Do you ever run and hide when your programs don't sell?
Are the clients-of-your-eye too aloof? I've been there.
I'd heard that retreats were an effective way to hone our programs and get to know our ideal clients better.
I'd also heard that they were a trusted source of income for the host(s), as well as a transformational adventure for the attendees.
Was a retreat the missing piece of the puzzle for my business?
The idea of hosting a retreat certainly resonated strongly with me. I like presenting, thanks to 20 years experience in marketing & communication, working for major corporations like British Telecom and Air France.
So I decided to attend a mastermind seminar by author Mastin Kipp on the topic.
What I discovered were the jaw-dropping benefits of hosting retreats, which have since changed my business forever.
Here's what I learned:
- Create cash flow months in advance of delivery.
- Be paid to do client research first hand. Discover their struggles, learning styles and limiting beliefs to improve the appeal of both programs and marketing content.
- Exercise different skill sets prior and during the retreat, such as marketing, enrollment calls, organizing, leadership and speaking.
- Be an authority in your niche in the eyes of clients and peers.
- Provides a platform to offer additional programs to clients.
- Focus, away from the distractions of everyday life.
- Full access to the expertise of the host(s).
- Inspirational surroundings conducive to creativity and openness.
- Support from a like-minded group of participants.
- Save time with a proven, fast-path system.
How To Find And Reach The Right Target Audience:
Have you ever tried to make a sales pitch or launch inside of an email newsletter, only to receive a ton of unsubscribes? That has happened to me. So, I decided to promote my retreat using three different channels:
Mailing List Emails:
- A three-part video positioning the value of retreats.
- Q&A for those hesitating about applying.
- A part-scholarship campaign.
- Audience targeting to match the gender, age, location, interests, country etc. with my ideal client.
- Testing of multiple banner images in the same campaign.
- Image and copy adherence to Facebook's advertising policies: https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/
- Evaluation of ads performing the best (clicks to the retreat landing page (CTR Link) for the least cost per click (CPC link).
- Ads that underperformed were removed.
- Advertising in popular online retreat directories such as http://www.retreatfinder.com and https://bookretreats.com.
I have the biggest success with Facebook ads. This, I know, is because I simply ask the retreat applicants during the enrollment call where they heard about the retreat.
How To Create An Amazing, Valuable Experience At The Retreat:
When creating a retreat, there are many elements to piece together that make the experience enjoyable for both the host and participants.
As with all events, the success of the retreat largely depends on the preparation. Get this right and the retreat will not only give amazing value, but it will be an unforgettable experience for all involved.
1. Decide The Duration
Take into account local and international holidays. Bear in mind your ability to sustain your energy level day. Ensure that the retreat duration is enough for the material you plan to teach.
2. Decide The Retreat Location
Contact a local tourist bureau or enlist the help of a travel agent to suggest a location. Visit the locations, check the rooms, bedrooms, menu, meal times and flexibility to deal with special diet requests.
3. Promote Your Retreat
Start promoting your retreat at least 3 months in advance. Advertise in directories such as retreatfinder.com, as well as social media using Facebook ads. Determine your advertising budget and stick to it.
4. Create A Retreat Sales Page
Include the following elements on your retreat sales page: the retreat goal, the location description with pictures or videos, the program schedule, price, payment options, testimonials from earlier participants and an opt-in to enroll.
5. Create A Retreat Program
Determine the daily objective. Include 5 topics the participants will learn. Take into account different learning styles including kinesthetic, auditory and visual learning. Have your program reviewed by an experienced retreat consultant.
6. The Attendee Questionnaire
Send a questionnaire to attendees to request their contact information, dietary requests, health status, medication and experience with the program topics. Ensure all attendees send you a copy of their travel & health insurance. Take copies with you.
7. Directions To The Location
Ensure all attendees have directions to get to the retreat location. Or if you are arranging transport, you will need to include the location, date & time of the pickup point.
8. Guide Attendees Through Your Program
During your training program, use verbal signposts. Explain to the attendees, at the beginning of each day, what they will learn. Summarize what they have learned at and end each day and what they will learn the next day.
9. Pay Attention To Timekeeping
Keep to your daily schedule. This will reflect your competence and consideration of the group energy and ability to absorb what you are teaching. Do not overrun into meal times. Better to end each earlier than later.
10. Delight And Surprise
If your retreat is for several days, include an excursion to surprise and delight the attendees. A healthy break from the teaching program will also give your attendees time to absorb and integrate what they have learned. It is also a way for attendees to recharge their energy levels to boost their learning capacity.
11. Housekeeping and Organization
Ensure that you enlist help to organize activities outside of your teaching program such as the general housekeeping needs of the attendees, making sure attendees are on time for the lessons, and liaising with the location owners about meals, equipment, and room preparation.
12. Evaluation and Testimonials
End the retreat with an evaluation with the participants to gage how they experienced the retreat and how they will apply what they have learned after their return home. Give any details of follow-up support. Collect testimonials from all attendees, either written or recorded on video. Place these on your sales page for the next retreat.
Carl Brooks has a mission to help entrepreneurs & coaches create profitable retreats. Grab a FREE copy of his Retreat Program Swipe File for a step-by-step blueprint to help execute an effective business retreat.
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PPS: Ready to take the next step in your business? Come to Carl's next business retreat in Tuscany, Italy. Claim your spot here