Being in the coaching practice and starting it up is not an easy task. It requires one to have marketing finances, distinctive selling plan, smart marketing among others. One other important factor in the coaching and consultancy business is attracting clientele.
The current market for consultation services is approximately $130B and $150B per annum (Mclaughlin, 2017). This makes the coaching and consulting industry one of the most lucrative jobs today.
It is therefore not surprising why many people all over the world have ventured into this industry despite the fierce competition and the intensive capital investment required (Mclaughlin, 2017). Particularly, Marketing in consultancy can be expensive for small businesses and even those that are new into the market.
However, this does not mean that it is not possible to operate on a zero marketing budget as a coach. In the consultancy market today, clients have access to a legion of coaches and mentors through available technologies such as personal computers where the clients can find low-cost consultancy services as alternatives to the high-end firms.
In addition, most of the large consulting firms have focused on a small part of the market which makes small, new firms and individual firms able to use creative methods to get a share of their profit in the business. Having sellable skills is one of the most important aspects that makes it easy to enter and operate in the consultancy industry without huge capital investments for marketing.
What to Do With Little or No Marketing Budget
As a coach with little or no marketing budget, one can use creative strategies to attract clients. For instance printing business cards and getting business permit and licenses are methods that very applicable to attract clientele. Business cards are applicable even in the modern age of technological advancement.
They are also the primary way of presenting a business and contact information to clients and other potential customers. In fact, in some Asian nations such as Japan and China, the use of business cards is a common business practice (Ward, 2019).
A coach can rely on this form of direct marketing because it is a tangible way of giving detailed information on who they are and what their specializations are making it one of the most effective marketing strategy. Having a business card at all times ready to present details to potential customers is an illustration of professionalism which is crucial for success in consultancy.
Business permits and licenses are also crucial in convincing clients to hire the services of a coach. Potential clients need to be guaranteed quality from a licensed service provider.
It is worth noting that obtaining a business or permit for a new business is one of the major tasks. An already established business may also be required to make changes to available licenses and permits (Murray, 2018). However, there is a subtle difference between a license and a business permit which makes the two terms used as synonyms.
Essentially, business licenses are general giving permission to engage in something or use something, for instance, the license to offer consulting services or selling beverages. Permits, on the other hand, are granted for safety concerns such as health permits and may require regular inspections.
Another way a coach can attract clients is by spending time where potential clients can be found. Kendrick Shope of Kendrick Shope international considers this strategy as the most efficient and easiest way of attracting clients (Forbes Coaches Council, 2016).
This strategy coupled with direct marketing is very practical and the results can be very encouraging. Spending time with clients enables a coach to understand potential clients from different perspectives. It is from this understanding that they can be able to identify a market new gap in a consultancy that can be exploited for profit.
Face-to-Face Communication is More Effective
In addition, face-to-face communication when spending time with potential clients is more effective in convincing clients than any other form of communication due to the use of non-verbal cues such as gestures and posture.
Moreover, networking with other coaches come in handy in gaining experience to attract customers. Competitors in the consultancy business do not necessarily have to be enemies. Connecting with different coaches even from a local networking group is a viable move to build on skills (Forbes Coaches Council, 2016).
In networking, a coach shares ideas with other coaches and if they connect well with each other, clients can be referred from one coach to another because it is not possible that they know it all. In fact, it could be surprising that one coach’s weakness is another coach’s strength and area of expertise. According to Forbes Coaches Council (2016), using videos to attract clients is also an effective strategy.
This marketing technique does not necessarily have to be fancy but rather authentic in addressing the services offered, contact information among other details. With technological advancements in this age, society has become screen-fixated were featuring in a video gives credibility to what one does. A video shows potential clients how they will benefit from the services of a coach and they may probably resonate with others.
Some digital marketing strategies are inexpensive yet their results are amazing. Digital networking or outreach is similar to in-person networking except that it is done in an online setup such as on social media platforms. For consultants, digital outreach serves more than being just a marketing method to become the lifeblood of a business (McCraigh, n.d.).
One important aspect of digital outreach that can be applied by coaches is referred to as “cold email” which makes it possible to reach out to people who could probably not have been reached using in-person networking. To make this strategy work, coaches have to focus their emails on prospective clients. The email should be formatted in a convincing manner that the reader can relate to. It should seek to create some kind of relationship with the target audience.
Digital presence is another fundamental aspect of digital marketing that cannot be overlooked by coaches. It refers to how potential customers view the business from an online environment (Tiago & Veríssimo, 2014). It includes what content a business/ coach controls, for example, social media profiles and also the content that one cannot control such as reviews and comments. Maintaining a reputable online profile on social networks is relatively cheap.
The way a firm or coach handles the online profiles can be an indicator of professionalism which is an aspect of attracting clients. For instance, responding to client requests and addressing issues at hand such as in a social media platform professionally can attract clients to a business. Digital presence creates visibility as clients can find the business easily. Advantages of having digital presence include establishing authority in the market, building relationships and creating a positive reputation at first sight.
Have a Sellable Idea
The most important element in the consultancy market is having a sellable idea. While marketing strategies are important to determine the success of a business, financial muscle in marketing is not necessarily a critical factor.
It is apparent from the aforementioned ways that even with little or no marketing budget, one can operate a business as a coach as long as they have viable ideas, skills, and are willing to learn.
Determination in consultancy especially for a firm with little or no financial muscles is key because it requires that coaches in such firms work hard against the stiff competition of large firms.
Currently in the corporate world, having finances makes work easier where firms can hire specialists to their work such as marketing. This, however, does not mean that small firms have no chance in the industry.
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