Marketing matters. Even if you’re rushed off your feet with clients queuing up for your training services, I hope I can convince you that marketing should still be at the top of your priority list today and every day.
I often hear from both new and experienced trainers who are desperate to get off the feast and famine rollercoaster and make a consistent, predictable income.
“What’s the secret?” they’ll ask.
I tell them – just as I’m telling you now – that there is no secret, just one thing that should be at the top of their list at all times: marketing.
This usually prompts a bit of discomfort. Trainers will tell me that they hate marketing, that they don’t know what to say or who they’re trying to reach, or – most frequently – “I just don’t have time for marketing”.
But how can you NOT have time for marketing?
Your business depends on it to survive, which means it should be your number one priority!
Why marketing matters, even when you’re busy
I completely understand why it’s hard to find time for marketing.
When your diary is full, it seems sensible to put your marketing on hold simply because you don’t have the capacity to work with more clients. You’re already rushed off your feet, so why add more to the mental and physical load? Plus, it’s not just dealing with the clients the marketing might bring in; it’s the actual marketing itself – figuring out what to do, when, why and where.
The problem is that marketing isn’t an immediate thing. It can take three to six months for the marketing you do today to deliver results. This means that today’s marketing is what’s going to fill your diary six months down the line. Ignore it and you risk weeks with no work in the not too distant future.
Unfortunately, many freelance trainers wait until there’s tumbleweed blowing through their diary before they make marketing a priority. And then it only happens as a flurry of activity and desperation.
This isn’t a good position to market from. If you only turn your attention to marketing when you’re worried about paying the bills, it can lead you to make rash decisions and communicate the wrong messages.
I believe that effective marketing is about building relationships with your potential clients. It’s about providing value and building trust in your expertise but how can you do this when you only show up sporadically with the intention of making money fast?!
People will see right through this.
Knowing that marketing matters, how can you do it more consistently?
It’s time to have a marketing plan and put it into action
If you don’t already have one, I’d suggest that you put creating a marketing plan for your training business at the top of your to-do list. There are many reasons to have a plan – it will:
- Help you identify marketing opportunities that align with your goals
- Ensure that you make the most of your marketing time by working on activities that you’ve already planned out
- Help you pinpoint the data you need to track in order to monitor what marketing works best with your audience
- Focus your marketing budget on activities that take you closer to your goals
I’ve written a number of articles about creating a marketing plan that you might find helpful:
- Writing a marketing plan for a training business: The three questions you must answer
- How to plan a marketing calendar that works
- Your marketing toolbox
Remember, if you don’t have a marketing plan and put it into action then you won’t have any clients – it’s as simple as that.
You absolutely have to make time for it and make it a priority.
Make a regular commitment to marketing
One of the other things I hear people say is ‘I’m not doing anything on Friday so I’ll do a bit of marketing’, almost as if this ‘Marketing Friday’ is a one-off special event!
What you should be doing is having a Marketing Friday every single Friday and carrying out your marketing activities absolutely religiously, blocking space out in your diary and letting nothing get in the way. Honestly, treat it with the same level of commitment that you would view an appointment with a client or a training booking – it’s non-negotiable once it’s booked in.
You could, of course, have a Marketing Monday or Tuesday, it doesn’t have to be a Friday. The point is to choose a time that works for your schedule and follow it through.
I’d go even further though and say that should be carrying out marketing activities every single day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes at a time. Marketing has to be done regularly and consistently to get results.
I know you’re busy today but a consistent, planned out approach to marketing should even out the dizzying highs and terrifying lows of the feast and famine existence in favour of a business that’s easier to manage, more predictable and open to growth.
Convinced that marketing matters and need more advice? Don’t forget to grab your FREE copy of Marketing strategies that work in today’s environment
Please note: I originally published this blog in August 2013 and updated it in May 2021.