Feast and famine rollercoaster

Photo credit and license: Matt Biddulph

One of the big challenges you may face as a freelance trainer is finding the time to market your training business. It can be tempting, especially if you currently have work, to put your own marketing to the bottom of your to-do list. You may already feel overloaded with admin and training preparation without worrying about your marketing. And, after all, what’s the point in marketing your business when you’re already rushed off your feet?

As tempting as it is to push your business marketing to the bottom of the pile, it can take three to six months to see the results of your marketing efforts and between seven and 27 touches with a prospective client before they book you for their training, so it’s crucial that you take action straight away. Although you may be busy today, this week or even this month, your marketing is about bringing in work further down the line.

By getting focused on your own marketing, you can create a plan for consistently getting in front of people and securing those all-important bookings. Get this right and you’ll no longer have to ride the feast and famine rollercoaster that typifies freelance life for so many people.

 

Why it pays to get focused on your ideal training customer

I appreciate that time is of the essence when you’re a freelance trainer. In a recent blog post – Five ways to cut overwhelm and get more stuff done, I looked at tasks that you might consider outsourcing to free up some of your precious time.

It is also incredibly helpful to get focused on who your ideal training customer is, how you can work with them and where they hang out. It’s impossible to market your services to everyone and the danger is that your message will become bland and forgettable if you aim for universal appeal. It’s far better to have a clear idea about the types of companies or people you want to work with.

  • What are your training specialisms?
  • Where do you make the most impact in teams or businesses?
  • How have you provided significant results?
  • Do you have knowledge in a specific niche?
  • Do you help with specific problems, e.g. updating computer skills, training in equality and diversity, change management or challenges faced by leaders?

Once you understand what makes your training unique and who you want to work with, it’s much easier to target your marketing and make your training services stand out from the crowd. How? By using the language that resonates with your ideal training clients, and by identifying their pain points and how you can make their team or organisation function more smoothly.

You can also focus more effectively on finding out where your potential clients hang out, both virtually and actually, if you’re looking to connect with a smaller, clearly defined group of people.

Identify your short, medium and long-term goals

To help you make the most of your time each week and keep your marketing on track, it’s important to understand your short, medium and long-term goals for your business. What is your vision? How do you want your business to look five or ten years from now? What would you like to achieve this year?

It’s often the case that your long-term business goals will help you to set your medium and short-term marketing goals.

Here’s an example:

Your long-term goal might be to create a six-figure training business.

To achieve this, your medium-term goals are focused on doubling the number of bookings you secure over the next 12 months, changing your pricing structure and building your reputation as a trainer.

Your short-term marketing goals to achieve these targets might include collecting testimonials from previous and current clients, marketing a special offer to existing clients, posting daily on Facebook, writing a weekly blog, sending out a newsletter or creating an irresistible freebie to build your mailing list.

Having a clear set of goals is a fantastic way of helping you frame decisions about your business. In terms of your marketing, it will also enable you to look at opportunities objectively, i.e. will this particular marketing activity take me closer towards my goals or further away?

I’d recommend earmarking an afternoon in your diary once a month that’s specifically dedicated to ‘big picture thinking’ about your marketing strategy. This is a good time to review what you’ve been doing, what’s working and what’s not.

Have your long-term aims changed?

  • Could you be doing something else to move your business closer to your long-term goals?
  • Do you have bookings for three to six months’ time?
  • How many more bookings do you need to secure to meet your financial targets for the month, quarter or year?
  • Are there previous clients you could contact?
  • How many repeat bookings have you attracted in the past month, quarter or year?
  • What do the numbers for your business look like, e.g. best months, best clients, where have you undercharged, how could your pricing structure change?

By finding time regularly to think about your marketing strategy, you’ll be in a stronger position when it comes to planning ahead and securing bookings throughout the year. Instead of responding in panic to potentially lean times – perhaps by working for a lower fee or taking a training role that’s not a good fit – consistent marketing should give you greater financial security and a steady flow of work that reflects your worth and your skills.

Just imagine the relief when you step off the feast and famine rollercoaster for the last time.

Worried about fitting your marketing into your regular schedule? In next week’s blog post, I’ll be looking at how you can make a difference by spending just ten minutes a day on marketing your training business.

 

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