Is there a secret to smarter marketing for my training business?

I’m asked this question a lot, usually by trainers who fall into one of two camps: those who feel like they’re spending all their time marketing (but not always with results proportionate to their efforts!) and those who aren’t sure where to start.

Does that sound familiar? Do you feel like marketing your training business is a full-time job or are you completely overwhelmed and stuck?

You’re not alone!

Most trainers don’t have a marketing background so it’s understandable if it’s a mystery. Like many aspects of being self-employed, you can develop your knowledge and skills with time.

Three questions I use for smarter marketing

There are many marketing activities that you could potentially try to promote your training business. Social media marketing, ads, webinars, email funnels, lead magnets, and more, are all options. But you can’t do everything at once – and it’s unlikely that you have the time or budget.

So, what should you be doing and what can you ditch?

I recommend asking these three questions:

  1. What’s going to have the best chance of reaching and appealing to your target market?
  2. What do you enjoy doing?
  3. What results do you want?

Reaching your audience

The first thing you need to do is work out how your ideal clients spend their day. How do they look for trainers?

Do they use social media? If so, which platforms?

Do they rely on networking?

Are they likely to do a Google search?

If you already have clients, you could start by asking them how they found you. If you know of other trainers who have a similar client base, you could check out where they’re doing their marketing and build up a picture of what seems to work for them and what doesn’t.

Over time, you’ll learn more about your audience. If you keep an eye on the data available to you with each marketing tool, you’ll be able to pinpoint the messages that resonate for your clients and the platforms that best amplify that message.

You need to enjoy what you do

The second question, I asked above is SO important.

What do you enjoy doing?

You will spend a lot of time marketing as your business grows, so it’s important that you enjoy it!

If you don’t, you’ll struggle to find the motivation to consistently show up and you may not do it very well. As well as being miserable for you, your target audience is likely to sense your negative feelings.

People love authenticity and they’ll respond to your enthusiasm when you settle on marketing that you enjoy and that’s tailored fully to your audience.

Smarter marketing is marketing that supports your business goals

Finally, we come to question three. What results do you want to achieve with your marketing?

It can be helpful to start at the endpoint – i.e. the goals you want to achieve in your business – and then trackback from there, mapping out the marketing activities that would help you reach these goals.

For example, maybe you want more people to sign up for an evergreen online programme. You want to attract sign-ups via a series of emails to your mailing list but you need to grow your mailing list first. In this case, you think about a lead magnet that would tie into the programme you plan to launch but that could be offered to people as a free download when they sign up to your list.

Your priority would be to produce the lead magnet and upload it to your website. From there, you can start promoting it on your social media pages, in social media groups or perhaps by running a series of Facebook ads.

As you can see, the steps you need to take will depend on your goals.

Working back from an endpoint is an effective way to save time, money and energy. Instead of throwing as much marketing as possible into the world, knowing your endpoint helps you focus your message and rule out marketing activities that won’t be a good fit.

Your marketing will get smarter with practice

Every business makes marketing mistakes. Personally, I’ve stopped seeing them as mistakes – instead, they’re learning opportunities! My advice is to track all of your marketing activities so you can see what works for your audience. If something isn’t working, it’s OK to tweak it or drop it altogether. With time and practice, you’ll find that marketing becomes much easier. You’ll understand more about calls to action, the pictures that your clients respond to, the best social media platforms, hot training topics and so much more.

Just keep returning to my three smarter marketing questions and your marketing successes are bound to grow.

Before you go, get your FREE copy of Marketing Strategies that Work for Today’s Environment – it’s packed full of ideas to help you make the most of your marketing.

Note: This article was originally published in October 2012 but was updated in July 2021.

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