You’ve done some amazing work and managed to become a qualified and certified trainer or coach. It feels like the hard part is over and now all you need to do is start making buckets loads of cash from your skills. Where do you start? You might start posting all over social media like those guys boasting seven-figure salaries in their first year or sending out leaflets, messages in publications and building a website. However, nobody seems to be coming to you.
When you are just getting started, people don’t know who you are and there isn’t a ready-made audience waiting for your services even though they may well be the best on the market. Trying to get clients might seem daunting by it doesn’t have to be. Plenty of successful coaches and trainers have started from the bottom-up and the good news is, they’ve already tried loads of methods, so we know what works best!
Big blogs, campaigns, and advertising will work but before you can even think about that, your marketing strategy needs to focus on getting YOU out there.
Here are some ways to build up your personal brand.
Define Your Audience
Before publishing on social media or creating your first blog post, the focus of your content must be your readers. It is important to think what their pains and problems are and how you can solve them. Think of when you were a kid. If mum said no to something, you went and asked dad. Dad was your target audience. The first step is trying to find out who they are.
Put yourself on a pedestal
Making yourself center stage is the best way to get noticed. Albeit on a different level but just think of all those contestants who have gone on American Idol, X-Factor or any other reality show and are famous for just being there. People aren’t going to search you out independently so it’s important to provide a reason for them to do so.
Online resources like Meetup or Eventbrite can help set up events for free. It isn’t all about finding big budgets venues and allocating tickets.
Pick up the phone
This might sound like a bit of a lost art but talking to somebody on the phone is the most open and upfront way of finding your target audience. It’s why we haven’t seen a complete end to call centers yet. There is no better way of empathizing with a person than hearing it for yourself.
When handling phone calls, it is important that your potential client gets some value from it. Ensure you define a structure beforehand so there is a flow to the call and neither of you suffers from “dead air.”
Of course, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are a great way to find people who might be interested in your services. However, it is important that you don’t treat them too ‘socially’ and portray yourself as a field expert. Maybe have two separate accounts, one for business and one for pleasure. Follow group discussions before jumping into them. Likes and shares are amongst the best type of traffic you can get as it shows people trust your opinion. If somebody is participating in that, chances are they are within your target audience.
Whilst face-to-face communicate is ideal, it isn’t logistically possible all of the time which is why video marketing has trended significantly in the last couple of years.
Although you are not there in person, video is the closest you will get to show who you are including mannerisms and personality. Having a video strategy is important when starting out to grow those deeper connections. As most people have Smartphones with great cameras, video marketing has never been easier.
Identify who is in Charge of Your success
Ultimately, your audience is in charge of your career and to target them, you need to understand their motivations. For example, if you currently work in a company, the way you will advance is to work towards what motivates your boss. Whilst certain activities motivate you. If it isn’t what your clients’ need for your services then you’re not creating any true value.
Let’s imagine you are a personal trainer. Your clients most likely want to achieve a specific weight goal or participate in a triathlon or marathon. There would be no value to you talking about ways to improve their six-pack if there isn’t something they want to achieve, regardless of whether that is something you are capable of.
In identifying the motivation of those who are in charge of your success is critical. The only way to know this is through talking to people and thorough research.
- Identify social media groups to follow and keep up-to-date with trends and comments
- Create email lists as you find contacts and networks
- Go to events and meet people
- Host chats
- Create content
There are countless things that you can do to identify your target audience and their motivations. It will take time but it is imperative to your future as a brand.
Often when building a brand, you might only find 10 or 20 loyal clients. The key to success is finding that 10 or 20 people who have the biggest reach. In the digital world, we call these influencers.
An influencer is anyone who can hold another person’s attention in some way. It could be a business or an industry expert for example or even people you already have in your network. People already in your network are the low-hanging fruit, a bit like a wingman. Friends, family, and colleagues already trust you and can be the promoters of your brand.
One tactic for developing relationships with influencers is to offer higher-level help regardless of the cost. In providing you with a network, whatever you do for them will without a doubt create a return on investment.
Social media is a great way to identify your potential influencers. It is generally those who have a high number of followers and have posts that generate a lot of attention. Twitter and LinkedIn are those used most commonly as a sign of influence within professional networks.
Once you recognize the influencers, you need to find a way to connect with them. As a starting point, you will want to follow and connect with them on social media but also search out their blogs and articles. Start adding relevant comments to their posts and you will soon get recognized. We’ve already said that phone calls and face to face meetings provide the best coverage but an influence won’t give you this level of engagement on day one.
Show Your Human Side
Coaching or training needs to provide a personal and emotional connection. Something that a lot of successful people do is share something personal to them within the first session. This tactic shows the client that they have a life too and have a degree of empathy with what they are trying to achieve. Whilst facts and business are important, storytelling provokes engagement and advocacy.
Imitation isn’t a Form of Flattery
You are not going to find an audience by copying somebody else. Everything you do should focus on what is unique about your personal brand. Identify a style that fits your comfort zone and start to develop it. Of course, use other writers and professionals to influence what you do but it’s important to form your own opinions.
Don’t try to be a better version of yourself. Write things in a way that you’d like people to perceive you if they saw you in person.
When it comes to content such as a blog, make sure you are creating content and not just copying content. You want to inspire people and come up with unique traits that they will buy into. Copying what somebody else has said will not do that for you.
This article only really touches the surface of building your brand. The important takeaway here is that whilst a lot of work is required, you don’t need big budgets, investments, and endorsements. Take control of the low-hanging fruits and structure your marketing strategy in a targeted way to breed great results.
Check out what it takes to start a career in personal fitness training. This is your most affordable and fastest way to become a highly qualified personal trainer.
There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.
NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.