Before you start marketing, master your craft and hone your skills. If athletes are leaving out the back door as fast as you can get them in the front door, you’ll be spinning your wheels. In other words, become a good coach. Invest in the experience, education, and technical skill training necessary to help others.
After you’ve gained some momentum and helped an athlete or two achieve the goals for which they hired you, use these tips to help market your business.
Get in front of athletes
There are a lot of ways to attract athletes. If you are an accomplished athlete, you can use your own race results and leverage your Strava profile. You can also build a website and promote your coaching on social media.
Word of mouth and referrals are a low-cost way to get started, especially if you can walk the walk that athletes look up to. Maybe you have a good network to draw upon. Simply going to group rides or races and talking with prospective athletes is a fun way to get started coaching. Better yet, it won’t cost you much.
If you choose to invest in a website, consider these key questions:
- How are you going to get visitors to your website?
- What do you want visitors to do once they are on your website? In other words, do you want them to call you, email you, fill out a form, or send you some bitcoin?
The power of content marketing
Content marketing is a great way to get visitors to your website at little to no cost. Write a good training tip or share information that provides value to the types of athletes that you want to coach. Then think about the best way to position what you have to say.
- Social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
- Email newsletter
- Host a ride or talk at a local bike shop or venue
If you don’t want to invest the time into making a website that supports content marketing, you can look for opportunities to guest write for other websites. If that gets traction and some athletes hire you, you may have more motivation to build your own site.
Communicate your call to action
Once you have visitors on your website, make it easy for them to read about who you are and what you do. It’s important that they understand how to hire a coach. Clearly communicate the cost, the onboarding process, and anything else they need to know. Even a one-page website can include a short bio alongside a good photo. Be sure to state the cost of coaching and how someone can hire you. Don’t make it complicated! Do put your best foot forward in terms of design. In my opinion, website design is equivalent to wearing a nice suit to a job interview.
Once you’ve done all these things, keep the effort going! Listen to your athletes, keep mastering your craft, and keep putting yourself out there. Networking builds a strong business.
Build a program that athletes want to join
I have one rule that has served me very well the past 20 years: I always let athletes come to me. I do not recruit athletes because it spells a short-lived coach-athlete relationship. The longest, most productive coach-athlete relationships are the ones where the athlete saw what you were doing and saying; they saw the results you helped other athletes achieve, and they came to you.
Really, the best way to market yourself is by helping athletes achieve their goals. When athletes achieve their goals, they will talk about you to their friends, and even bring in referrals. Many successful full-time coaches do only this, and do quite well for themselves. When you do help athletes reach their goals, ask them to share their success. Athlete testimonials are a wonderful way to communicate who you are to future clients through your website, social media, and word of mouth.
Target your audience with useful information
Remember that communicating something helpful will do much better than paying for an ad. That’s the power of content marketing. Tailor your content to your target demographic. Personally, I have found success in coaching athletes who I have more in common with, and my athletes are usually competing in events that I have plenty of experience doing myself. Consequently, much of my content marketing is focused on what I’m interested in exploring, both as a coach and an athlete.
Above all, be a good coach first, and then move on to the marketing. You can do the best marketing in the world, but it won’t make a difference if you aren’t a good coach.
Frank Overton 00:10
Hi, I’m Frank Overton, and I’ve found a way to effectively market my business as a coach. I want to help you!
First and foremost, master your craft. Hone your skills because if athletes are leaving out the back door, as fast as you can make them come in the front door, you’ll be spinning your wheels. In other words, become a good coach. Invest in the experience, education, and technical skills training necessary to help others. Once you’ve gained some momentum helped an athlete or to achieve the goals for which they hired you, then here are some helpful tips to market your business.
How to Attract Athletes
Frank Overton 00:44
Attracting athletes. There’s a lot of ways to attract athletes these days from getting your own race results, to your Strava profile, to social media, and building out your own website. Word of mouth and referrals is a low cost way to get started, especially if you can walk the walk that athletes look up to, or have a good network to draw upon. Simply going to group rides or races, talking with prospective athletes is a low-cost fun way to get started coaching.
