Last week I ran my first ever Social Media SUPER Success workshop, aimed at an intermediate/advanced level of knowledge. It went great, and all attendees rated it highly, which I was more than pleased about.
A day later, I got a comment on a Facebook Ad I was running promoting my workshops. The comment was along the lines of why should they pay for social media training when other agencies are providing it for free? That I was doing businesses a complete disservice by charging for my training. In all honesty, it didn’t really bother me. I’ve been training businesses in social media for 6.5 years now. And charging businesses for it too. I’m not running a charity for businesses. I’m running a business myself, and of course I know other businesses wouldn’t give away their products and services for free.
But it did get me thinking about why this individual assumed that I shouldn’t be charging for social media training. And also the value of ‘free’. I’ve been on free training courses before. In all honesty, they’ve not been great! For a start, I’ve gone in to the training with a different mindset to those I have paid for. I’m less committed to the training, as I haven’t committed money to it. As they are free, they are usually either a taster for something the company is selling, or is geared towards an outcome that favours the company delivering the training. Which makes complete sense as they too are not running charities. Running free training has to lead to business for them.
Many social media agencies do indeed run free short training courses. I haven’t attended any myself, and I’m sure the quality is great. But I can be sure that the purpose behind the ‘free’ element, is to take attendees on as clients. To show them that social media for business isn’t all that easy, and takes time, and that they can do that for them. It isn’t to give them all the knowledge they need to make their social media activity a complete success without any external help.
I put a huge amount of time in to each training course I deliver, whether that’s the workshops or inhouse training. I study each business who attends the workshops, look at their current social media activity, and think of ideas for their business before they attend. The inhouse training takes a lot of planning. I look at competitors and their activity. I study their target audience and consider what would work best for them. I analyse the best approach for that business in using social media. And all those that I deliver training to are offered ongoing support when questions arise outside of the training. That’s a lot of time spent were I to offer it for free! So, of course, a free approach would take away many of these elements and deliver nothing more than the basics. And free doesn’t just mean giving up my team for free. There’s the promotion of the free event, the venue and refreshment costs, and the time out of my business that I could have been charging for work.
The best course I ever went on cost me over £2000. But it had a huge impact on my business, and I’m not sure I’d still be in business were it not for that course and the ideas and confidence it gave me. The course itself wasn’t about how to run a successful business. It was about selling from the stage. But it gave me so many fresh ideas that I have implemented over the years, that have had an amazing impact. There’s not a chance I could have achieved the same inspiration through a free course. It was the best money I ever spent.
So, no, I’m afraid I won’t be offering my courses for free. Sorry about that. For starters, I have a living to earn. But, more importantly, I have a duty to my clients to deliver the best training I possibly can and to have a real impact on their businesses. And that doesn’t come for free!
I do offer quotes for free though! If you want yourself a ‘freebie’, then get in touch and I’ll send you a quote!!