Crowd pleasers: Hosting a class for customers

February 22, 2018

Right about now is when most people start to break their New Year’s resolutions (if they didn’t already in the second week of January). This means if you’re a small business, now is also the time to engage customers with some fun, educational opportunities to inspire (or reward) customer loyalty.

Battle that mid-winter sales slump by finding new ways to entertain your clientele. Host a workshop, DIY session, or free class to promote your products, showcase your service, and drive sales, all while doing some sneaky marketing that will deepen customer loyalty.

While hosting a workshop can seem like a lot of effort, the return on investment with this form of marketing speaks for itself. The brains at Harvard Business Review discovered that increasing customer retention by just 5% can lead to a 25-95% increase in profits. One of the most powerful ways to retain customers? Give customers one-on-one attention, reward VIPs with exclusive access to your business, or show customers ways to get the best value from your offering through workshops and classes.

There are three key ways to make sure you get the most value from your workshop:

  • Treat your VIPs like VIPs.

Some classes may be exclusively open to your very best customers. Treat them like the royalty they are by giving them early access to a new product or letting them preview a new service. These are the customers who will evangelize your business to the great wide world. Clover Rewards can help you identify VIPs and advertise your special program to them through email and posts to Facebook and Twitter.

  • Activate your network of referrals.

Classes are a great way to get new customers through the door! Offer a discounted entry to any customers who bring a friend. It’s an easy way to show your stuff to people may already have your business on their radar—and haven’t committed to becoming a customer yet.

  • Integrate your product/service into the workshop.

Testing a new recipe at your cafe? Trying out a brand of shampoo in your salon? Use this time to test new products and services and get feedback from the people who are rooting for you to succeed. Classes and workshops give you the chance to soft-launch products and services, as well as build excitement for any new offerings you wish to preview.

However you strategize, make sure you’ve considered in advance how to measure success or failure of your workshop. Ultimately the ROI payoff should justify the class cost! Here are just a few ideas for workshops your business can host during the doldrums of winter (and beyond).

Cooking or baking class

Don’t be afraid to lift the curtain to reveal the ingredients behind Grandma’s secret pie recipe. Any customer loyal enough to come take a class is going to continue to support you by eating at your business. (Plus: who really has the time and energy to replicate Grandma’s recipe to perfection?). Learning what it takes to make your product just so can help a customer appreciate just how special you are.

Sewing repair class

If you’re a local dry cleaner or a clothing retail shop, consider running a quick workshop on how to replace buttons, fix normal wear-and-tear, or darn a sock. This allows your customers to enjoy your products longer, and empowers them to actively care for their belongings. It also shows how much you care for your own offerings.

Tasting class

This type of class is an all-time crowd pleaser! If you sell alcohol, coffee or tea, or even cheese, offer a special class to enhance your customer’s palates. You can suggest different pairings and offer in-class-only discounts to your VIPs to encourage them to expand their purchase set. This is a great way to introduce and promote new products and to become a reliable authority in your community that people will always seek.

Exercise or activity class

Many athletic stores go beyond traditional retail to provide instruction and support for their customers: a yoga class or running group, for example. A great model to mirror is Jackrabbit, a fitness apparel and outdoor adventure brand. In addition to selling great running shoes, they offer running classes to help customers improve technique and stamina. After all, if runners keep running, they are going to need more shoes!

Spa class

This is a great option for treating your VIPs while also doing some covert marketing for your best products! Have your top facialist or massage therapist show techniques for relaxing spa time at home. It’s a perfect way to encourage customers to buy more products for at-home use.

DIY home repair class

Local hardware stores can show customers how to do simple home-repair projects using their tools. Host workshops on how to fix a toilet, repair a leaky faucet, weather-proof a window frame, or build a planter for growing your own tomatoes. Showing people how to use your products is an easy way to make more sales!

No matter what type of business you run, showing off your expertise is a fantastic way to share your passion with your best customers. Let your business shine while also spending some quality time with the people who help you succeed!

Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, Sun Trust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including Ignite Payments, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at

[image: Salon by James on flickr]