How to forecast student numbers for your upcoming workshop

Student Numbers

Teaching is the best way to expand your repertoire and build a fan-base all over the world. How well prepared you are to teach and the materials you provide students for future reference will greatly impact the overall perception of a professional experience. However, all of this is contingent on one thing: that people show up for your class. 

SpinCo has hosted over 150 events (over half of them being workshops), resulting in over $6,000 in direct instructor compensation just in this past fiscal year. It's time to talk about our key indicators that guide our forecast on student attendance.  

The 3 key factors to a full workshop are also the same 3 elements to any successful marketing campaign: 

  1. Right time
  2. Right place
  3. Right message

We have applied this formula to forecasting a workshop’s student/teacher ratio in 5 key indicators:

  1. Access to the local community
  2. Average class attendance
  3. How marketable you are
  4. Other events and holidays
  5. Promotional tactics

This sounds very business-like, but let me break it down. 

Access to the local community

Your attainable audience is essentially the number of people you inadvertently invite to your house warming party. Just like a party invitation, you must send word. It's easier to communicate what you are teaching by starting out reaching out to friends- they already know you. Then this can create a chain reaction. Give them incentive to bring a date or invite a friend. Just keep in mind, the more people you reach, the more attractive your “invitation” must be. Create interest in the experience. Our monthly impressions average is over 7,300/mo, over a well-maintained online presence through our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Meetup.com.  SpinCo gives you the vehicle to share; tell us what you want to say. 

It is also important to understand the local community.  How many flow and movement artists live within 3 hours of Philly? This is our community and the maximum drive time students have traveled to attend a workshop.  The performing instructors we host are a mix of local talent and from all around the world. From our experience, Philly students are most likely going to pay for 1 workshop instead of 2. It is also important to remember that the cost of living in Philly is less than most larger cities like Chicago, Dallas, Miami and LA, and workshops should be priced accordingly.  You can expect to have a higher student count paying $75-$100 than unique students paying $150. 

Average class attendance

SpinCo has an average attendance of 7 students per class. Although, many classes sell out (20 student capacity). If the instructor is actively teaching in Philly, average attendance typically doubles.

Characteristics of classes that sell out include: 

  • 1 single class (opposed to a multi-day workshop)
  • Curriculum that includes fire
  • Curriculum that is not taught elsewhere within a distance of 3 hours and the realm of 3 months.

How marketable you are

Marketing may be the most important part of attracting students to a workshop.  SpinCo can help you reach the local community, but you need to captivate their interest in attending your workshop.  It is helpful to have HD photos and videos of yourself, a promotional video specifically for the workshop and a strong bio so we can help you create marketable content.  Having a solid online presence and an existing fan-base is an effective starting point.  SpinCo's job is to harness your fan-base and gain the interest of a larger audience.  You can start building a fan-base by posting HD photos, production quality videos, and easy to follow tutorials. 

Other events and holidays

Holidays and other events (including ones that you are teaching) can potentially cannibalize ticket sales for your Philly workshops.  Based on 150 hosted SpinCo events over the course of 5 years, students will travel up to 3 hours to attend a workshop in Philly. That means, we tend to get students as far as NYC, Baltimore and Washington DC. The number of students that travel this maximum distance is based on the uniqueness of the workshop.  If the workshop has already been offered in Philly, NYC, Baltimore and D.C. within 3 months of your Philly workshop, students are not likely to repeat the class.  Also keep in mind other events that may attract your local audience.  For example, it wouldn't be a good idea to schedule a workshop for the same weekend as a local flow arts festival because much of your target audience will likely have scheduling conflicts.  Holiday weekends also can be difficult because students may already have plans.

Promotional Tactics

Once we have scheduled a date with no conflicts, gathered marketing material and are ready to invite the local community to the event, we need to consider different promotional tactics to entice students to buy tickets.  To ensure early ticket sales, having an incentive or early bird rewards can be very effective.  Other tactics that have proven successful are adjusting the price point, and starting out offering one class and offering more days or additional bonus workshops if the first class sells out.




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