Whether we realize it or not, we are always marketing (or discounting) something, but the same is not true for promotion.
For professionals in the field of continuing education, promotion can come in the form of customer service or publicity, and reach people on an individual or mass level.
Here are the top 10 most important promotional tactics for continuing education, professional development, and other similar industries:
1. Know your seven primary segments. These seven segments—categorized by their unique demographics—give you 80 percent of your income. You need to design programs that cater to them specifically and think of how best to promote to these segments. Inbound marketing experts at HubSpot recommend coming up with personas by determining the daily lives, demographic information and education level of each of the seven segments.
2. Mail early. Whatever your promotional techniques, make sure you get your brochure out on time. The earlier you get out this vital piece of material, the more registrations you're likely to get.
3. Have a one-year marketing plan. Begin your promotional planning a year ahead of time. Put in writing your objective and what you will do to meet those objectives. Include deadlines and who is responsible for each task.
4. Mail three times to your best people. Your best people are those who have registered for previous courses or attended past events and anyone from your seven primary segments who lives close to where the new event is being held. Past participants are your most important best people. If you can, mail the third brochure in an envelope with a personalized letter.
5. Have cutting-edge content. Good promotion can't sell an event that doesn't have cutting-edge program content. Some 20 percent or more of the event content should be new every year. Developing cutting-edge content that appeals to your seven primary audiences is essential for promotion success.
6. Survey past participants. Ask them their preferred days and times to hold events; their favorite locations for events; what seminar topics you should offer; and anything else they might have influence on. Changing your offerings accordingly lets survey participants know their opinions matter.
7. Do last-month promotion. Last-month promotion, done in the month leading up to the event, can include postcards, emails or even telephone calls to those who are most likely to attend. Try to avoid mailing brochures in the last month, unless the recipients are hyper local.
8. Do an email newsletter. Past participants should receive regular email newsletters with tips, ideas and things they want to read. Included in the regular email newsletter are notices and promotional copy for your upcoming events and programs.
9. Create a website for major events. For every major event your program hosts, create a website and include all of the relevant information. Be sure to include online registration capabilities.
10. Analyze registration data. Analyze the registration data from your last event to determine the best audiences to target based on your seven primary segments. As soon as your event is over, critique it and make improvements to your marketing and promotion plan for the next event.