Millions of runners, cyclists and triathletes compete in events every year. Events usually take less than a day to complete which means those same athletes are spending the majority of their time training. In fact, in a recent survey conducted with more than 3,000 athletes who actively use TrainingPeaks, 81% said they are currently training for an event. Those are exactly the type of athletes most likely to hire a coach: they have a goal, they’ve dedicating the time to train… They just need a coach’s expert instruction, feedback and motivation to help them achieve their goal.
What are you doing to get the attention of those athletes and turn them into clients?
Here is one method using training plans targeting events to grow your business. Use the following recipe and learn from the examples that follow to find new clients.
- Find an event
- Create targeted plans
Step 1: Find An Event
Regardless of where you live around the world, you will find events. You probably compete in numerous events yourself every year. From 5k’s to full distance triathlons, century rides and charity walks there are thousands to choose from year-round. But don’t simply focus in on the first event you find, select an event where participants are similar to the clients you want. If you don’t already know who that client is, spend some time defining your ideal client by answering questions such as what sport type, gender, age, level of skill or experience can you provide the best value and what price for coaching they may be able to afford.
Participatory events will likely result in the highest number of quality potential clients, but also consider spectator events. For example: the Tour de France, the Olympics, RAAM or the Ironman world championship. Helping athletes vicariously train for, or even vicariously race the same event their elite heroes are racing, will give you a unique edge.
Step 2: Create Targeted Training Plans
The plan of course depends on the event. If the event you selected is a Muddy Buddy type experience, then your plan requires practice slithering through mud and climbing fences boot camp style. But, if it’s a full distance triathlon, there may be less mud slithering...
It’s easy to build a training plan in TrainingPeaks using the calendar and your library of workouts. Once the plan is built, you’re in control of the price you choose to set (even free as discussed below), coupon codes, the description and how/where it is promoted. Learn more here: http://support.trainingpeaks.com/coach-edition/creating-plans/creating-plans-to-sell.aspx
Following are a few examples (please add your own examples in the comments below):
- Training plans for spectators and fans. For example FasCat’s Tour de France training plan http://www.fascatcoaching.com/tdftrainingplan.html
- Training plans for training groups and/or charities. For example TrainingBible Coaching’s training plans for Bike MS http://home.trainingpeaks.com/events/cycling/ms-society.aspx
- Partner with the promoter to provide training plans for their event. For example, Optimize Endurance Services’ plans for a number of Colorado events http://www.optimizeendurance.com/general-plans/
- Training plans designed for specific events. For example Endurance Works’ training plans customized to match the requirements of various popular events http://enduranceworks.net/training-plans
- Of course training plans don’t always have to target events. There are many examples of training plans targeting various fitness goals. See for example D3 Multisport’s training plans http://www.d3multisport.com/plans or browse the TrainingPeaks store where any coach can list their plans for sale.
Step 3: Promote Your Training Plan(s)
This is the part I frequently hear is tedious, expensive and disheartening. But it doesn’t have to be so bad!
Here are a few ideas of ways to promote your training plans that require very little expense and can efficiently attract high quality potential clients. And whether you choose to make your plan free as a pure lead generator or charge for it and make some money, or combine the two approaches and offer a very basic free plan alongside more premium offerings, these examples should get you thinking:
- Write an article for your local paper or an industry publication. If you don’t consider yourself a writer or you don’t have time, find someone who does and pay them to write the article for you. The exposure will pay off in the long run. Read for example, FasCat’s article on Velonews.com promoting their Tour de France training plan.
- Build a relationship with the charity or training group for whose participants your training plans are designed. Unless a group already has a coach, they’ll likely be excited to have a training resource to offer their participants. Your plan will help their participants train more effectively for their event and therefore have a better experience which means less participant turnover for the charity or group. See for example how Bike MS promotes TrainingBible Coaching’s training plans from the top navigation “training” link at bikems.org
- Partner with the event itself to promote your training plans. See for example how Team Evergreen has partnered with the event promoter for the Triple Bypass so they promote Optimize Endurance Services’ plans on their website http://www.teamevergreen.org/TripleBypassTraining
- List your training plan in the TrainingPeaks store. Just click the button when you edit your plan to include it in our store.
- Pitch us. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us 1. What event you are targeting. 2. The URL of the plan(s). 3. Why you believe your plan deserves promotion – ie. what makes it unique, what contest or promotion is included, how it applies to either a very large or very niche audience, etc. If we select your plan, we may promote it through one or more of our TrainingPeaks channels. Here are a couple examples of places we may promote your plan if it’s selected:
- On the TrainingPeaks homepage (see Training Plans for Upcoming Events)
- Facebook – (see our promo for FasCat’s TDF plan on TrainingPeaks’ page)
- Blog – (see our promo for Gordo Byrn’s Kona qualifying base plan on the TrainingPeaks’ blog)
- Twitter - (see our promo for Joe Friel’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge Durango Gran Fondo plans in TrainingPeaks feed)
- In the TrainingPeaks newsletter (included for only non-coached athletes)
Step 4: Engage
Consider the fact that every person who applies your training plan to their TrainingPeaks calendar will get a daily email with the workout you wrote and any additional commentary you include. Build that email “list” using the methods above and you’ll have one of the least expensive yet most engaging marketing tools possible. Athletes are looking forward to, and reading an email from you every day!
Step 5: Convert
Now it’s up to you. You’ve created relationships with the right type of athletes who are looking to you for daily training advice. They will thank you when they have a great experience at their event. You’ve shown the value of a coach – when they set their next goal, you’ll be the one they hire!
I sure you have many more ideas - please share things that have worked for you in the comments below. And if you have a great idea of a plan tied to an event, be sure to pitch as outlined above! Email your ideas to email@example.com.