Written by PMUHub in conversation with microblading trainer Rada Švonja.
A few years ago, if someone wanted to take a permanent makeup course, they were limited to a handful of academies, and a couple of trainers in their area. So it was relatively easy for trainers to get students.
Now, the market is much tougher. A huge portion of those artists who took courses a while back are now experienced trainers themselves. The competition is strong and trainers compete for each and every student.
So some of them turn to creative marketing and promo strategies, like live events. And if you’re a trainer, you should, too.
Microblading trainer Rada Švonja knows the value of a live promo event. She’s making a habit of organizing open day events to attract new students and build a community around her academy.
PMUHub visited her 2023 event and we’re bringing you everything you need to know about how open day events can help your business, plus advice on setting them up directly from the organizer.
The Value of Open Day Events for PMU Trainers
Being face to face with a potential student is extremely valuable.
Let’s see how open day events help you monetize this interaction by definitely turning prospects – people who are showing interest in taking the course – into students, plus give additional value to your academy.
1. Engaging Prospects Turns Them into Students
While a lot of successful marketing is done online these days, live, direct interaction is still a hugely efficient, especially when it comes to selling programs that involve real-life interaction – like a microblading course does.
Done right, passive marketing works. But interactive marketing events give you a unique opportunity to establish a connection with prospects, and this is very valuable when selling a course.
The assumption is, since they’ve chosen to devote their time to attending your open day event, they’re already interested in enrolling in your course.
As Rada says, the biggest benefit of open day events is the fact that people actually want to be there, they come deliberately and with a purpose.
So they just need a little extra push to close the deal, which is what you’ll provide with your open day program.
Engagement works on a psychological level, because it allows you to immerse potential students into the experience of taking your course, and further – into the experience of actually being a microblading artist – at least for an afternoon.
This is a powerful tool for microblading trainers because you’re essentially selling an experience and a lifestyle.
If they get to live through one aspect of the microblading artist experience, they’ll be able to identify with it, their barriers will start breaking down, and they’ll feel more inspired to take your course.
2. Making Yourself & Your Technique More Approachable
Open day events are a staple in education. They work for high schools and universities, so why wouldn’t you use this tried and true strategy for your PMU academy?
Think about it – your students will be spending 2+ days with you as part of their course. They’ll interact with you further as they’re perfecting their skill. You’ll be their guide and mentor.
So it’s only natural they’ll feel more comfortable setting off on their training journey and committing to spending their time (and money) with you if they get to actually meet you.
And if they get familiar with the technique. From afar, microblading can seem very challenging, even scary. That might be something that discourages people from pursuing it and taking your class.
So if you give the visitors of your open day an opportunity to see the technique broken down into simple steps with your explanations, plus try it on latex, they’ll realize it’s nothing that complicated and feel empowered to learn it.
3. Positioning Your Academy as an Authority
With so many options, people who want to pursue a career in microblading find it difficult to choose an academy. So naturally, they’ll probably go with the one that seems the most credible.
Hosting events like open days can help make our academy seem like more of an authority, a well-established business that will provide them with stability and a reliable safety-net for starting their career.
4. Building a Community
Finally, we have to mention this aspect of running an academy, which inevitably underlies all your business efforts.
The most successful PMU academies work like networks of established and aspiring professionals who support each other, not only in order to work more successfully, but also to encourage new members to join it.
Building relationships with your students contributes to setting up a successful and sustainable business model, as you can expect them to become your ambassadors in a way – the success of each student is your success, too.
And open day events are the perfect opportunity for making connections.
The Value of Attending Open Days for People Considering a Course
If you’ve been thinking of getting into microblading and you hear that there’s an open day event in your area, don’t miss it.
This is an opportunity to meet a potential teacher and see whether you click before you commit to them, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to hear more about the skill, and perhaps even try it.
You also get to meet people who are in the same situation as you, which can be very empowering.
Ultimately, it might also reveal that microblading perhaps isn’t the right path without having to pay for a whole course, which can save you a lot of money.
How to Organize Open Day Events for PMU Academies
Okay, enough theory. Let’s get into the practice of actually hosting open day events.
The first thing Rada points out is that you can’t organize an event like this on your own. You need a reliable team who will help you with the planning, organization and the program.
If you have an assistant who’s already well-versed in organizing your day-to-day business, they’re the best choice to give you a hand.
Form a team and start planning. You need to plan in advance – give yourself at least 2 months to organize everything, as you’ll need time to promote the event, spread the word and attract visitors.
Factors to Consider and Plan Out:
First things first – you need a venue for your event.
Your choice comes down to either using your salon or academy headquarters, or renting a space. Which one you’ll go for primarily depends on how many people you’re expecting and whether you want to limit the attendance.
The space where you normally hold the training would be ideal, as it would give the most realistic experience. But this probably means that your space is limited, and you definitely don’t want to turn people away if you get a lot of inquiries.
So if you’re expecting many attendees, look for an alternative space.
Rada went for a conference room at a luxurious local hotel, which was a great choice – it provided enough room to make everyone comfortable, professional equipment for holding her presentations, an attractive interior, and tasty refreshments during breaks.
The activities you prepare for your visitors are a huge factor in whether your event will be successful or not.
The primary goal of open day events for PMU academies is to turn as many visitors into students, so the program has to be carefully crafted to achieve this, while also giving your visitors value in the form of information and knowledge.
