I am starting a new class for young people. I contacted the local paper to find out about running an ad and for a small ad for two weeks I was quoted £195 which is slightly over my budge of 0p. I have put up some posters in local shops etc, have a facebook page. What else could I do that will be cheap? Or should I bite the bullet and invest £195 to get the whole things started? I have a big fear of no one coming!
Have you tried writing a press release about your class? If you can think of an interesting angle to concentrate on, you can send it to your local papers and you might get yourself some coverage for free!
Excellent! I had one professionally written for me a few years back for a website launch & got a fair bit of local coverage! Happy to pass on the PDF, if you'd like to get a feel for the format/style etc.? Just PM me
What sort of class is it? If it's something 'cool' like street dance or music or self-defence, clothing customisation etc then I'd target the young people directly - print out a load of flyers and leave them in places young people hang out.
If it's something more worthy like 'improve your maths' for example then it may be better to target the parents. Leave leaflets in places more 'aspirational' parents congregate - libraries, coffee shops, leisure centres etc.
You could also add your details to online directories, which is usually free. Your local tourist info office, council, local paper etc will probably have something. It might be worth you setting up a simple website so people can have a look and get more information about the classes.
Ooh yes, website is a must! And make sure you add yourself to Google Places (http://www.google.com/places/) - it's free and usually appears above normal search engine results so it's definitely worth doing!
I think youth theatre definately falls into the 'cool' category!!
It might be best to think about your existing contacts first. Do you know any children/teenagers of the right age? Give them a handful of flyers to hand out to their mates. Same with any teachers, youth group leaders, people you know who have any contact with the sorts of pupils you are looking for.
It would be worth sending some info to other youth groups that aren't in direct competition (ie not other theatre groups), so youth clubs, scouts, guides, cadets, school drama clubs, music groups, youth orchestras, sports clubs etc. They might hand out flyers for you or put a poster on their noticeboard. This way you'll target the kinds of people who are interested in extracurricular activities.
You could also offer some sort of incentive which you could promote on the advertising - first session free, 10% off and free t-shirt if you pay for a term etc.
The trouble with local press is that you need to run the advert for a number of days. One advert may only get noticed by one reader. I have had my finger burnt on numerous times with advertising especially in those glossy local magazines (£1000!) and getting no calls at all. I do a cheap £10 advert in the local community pamplet which has loads of info in it and do get a few calls from it so very cost effective.
Schools, nurserys, afterschool clubs - My school drops leaflets in their school bags. Has to be black and white but worth investing in some decent graphics and make sure the poster is straight and looks professional. ALso provide a website/e-mail too as many people are nervous to phone.