Running your own coaching business can be a tricky balancing act. You need to market your business with the goal of attracting and nurturing new athletes. You also need to create a name for yourself, all while putting together plans for your current athletes, getting them ready for races, and dealing with the little tasks in between.
Finding new athletes is a constant struggle, but an important one. Searching for new leads and athletes is something you should do continually, even when you have enough work. There are several reasons why:
- Athletes drop off during their “off-season” and may not come back
- The athlete’s season is over, and they might take a step back from triathlons
- Maybe you are chock full of athletes, but it’s always good to have some looking at your programs, and be on the waitlist
Fellow coaches are always asking me about how to gain more clients/athletes. First and foremost, it’s important to show up every day! Beyond that, here are my five rules to getting more athletes.
How to Attract More Athletes to Your Coaching Business
Blogging is a great way to build your credibility while attracting athletes and followers. When you write blog posts, you’re putting content on the web that can attract search engine traffic. If your blog posts are interesting, helpful, and entertaining, your readers will click on the link to see what else you have to offer.
Remember, you want to write blog posts about topics that are of interest to your clients, as this shows your expertise in your area.
There are several ways you can blog:
- Create a standalone blog using a blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress
- Add a blog to your website in a subdomain or separate folder
- Guest blog on other people’s blogs
There are several ways you can use social media to attract athletes, and this is a hot topic of discussion. Feel free to check out the previous articles I have written for TrainingPeaks about Instagram and Facebook tips. I will be discussing a lot of these ideas at the Endurance Coaching Summit roundtable discussions in September.
Social media is a connection, and we are all social people. Do a search on social media for terms that your potential athletes might follow or include in their profiles or posts. Start following them, and comment on and like their photos—engage with them!
Another method is to search for a hashtag term, such as #runner, #triathlete, #swimmer, #ironman703, #ironmantri, etc. Start following these hashtags and see where your potential athletes are hanging out.
You should be real and honest on social media. Show your personality and be positive and helpful. Don’t try to sell on social media—if people are interested in what you have to offer, they’ll inquire about your services.
We all know what podcasts are, but they have become increasingly more trendy in recent years. They’re super convenient, as you can take them wherever you want and listen to them on the go.
Before you even think of starting a podcast, I would try to be a guest on a few dozen podcasts. If you listen to podcasts, you know how much work they are.
Trust me, I tried—I started adding my “Vlogs” on YouTube, and then I uploaded them as a podcast. They ended up being a video, but I realized I was half-assing the podcast. Just recently I deleted the podcast off iTunes because it’s not up to my standards.
Start reaching out to podcasts you would like to be a guest on. Pitch them who you are, what you have to offer their following, and why you would be a good fit.
If you are interested in how to start a podcast, check out John Lee Dumas’ Free Podcast Course, here.
Events and Meetups
Find networking events and meetups that are related to the services you offer. Look for conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, talks, and other events where you’re likely to encounter your potential athletes and get ready to network.
While the Endurance Coaching Summit may be more for coaches, it’s a fantastic way to network with other coaches who may be needing a coach themselves or just a connection in general.
You can also gain athletes from ordinary community events, such as at a race or at a local running club or cycling group gathering. Switch your mindset and view any event as an opportunity. When you attend community events, make yourself visible and show up prepared to talk with people. Get to know them and engage with them!
I recently started doing a monthly “Meet and Greet with Coach Jen and Rulon Racers” event. I’d pick an event and plug it, or I would create my own. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential athletes and try to determine what sort of event they’d be excited to attend. Your event doesn’t have to be huge, it just needs to attract the right people and give them something valuable.
It’s highly likely that your best athletes will come from referrals. If an athlete likes how you coach them, they’ll sing your praises to other athletes who need your coaching services. You can make this happen by doing your best work for all athletes and exceeding their expectations whenever possible.
Referrals will happen naturally, but it helps if you give athletes a nudge. Put a system in place for references. First, ask your athletes to refer you to others whenever they have the chance. Second, you can always ask for a testimony, as this can live on your website or your Facebook page.
While there are a ton more online and offline methods out there, I would pick a couple that you feel is the best route for your coaching business. If you are decent at social media, go ahead and start working on content and find a podcast you want to be featured on. If you need help on social media, check out the TrainingPeaks articles I’ve linked to above, and go ahead and grab my social media calendar to get started today.
Remember your coaching business is, in fact, a business, and it’s a service-based business. Be the best one out there!