Help! Why aren’t people attending my workshops?

Keep doubt out of your plans (1)The growth of the information age; a continued quest for knowledge, and entrepreneurial business models that support multiple income streams; has meant that more solopreneurs are offering workshops as part of their product offerings.

However, failure to fill your workshops can lead to doubt, disillusionment, and at worst, completely giving up on your business vision.

This post will help you identify any gaps that you may not have considered, so that you can address them, and continue to move in the direction of your business vision with confidence.

10 reasons why you may be struggling to fill your workshops

1. Your marketing message is missing the mark

You may have a wonderful workshop filled with amazing content and experiences for your participants, but if that doesn’t come through in your promotion, you will have lost them before they have a chance to click any book now button. It’s very important that your message is specific, your market defined, and your message connects with them where they are at.

2. You think if you build it, they will come.

This may be the case if you already have a strong and fully engaged following, but leaving it to chance is not good practice. It’s usually beyond the creation process where the success magic happens.

3. You’ve launched your event too close to the date of the event

The prelaunch phase is where excitement and momentum is built, including word of mouth shares that lead to referrals, so shortening this period can result in valuable bookings being lost. You also need to allow people time to schedule the event into their diaries. The longer the dollar and time investment, the longer your lead up period should be.

4. You haven’t told enough people

Never put your eggs in one basket. Use a variety of methods to reach your audience. You may need to speak to at least 50 people, to get 2 solid bookings. Know your conversion rate. The more targeted your promotional activities the more successful you will be. Consider a combination of social media, networking, speaking events, newsletters, affiliate marketing, blogging, just to name a few!

5. You’re not giving people what they want

How sure are you that what you are offering are what people want? It’s very common for new enterprise to create products they THINK are going to work, but in reality they fall flat. Creating workshops (and other product offerings) in consultation with your target audience will increase the chance that you deliver a workshop that people actually want to buy. This can include the content, the time of workshop, and mode of delivery (for example online or offline). A little bit of research goes a very long way.

6. You’ve exhausted your early adopters

So what does it mean if you have been successfully running a workshop and then suddenly numbers are dwindling? I have found that launching a new workshop that is well promoted can lead to plenty of workshop bookings, and that over time they become harder to fill. Often those early workshops are filled with early adopters, people who jump on a bandwagon when something is relatively new or somewhat innovating. Unfortunately early adopters only represent about 13% of the population, so you need to continue to reach new market places who may be interested in what you are offering, or continue to innovate.

7. The timing is wrong

A friend of mine recently scheduled an event during the school holidays, which has resulted in a poor result. Day and time of week may also be a consideration for your particular audience. I tend to run professional development and training workshops midweek during business hours. I am of the opinion that business hours is for business tasks including training. Even though I have had requests for weekend workshop, I still find that these do not perform well, as social events and sporting activities take priority. Ask your audience, and remember you can’t please all of the people, all of the time!

8. Your workshop is now out of date

It seems that things are moving faster than ever before, and our workshops and products need to keep up! It’s worth taking your offering off the table for a short while you update it to meet current trends and ways of thinking. This is even more important if you have built your credibility as a thought leader in your field or industry.

 9. You’re ignoring your existing clientele

Are you creating more work for yourself by constantly promoting to new audiences, rather than staying in touch with your existing clientele? Remember that your existing clients already know, like, and trust you, so don’t exclude them from your promotional activities. Use newsletters, email broadcasts and even direct mail to stay in touch and keep them in the loop.

10. People can’t see the value

Can your client see the value in what you are offering to justify investment? Is their investment of time, money and energy going to solve their problem, need, or desire? Have you covered any hidden objections in your marketing materials and on your sales page? Only then will people fill confident to hit the BOOK NOW button. So make sure the value in attending is clear.


You may notice that I have not listed “competition” as one of the reasons. That was deliberate. If you have created something of meaning that connects with your audience, competition will be less of an issue.

This checklist will help keep you on track.