If you do choose to build a website, take a nice picture of yourself. Keep it simple to start and think about two things.
- How are you going to get visitors to your website?
- What do you want visitors to do once they are on your website? Do you want them to call you? Email you? Fill out a form? Venmo us some bitcoin?
Content marketing is a great way to get visitors to your website for free. Write a good training tip that provides value to the types of athletes you want to coach and then think about sharing that training tip with social media. Figure out where the athletes are on social media that you wish to coach: Are they younger and on Tik Tok? Are they older on Facebook? Or are they on Twitter? Those are the big platforms of social media that I would suggest that you explore with.
Email is a wonderful way to share your training tips with prospective athletes. It also gives you a chance to strut your stuff, and to share the value that you hope to provide these athletes. Then, another important part about email is that you own that customer as opposed to social media, which you either need to earn or if you eventually get into advertising, you have to pay for. But with email, you have your email list. It can really take a lot of time, and it can take years to build up a really nice email list.
You can even give a talk or host a bike ride with your local bike shop or community, there’s a lot of ways to do this. You can host a ride and talk with prospective athletes on the ride. It’s a social sport. It gives people a chance to get to know you as a person, and maybe as a bike rider. Giving a talk is a little more involved, and if you do go that route, I would think about putting your best foot forward. Actually put together a presentation, make it short and concise, and very professional. If you don’t want to invest the time into making a website, you may even guest write for other websites. Then, if that gains traction, some athletes may hire you. You may see that as a reason to build your own website.
Frank Overton’s Personal Experience Attracting Athletes
Frank Overton 03:28
Way back in the day when I first got started, I built my own website, and nobody came to it. I emailed the editor at PES cycling news and asked if I could write a training tip for them, in which they said yes. Then in which I said “Well, will you link to my website?” Then, all of a sudden, I had visitors to my website. Once you have visitors on your website, make it easy for them to read about who you are, what you do, and understand how to hire you, including the cost and the onboarding process, and anything else relevant.
How to Build a Good Coaching Website
Frank Overton 04:02
A one page website will have a short bio and a good picture of you, how much you cost, how to hire you. Don’t make it complicated, and put your best foot forward in terms of design. Website Design is the same as wearing a nice suit to a job interview. Way back in the day. My website had the phone number, front and center that was the overall goal to get the visitor to pick up the phone and to call me. Then I can connect with them. It’s changed since then. Now there’s forms and payment gateways, but think about if you’re going to post your phone number, your email, your social media. But, above all, just a really nice picture of yourself, what you provide, and how much that costs.
Why Networking Is So Important
Frank Overton 04:49
Once you’ve done all these things, keep going. Listen to your athletes, keep mastering your craft and keep putting yourself out there – network. I have one rule that served me very well over the past 20 years. I never recruit, I always let athletes come to me. I don’t recruit athletes because that spells a short relationship. The longest, most productive relationships are the ones where the athlete saw what YOU were doing, what YOU are saying, and saw the results that YOU’VE helped other athletes with, and then they come to you.
The best way to market yourself is by helping athletes achieve THEIR goals. When athletes achieve their goals, they will recommend you to their friends, and give you a referral. Many successful full-time coaches do only this, and they do it quite well.
Take Home Messages on Attracting Athletes
Frank Overton 05:35
Testimonials are a wonderful way to share who you are with your future clients on your website, on social media and through word of mouth. Just ask your athletes for a testimonial. They like you already, and they’re going to give you a good review, so just ask and share that with as many other people as you can.
Remember saying something smart that will help an athlete will do much better than paying for an ad. Tailor your content to your target demographic. I’ve always found the most success coaching the types of athletes that I have the most in common with competing in the types of events of which I have experienced.
Be a lifelong learner. Go to coaching education clinics, whether that’s in person or online, and most importantly, talk with other coaches, network. Ask them what challenges they’re having with their coaching, and compare notes and you’ll probably learn a lot. Above all, be a good coach first, make athletes fast, and then move on to the marketing. You can do the best marketing in the world, but it won’t do anything if you aren’t a good coach.