The final stage of preparing for your business coaching career is marketing. Your business coaching service and career are not going to survive and be successful if you are not able to adequately market your services. Understanding aspects of marketing like audience and the strategies needed to reach them as a business coach is vital if you wish to thrive.
Reaching Your Audience
Your potential audience is going to include more than just your clients, but anyone in the professional world who could possibly benefit from working with a business coach. It is going to be the same potential audience for every single business coach in the world. However, there is no way you will be able to turn every member of that potential audience in your client. Most of them will probably never seek out a business coach and some may not be entirely sure what a business coach is.
- Know Your Niche-If you are choosing to specialize in a specific business coaching niche, you need to make sure that you know who is going to be a part of it. Each niche has its own language for marketing and you need to at least be able to put together a basic sentence in it when you're trying to reach them. You need to know where your audience is located and what they will respond to. If your niche is professionals in the medical community, your marketing shouldn't be aimed at stock brokers on Wall Street.
- Within Industries-Even if you have a niche that you are focused on, you still need to look at the industry of your audience as a whole. Industries are interconnected communities where all of its residents are affected by changes. They all still speak the same language, just different dialects; what is affecting one group can still affect another. If one part of your niche's industry is looking for help for certain problems, then your niche might be too. Being able to reach them as a large part of a whole is just as important as reaching them as an individual piece.
Keeping Up With Your Competition
Your competitors in business coaching are going to be your competitors because you are all fighting over the same market. Some are using the same old moves that they did when they got started and they're not getting anywhere while others make one change and pick up new client after new client. You might not like to think about how your competition is doing a better job than you, but you can learn from their actions.
- What Are They Doing?-If your competitor is able to continuously be successful without skipping a beat, then chances are they are on the right track. Sometimes the difference between success and failure is so small that you can blink and miss it. Paying attention to the actions of your peers can be the best way to keep up with them. You developed your skills as a business coach through experience, some of which came from watching what others were doing. If you see a business coach who is operating in your market doing something that is repeatedly resulting in poor results, then chances are you shouldn't do it. If they're doing something that is producing fantastic results in that same market, give it a try yourself.
- How Are They Doing It?-Part of figuring out what it is your competitor is doing that is working so well for them is figuring out how they are doing it. If you're operating within the confines of the same market as your competition, you will be faced with some of the same issues. You could both be using the same marketing tools and strategies, with the same audience, at the same time, and hitting the same roadblocks. Somehow, though, they manage to reach the audience first and get the client. Learning what they are doing to get past those roadblocks is only going to get you so far if you don't know how to do it yourself.
Knowing Your MarketInterested in learning more? Why not take an online Business Coaching course?
Your market is different from your audience in that it is the specific range in which you operate in. It's where your audience, in theory, lives and spends its time. In order to grab your audience and show it what you have for them, you need to go where they are. Going to the wrong space to do your marketing isn't going to attract clients. Think of the example earlier in the article; if your target audience is made up of professionals in the medical field, you're not going to go to the auto parts store and expect to find them next to the windshield wipers. You need to know what is in your market and if it is to your advantage to stay there.
- Is Your Audience Present?-Looking at your market, you can usually tell if your audience is present and active. There will be signs you can interpret. Other organizations-whether they are business coaches or otherwise-who share that audience will be present in your market if the audience is also there.
You'll be able to put out content related to your business coaching and have a response if your audience is present. If there's no answer, chances are they're not there or there's not enough of them present. You may need to consider making changes, either to your audience specifications or your market.
- What Obstacles Are There?-Obstacles in your market can prevent you from reaching your targeted audience before your competition. Knowing your market means know what obstacles are present and how you can get around them in the confines of your market. Your audience could be present in your market, yet not interacting with you the way you want them to. The way you interact with your audience in your market can both help and harm you; you could both be looking online at social media, but your audience is looking for you on Twitter while you're posting messages for them on Facebook. 2 You're both present in the same market-the internet, social media-and are looking for each other, but neither of you are looking in the exact same place.
Time can also be an obstacle between you and your audience in your market. You could be in the same place as your audience, but not at the same moment. They are otherwise occupied or distracted when you are trying to reach them, and when they are available to listen to you you're in the next room doing something else.
Tools & Strategies
Knowing the logistics of marketing-your audience, market, competitors-will only get you so far if you do not know how to access and interact with those aspects. There are thousands of marketing tools and strategies at your disposal as a business coach. It is simply a matter of learning how to use them and giving them a try.
- Website-Your website is going to be one of your most powerful marketing tools. Marketing and the business world are comfortably seated in the realm of the internet and have no intention of moving any time soon. Websites are the catch-all hub for a business that markets and/or operates itself online. When someone searches for a business online, their website is the first thing related to their business that appears in the results. It can cover as much or as little information as you want about your business.
Websites are often the main source of identifying information online that a business can control. You can update them in real time in the event that that information changes. Most business owners choose to have a blog on their website where they can discuss what is going on with the business and interact with the customers. As a business coach, your blog can be used to showcase your skills to potential clients. You can also use it to tell your current clients about new services and aspects of your coaching business that might appeal to them.
- Advertisements-Advertisements, from the print ads that appear in newspapers and magazines to banners and sponsored content online, have been the standard business marketing tools for decades. Their format has changed as the markets, audiences, and industries have in order to keep up.
Using an advertisement in print or digital format can work within a certain branch of your market or for limited time offers. They can be added to anything without much difficulty. Advertisement imagery is a powerful tool in marketing. The design you have for an advertisement can catch the viewer's attention and send your message without a single word.
- Social Media-As a marketing tool, social media offers a level of versatility through different channels and platforms in ways that are unique to the internet. 3 It allows for audience interaction that is even more direct than other internet platforms like your website. Do you have good news about your business coaching service? Special offers? Press releases? Share them with your followers on your social media accounts and watch them spread beyond your current market and audience.
Social media accounts also allow you to have a real-time conversation with your customers without having to pick up the phone or see them face to face. If they send you a message, you can respond right away. Comment on your post? Reply as soon as you get the notification. If you want to get a piece of news about your coaching business to your customers as quickly as possible, sharing it on your social media is the surest way to do so.
- Word of Mouth-Sometimes, the best marketing tool is the recommendation of a service or product between friends. Word of mouth is still used in modern marketing, just presented in a slightly different way. Rather than bring it up in a face-to-face conversation, they talk about it on the phone or through a text. Maybe they tweet about it to their followers or email it to a colleague. It's the same practice, but with a different delivery. It still works because people trust what others tell them. If someone who is reputable in their field and industry tells their co-workers that your coaching helped them reach an important goal or milestone, people are going to want to see if you can do the same for them. Good or bad, word will travel fast.
- Mix It Up-Combining multiple tools and strategies is one way to guarantee that you are expanding your reach as far as possible. What isn't covered with one method can be picked up by the other and it allows for an extra layer of protection for your content. You want to make sure that you are covering all of your bases and accessing the parts of your audience that you may not always be able to reach.
Most online marketing strategies combine tools and strategies all the time. Everyone has their social media accounts synced, and they have a string of links to each account present on every page of their website. They do cross promotions with different parts of their business and mention each departments' participants by name and social media account so you follow the fringes in addition to the main branch.
Print and digital media often work together for marketing purposes. QR codes-those black and white squares you scan with your phone-are the most common combination of digital and print. 4 They can be generated with little to no effort, for there are websites that just make QR codes that you can print onto anything so long as you have a functioning printer. You can make a QR code linking to your website's homepage and put it on virtually anything: posters, your business card, flyers, signs, etc. You could even make them into stickers to make it easier to add them to things.