9 Ways to Market Your Workshop or Group Coaching Program | By Jennifer Britton

five-business-people-sitting-on-chairs-crop-for-webFilling seats can be a big challenge in running your group coaching program, workshop, teleclass or retreat. Getting the word out to prospective attendees is a critical part of the program planning process for coaches and trainers. We will often spend a lot of time on the program design, but not so much time on marketing.

This article explores 6 strategies/considerations for marketing your group coaching along with 9 specific ways you might consider promoting your upcoming programs.

Before you Develop your Marketing Strategy, Here are 6 Things to Think About:

  1. Coaching is all about the client. As part of your program design, do some research as to the preferences of your group. For example consider how programs are delivered (in-person, virtually), when they are delivered (time of day, day of week), what to include, how to approach the topics as well as pricing. This information will help you create a program that is valuable and a good fit.
  2. Consider the marketing methods your clients prefer: Knowing your clients and their preferences around how they want to connect and engage with you, and what topics they are interested in is a foundational part of successful marketing. What marketing approaches will work for your group members? Are they people who engage with and look to social media? Do they value face to face connection? Would they prefer a referral? Do they read noticeboards in coffee shops? Consider their preferences.
  3. Leverage your strengths: Marketing is an ongoing process that doesn't end after your first year in business. Marketing is an ongoing process of dialogue (written, verbal, visual) with your audience. As such, consider where your strengths lay. Are you a great writer or an exceptional speaker? Where do your talents lie? Find ways to build on your strengths while matching the needs of prospective members. For example, if you're a great speaker and your group are on social media, you could record a short video and post it on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you love writing and you have a newsletter list, you could write a post and send it out.
  4. Create a plan and execute - There's a project management adage which says that ten minutes of planning can avoid two hours of unfocused efforts. Create a plan for your marketing - and execute it. Who could help you make the plan? Who could help hold you accountable? Who will help you get over the hurdles when they show up? How often will you revisit and revise the plan?
  5. Consistent, Tracked Action - I often hear from coaches that they did not have as many registrations as they would have liked. Daily action is important in creating momentum around your event - make a plan, and stick to it. Likewise, track your results. Make a note of which approaches are having an impact in the short, medium and long-term. Then you'll be able to market your program better next time.
  6. Keep up the gas right to the end. Some months, 75% of my registrations for virtual programs come in in the last week before the program. Are you following through right up to the end? Are you timing your communications in a way that is regular and adding value? Also, how are you sharing what programs are coming up, so that you give people plenty of notice?

And here are 9 Specific Marketing Ideas for Marketing your Workshops, Team and Group Coaching Programs:

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In addition to you marketing strategy, below I share specific marketing ideas and approaches. As you read through them, as before, consider which ones draw on your strengths, and which ones match the preferences of the clients/people you want to attend.

  1. Blog. Establish a blog and write regularly on topics of interest to your audience. Don't know where to start? Take 10 minutes and create a MindMap or list of all the topics you could possibly communicate around. One of the benefits of a blog is that it's a vehicle where you can announce your programs, in addition to creating regular posts.
  2. Establish a Facebook Page for your business, and create Facebook Events. Start the conversation about your program. Create a Facebook Event page (with photos and additional info). Offer regular tips or questions for people to consider. Note that photos and other visuals help messages stand out.
  3. Tradeshows. Trade shows can be a great way to get out and connect with a large group of prospective clients. They are also a great way to create targeted visibility within niche markets. Hosting a booth creates an opportunity to provide short sample sessions. It's a fantastic way to illustrate coaching and also to practice and hone your own message about what you do as a coach. And you can always share a booth with other coaches. In the first few years of my business several trade shows hosted with colleagues led to some of my initial group and individual coaching clients. More importantly it got me out talking about what coaching is and what I do, allowing me to hone my message based on those conversations.
  4. Coaching at conferences. Getting out and demonstrating our coaching work is a key part of marketing and promotion. Many conferences today offer coaching samples as a part of a way to lock in learning and distill results. Could you help offer that service? And if you belong to a coaching group or ICF coaching chapter, going to a conference as a group is a great way to take the coaching conversation to the public.
  5. Create a podcast/audio or video about your program. People like to hear about what we are doing, not just read about it. Post your video to YouTube or put your audio on iTunes or Soundcloud to make it even more accessible. You can also include it in your newsletter, on social media and more.
  6. Conference speaking. Face to face interactions are invaluable in today's virtual world. Conference speaking will also put you in front of audiences of decision makers. Make a list of possible conferences you could speak at and/or attend. Note any deadlines for submission of proposals to speak.
  7. FAQ. Developing a Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQ) for your program. Consider including areas such as What is the program? Who is it for? What you can expect? Time Commitment? What Coaching is and is not? When and how the program is offered? Link to this page from your other communications, such as on social media, in emails, videos or audios about the program.
  8. Host special calls. Hosting regular calls on topics of interest to your clients can be another useful way to build a following and conversation space. You can mention your upcoming offerings, and if they have helpful content you can record them. Your recordings then become an added bonus and can provide additional learning for ongoing programs or for your marketing efforts.
  9. Word of mouth. Word of mouth is an extremely valuable marketing tool. When people get to experience your work they get to know, like and trust you. Who are your raving fans? What can you do to put things out in your network? How could you get more word of mouth promotion of your programs?

FINAL TIP: There's a big difference when marketing Group Coaching/Public Workshops 'v' Team Coaching. In team coaching the person you will want to engage and reach may be a team leader or someone from Human Resources. This is different from a public workshop or group coaching engagement where you want to reach the attendees themselves.

Wrap-up & Question For You

Taking consistent action, adding value and tracking your results is essential in developing a marketing strategy that matches your clients' needs and leverages your strengths.

When marketing team and group coaching, helping people understand what coaching is can be important. But building solid relationships and an ongoing dialogue with prospective group and team members is essential. Who do you need to engage in the dialogue?

YOUR QUESTION: As you review the different ideas for promotion and marketing strategies in this article, what are your next steps to market your workshop or group coaching program?

JenniferBritton-214x300Contributing Author: Jennifer Britton is known for her contributions and thought leadership in the areas of group and team coaching. The author of Effective Group Coaching (Wiley, 2009) and From One to Many: Best Practices for Team and Group Coaching (Jossey-Bass, 2013), these books are used by coach training schools globally. Jenn also coaches coaches, providing programs including the Mentor Coaching Group (for ICF ACC Renewals, ACC and PCC applications) and the ongoing virtual Learning Lab and Design Studio™ - a learning portal for professionals who meet throughout the year focusing on group and team program design, facilitation and marketing topics. Learn more and register for these programs at GroupCoachingEssentials.com.

 

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