Most coaches think that with the downturn in the economy that the only way to power through it is by working harder than ever. This is especially difficult for a when one is already pushing themselves beyond their limits. It is true, that in economically challenging times just about every business needs to re-focus their marketing efforts in order to capture a shrinking market share- but this can be an opportunity to actually get more business than ever by working smarter vs. harder.
In more prosperous times, many coaches get by on minimal marketing efforts and in many cases wait for business to come to them. This usually results in just that- getting just enough business to get by - and when there's not the strain of a poor economy there's not the motivation to do more than is necessary.
Now things are undeniably different, and now is not the time to sit back and wait for business to come to you if you want to be around for very long. A recession is a phase or a cycle and with every cycle things grow and things shrink. Your business can grow simply by taking advantage of the concept that 'necessity is the mother of creation'. In order to survive, you will need to put more proactive effort into growing your business - and this could result in your business experiencing more growth than ever before. In addition, in a recession there is less competition since more companies are going out of business.
Another factor that could positively impact your business is that people are under more stress and the demand and need for coaching will inevitably increase. This may be offset by the fact that people are obviously more reluctant to spend money so this is another reason to amp up your marketing efforts and to put yourself in front of those people that are in need your service and are willing to spend the money.
There is no better time than now to initiate new marketing techniques that will put your business in the faces of your potential clients. Here are 10 simple tips and ideas of things that you can do today to be more proactive with building your business:
1. If you are not using an email address that is based on your domain, change that immediately. For example, if your domain name is joescoaching.com you should use an email based on the domain like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Each time you send an email to someone you will be in effect promoting your website and increasing the chances of people checking out your site.
2. Start an email marketing newsletter right away and be super proactive in terms of building your email list. Ask everyone that you know and meet for their emails and in exchange let them know that you will be sending great educational information on the area that you specialize in. In addition add an incentive based email opt-in form onto your website to motivate visitors to sign up for your newsletters. For example, give away a free e-book as an incentive. An e-book can be as short as 5 pages and anyone can write a 5 page educational document. Once it's done convert it to a PDF file and have your designer set it up through an auto responder through your opt-in form and watch your email sign ups go up.
3. Post your newsletters and articles on your website in order to give your clients a reason to come back. Don't get lazy with your site and allow it to act as an electronic brochure. It can be an incredible tool if you put some energy into it.
4. Create one or several short videos. Video is hugely sought after by web searchers- in fact over 50% of the people on the web now-a-days are looking for video and video holds people's attention. In addition the search engines love video as well and if you create a video and post it on the video sharing sites like youtube.com and googlevideo.com you will increase your chances of getting optimized on the search engines. The video doesn't have to be long or professional- in fact because of YouTube most people prefer to watch short home shot videos.
5. Join a networking group like letip.com or bni.com. It's not what you know but who you know. .. There are powers in numbers and if you can join an active group of others focusing on building their businesses as well, you will benefit in ways you can't imagine. The thought of joining a networking group may seem scary or undesirable - but now is the time to do things that you may not want to do in order to get the results that you have never had.
6. Don't do it alone. You are good at what you do and there are others that are good at what they do. Try to find affordable, quality service providers to help with some of the tasks that you are not qualified for or don't have the time for. Here are a few areas that you may want to consider getting some help:
- Copywriter to write/review your newsletters and website text
- Web Designers to create a professional website vs. a do-it-yourself website
- Email Newsletter management service
- Bookkeeper to manage your finances
7. Tap into free resources such as the SBA (sba.gov). They exist solely to help small businesses grow. One of their strengths is helping with business plans... They also have a great division called SCORE (score.org) which is organization of retired executives that donate their time to help business owners.
8. Take the time to follow up with every lead that comes your way. Get in the habit of treating every lead like gold! Remember that leads are the only things that you can convert to business. Most people only follow up with a lead once and wonder why they struggle. If you are donating time and money to getting leads, it is a waste of your resources to let that lead go after a single follow up. Be pleasantly persistent and stick with that lead until they are a client or until it is obvious that they won't be investing in your service. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
9. Put together a presentation on an educational topic related to your area of focus and contact corporations and community organizations in order to give the presentation for free. Most companies and organizations are looking for ways to educate their employees and members - especially if it is free- and they are, in many cases more than willing to make time for such presentations. This is a great way get in front of a captive audience without any costs to you and to promote through education. It may take some time to put together a presentation and some effort to build up the courage to put it out there, but you will find that the confidence that it instills and the energy that it creates will have huge benefits your business- and you personally.
10. Work ON your business vs. just IN your business. Those people that are in survival mode and working from day to day just to stay afloat are the ones that work the hardest. By taking one hour per day to work on building your business vs. just keeping it alive is one of the biggest secrets to success. You can't expect for your business to grow without taking the time to plant new seeds for future growth. Taking one hour per day dedicated to marketing and business development is a way of nurturing your business. You will also discover that that it will create more space and reduce stress in your mind by giving you a new perspective and by taking you away from the grind of the day-to-day.