Marketing Your Training Plans Blog 1200×675

How to Market Your Training Plan

BY Matti Rowe

If you want to sell lots of training plans, don't just build more training plans. Instead, focus on your marketing strategy.

The fundamental dynamic of any sale is that the product solves a problem for a client. This sales relationship is no different when you’re selling training plans. In general, athletes buy training plans to obtain affordable expert instruction to meet the demands of their event. The athletes’ problem is that they lack the expert instruction and your training plan provides the solution they need to excel.

Specify an Audience

Before you build a training plan, you need to figure out who you’re trying to sell to and what their problems are. Training plans are time-intensive to create, so before you lock yourself in your office for four hours building your plan, make sure you have good answers to these three questions:

  1. Which market does this plan address, and why?
  2. Who is most likely to buy?
  3. What problem am I solving for the prospective buyer?

For example, I created a gravel plan series. Here are my answers:

  1. This training plan is for the emerging gravel racing scene because it is growing faster than any other cycling discipline and has one of the largest pools of prospective buyers and is less saturated than other markets.
  2. The beginner to intermediate gravel racer who does not see the value or is unable to afford hundreds of dollars a month on a coach. 
  3. I am trying to demystify gravel racing and how to train for it while keeping it fun.

If you’ve gone through that exercise, you’ve already distinguished yourself from many training plan authors by narrowing down who your training plan will serve and what problems you will solve for them. 

Build your plan with your target demographic in mind. You’ll notice that knowing in advance who is likely to buy this plan will change the workouts you create and how you write the plan. Knowing who you are selling to will serve you when you market the plan and also provide a better experience for any athlete that buys it.

Create Your Marketing Funnel

Once you’ve built the plan, it’s tempting to think you’re done. If you want to sell lots of plans, you’re just getting started. You can build the best plan in the world, but if you do not market the plan, no one will know it exists. Your next task is to create your marketing funnel.

A marketing funnel is another name for your customer’s journey. They need to know you exist, they need to trust you and then you need to offer them your product. The job of the top level of your funnel is to make people aware of your brand. You need to determine three things here: 1. Who are you, 2. What are you going to say, and 3. How are you going to say it?  

Put It into Action

Building a website answers the ‘who are you’ question. Minimally, you need your own little spot on the internet that gives an athlete an idea who you are, what you’re about, and what you’re offering. 

You can spend a lot of money on a website, but there are lots of readymade website solutions out there that you can use to put together a simple site. Simple beats perfect.

The ‘How are you going to say it’ part of the top funnel is what platforms you’re going to use to get that content out in front of people. Social media platforms are ubiquitous and necessary. You can choose from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, a blog, or an email newsletter. Though many coaches do not like social media channels, you must have a presence on at least one of these platforms; otherwise, you will drastically limit your potential reach with prospective athletes.

The ‘what you’re going to say’ part of the top funnel is content. The content you create should focus on the problems your training plan solves. Of course, you don’t want to offer your training plans for free, but for any client to consider your training plans as a solution, you need to develop trust with them by providing free insights. For example, you could offer a free ebook, a macronutrient calculator, a sample training plan – anything that gives the athlete value and demonstrates your expertise.

Become a Content Generating Machine

Your content should engage, inform, and entertain. Trying to sell training plans in every piece of content you produce leaves a poor impression with prospective clients. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it – pick something about training for this particular event and give your unique take on the topic – maybe you can make a good case for beer as the ideal post-gravel race recovery drink? 

Don’t be afraid to be a little polarizing in your views. As a coach, you have your own experiences and opinions about different topics, and it’s not only OK to stand for something but necessary to distinguish yourself.  

Before we move on, remember to produce content consistently. It’s no good to release a lot of posts or tweets one day and then go quiet for a month – to potential athletes; it will appear that you’ve disappeared. From the outset, pick a schedule you can stick to release your material on a regular cadence. Many platforms make this easy – you can schedule your content for publication in advance.

Make That Money!

The last step in the funnel is converting the leads you’ve produced through your marketing into sales. To maximize the chances of purchase, make sure you have several training plan options for athletes, engaging and informative training plan copy, compelling pricing and responsiveness to questions.

While you may have narrowed down which athletes will buy your training plan solution for their expert instruction needs, it’s worth creating several iterations of the same plan with different lengths and period focuses. For example, when building a plan, initially build a plan that’s 18 weeks long and includes the base, build and peak mesophases. Now you can break the plan up four ways – offer base, build, peak plans that are six weeks long each, as well as the entire base-peak plan. You’ve just given an athlete four training plan choices and are much more likely to have a plan that suits their specific needs.

When an athlete finds the period and plan length they might want, make sure the description of the plan engages them. Google ‘copywriting’ and spend half an hour reading up on best practices to captivate your audience. The plan might be perfect for the athlete, but if you’re not speaking to their problems in the plan description, they’ll be less likely to buy.

Pricing also determines whether the user clicks the buy button. Check the marketplace for the prices of other sellers. No matter what you do, do not call your training plan ‘cheap.’ It might be ‘cost-effective,’ ‘on-sale,’ or a ‘small investment,’ but you never want to diminish the value of your offer. The expert instruction in your training plan solves a difficult problem for the athlete – don’t describe it as anything less.

Finally, prospective clients might have a question about your training plan. Make sure that you respond quickly. You don’t want to lose a training plan sale because you let a question sit in your inbox for four days. Often a small clarification about what’s included in the training plan can mean the difference between a conversion and a missed opportunity.

In Summary

Selling lots of training plans requires a well thought out marketing plan. Identify your ideal customer, build a marketing funnel, offer free products to build trust and write compelling sales copy to drive sales. The process takes effort, but once you’ve put it together you’ll empower more athletes with the expert instruction in your training plans and another source of revenue to sustain your business.

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About Matti Rowe

Matti Rowe is an Education Specialist on the TrainingPeaks Coach Education Team and the owner of Gravel God Cycling . When he’s not racing his bike on the pavement (people still do!) or gravel he spends his time trying to teach his children Norwegian.