It might be that you are in a business where the business naturally flows to you owing to your reputation or expertise. If you are, you are very fortunate, or just extremely good at what you do! This is not normally the case and often business owners get so involved in the work or projects in which they are involved that they forget their future pipeline.
So what are the marketing channels?
For me the main one is referrals. Most of us don’t make the most of these and being British we don’t ask for referrals from satisfied customers. I ask for a feedback form to be completed after each programme so I can be a better coach the next time. I don’t ask for referrals though, which is something I am going to change for the future.
Having a decent website can create enquiries and certainly add credibility to your offering. With saying this I have seen some new enterprises take 6 months building their website without doing anything else. When I updated my website, I asked a website designer whom I had coached, to look at my website from a coachee’s perspective and update it. Kevin Gillard from Really Quite Something continues to host my website and sends out my regular monthly newsletter, called Meaningful Moments, to my contacts.
Meaningful Moments is a newsletter which is definitely meaningful for me and hopefully some of the time to the recipients who now exceed 400. In the early days, it was disappointing when I received an ‘unsubscribe’, but now I get three times more positive comments than unsubscribes. I try and make the newsletters educational, to support people in different ways. Sometimes they are book reviews or just things that have happened to me or I have seen in the last month. I get a >25% open rate which I believe is quite good!
I am trying to do a post on Linked In each month now which may be a bullet formatted version of the newsletter, or something totally different. I have tended to be reactive on Linked In and now I am trying to be more proactive. I have 500+ connections and I do think this is the best form of social media for businesses.
For Twitter, I use Susanna Way, to tweet the vast majority of my communications. Susanna is a fellow coach and knows me well as a person and I trust her to tweet as if she is me. Susanna has my website and newsletters to feed off and can programme the tweets for the following month. As I suggest to my coachees to focus on the things they are good at and like doing, why should I do anything different! If you need a similar service, or personal development or coaching, see Susanna’s website http://www.waymorethan.co.uk
I am still trying to get my head around Google and Google Maps etc. With saying this, anything I can do to get my website higher ranked, the better. Julie Pell has written this http://juliepell.com/Outsource Your Social Media
Julie looks after Google+ for me. I believe it is important for each of us to get testimonials on Google Maps which can be done by following this link. If you have been coached by me perhaps you can do something similar? See my Google results page here.
Advertising or writing editorials has never really worked for me in a tangible sense but it can get your name known. With coaching, it very much depends on trust and building rapport, which is not easy to achieve in an advertisement. Directories has never worked for me that well either, although the Life Coach Directory http://www.lifecoachdirectory.co.uk brings me a couple of new coachees each year. The Association of Coaches website www.associationofcoaches.com is starting to give me enquiries for new coaches wanting supervision support.
Networking has to be a key area although I have found it difficult to get the benefits of coaching over to a lot of small businesses. I believe activity gets results so I network at events I can manage and at a reasonable cost. I try to get up to London once a month to meet old contacts who are my best source of business. I then network going up the railway line from Tunbridge Wells including Tonbridge and Sevenoaks. On reflection, when I came out of corporate life, I should have focussed on events which included larger clients such as through the Institute of Directors (IOD). What type of clients are you looking to get on board and where are you likely to meet them?
There is a theme here. When I can, I will outsource a fair amount of my marketing work. in order to get a better job completed in areas I don’t really like doing. Last year, which was my first for purely working for myself, I had the help of my previous marketing director who again knew me very well. Julie has now retired. I met Lucy this week who seems to have a lot of the same abilities but is more focussed on project management and proof reading. Please have a look at Lucy’s website http://www.yourloyalva.co.uk
If you want to let me know what marketing channels I have missed, or if you want any help in any of the channels mentioned, please contact the individuals above or me, email@example.com if you want to be coached in your overall marketing strategy or business plan.