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3 Ways to Attract More Athletes in the New Year

BY Jen Rulon

Kick-off the New Year with a successful coaching business! Try these tips to find new clients and keep your current athletes happy.

After connecting with many coaches at the TrainingPeaks Endurance Coaching Summit this year, I realized it is not easy to self-promote, AKA market yourself, as a coach. Some people are very natural at it, others not so much, and it can be a struggle, especially if you are trying to gain more clients heading into a new season. About a month ago, I shared some ideas on how to attract more athletes to your coaching business, and here we’ll get into some more specific marketing concepts.

Here’s some excellent news about coach marketing these days: it doesn’t have to look like a traditional hard-sell. You can make it your own while providing value to your followers. The ideas below are designed to help you market to your audience in a manner that often doesn’t look or feel like you’re marketing. 

Collect Testimonials from Happy Athletes

When was the last time you bought a product without looking at customer reviews? These product reviews and client/athlete testimonials provide proof to other prospects that you know your stuff. If you work with any big names, their testimonials can speak volumes in terms of attracting new clients to your tribe.

If you’re not comfortable with asking for testimonials, remember that if you never ask, you’ll never hear the glowing praise your clients are giving you. Testimonials can be used throughout your website, specifically on your service page— plus, you can use them on any additional sales pages you create. You can even post them on social media, as Facebook has an excellent platform for athletes to give you testimonials. If you have an extensive collection, choose different ones on each sales page instead of repeating the same ones. 

Ask Your Audience a Question

You’ll never believe the commotion you can cause by posing a single question—conversations can be started, problems solved, and friendships formed. We live in a world of relationship marketing, where people are eager to make connections, even with others who live far away.

Most of us just want an opportunity to be heard. Offer that forum by asking a question and listening to the response. You never know what invaluable info awaits on the other side of a question, and what it can do for your business.

My favorite platform is Instagram, and I LOVE to ask questions on my Instagram Stories about:

  • What do you want to learn about triathlon training and racing?
  • What do you not want to learn about triathlon training and racing?
  • How can WE, as coaches help you?

Instagram Tip: Either use the “Poll” Sticker or the “Question” Sticker. Do NOT use the “Quiz” sticker because you have to have a “correct” answer. It doesn’t help you ask a question for your followers. See some examples below:

Get to Know Your Audience

At the center of it all, solving problems is what you do for your athletes. To do this for your greater audience you first have to understand who they are.

A few years ago, a coach/business owner had an idea to create a detailed course on “The Fundamentals of Triathlons.” She was so excited. She dug in and created a beautiful course, a great landing page, and sales funnel, to help beginner triathletes learn. After its initial launch, she couldn’t understand why her course wasn’t selling like hotcakes. She had no idea what was missing and what the audience wanted. She surveyed to see if people were interested too! And they said, “Yes!”

Three months later, she realized that there was FREE advice on any medium you could imagine ranging from magazines, websites, Pinterest, etc. People didn’t want to pay for the course that they could find online for free. If you didn’t pick up on it already, that coach was me. It was, indeed, an epic fail.

I found it’s easier and more effective to ask my greater audience to engage with me personally than to ask them to pay for and watch something on their own. Personally instructing an athlete on how to do one-legged drills on the bike, versus watching a course, resonated with them much more. Live and learn!

Acquiring new athletes through traditional marketing mediums might sound about as exciting to you as going to your dentist for a root canal without medication. However, when you use these three ideas, even if you hate marketing, you might end up in your most profitable season yet!

Coaching Guide Image Of Noah With A Client At A Table.

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About Jen Rulon

Jen Rulon has been a triathlon coach for 22+ years and the owner of JenRulon.com. She received her Masters in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. You can find her knowledge as an author and speaker ranging from Triathlete Magazine, Runners World, on the TEDx Stage, Men’s Journal Online and the New York Times. 

Jen is the author of the book “Self-Motivation Strategies for Women,” highlighting how she has lived her life through passion, grit, and heart but now applies this method to the athletes that she coaches.

She also practices what she preaches–she’s a 15x Ironman Triathlete who qualified and participated in the World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, on October 14, 2017.