In my last blog article, I gave you 17 quick and easy ideas to promote your training business. As promised, I’m following up this topic with another 15 ideas to market training services that you can implement in small, bite-sized chunks.
Contact your clients to promote your business
While it’s important to reach new clients with your marketing, how much time do you spend on contacting your past and existing clients? They represent a massive and often untapped potential for new training work.
For this reason, I would always recommend devoting ten minutes a few times a week to reaching out to your contacts. You could try the following:
1. Send a handwritten card
In these busy days of crowded inboxes, personalised mail delivered by post can feel a little bit special. A handwritten ‘thank you’ card is a simple but effective way of letting a recent client know that you valued working with them.
2. Create a customer referral program
People are far more likely to make a purchase or book a service based on a recommendation from someone they know and trust.
Knowing this, you could set up some form of customer referral program. This might work by giving a discount on the next training you deliver to a client that recommends you if their recommendation brings in a new client.
I found a whole host of examples of referral programs, including for service businesses, on the Referral Candy blog. Also, Hubspot has a great article about things to consider when creating a customer referral scheme.
3. Send out a customer satisfaction survey
Your past and current clients have insights into your business that can help your marketing message. What do they value most about your training services? In their experience, what sets you apart from other trainers? What outcomes have they experienced following your training?
This information can help you to pinpoint the value and benefits of hiring you as a trainer so that you can inject this knowledge into your marketing.
One way to gather feedback like this is to send out a customer satisfaction survey either in a batch or each time you finish a training contract. SurveyMonkey is a free online tool that lets you create and distribute online questionnaires.
4. Write a case study
I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating – one of the biggest barriers to securing a booking is a potential client’s fear that they might be making a mistake.
Using a case study, you can show how you worked with an existing client, focusing on the results and benefits. This overcomes the fear barrier by saying to would-be clients, “Look what I did for this business; I could do the same for you too”.
A case study is a powerful way to show how your training services improve staff knowledge, morale, confidence, communication and more.
5. Team up with a complementary business
Is there anyone in your network who shares a similar client base to your training business but provides a service that complements your offering?
For example, do you know someone who runs a local training venue or who caters training events? Or could you team up with someone who can create a virtual learning environment for trainees that you work with?
Teaming up with a complementary business enables you to reach their audience, extend your offering and get traction from their marketing (and vice versa).
Public speaking, PR and sponsorship ideas to market training services
In my last blog about ideas to promote training, I concentrated more on things you could do online. However, I know that most trainers thrive on face-to-face connections too. In the section below, I’ve highlighted some ideas that are all about getting out there and being seen.
6. Host a class or event
Okay, so this isn’t a 10-minute marketing activity but one way to market your training business is to host or take part in a local class or event. How you approach this would, of course, depend on the nature of your business.
Could you adapt your training for local small business owners and freelancers? Or team up with a couple of other trainers to offer a training day covering different topics for a shared audience?
You’ll find more suggestions for finding public speaking opportunities here.
7. Volunteer to support a charity event
Is there a local charity that’s close to your heart or associated with your sector in some way? Perhaps one of your clients supports a specific charity and is looking for volunteers?
Although volunteering to support a charity event isn’t a direct marketing activity, it can be a great way to grow your network and to become more involved with your local community. If you give without the expectation of receiving, any work you gain from the connections you make will be a bonus.
8. Sponsor a local team or event
If you want to do something that is more clearly marketing-related but supports your local community in some way, you could always try sponsoring a local team or event.
Does the local kids’ football league need sponsors for this year’s kit? Is there a community event happening where you could be a sponsor in exchange for an advert in the event programme?
9. Help a reporter out (HARO)
You know your training subject inside-out so have you ever thought about being featured in the press as an expert?
Help a Reporter Out is a service that helps journalists connect with sources that they can quote in their articles. You can register and pitch in response to source requests, which can be a fantastic way to grow your reputation as an expert in your field.
Alternatively, you can often find requests from journalists for expert comments over on Twitter. Start by searching for #journorequests and see what comes up. You can also view a compilation of requests via the Journalist Enquiry Service.
10. Enter online and local business awards
Have you ever thought about entering your business for an award? You may be surprised by the number of online, local, national and international business awards that take place each year, many of which are in specific niches.
Entering for a business award is a fantastic way to raise brand awareness, highlight areas of excellence in your business, promote best practice and grow your network.
In many cases, you can enter your own business for an award. Sometimes though, you will need someone else from within your network to nominate you, depending on the entry criteria.
Even being shortlisted for a business award can be a great PR opportunity.
Other ideas to market and promote training
11. Update your SEO
You can have the most beautiful, well-written website in the world but if your search engine optimisation (SEO) isn’t up to scratch, people may struggle to find it. Just a small amount spent on SEO every week can have a big impact on your traffic.
I like this guide to the on-page SEO basics from SEO+ as a starting point.
12. Send an e-newsletter to your list
Marketers often say that “Your money is in your mailing list”. This is because people who have signed up to your list have already expressed an interest in you and your business and, to some degree, are ‘warm’ leads, having permitted you to contact them about your training services.
A regular e-newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your list and stay front of mind for the next time they want to book a trainer.
13. Answer questions in online forums
Online forums and groups, as well as the different social media platforms, are all about creating a conversation.
It’s worth investigating where your potential clients may spend their time online.
Is there a LinkedIn group for people who have a specific role within your industry? For example, if you’re usually booked by someone in HR, is there a group for HR professionals? If you offer IT training, is there a forum for IT technicians and managers who might have questions you can answer?
The aim here isn’t to devote loads of time giving away your knowledge for free but just spending a few minutes a day helping out an online community comprising your potential clients can be a powerful way to build your reputation.
14. Update your YELP listing (and other directories)
Adding your business to major reputable online directories such as YELP and Touch Local can help to market your training business in several ways. It creates new avenues for customers to find you but it also adds to the ways your business can show up in online searches.
Always make sure that you have a Google My Business profile too and be careful to make your contact details consistent across your website, social media profiles, Google My Business and any directory listings as this will help your SEO.
15. Take a stand on a big issue
It can be scary to stick your neck out but if there’s a big issue affecting your clients right now, you might want to consider writing an article about it on your blog (coming from a training perspective, of course) or starting a conversation about it on social media.
Naturally, it’s important to come from an informed viewpoint but if you do, taking a stance on a big issue can help people to sit up and take notice of your expertise.
Let me know how you get on
If you’re looking for some inspiration about how to market your training business, hopefully, the ideas above will give you some ideas. I’d love to hear how you get on with them or whether you’ve tried any of these approaches before. How did they work for you?