Do you struggle to know what your marketing messages should be? Or do you feel like you’re not advertising or marketing your training business in the right places?

I know how frustrating this can be.

One of my top tips is to think about the buying journey that your clients go on. It isn’t just about clinching a booking. The buying journey starts from the moment a potential client first discovers your business until you deliver a training programme for them, and well beyond.

Each touchpoint on this journey – i.e. a moment when someone comes into contact with your business – is a chance to build a relationship. It’s also a chance to move them closer towards buying from you or send them running in the opposite direction!

"Make every interaction count, even the small ones. They are all relevant." Quote by Shep Hyken

Understanding the buying journey

Broadly speaking, there are three main stages to any buying journey/sales funnel:

  1. Awareness
  2. Evaluation
  3. Purchase

Because people have a different mindset at each stage of the journey, the challenge is to create content and marketing messages that speak to their current outlook.

The Awareness Stage

As the name suggests, the Awareness Stage of the buying journey is when a potential client has just heard about you for the first time or they’re getting to grips with who you are and what you offer.

They might find you on social media, via a word of mouth recommendation, through an advert, at a networking group, via your website or through printed marketing materials.

They may also be looking at other training businesses for comparison and as possible suppliers.

During this stage, I’d recommend focusing your marketing on giving an overview of the services you offer, your knowledge and your experience. You will also want to show what a good fit you are for your target audience.

Think about what makes you different from your competitors and why that matters to potential clients.

As well as the channels mentioned above – e.g. website, networking, adverts, social media pages – ideal marketing materials for the Awareness stage include:

  • Blog posts about topics that are of interest to your clients
  • An ebook on a topic that reflects your niche
  • Whitepapers
  • Checklists
  • Short how-to videos/tutorials
  • A webinar on a broad topic that affects your clients – you might want to talk about why people need training in a certain area rather than giving away too much about what the training covers (that’s for later stages!)

By talking to your target customer about how you can help them, you can begin to build a relationship that will move them on to the next stage of the journey.

The Evaluation Stage

The Evaluation stage is about the potential client trying to decide whether you’re the right trainer for their business. Your would-be customer will want to shortlist their options.

As I talked about in a recent blog, one of the biggest barriers to buying is fear and the Evaluation stage is all about putting fears to rest. Think about how you can demonstrate the benefits of working with you.

Ideal marketing materials for the Evaluation stage include:

  • Case studies that show how you’ve helped similar businesses
  • Client testimonials
  • In-depth blogs on a topic that’s very relevant to your target audience
  • Clear, easy-to-find answers to FAQs
  • A product or service webinar that goes into more detail about what you offer

The Purchase Stage

You may still need to give your potential clients some reassurance as they move into the Purchase stage of the buying journey.

Although they’re likely to have whittled down their shortlist of trainers, they may still have questions.

I think the best approach during this stage is to try and make your offering as personalised as possible and really show that you care about providing a valuable service. You could do this by providing a:

  • Consultation (face-to-face, Skype, telephone)
  • Taster day
  • Live demo (ideal if you offer online training)
  • Bespoke training proposal
  • Detailed estimate, including proposed training dates

If your audience can imagine what it would be like to work with you, they’re more likely to make that all-important booking.

Beyond the Purchase Stage

The buying journey doesn’t stop here.

It’s far easier to sell to existing clients than to attract new ones so I always recommend creating some post-delivery touchpoints.

During this stage, you might want to:

  • Create takeaway materials with a marketing message on the final page
  • Provide feedback and evaluation of your training at pre-agreed intervals
  • Send your clients a thank you card
  • Send out follow-up information/materials
  • Offer a follow-up or advanced course

Conclusion

"Your brand is a story evolving across all customer touch points." Quote by Jonah Sachs

 

It’s definitely worth spending some time researching your clients’ buying journey as it will vary for every business. Whatever stage you’re marketing to, remember to keep your messages:

  • Appropriate – both to the stage of the journey and the needs of the client
  • Relevant – talk directly to your target audience and show you understand them
  • Meaningful – always think about how you can add value
  • Endearing – create to form a bond with the client

How much to do you know about your clients’ buying journey? Do you aim your marketing at different stages? I’d love to know more about how you approach this so drop me a note in the Comments below.

For more advice about how to attract new clients – including what works and what doesn’t – download your copy of my free report, 7 things you need to know to become a successful freelance trainer

 

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