So, you want to start teaching a cooking class. You may have taught a couple of classes here and there and know what you want to teach. You know that your class is good and that there are people who want to take your class. The challenge is to reach out and find those people. How? Here are some of the tips I learned while promoting my sushi making classes.
The class is about WHO YOU ARE
First and foremost, people come to your class, not because of the food or the recipe you can offer, they come to your class because they want to meet you. It’s who you are as a person / chef / cooking instructor that really draws attendees.
So the cooking class you offer should be about who you are. What I mean by that is this: you are the only person in the whole world who can offer the class. It has to be that unique.
How can I do that?
I tell stories, the stories are interesting and unique to me.
I tell my stories about how I became a professional sushi chef with no culinary experience.
I tell my story about where and how I get local and sustainable fish.
I share my original recipes and how they came to me.
Telling stories is how you can share who you are and connect with listeners.
Determine the demographics of your customers
What the heck is customer demographics, you ask? A customer’s demographics consist of age, gender, income, occupation, and area of residence (or zip code). You first need to determine who your target audience is and the demographics of your customers.
Why is this so important?
For example, a customer’s demographics for a $ 25 cooking class is different from the one that costs $ 250. The most obvious may be income level and zip code.
So the first thing you need to decide is who you want to attend the class.
Gather around great photos
A picture says a thousand words. No doubt about that. People will be drawn to photos of food, especially the ones that look good.
Naturally speaking, if you have some great photos of your food (nice design, multiple appetizing colors of green, red, yellow, etc.), people will automatically think you can give a great class. You want to create a great emotional connection like that.
Another great photo is you or the participants with a big smile on their faces. These promote the “fun” aspect of our class. (everyone wants to attend a fun and educational class).
If you don’t have photos, you can buy some stock photos online. Some offer free stock photos.
Promote online and offline
Now you’ve gathered all your materials and you’re ready to start promoting.
There are many online platforms available.
Some may work and some may not.
The most important thing is to keep trying (and finding) what works for you.
Each platform has a different audience. That’s when your customer demographics come into play.
Craigslist readers are different from groupon subscribers.
- Craigslist: Free listing under “Event Events”.
- Eventbrite: Build your class list, promote, and have attendees buy tickets.
- Yelp: You can submit your class to the “event” section for free.
- Online Classified Ads – Many local newspapers and magazines offer free online event listings.
- Facebook, Google+ – Post and promote on Facebook page, communities, and local Google+ communities. On Facebook, you can “boost” your post by paying a small fee starting at $ 5 to reach over 1000-10,000 audiences, depending on your budget.
- Groupon: You can negotiate with them to run a promotion without discount. On the face of it, I sold more non-discounted tickets than discounted ones. So I imagine my target audience wants a full price sushi class than a discounted class, which can give the impression of “cheap.” They also started testing a new platform at a small discount (minimum $ 10) with a lower commission rate.
- Living Social – Like Groupon, Living Social offers discounted products and services. They have an “events” section where you can promote your cooking class.
- Gilt City – Similar to Groupon and Living Social, Gilt offers more “sophisticated” event products, services and promotions.
- SideTour: Sidetour offers promotions based on experience, such as local tours. They also offer cooking classes.
- Verlocal – Like SideTour, Verlocal offers “local experience” such as local tours, arts and crafts classes, and of course cooking classes.
- Kitchit – Bespoke private chef site offering private dining experiences and cooking classes. Currently available in select cities: San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
- Cozymeal – Similar to Kitchit, Cozymeal is a new platform with private chefs offering cooking classes and private dinners. Her focus is cooking classes first, then private diners.
All of my ticket sales come from online promotions. However, offline promotions are still available and a good way to go. Flyers at local grocery stores and cafes are a good way to get the attention of potential class attendees.