Consultus Academy :: What We’ve Learned

April 16th 2019, Author: in: General Category

If you follow Consultus Digital or The Influence Agency, you may have noticed that we’ve been putting on a series of workshops aimed at teaching the basics in digital marketing. We call this “Consultus Academy” and it was born out of our bi-weekly ‘Big Idea’ that we run internally within our agency where any team member can bring forward a great idea that we can decide to act on.

The idea for Consultus Academy is to run a series of steady workshops on digital marketing every month for a couple of hours on a Saturday. This blog covers our motivations, how we started, outcomes and learnings of hosting these classes as well as a look to future classes.


Our Motivations:

We were motivated to take the time, effort and expense of putting on the workshop because we saw this a means of being engaged with our community of marketers and business owners. 

Here are 5 benefits for the attendees:

  1. Low cost ($10) so the barrier to education is low
  2. They get to meet a lot of likeminded people – marketers, business owners and self improvers
  3. Every workshop would yield actionable recommendations and useful advice. No selling the next class and no selling of our services.
  4. A warm environment with snacks and refreshments
  5. Smaller workshop sizes to provide an enhanced learning environment

Here are 5 benefits for the agency:

  1. Leading the workshops position us as an authority in digital marketing
  2. It also practices our presentation and communication skills
  3. Preparing for classes help us develop materials that our clients and staff can use for client meetings
  4. It ensures that we stay on top of the industry because we have to teach it and we wouldn’t want to be caught off guard not knowing something we really should.
  5. Our brand is introduced to people who might be looking to find work and that could lead us to finding great help who are hard to find! 

Of all of these benefits the most important to us is to offer information that would truly be helpful and what the attendees found value in. As you will read, doing these initial classes certainly have helped us better understand what the people wanted.


How We Started The Workshops:

When we started this business, we had a really small space on the first floor of a condo where the wall had been knocked down and we had enough space for 6 desks, a kitchen and a washroom. This was not a place we could host. Fast forward about a year later and by that time we had grown and had a space where we could start to do some creative things. Consultus Academy is one of them!

digital marketing office in Toronto

We charge a ‘symbolic fee’ of $10 just so we offset some of the costs of the refreshments, but more so get a better read out on who is actually going to come. If you’ve ever hosted a free event online, you’ll know the drop off is actually incredible. Besides, the investment of $10 might mean the advice is taken more seriously because it’s paid for.  

Consultus Academy was originally set to feature this set of 6 classes that could be attended independently of one another:

  1. Digital Marketing 101
  2. Website Development & Best Practices
  3. Google AdWords Fundamentals
  4. Search Engine Optimization & Local Optimization
  5. Content Marketing
  6. Social Media Marketing (upcoming May 11th)

The Outcomes & Learnings:

The first class that we had was ‘Digital Marketing 101’ which went over digital marketing in general, which is a lot to distil in an hour. This class also had our largest turn out of about 16 people.

The second class on Search Engine Optimization had a modest showing, but the ideas that were generated in it were awesome. One of the best ideas that came out of the workshop came from TSLIS’s President Christopher Desloges who proposed reformatting our lessons in the form of American Sign Language. This was something I would have never thought of, but surely would serve a good amount of people that are underserved and in the process draw the kind of backlinks we spoke about in the workshop.

Content Marketing 101 was a good all-around class. We had a good group and Tom Yawney was able to break down Content Marketing into inbound and community building activity. We had a bunch of tickets sold to this, but nothing had as much interest as the next class…

Social Media Marketing 101 is a course that is coming up and will be taught by our very own Noah Parker. The morning class sold out without really promoting it so we just opened up a second class in the afternoon for the same date through Eventbrite.


Future Classes

Based on interest and attendance it’s been clear through this initial run that the market wants to learn more about digital marketing in general, social media and community building. This means we need to find a way to include Google Ads and Website design tips in another workshop as well as create new workshops on specific kinds of social media (since there is such demand). In fact, we may even craft a few courses on entrepreneurship and sales in a digital context for the next round.

Of course, if there is something you’d like to know or a class you think we could teach, let us know!


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