Coaching requires passion for your sport, dedication to helping others and sometimes sacrificing your own training goals for your clients'. But what’s easy to forget is that at its core, coaching is a business. And, regardless of whether you consider it a hobby or a full-time job, you want to make your business successful so you can keep doing it for a long time.
Unfortunately, in the same way that fitness ebbs and flows based on how much time and effort you commit, your business will do the same unless you’re as serious about your marketing as you are about your fitness.
Here is a 3-step recipe to help you make your 2012 marketing a success:
- Set goals
- Map out a plan
- Monitor and analyze
Sound a lot like what you tell your clients? It is - because for exactly the same reasons you would tell anyone that training without a goal is very likely to end in failure, your business similarly needs marketing goals, a marketing plan, and the dedication to monitor and analyze results all year long!
Step 1: Set Goals
What are your marketing goals for 2012? Are they to find more clients, sell more plans, expand awareness of your brand, or simply increase Facebook fans? Don’t just set goals like "increase Twitter followers" because Twitter's the latest trend. Unless you have a clear plan for how each marketing goal will help you achieve one or more of your business goals (i.e., increase revenue, retain clients or make more money per client), it shouldn't be a marketing goal. When I look back at my marketing goals from a few years ago, I had more than 20 - for most of which I had no idea how they paired with our business. For 2012, I have 3 - and I know exactly how each one will impact the business.
And don’t make ambiguous goals - set specific goals with numbers, dates and a plan of exactly what you'll track and and how you'll measure success at the end of the year.
Step 2: Map Out a Plan
The easiest mistake to make when you create your 2012 marketing plan is to include too much. When I first created my 2012 plan it was nearly 40 pages long. By the time I finished, I had it down to just 1 page. Limit what you attempt. There are lots of great marketing strategies and tactics but pick just a few that you know you will realistically act on and do well.
Step 3: Monitor and Analyze
As an athlete, I love to analyze: Did I stay in the prescribed zone during today’s intervals, how is my fitness compared to the same time last year, why did I get dropped in that race, etc. But analyzing your marketing can be a nightmare. It can be seemingly impossible to know what exactly to look at and how to get the data. As an athlete, it makes sense to track Average Pace, Power or HR to gauge fitness. But as a business owner, what do you track and how do you measure the success of your marketing?
My advice is simple but requires steps 1 and 2 to be completed first. When you have set a small number of realistic goals and have mapped out a plan to achieve them, then knowing what to track will be obvious. Look at the key drivers of the objectives you want to accomplish and then think about how those drivers can be observed and measured. But force yourself to choose just one or two metrics to track for each goal. If you take on more, you’ll spend more time tracking and less time acting.
In the same way that managing your fitness and that of your client’s takes daily focus and dedication, so does marketing your business. And there’s no better time to start than now!
TrainingPeaks Chief Marketing Officer