1. Tailor the workshop to the economy. In other words, acknowledge the problem. So if your workshop is about helping women over 50 live their dreams, change it to Living Your Dreams Over 50 … Even When the Economy is Down. Or make it about finding your dreams after being laid off, or managing fear while pursuing your dreams in a poor economy. Your fundamental message doesn’t have to change … you just dress it up in slightly different clothing.
2. Use unconventional marketing methods. Advertising and flyers may not be the most effective way to enroll a workshop in lean times. For one thing, affordable ads are not usually big enough to effectively describe a workshop, unless it’s very targeted and easy to ‘get’, i.e. quitting smoking, or stress-reduction. If you’re teaching motivational or inspirational work, consider using an affiliate program, viral email marketing, distributing articles through targeted ezines, working your personal network, or making yourself available as a guest on local TV or radio talk shows. Best of all is a combination of all of the above.
3. Make your niche one with a pipeline. Be careful not to pick a tiny niche market that is hard to access. Instead, a good rule of thumb is to look for a niche market with marketing channels already in place. For instance, one successful workshop leader I know targets retirees on the RV-Camping circuit. Many US campgrounds offer classes and other stimulating perks to visitors, and since RV’ers often stay for several nights or even weeks, this makes a workshop a likely hit. She simply has to talk to management, and they put her workshop in place for her. Participants magically show! Hospitals with neighborhood ‘wellness’ programs, bookstores with evening events, and community center Teen programs are also good venues.