In any kind of business, getting clients, customers, patrons, or whatever you want to call the people who pay you money for you to do your thing is hard to do. Especially at first.
When your business is new, you have to convince people to take a chance on you. Why should they use your service as opposed to any other service that does something similar?
First, of course, you have to advertise that you are open for business. In the old days, the only kind of advertising was radio, newspaper, and television, and each of those was priced above what an upstart would be able to afford.
In today’s world, you have a slew of options when it comes to advertising. Websites devoted to your niche. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Google Adwords. Each of these will allow you to narrowly target the demographic, location, or age group you are seeking to target your services to.
You have to decide upon the reach of your ads. Are your services better suited for being in the same geographic area as your clients, or can your clients be spread across the country? National reaching ads are more expensive than locally-based ads, but they do have the potential to reach more people who will want your services.
Advertising under certain search terms relating to your business allows people who search for, say, “Health Expert in Bryson City, NC” will allow people to find your business if you purchased those words to trigger your ad to people who search for those terms.
Keep track of how much you are spending on each advertisement. Measure this with how much business each ad nets you. You do not want to spend money on ads that do not work. Drop the ads that do not help you and focus on those that do. Do not be hesitant to experiment with new advertising ideas. See what works. As Bruce Lee once said, “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
Social media itself needs to be something you focus on as well. Invite your clients and those who may be interested in your services to like or follow you on various social media sites. Be sure to post on your social media pages several times per week and respond to comments and other posts and messages others make on your social media accounts.
Post several posts per week that relate to your business. If you are a life coach, make each post about things people can do to improve their lives that corresponds to your philosophy. Don’t be afraid to share posts or articles from other sources you think people may enjoy, though try not to share from your competition. You may also write long-form blog posts on your site and share these on your various social media channels as well. Make sure you open the permissions to allow others to share them to their timelines or feeds or retweet to their followers. This can be how you get new followers and eventually customers.
A website should be a goldmine for converting the curious into customers. Your website should have information about you, your service, what you do for your clients, links to your social media channels, a blog, and any other pertinent information about what you do that may not be evident. You should also have a few glowing reviews prominently displayed in a section of your site.
Another thing you can do is gather email addresses for a mailing list. Each time you write a new blog post, email information about it to your email list. To get people to sign up for your email list, you have to offer them something, like a book. A short e-book about some aspect of what you do for people, even tips for living a better life, will provide value and make people more eager to give you their email address. Companies like MailChimp provide subscription email services that are typically free for businesses below a certain number of subscribers and weekly emails. If you’re just starting out, that would be a great way to enter the mailing list segment.
While followers do not equal sales, they can help build cachet with those who do eventually become your customers. Would you do business with a life coach on Facebook with 57 followers or 570,000 followers? Fight the urge to buy fake followers, retweeters, commenters, or any other fake publicity. It does not take long for a person to figure out if any of your followers or commenters are fake, and that turns people off from your brand as being fake as well. They will think your business must not be very good if you have to pay people in order to make it seem as though you’re a well-liked entrepreneur online.
Keep up with the Yelp, Google Reviews, and other sites’ user reviews for your business. Responding to reviews, especially bad reviews, will show potential customers that you care about those who use your services.
Reviews are what drives people to your business. Instagram posts and Facebook followers look good, but what are people saying about you in reviews? You do not want to tell people to write five-star glowing reviews. But you do want them to write honest reviews.
Satisfied clients are one way to get new clients. You may offer an incentive for satisfied clients to spread how awesome your services are through word of mouth. What incentives to use are up to you but can be something as simple as a set dollar amount off a future service. If you have a book (which can be a great marketing tool in itself) you may offer copies of it if someone sends a set number of paying customers to you.
Writing a book, even one of 200 pages or less, can be used as a marketing tool. You know about your business better than anyone. A book about what you do and how you do it, along with a few tips to motivate the curious, can make you look like an expert in your field. After all, only experts write books. You can either write the book on your own from scratch, utilize your blog posts to string a book together, or partner with a service such as Scribe can help you make your book. Keep in mind, the biggest buyer of these books may be yourself to give to people.
Go on the lecture circuit. Book a room at your local library or motel/hotel. Put the word out that you’ll be giving a talk on a subject related to your business. Mention that the first 50 or 100 participants will receive a copy of your book if you have written one. A book makes you look like an expert, and books make the best free prize for attending. You may end up with more customer conversions through the book than through the lecture. If your lectures prove popular enough, you may be able to charge admission to your talks.
Keep track of how much money you spend on advertising across each social media and internet company you advertise with. When you file your taxes, your advertising spending is tax-deductible on Line 8 of a Schedule C, if you are filing as a sole proprietor and Form 1120 that S and C Corporations file each year as well.
It’s up to you to grow your business. Advertising helps, but in the end, it is up to you to deliver on your promises to your customers and with their word of mouth, they will help you get more customers in the future. The more reviews you have, the more followers, and how active you are in your niche community, those are factors that will bring more and more clients to your service.
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That’s it for now.