With the digital age upon us, marketing tactics and audiences are changing quickly. While it's important to keep your skills sharp, don’t wait for the perfect conference to pop up. Consider hosting your own event for colleagues in your local network, using marketing workshop ideas that can teach valuable skills.

The Art of Woo: Marketing Basics

Building a business is similar to building a relationship. Both require intentionality, persistence and understanding how subtle differences in communication attract your audience's affections. This workshop activity helps participants define their audiences and goals in order to present messages effectively.

Request a volunteer to help role play several scenarios. In scenario one, convince your volunteer to go on a date by describing your best qualities. Explain how this is like advertising. In scenario two, rave about your best friend and tell your volunteer why she should date him. Explain to the group how this is like public relations. In the final scenario, you and your volunteer are on a date. Compliment her intelligence, her appearance, her conversational skills, and then ask her out again. Explain to the group this is marketing. “If business is all about people and money and the art of persuading one to part from the other, then marketing is all about finding the right people to persuade,” says marketing expert Jan Welborn-Nichols in an article on marketing basics for Entrepreneur Network. Finally, ask participants to pair up and develop advertising, marketing and PR messages for the same product.

Get Social

Social media is an important part of any marketing campaign, but not every platform is right for every business. This activity helps marketers determine which platforms their businesses can use most effectively.

Provide an overview of popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, including their targeting capabilities. Provide examples of how companies like Buzzfeed, Whole Foods and CapitolOne successfully leverage selected platforms. "Twitter, more than any other platform, is inextricably tied to in-the-moment developments," says online marketing blogger James Scherer on wishpond.com. "If your sector or business is based around things that are happening now, you need to be on Twitter." Additional topic discussions can include creating good content, using social media to build credibility and influence, driving traffic to your website, measuring social media success and adapting strategies.

Decode Online Marketing

“Much is made of how you can boost your search engine presence and get that coveted spot on page one of Google,” says Inman.com writer Carrie Gable in her article, “Decoding Common SEO Acronyms." While marketers may understand SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tactics, they may still be intimidated by the lingo. This activity helps marketers understand online marketing phrases so they can “spend less time trying to decode what’s being said and more time coming up with a brilliant marketing strategy" for their website, says Gable.

Before the workshop, ask participants to submit their most commonly misunderstood online marketing phrases. Guide discussion with these phrases as you walk participants through common acronyms like SERP (Search Engine Results Page), PPC (Pay-Per-Click), CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) and their functions.

Marketing with Videos

Small companies may not think they have the time or resources to use creative video for their marketing. However, home video software such as Adobe Premiere or Apple’s iMovie make it simple for anyone to market products with video. This activity gives participants a crash course in video editing and demonstrates how to develop a short marketing video.

During the workshop, show examples of companies such as Dove, Google and Kmart that successfully use online video as a marketing tactic. Ideas and discussion topics can include video testimonials, product demonstrations, visual storytelling, slide shows and product tutorials. Cover video editing basics, such as importing and exporting videos, transitions, typography, music and sound effects, sound and video speed and more. Using existing video footage and input from the group, put together a 30-second video using each component discussed.