 Your workshop name and marketing message clearly meets a need of your target audience 

 You have created your event in consultation with your target market

 Your offering is responding to clear needs voiced in the marketplace

 You’ve allowed plenty of lead up time so you reach enough people

 You are promoting the event through multiple channels to reach enough potential prospects including existing clientele.

 You’ve tapped into your social networks who can help share your events

 Your timing is right for target audience

 Your offering is responding to clear needs voiced in the marketplace

 Your event is priced right and the value is clear

I hope this has provided you with some food for thought on how you can get better results for your workshops.

I would love to hear of other suggestions from our seasoned workshop operaters, or questions from those who are new to the industry. What does this mean for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

If you found this article helpful. Please share!



Krishna Everson is a Health Promoter, Writer and Marketing Consultant and Trainer who works with health and wellness professionals who want to share their message, promote their service, or sell their product or book.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 21 comments
Alison Green - April 8, 2014

Krishna, thank you for such a clear checklist that covers the basics so well – exactly the stuff that it’s so easy to forget! I’ll be using your list for sure. Alison

    Krishna - April 8, 2014

    That’s great Alison! I too need to remind myself of these things. I guess that’s why we continue to re-invent ourselves, without throwing the baby out with bathwater!

Darleen - April 8, 2014

Thank you Krishna. Just what I needed to see. I will be looking at these to see what is happening for me.

    Krishna - April 8, 2014

    You are very welcome Darleen! Usually success is much closer than we think, and all that’s needed is some tweaking.

Claire Timmerman - April 8, 2014

Thanks for this, a great reminder & checklist. Enables things to be seen freshly and clearly again!

    Krishna - April 9, 2014

    You’re welcome Claire. Clarity. It’s a beautiful thing!

Annie Clark - April 8, 2014

I always find your wisdom and insight into all things promotion, marketing and getting out there, so real. Thank You Krishna… Timing is everything isn’t it… x many blessings.

    Krishna - April 9, 2014

    Thanks Annie, I value your comment, and your experience in this area. You are so consistent in the way you do things which is why you are so successful with your health events and workshops.

Alex Mitchell - April 9, 2014

Thanks Krishna for an excellent, thought provoking article. I found myself quietly ticking off the things I was doing well, and feeling a little uncomfortable about those that could do with attention. One thing that came up is how that balance changes over time – as our business, our clients and our market grow and change, we need to grow and change our strategies to suit. A fabulous reminder!

    Krishna - April 9, 2014

    Hi Alex, thanks for dropping by! Yes, things do change. We change, our businesses change, our markets change, and our workshops change! Reviewing what we are doing every 3 months helps us to stay on track, no matter where we are.

Suzie Cheel - April 9, 2014

Great Check list Krishna, I am bookmarking this for future reference

Stephanie McGuffog - April 9, 2014

Great information Krishna!

    Krishna - April 9, 2014

    Thanks Stephanie, it applies to almost anything really. We need to connect with enough people to reach tipping point so that momentum can build.

Lorraine Enright - April 9, 2014

Very helpful information. Great to have a checklist to refer to. Thanks Krishna

    Krishna - April 9, 2014

    Thanks Lorraine. I’ve written a #notetoself to create more checklists for easy reference!

Maureen - April 20, 2014

Krishna, this is a brilliant post and one we should all print and put on the wall!

    Krishna - April 22, 2014

    Thanks Maureen. Some very comment issues we all need reminding of!

Not Attending: How Surveying Invitees Who’ve Declined Can Make or Break an Upcoming Event | Instant.ly - June 7, 2014

[…] initial survey reveals that the location you’ve chosen and the timing are the two major reasons attendees have replied ‘no’ to your event. Consider asking those who have declined which geographic locations would be most appealing to them […]

    Krishna - June 10, 2014

    Fantastic feedback, and I agree! Time and place is an essential consideration. It’s also not possible to please everyone, but taking the time to solicit feedback will help you to make better decisions in the future.

Tan - November 3, 2016

Krishna, as per usual, you have hit the mark. Love the checklist! 🙂

    Krishna - November 5, 2016

    Thanks Tan! Usually, a few tweaks and adjustments and a little bit of extra time is all we need. 🙂


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