions of units but a yoga class only 10s of students. If you can get people to pay for an in person workshop, you probably can sell DVDs to a larger audience. Of course marketing and customer acquisition would follow different paths from in person.

There is a lot of material online on marketing, selling, pricing, etc of informational products. While most of the actual products are crap, their marketing techniques are often valid and, if toned down, applicable to less snake oily products.

Ironically, there are a lot of informational products about informational products. Which kills me. I can totally see some guy who decides that informational products are a great business model but needs a product. And of course his chosen product is about how great informational products are. Nice...

2) Some people scale workshops by effectively franchising it to different cities. Not always easy but thought I'd mention.

Good luck,
Alex