Using Taster Sessions As An Effective Marketing Tool
Forward-thinking training providers are capitalising on a new marketing initiative which is both easy to implement and particularly effective at attracting new business. Introducing, taster sessions.
Taster sessions, or taster courses, can be defined as an opportunity for delegates to experience your training offering prior to any payment or commitment on their part. It's a unique chance for the client to 'try before they buy', usually experienced in the form of webinars, bite-size content, 1-to-1 consultations and face to face interactions. The aim of taster sessions is to stimulate interest in order to encourage further business from the client.
There's a number of ways you can generate interest and excite course delegates. At the heart of it is engagement, and the way this is achieved depends on various factors such as your type of clients, the industry you're in and the methods of training offered i.e. online, in-house or open courses.
Disclaimer: Taster sessions are not suitable for all training organisations, and some training companies are justifiably hesitant in offering them. This post looks further into if you should be offering taster sessions as a marketing tool.
Should you offer taster sessions?
Offering taster sessions or taster courses can be a great way to “get your foot in the door”, and can be an extremely effective method for appealing to customers and seizing their attention.
A taster session provides the opportunity for you to introduce yourself and your training offering to potential clients. These can include either one to one sessions or include a number of potential customers at once.
One to one sessions are a great way to get to know your learners and meet their specific requirements, demonstrating that your training courses are bespoke and flexible to their needs. On the other hand, by including a number of potential customers at once, you can reduce costs and also provide learners with the opportunity to share their experience with peers.
Either way, a taster session is an effective way of demonstrating your expertise in your field and showing potential clients what you can offer them. This is a great way to set your company apart from your competitors and share your knowledge with your customers, without them having to buy-in to your offering.
An important point of consideration is that these taster sessions should not be simply a stand-alone lesson. Taster sessions should leave learners wanting more and should encourage them to book another class if they’re interesting in developing their skills.
Remember: prospective clients do not attend taster sessions to hear a sales pitch. They want to see the benefits of booking onto your course and a better insight into what they could learn with your company.
Top tip: provide attendees with an overview of the course that they are interested in, giving them a glimpse of each skill or topic that they will be trained in. This is a great way to appeal to their needs but there must also be an element of mystery to keep them curious!
When to offer taster sessions
Taster sessions can work well and engage potential customers across all industries and topics, That said, they are typically most impactful in the following circumstances:
- You are offering high cost courses (think £500+) - customers like to 'try before they buy' with higher value purchases. By offering taster sessions for higher value courses, you are reducing the risk to the client. This can apply to face to face or online/blended course types.
- Your courses are run over a long period of time (4 weeks or more as a guideline) - a large time commitment has a similar effect to a high monetary commitment. Consumers like to see what they are getting before signing on the dotted line.
- Your course covers in depth content - complexity is rarely conducive to a successful sale. Taster sessions allow the delegate to gain a greater understanding of what they will learn and achieve and if this is suitable for their individual needs.
Alternative methods for engagement if taster sessions are deemed unsuitable
You may have reached this point thinking taster sessions are not right for your company.
Thankfully, you still have a number of options on the table. Taster sessions can include thinks like webinars, customer forums and podcasts. These are great ways to showcase your training offering, build trust and demonstrate expertise.
Customer forums give the opportunity for previous and prospective customers to meet and discuss their experiences. This represents a chance to encourage feedback from your previous customers, while also giving prospective customers a feel for your company. This can be conducted with or without company supervision, however it might be a good idea to interact with customers over forums in order to answer any questions they may have!
Webinars are also a great way to engage with customers while retaining an interpersonal, human touch. Webinars are live online sessions that are delivered using video and voice chat. Many companies prefer webinars as they are low-cost and require little effort on the consumer’s part. The ease of access means prospects are typically more willing to take part, and it's also a great opportunity for trainers to encourage potential customers to book onto a longer course.
These webinars can later be blogged about or even made into podcasts and watched at a later date. By offering frequent webinars, potential and existing customers will be able to experience a piece of your training offering.
Using one or more of these methods allows delegates to know what to expect if they did book onto your course and will have a clearer picture of your overall offering.
What is the right approach for your business?
Every training company is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ policy.
Each of the methods described in this blog are great ways of gaining customer interest, for very different reasons. So, if you feel that taster sessions are not right for your company, then maybe a customer forum might be better suited?
Taster sessions, webinars or even podcasts could lead to increased referrals and positive organisational value. By making your customers feel valued, they are more likely to reciprocate any positive gestures which may increase your company reputation.
So what are you waiting for? Integrate these tactics into your marketing approach and you will soon see the benefits emerge!
If you're interested in some more marketing tips to maximise your sales, download our free whitepaper on the most effective types of content strategies for training companies below!
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