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Best Places to Advertise Public Courses?


I'd appreciate any member views on the best places to advertise public courses (covering NLP, sales, facilitation, creativity, conflict resolution etc).

Ideally, I'd be interested to know why you are suggesting the places you are, and what experience you've had of advertising your own courses with them. (Cost versus number of booked courses per month etc.)

Many thanks.

Best regards,


4 Responses

  1. Advertising


    An interesting question. I have been involved with the marketing of events for many years and I’m still not sure I can properly answer your question. I used to be a real skeptic about mainstream advertising but I am increasingly of the view that it has a place.

    Firstly, the best places to advertise are the places where the readership matches your target audience. All magazines will give you a breakdown of their readership demographic. But consider this carefully. For example, if you have an intro to NLP you might be tempted to advertise it in an NLP mag. Don’t. Most of the readership will be past that point. They will be looking for the programme to take them to the next stage. Sales training will be mostly the private sector so check out that demographic. Conflict resolution has wide appeal but in these cash strapped times, consider which type of client organisation will be able to afford the investment as well as reaping the most benefit.

    Advertising specific programmes is often uneconomic as the advertising investment can be far higher than the likely return in bookings. If you have an expensive programme, a suite of programmes or you are advertising your capability, the figures may stack up better. An individual advert has a short shelf life and is often very pricey (I have paid almost £3k for a quarter page). You will get a better deal if you want a package (eg once a quarter, a mag ad plus a web header).

    The more successful ads tend to be for training that is a little different (or you have a unique take on it), and where there is strong current demand, and where your pitch is strong compared the the opposition, and where you can press several buttons (eg good for your business & your career, it has logical appeal (it makes sense) & it has emotional appeal (it sounds interesting/fun/rewarding).

    The more niche your offering, the more more niche will be the mag or web site you choose but the more likely you are to hit a higher conversion rate. You will be fishing in a smaller pool but the investment cost will be smaller than for a wide circulation mag or high hit rate web site. I’d recommend starting small and niche, as it is less risky, and learning what works. I have seen ads that I think are great and we have had nothing but a few enquiries. I have also seen ads that are mediocre and we have more than enough bookings to justify the outlay. I just wish I could bottle the difference. As Lord Leverhulme said: "Half of what I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is I don’t know which half."

    There are good alternatives such as advertorials, launching a new product with press releases, viral marketing, and so on. Ideally you might have ads as part of your overall publicity and promotion strategy but I wouldn’t rely on them in isolation, especially if you are a small operator. 

    I don’t think I can recommend specific web sites, mags or other publications as they have to be the ones that you identify as meeting the above criteria but I hope that these comments are of some help.

    Best of luck

    Graham O’Connell

  2. Where to advertise a public training course

    Graham has given a great reply.

    I would add that you need to be where your customer are.. and the more you can specialise the better..

    for example –

    • NLP for care workers
    • Sales for the food industry
    • Creativity for accountants..

    I know you will say "but my courses will suit anyone" – yes… but you need to look at things from a purchasers point of view – if they can think "that was written for me" they are more likely to book.

    The training industry is so fragmented that unless you have a VERY powerful brand in the market place general advertising will never be effective.

    The web can be a powerful place to advertise, but it can take a lot of time and effort to be on the first page for the training you offer.


  3. Many ThanksReply to your Comment

    HI Graham,

    Many thanks. Some great advice there.


    Best regards,


  4. Thanks Mike

    Thanks Mike,

    Some really useful stuff here too.

    Best regards,


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