The attendees will devote just a few hours to your event, so you need to find a balance between using that time to show them as much as you can, but not overwhelming them.
You need to give them all the info you think is relevant and they ask for, engage them with activities that will give them a taste of the course (like practice on latex, which is what Rada did), and give them some time to mingle with each other, you and your team.
You need to decide whether you’ll be charging for attendance or not. Both options have their pros and cons.
If you make the event free of charge, you might attract more people, but a portion of them may not be so serious about taking the course. You’ll be at a financial loss that can add up, especially if you’re providing practice props or goodie bags.
So it’s also valid to introduce a small attendance fee. Nothing that would discourage people from attending, but still enough to cover the material you’ll send them home with.
To make your open day a success, you have to spread the word.
You will need to run some sort of campaign to promote your event. You can use your social media profiles, but since you’ll need to reach an audience who may not know about you at all, that will only get you so far.
We recommend running a paid social ads campaign, like Rada did. The more people hear about your event, the more attendees you’ll have, and in turn, the more students you can convert.
How to Engage Visitors on Your Open Day Events
As we mentioned, all your actions on the day of the event need to be carefully planned out and streamlined to reach the goal of getting visitors to enroll in your course.
- presenting yourself as a trainer and your academy as an institution is the best, most approachable way,
- clearly laying out the value of becoming your student as opposed to someone else’s,
- and finally giving the visitors a taste of what that would be like.
Here’s how Rada did it:
Part 1 – Personal Introductions
Before the official program started, Rada approached each and every one of the attendees to introduce herself, meet them and shake their hand, and do some small-talk.
This makes the visitors feel welcome and sets the tone for the rest of the day – the atmosphere would be casual, friendly and personal – plus it encourages the visitors to take part in the program by showing them that the event would involve personal interaction.
Part 2 – Short Introductory Presentations
The first part of the program was a series of short introductions. Rada spoke to the visitors, introducing herself, her team, and finally her microblading technique.
Her strategy is to get personal with her students.
I’ve always tried to establish close personal connections with students and, later, artists, so that they can feel the support and know that they can expect mutual understanding from our collaboration. Hopefully, getting this across has an encouraging effect on prospects.
She never misses the opportunity to introduce her team, being very vocal about how much she appreciates them, which contributes to the positive atmosphere she creates around the idea of a career in microblading.
And finally, she introduces her microblading technique, covering the technicalities of the procedure, but also revealing the earning potential in relation to the cost of the training and the supplies, which is what people are always the most curious about.
Presentation ≠ monotonous speech.
A successful presentation has to be backed with visual aids, especially when talking about a skill like microblading. So make sure you prepare material that will enrich your program: photos, videos, key facts.
Check whether the venue can provide all the technology you need, and ideally test everything before your event starts.
Part 3 – Success Stories
Rada invited her previous students who became successful artists themselves to take part in her open day, which was a great way to prove to potential students that any of them can succeed, too.
This breaks down the myth that permanent makeup is some closed, exclusive circle, when in reality, it’s an open field where most people can prosper with just a little bit of talent and a whole lot of hard work.
These special guests had the opportunity to share their success stories with the visitors, revealing the wide range of jobs they used to do before they discovered microblading.
This is empowering as it reassures the potential students you really don’t have to have prior experience in beauty to take a microblading course.
Seeing these professionals in the flesh and hearing their stories in person is definitely more effective than reading them on a website or social media.
Plus, it shows your prospects that, if they choose you as their mentor, you won’t forget them once you’ve finished the course, but rather keep supporting them and promoting them when you get the chance.
Part 4 – Fun + Educational Activity
What we’ll definitely advise is organizing some sort of activity your visitors can actively participate in.
Rada opted for latex practice.
Every visitor got a practice latex sheet, blades, a dose of pigment, and other practice props, she walked them though the basic elements of her pattern, and gave them time to try it out.
She and her former students walked around and helped them, chatting and answering any questions they had. If you decide to go with an activity like this, Rada advises leaving enough time in your schedule for it:
From experience, I know you should give people more time for practice, because this is what gives them the sense of what microblading is. The practice itself is the best signal to potential students whether microblading is the right path for them – or not.
So latex practice is super useful, because it shows attendees that the skill of microblading is nothing elusive or overly complicated.
However, as Rada points out, even if the activity goes in the opposite direction and some of the visitors decide that microblading isn’t for them, this is also useful – they’re spared from wasting their time and money.
Remember: while it’s natural you want to make as much money as possible, you should never let your academy seem like a cash grab!
Part 5 – Additional Activity
Finally, you can include a surprise activity or feature, something your visitors perhaps didn’t expect, but will find useful.
Rada decided to invite a surprise speaker – a business development expert who helped her grow her career as a salon-owner and trainer. He shared some insights and gave the whole event extra value.
Final Words from Rada
What Rada points out is the fact that taking up a microblading course is not a decision one makes in a day; it’s a process that requires planning. With that in mind, you shouldn’t expect your visitors to sign up right then and there.
If some of them do, great! But don’t feel discouraged if they don’t.
You need to think more long-term and be aware that open day events definitely have a positive impact in terms of conversions, but it can take some time for people to gather their thoughts and impressions and take the plunge.
So, be patient!
If you need professional help growing your business, SEMRail Performance Marketing Agency is at your service. We have 10 years of experience in the PMU industry – we know what we’re doing. Get in touch here.