Here are some marketing methods for coaches which will help you to build your coaching business. Rarely do clients just 'find you' so you need to be proactive to ensure you raise your profile and are visible. I've tried numerous ways to marketing my coaching practice, some have worked and some have been a total waste of time and money so below I am sharing those that from experience I know have worked.
It is an absolute must to have business cards from the moment you get you started. With your name and contact details they ensure people can contact you if they are interested in what you do. They are also a way of conveying what you do and how you want to be perceived as a coach. Once you are clear on your offering as a coach invest in the professional design of your cards but in the meantime any card is better than none and always remember to carry them around with you.
A website is a great way for people to read more about you and your services and as a coach you should have one. But don’t assume that just having a website is enough for people to find you on Google. You need to be clear about what you want your website to do and find a reputable web developer who will translate your needs into practice and give you sound advice about making the most of your web presence. It is worthwhile investing in your own education on internet marketing so you know what you are buying as you could waste huge amounts of money and see little return.
Most businesses are built upon developing relationships and this starts by developing a network of contacts. Good targeted networking is a great way to make contacts, get yourself known and build your coaching business. But make sure you network in places where you are likely to meet your target clients or at least others who also do business with your target market. Remember that networking is a long-term strategy and isn’t about ‘selling’ - you are literally making contacts and building relationships so that people get to know, like and trust you enough so that they feel in a position to recommend or do business with you in the future.
Networking is also a place for meeting other coaches, learning more about your market, what funding might be available and developing yourself so don't restrict yourself to talking only to people who may be potential clients.
Coaching isn’t the easiest concept to explain to people who are new to it so doing informative, interesting, interactive and inspirational talks is a great way to you’re your message across. Ensure though that your talks focus on an area of interest that is relevant to the area you focus in on and remember ‘what’s in it for the audience?’…they are paying with their time so they want value from your talk …they don’t want to hear a long-winded sales pitch on your services!
Ignore social media marketing at your peril…it is the increasingly used and accepted way of building up business relationships so people will get to know, like and trust you. Sign up to LinkedIn the World’s largest and fastest growing online business networking site, Facebook and also Twitter. Then educate yourself in using these free marketing methods for coaches. They may seem alien and at times pointless but if used correctly can provide you with a great way of marketing you and your coaching practice.
Sometimes we can spend so much time expanding our new contacts but don’t maximise the benefit from our existing clients. Be creative and ask how else you might be able to help them and what other services could you offer them?
Who better to refer your services than those clients with whom you have provided an excellent service? But how many times do you ask your clients to refer you onto other people who might also be looking for your help? Consider offering a special deal for those clients who refer you…perhaps a referral fee, vouchers or additional free sessions. Word of mouth is one of the most valuable marketing methods for coaches.
Products sell better than services so if you can ‘package’ your coaching services in into say 6 month one to one coaching programmes with defined outcomes or group workshops you have something more tangible to market.
In addition you can develop digital products to sell and you don't have to create your own products. Many coaches simply put their own brand on these royalty free coaching products.
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Get Clients Now!(TM): A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals, Consultants, and Coaches - C.J. Hayden October 2006
Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling - Tim Sanders and Michael Port (Paperback - 27 May 2008)